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Wait, shouldn't a truly custom build have all of those tweaks already built into them, hence, truly custom? What more could you possibly add to an already awesome guitar? Or does "live performance sweat" count?

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Man, I was hoping for, like, a first-time-playing video with impressions. Oh, well, I'll take what I can get. When can we expect to see this in action?

Sorry. Even after some tweaking earlier this week, it was re-delivered to me last night at 8 PM and needed some minor adjustments on my part to make it, well... mine. :lol: Specific little tweaks a builder is not going to, nor should, necessarily know about. Besides, my rig is already broken down and poised to be loaded up for tonight's show so, no audio.

As stated above, I'll be trying it out tonight for our Halloween gig at the Amvets in Ephrata. Will try to capture some video/audio of it tonight.

Right.....SECRET tweaks builders don't know about :-)

Not really secret. Just minute adjustments ( i.e.action, trem setting, pick up height, etc.) to a players unique expectations that a builder wouldn't necessarily think to do unless the customer had made it known in advance. And even then, a builder could shrug and say, "Meh, do it yourself." :lol:

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I'm confused. Aren't those kinds of adjustments generally what constitutes a "set-up" (which a custom builder hopefully does before sending it out the door)? I mean, okay, I can imagine the trem being set up differently, depending on what the player personally likes; but isn't there an optimal string and pick-up height that works best for the guitar itself, e.g., wouldn't a builder set a pickup to a height that gets the best clarity and power for a particular guitar/pickup combo? I guess what I'm saying is, if a pickup is set up to avoid mud while yielding its potential power, why would anyone want to alter it? And if the strings were set up with the lowest action that can be had without buzzing, why would anyone want to raise the action?

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There's nothing confusing here. On brand new instruments that have never been under tension before things take a while to reach equilibrium. Even more so when it's got enhancements to add stiffness like carbon fiber and multi-laminate necks. The neck can move and action need to be adjusted more than one time during the first week or two.

The optimal setup can't be achieved on the first day or even the second.

Also, what constitutes optimal can be very different from person to person. The lowest action possible is not always preferable. A player with a light touch can set up a lot lower than someone that really digs in.

That heavy handed player will get string buzzing and need a higher setup

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I'm confused. Aren't those kinds of adjustments generally what constitutes a "set-up" (which a custom builder hopefully does before sending it out the door)? I mean, okay, I can imagine the trem being set up differently, depending on what the player personally likes; but isn't there an optimal string and pick-up height that works best for the guitar itself, e.g., wouldn't a builder set a pickup to a height that gets the best clarity and power for a particular guitar/pickup combo? I guess what I'm saying is, if a pickup is set up to avoid mud while yielding its potential power, why would anyone want to alter it? And if the strings were set up with the lowest action that can be had without buzzing, why would anyone want to raise the action?

While those items you mentioned are part of set ups the answer to your questions is NO. You find me two guitarists who have the exact same set up preferences. :P Builders likely do set pick ups and strings to within a certain height but ultimately, individual preferences govern where they end up.

Put it this way: I've acquired 5 custom guitars in my life time and a handful of new higher end axes and not one of the set ups was left as it was when it arrived.

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I'm confused. Aren't those kinds of adjustments generally what constitutes a "set-up" (which a custom builder hopefully does before sending it out the door)? I mean, okay, I can imagine the trem being set up differently, depending on what the player personally likes; but isn't there an optimal string and pick-up height that works best for the guitar itself, e.g., wouldn't a builder set a pickup to a height that gets the best clarity and power for a particular guitar/pickup combo? I guess what I'm saying is, if a pickup is set up to avoid mud while yielding its potential power, why would anyone want to alter it? And if the strings were set up with the lowest action that can be had without buzzing, why would anyone want to raise the action?

While those items you mentioned are part of set ups the answer to your questions is NO. You find me two guitarists who have the exact same set up preferences. :P Builders likely do set pick ups and strings to within a certain height but ultimately, individual preferences govern where they end up.

Put it this way: I've acquired 5 custom guitars in my life time and a handful of new higher end axes and not one of the set ups was left as it was when it arrived.

Both my custom Hamer and Dantzig were tweaked to my tastes after their arrival so yah, for me it's a foregone conclusion things will be done.

Any shots from this past weekend Jim?

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Any shots from this past weekend Jim?

Sadly he doesnt have any pix. There were some trem issues that caused a lot of tuning instability. Nothing I cant fix, but he was not able to debut the guitar this weekend.

On the upside, I had to put down my guitar and run off stage during the opening tune of the second set to avoid tossing my lunch on the floor. Got sick as a dog. Worst gig ever (for me)

Being fast on their feet, Jim and the rest of the band responded by doing a Van Halen tune thats a lot easier to pull off with one guitar, and kept things going till I got back.

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Any shots from this past weekend Jim?

Sadly he doesnt have any pix. There were some trem issues that caused a lot of tuning instability. Nothing I cant fix, but he was not able to debut the guitar this weekend.

On the upside, I had to put down my guitar and run off stage during the opening tune of the second set to avoid tossing my lunch on the floor. Got sick as a dog. Worst gig ever (for me)

Being fast on their feet, Jim and the rest of the band responded by doing a Van Halen tune thats a lot easier to pull off with one guitar, and kept things going till I got back.

To be fair, while the trem was a little wonky (and we all know I cannot possibly go on with a trem that's less than perfect :P:rolleyes: ) the neck is a little chunky and I preferred to wait until all aspects were up to par.

ETA- Chris was a real trooper at that gig. Yakking up your last meal is not exactly conducive to your best playing. But Chris soldiered on.

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There's nothing confusing here. On brand new instruments that have never been under tension before things take a while to reach equilibrium. Even more so when it's got enhancements to add stiffness like carbon fiber and multi-laminate necks. The neck can move and action need to be adjusted more than one time during the first week or two.

The optimal setup can't be achieved on the first day or even the second.

Also, what constitutes optimal can be very different from person to person. The lowest action possible is not always preferable. A player with a light touch can set up a lot lower than someone that really digs in.

That heavy handed player will get string buzzing and need a higher setup

Yeah, I didn't take the settling-in aspect into account, so that makes sense.

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I'm confused. Aren't those kinds of adjustments generally what constitutes a "set-up" (which a custom builder hopefully does before sending it out the door)? I mean, okay, I can imagine the trem being set up differently, depending on what the player personally likes; but isn't there an optimal string and pick-up height that works best for the guitar itself, e.g., wouldn't a builder set a pickup to a height that gets the best clarity and power for a particular guitar/pickup combo? I guess what I'm saying is, if a pickup is set up to avoid mud while yielding its potential power, why would anyone want to alter it? And if the strings were set up with the lowest action that can be had without buzzing, why would anyone want to raise the action?

While those items you mentioned are part of set ups the answer to your questions is NO. You find me two guitarists who have the exact same set up preferences. :P Builders likely do set pick ups and strings to within a certain height but ultimately, individual preferences govern where they end up.

Put it this way: I've acquired 5 custom guitars in my life time and a handful of new higher end axes and not one of the set ups was left as it was when it arrived.

Okay, everything everyone is saying makes sense now. I'm an idiot. Disregard my previous comments.

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I'm confused. Aren't those kinds of adjustments generally what constitutes a "set-up" (which a custom builder hopefully does before sending it out the door)? I mean, okay, I can imagine the trem being set up differently, depending on what the player personally likes; but isn't there an optimal string and pick-up height that works best for the guitar itself, e.g., wouldn't a builder set a pickup to a height that gets the best clarity and power for a particular guitar/pickup combo? I guess what I'm saying is, if a pickup is set up to avoid mud while yielding its potential power, why would anyone want to alter it? And if the strings were set up with the lowest action that can be had without buzzing, why would anyone want to raise the action?

While those items you mentioned are part of set ups the answer to your questions is NO. You find me two guitarists who have the exact same set up preferences. :P Builders likely do set pick ups and strings to within a certain height but ultimately, individual preferences govern where they end up.

Put it this way: I've acquired 5 custom guitars in my life time and a handful of new higher end axes and not one of the set ups was left as it was when it arrived.

Okay, everything everyone is saying makes sense now. I'm an idiot. Disregard my previous comments.

Asking questions certainly doesn't make you an idiot :-)

I still rely very heavily on the many luthiers I know that have been doing it a lot longer and know more than me :-)

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So, as a builder, if someone asks you to set the strings "low", do you find that to be a somewhat vague instruction, given that "low" to one player may mean something entirely different than it does to another player? I'm just wondering how a builder or tech deals with such instructions given the subjectivity of such terminology.

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So, as a builder, if someone asks you to set the strings "low", do you find that to be a somewhat vague instruction, given that "low" to one player may mean something entirely different than it does to another player? I'm just wondering how a builder or tech deals with such instructions given the subjectivity of such terminology.

No different as a builder than a tech. If someone told me "low" I take em at their word and set it as low as I can without buzzing while picked lightly. They can try that out in front of me and then I'd just make any more action adjustments right then and there with them trying it out.

If they didn't live anywhere near me I'd have no choice but to make my best guess and if they weren't happy with the action they could take it to someone local or adjust it themselves. As a builder I certainly don't warrant that the setup will always be perfect. Depending on what a neck is made of and where the person lives, those things sometimes need to be adjusted a couple times per year.

I know some players seem afraid to touch the truss Rod, but I'd encourage any player to learn how to make minor adjustments to action, pickup height, etc. because it's a LOT easier (not to mention cheaper) to do small stuff themselves. Like putting fluids in your car.

Finally I'll add just for some background that I'm a noob as a builder. When I say what I'd do in a given situation, it's largely hypothetical because I haven't had many customers. :)

Ive been playing guitar since I as a kid, been in several bands, and have been my own tech for a long time, but building them from scratch is new for me. Started about a year and a half ago and I've built less than 10 guitars. I got into the whole thing because I'm a player first and don't like paying other chumps to do stuff if I can learn how to do it myself, and because I can't afford to pay a luthier 6 grand to build a guitar exactly the way I wanted.

Tried that once. Took him 4 years to deliver and the guitar wasn't all that after all that waiting. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

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You work looks exceptional especially considering the brief period that you have been building!

Thanks for saying so. I wasn't new at woodworking, so I already had many of the necessary skills, and just needed to adapt them to a different kind of work :)

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Yeah, I'd say you've got exceptional skills, too. I am so glad to hear how excited Jim is at playing that work of art. That says a lot. I still can't wait to see a video and watch him play it.

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