The Guitar Gallery Forums - The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku

Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun 2022 02:02 PM 
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Power Chorder

Joined: Sun 16 Jan 2022 01:22 AM
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What's the lowest action you've been able to set on your guitar without fret buzz or choking (in terms of millimeters off the 12th fret on your high and low E strings, respectively)?

When I had my Aria Pro II PE-60 professionally set up by a tech (which included fret leveling/dressing), the tech set it to 1.5mm/2.5mm, which I'm told is standard for guitars these days. I was able to take it down to around 1.0/2.0 before I started noticing a tiny bit of choking on the 19th fret. With my other (non-Matsumoku) instruments, which include 2 Yamaha SGs and an ESP LTD Elite (all of which have also been professionally set-up and fret-leveled), I can get the action down to around 0.8/2.0.


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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun 2022 09:17 AM 
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Virtuoso
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I used to "measure" the relief and action with measuring tools but about 20 years ago realized the "suggested" parameters are just that, suggested.

Getting the action low is a multi-stage process. A dance between relief, string height, fret buzz and choking as you describe. I have two PE-R80s only 2 years apart yet the relief and string height are different for both. I start with only a very small amount of relief and lower the strings in small steps until I get a distinct buzz then raise the the strings one step and play it for a week or so until things settle in. Sometimes I have to add a little more relief and others I don't.

It is important to give these old guitars some time to acclimate in between changes. New guitars have not "settled in" and react quickly to changes but these old guitars have and changes happen more slowly.

No two pieces of wood are identical and as such no two necks are identical. The difference may be minute but if you're like me you can "feel" the difference.

With regards to string rattle three things come into play. How "lively" the neck is and string gauge are two. On my 25-1/2" scale guitars I run 10s but on the 24-3/4" scale guitars I run 9s. The last thing is a trem. Believe it or not a floating trem can add string slop to what would otherwise be a stable action.

The fist thing to tackle is relief. As little as possible yet enough to avoid string rattle on the first few frets. A neck with a lot of relief but low action is more likely the choke on the upper frets.

One last thing to consider is the clamping a pickup's magnet has on the strings. If the magnetic field is strong enough it can change a string's vibration dynamics. Believe it or not a string vibrates from end to end back and forth. Many moons ago I had a strobe light in my room and one day noticed that the string vibration was not spread across the entire string but it had "waves" that went back and forth from one end to another. If a pickup's magnet is strong or it is too close to the strings it does change the dynamics of this moving vibration or waves and can actually cause string rattle as well as intonation issues.

For reference:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YGQmV3NxMI


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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jun 2022 03:02 PM 
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Power Chorder

Joined: Sun 16 Jan 2022 01:22 AM
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Thanks for the clarification, Crusty. As you've mentioned, I've noticed that my older guitars are more stable that my newer ones, since the wood has settled to a greater degree.

As the weather here in NYC has become hotter and more humid as we enter summer, I've had to adjust the truss rods slightly on nearly all my instruments (more so on my newer ones). All my guitars have a 24 3/4" scale length. I've owned 25+" scale guitars in the past, but had to sell them because the scale never felt quite right in my smallish hands, even though they were exceptionally well-built instruments.

I've been tempted to check out the Vigier Shawn Lane Signature Excalibur (https://www.vigierguitars.com/catalog/i ... &id_lang=1). That's a purpose-built model with absurdly low action which would be impossible to replicate on virtually any other guitar, due to its infinity-radius (perfectly flat) fingerboard and carbon fiber reinforced neck. Probably not something I would keep, but would be certainly fun to play.


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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jun 2022 04:21 PM 
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Virtuoso
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For the price of that guitar, I would expect way more than it is capable of. . . :toopidlol:

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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun 2022 06:03 AM 
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Jorg wrote:
For the price of that guitar, I would expect way more than it is capable of. . . :toopidlol:


Don't sweat it... I played one of those in a shop some time ago. This is as good as a guitar can get. Since the signature model doesn't have a lacquer finish, it vibrates much nicer than the other Vigier guitars I played.
Imho... hopelessly expensive... but absolutely perfect (if your preference are Superstrats with a non-locking tremolo).


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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun 2022 02:08 PM 
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Virtuoso
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cadebryant wrote:
Thanks for the clarification, Crusty. As you've mentioned, I've noticed that my older guitars are more stable that my newer ones, since the wood has settled to a greater degree.

As the weather here in NYC has become hotter and more humid as we enter summer, I've had to adjust the truss rods slightly on nearly all my instruments (more so on my newer ones). All my guitars have a 24 3/4" scale length. I've owned 25+" scale guitars in the past, but had to sell them because the scale never felt quite right in my smallish hands, even though they were exceptionally well-built instruments.

I've been tempted to check out the Vigier Shawn Lane Signature Excalibur (https://www.vigierguitars.com/catalog/i ... &id_lang=1). That's a purpose-built model with absurdly low action which would be impossible to replicate on virtually any other guitar, due to its infinity-radius (perfectly flat) fingerboard and carbon fiber reinforced neck. Probably not something I would keep, but would be certainly fun to play.



It took me some time to acclimate to 25-1/2" scale guitars. Quite simply I just had to play them enough. Now I don't notice at all. My RS-Bobcat, PRS SE Standard and the JR Beck are the 25-1/2" scale guitars I have. All the rest are 24-3/4".


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