Need help with initial setup. Custom Build. - Jemsite
Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods Guitar workbench discussion such as setup, repairs, mods, installing new parts and more.

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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Ok guys, I normally don't ask for help but the only reason I am contemplating selling my Herc is that I dont like how it plays and cannot get the initial setup correct. It is a custom and pretty much built from scratch. I can normally tweak setups that are close but I am having a hard time starting from zero.

I know have used Rich's guide many times but am having a hard time knowing right from wrong and what affects what.

Right now my neck seems high in the pocket. I would like to lower the string action a tad but am actually bottoming out the trem underneath it on the paint if I get any lower with the trem. It seems as the neck would have to come up or relief would have to be added to the neck or a combination of both, I just cant find what that combination is. Do I have too many shims, not enough?? I just dont know.

I do not know much relief the neck has.

My neck sits here:



My trem sits here:



and the nut is shimmed to here:



Thoughts of where I should start? Any help might keep her in the house.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 03:14 AM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Is the neck pocket shimmed, or just the nut?

The picture of the 24th fret is a little hard to discern what the action might be (looks like a focus issue in the picture) but if the action isn't low enough for you and you can't screw the trem in any further, then you need to raise the neck relative to the strings.

Depending on the shim configuration at the nut and the amount of relief you like in the neck, you may also need to use a shim in the neck pocket for more than just action improvements but also to change the angle of the neck relative to the strings.

Is it just getting the action lower that would save the swirl from the bin (and it's a gorgeous swirl too) ? Is there anything else about its current setup that you dislike?
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Looks like the neck needs a shim at the neck pickup end to lower the action.
But, this may cause a lot of buzzing depending on the frets and nut height.
As far as truss rod adjustments go, I lightly hold the strings down on the bridge side of the 24th fret, past the 24th fret. Then I pluck the strings between the nut and the 24th fret, picking over the fretboard. I like my action very, very low, so I straighten the neck until I hear a little buzz on the D and G strings, then I look at the bridge height and neck angle. I've run in to the problem of the whole neck needing to be raised up to keep the bridge from bottoming out in the body. Also, nut shims may be needed when everything plays correctly but your open strings buzz.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 07:45 AM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Looks to me like your trem is sitting just fine, if not a tad low in the route. Of course, this depends too on your personal preferences. I always like my trems to sit where you can just barely see the knife edge slot on the side. Looks like you have quite a few shims under the nut, maybe take a shim out and see where that gets you. Is the neck flat right now or is there a tad bit of relief?
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Lim, I think I have a small cardboard shim in the neck pocket now. The angle of the neck may need to be adjusted also, it is fretting out bad on the 15-24 frets. I would like the action a bit lower than it is now and can get a better pic. I will measure it out and see. I know Rich does 2 and 1.8.

Sebastian, I like the action fairly low but not Satch low. I am not buzzing at the nut, more on the bridge side.

Tmatt, yes, I would actually like the bridge to come up a bit. I do not have much pull up with where it is at now, like you, I usually set it a bit higher to where the line is just showing. I "think" the neck is fairly flat but I do not have a good straight edge to find out.

Thanks a ton guys. I thought about bringing the neck up but have a bit of a hangup with that much neck showing over the top. Dont know if that is just how the body is going to sit it.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 10:29 AM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

If your 15-24 frets are buzzing the neck pickup side of the neck needs to be lower to keep that from happening.
The problem you are going to have with this is your trem will need to be lowered to do this.
You are going to need to take the neck off and shim the whole thing up away from the body while at the same time raising the headstock end of the pocket a little more than the neck pickup end of the neck pocket. This will get the strings more evenly off the frets allowing the action to be low with little or no buzzing along the length of the neck. My RG770DX needed this same thing to get it play killer.
I don't recommend cardboard, it compresses. I only use material that wont compress, usually cut up guitar picks or sheets of plastic cut in to strips.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Jeff the bridge is way to low. Did you ever measure the neck pocket and compare it to existing ones ?

For the shims you can use an old credit card, and maybe you are better of bringing her for a setup.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

ok, I think I am going to shim up the neck up at the headstock (that was my first thought too), take out a shim at the nut, raise the trem and work the relief if needed. Give it whirl and keep working at it. It has a great tone to it and it is gorgeous.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo72 View Post
ok, I think I am going to shim up the neck up at the headstock (that was my first thought too), take out a shim at the nut, raise the trem and work the relief if needed. Give it whirl and keep working at it. It has a great tone to it and it is gorgeous.
Nice to hear you're going to keep at it. Ditto the earlier advice to use something hard and non-compressible as the shim material under the neck joint.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by limbo View Post
Nice to hear you're going to keep at it. Ditto the earlier advice to use something hard and non-compressible as the shim material under the neck joint.
Yeah, that is a good idea, something that has a consistent width to it. I have a couple of gift cards that printed and not stamped.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo72 View Post
ok, I think I am going to shim up the neck up at the headstock (that was my first thought too), take out a shim at the nut, raise the trem and work the relief if needed. Give it whirl and keep working at it. It has a great tone to it and it is gorgeous.
Hey Man, I think you need to start from scratch again. Dragster is right about your bridge. I know it's a pain, but you need to take the whole thing apart and take some measurements. Without that, any advice is pointless. I really want to see you get this thing together and will help in any way I can.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 09:51 PM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

This will be a great learning experience for you if you just stick with it.
You'll be happy in the end, or you'll send the whole thing to me and I'll love it forever.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

what are critical measurements for a Jem body?

Edit, I found the body dimension on Jemsite. The from edge of the neck pocket should be 19.4mm and the rear 18.9mm.

Until I get a battery tomorrow, my mic is non-functional. Damn technology.

Last edited by satchmo72; 01-27-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 11:59 PM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

the first thing to measure is the neck pocket depth.........like Dragster said, I think your problem starts there. I think it's too deep (easily fixable)
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 12:02 AM
 
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Re: Need help with initial setup. Custom Build.

if you have access to a digital caliper it would help you a lot. If not, Lowes has them pretty cheap....mine was like $20.

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