Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 46 of 46
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I am new to this Forum and this is my first post(!)

    I have been playing exclusively fingerstyle acoustic guitar since 1982. Recently, I started playing more jazz and blues (including lead lines) so I bought a new Tele and put a Charlie Christian pickup on the neck.

    The Tele has 11s on it and it's got a great warm tone, but I find that the action is so low compared to what I've been accustomed to (playing with medium gauge strings on an acoustic), that it is much harder for me to play (and I chose the tele because the fat neck was the closest thing I could find to my beloved acoustic).

    So my question is: should I raise the action so I have a feel similar to my acoustic, or use heavier strings, or both?

    Thanks for any input you can offer.



    With Flat Pick by The Colonel | Free Listening on SoundCloud



    EDITED: Action TOO LOW on new Telecaster???-screen-shot-2019-12-14-9-16-10-am-jpg
    Last edited by The Colonel; 12-14-2019 at 10:53 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Hey Colonel -- welcome!

    There's a lot of support here for teles in jazz/blues, and CC pickups are certainly cool (is it a Lollar?), so gear-wise you're good (well ... what amp do you have?!).

    If you know how to do your own setups, then sure, play with the action and see what you think (or take it to your trusted tech/luthier). You may or may not need to alter anything else, including the strings, so we'll see.

    Of course, if it's getting a great sound you like, I'd maybe consider doing nothing and seeing if you can get used to it! [If it ain't broke, don't fix it!]

    Let us know what you find!

    Marc

    UPDATE: Nice job with "The Christmas Song!" Great sound/playing!
    Last edited by marcwhy; 12-14-2019 at 10:49 AM. Reason: update

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Hey Colonel -- welcome!

    There's a lot of support here for teles in jazz/blues, and CC pickups are certainly cool (is it a Lollar?), so gear-wise you're good (well ... what amp do you have?!).

    If you know how to do your own setups, then sure, play with the action and see what you think (or take it to your trusted tech/luthier). You may or may not need to alter anything else, including the strings, so we'll see.

    Of course, if it's getting a great sound you like, I'd maybe consider doing nothing and seeing if you can get used to it! [If it ain't broke, don't fix it!]

    Let us know what you find!

    Marc

    To answer your questions - it is a Lollar, and my current amp is a Quilter combo (though I'm seriously considering upgrading to the Fender ML Deville).

    I'm just wondering if I'm so used to playing acoustic that I need to spend a lot of time on the electric to get used to it, or if I should have opted for a hollow body that played more like an acoustic. Anyway, I heard that raising the action and using heavier strings can bridge the gap between the two guitars.

    I'm hoping to post a short clip of the Tele straight into Garage Band just to show the tone from that neck pick-up.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Assuming things aren't buzzing from being way too low, you might try living with it a bit and seeing if you acclimate...sometimes it's nice to have guitars that feel different.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Electric guitars are different instruments... with different touch and response...
    Low action is part of its idea (especially on teles and strats)... paticular softness and smoothness of playing

    Try to get used for a while...

    I had those issues as I was prmarily acoustic player... but eventually I got used to it.

    Also check Tim Lerchabout tele's setup. He is also very supportive.



  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Electric guitars are different instruments... with different touch and response...
    Low action is part of its idea (especially on teles and strats)... paticular softness and smoothness of playing

    Try to get used for a while...

    I had those issues as I was prmarily acoustic player... but eventually I got used to it.

    Also check Tim Lerchabout tele's setup. He is also very supportive.



    Yeah I'm well aware of Tim. His playing was the main reason I opted for a Tele when selecting an electric: I thought it would give me the best options for jazz and blues. I honestly don't use the bridge pickup very much. Hope to have a sample up soon,

    The Colonel

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Putting heavier gauge strings on a guitar often means you can lower the action, heh, although you don't have to.

    I have 13s now on my Tele. There's no need to have them that heavy on a solid body guitar (unlike on a carved archtop, to drive the top), but I like the tension.

    As well, if you like flatwound strings, don't be afraid to put em on a Tele.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    I think high action and light strings (10s or 11s) make for a nice combination on an electric, it is my preferred setup. My fingerstyle 512 Taylor acoustic has actually a lot lower action than most of my electrics.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    We need the action height at the 12 th fret 6 and 1st string. One measurement is better than 10,000 guesses and then can see based on that measurement. Get a nice metal ruler with at least marks going to 1/32 many go to 1/64. Measure from top of fret to bottom of string, measure twice to be sure. Armed with that information can go forward. You can also measure relief in the neck. That is fretting at the 1 st and 14 of 15th fret to create straight line. There should be some small amount of gap from 1st to 15th fret but not much.

    Report back.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    I am new to this Forum and this is my first post(!)

    I have been playing exclusively fingerstyle acoustic guitar since 1982. Recently, I started playing more jazz and blues (including lead lines) so I bought a new Tele and put a Charlie Christian pickup on the neck.

    The Tele has 11s on it and it's got a great warm tone, but I find that the action is so low compared to what I've been accustomed to (playing with medium gauge strings on an acoustic), that it is much harder for me to play (and I chose the tele because the fat neck was the closest thing I could find to my beloved acoustic).

    So my question is: should I raise the action so I have a feel similar to my acoustic, or use heavier strings, or both?

    Thanks for any input you can offer.
    If you anticipate playing blues blues (as in Chicago style blues with string bending and wide vibrato, as opposed to blues tunes in a jazz style), I'd say try raising the action rather than the string gauge. Just make sure you maintain the same bridge radius (assuming it's a multi-saddle Tele style bridge), and do it in small increments; it's easy to screw up Fender set-ups. But there's could be more going on than just action -- maybe differences in fret sizes and/or fingerboard radius are at the root of your difficulties. Which Tele variant is this, vs what acoustic guitar?

    John

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    If you anticipate playing blues blues (as in Chicago style blues with string bending and wide vibrato, as opposed to blues tunes in a jazz style), I'd say try raising the action rather than the string gauge. Just make sure you maintain the same bridge radius (assuming it's a multi-saddle Tele style bridge), and do it in small increments; it's easy to screw up Fender set-ups. But there's could be more going on than just action -- maybe differences in fret sizes and/or fingerboard radius are at the root of your difficulties. Which Tele variant is this, vs what acoustic guitar?

    John
    it’s a Vintera. I had compensated brass saddles put in. My acoustic is an Eastman 812ce, as seen here:


  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    it’s a Vintera. I had compensated brass saddles put in. My acoustic is an Eastman 812ce, as seen here:

    Looking at the Fender site, the 50s Vintera has a 7.25" fingerboard radius and vintage (i.e., smaller) frets. That's a much less flat fingerboard, and lower frets than your Taylor. The "60s modifed" version is a little closer (9.5") in flatness, and has medium jumbo frets that are probably a similar size to your Taylor, but still a pretty different overall feel. It's also a longer scale length. So with all of those differences in spec (despite similarity in neck shape), it's bound to feel quite different from your Taylor, even with the same action height and string-gauge. I'd actually suggest leaving it alone for a while to see if you get more used to it. If you still can't deal with it after that, then try raising the action.

    John

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    To answer your questions - it is a Lollar, and my current amp is a Quilter combo (though I'm seriously considering upgrading to the Fender ML Deville).
    No reason to switch amps -- Quilter makes fine amps! -- and I'm not sure I'd call the Fender an "upgrade," necessarily.

    Caution: You're new here. One of the risks of spending time on this Forum is developing a near-fatal medical condition -- Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)! ["Near-fatal" since you may lose life, limb, and/or family!] It starts with something innocent, like trying a different type of pick, and then the $0.25 pick you originally used happily for years now turns into a $45 pick (that you still may lose in the couch!). From picks, you move onto strings, straps (fine, Corinthian leather!), cables (with 100% Phoenix feather core), effects (approved by members of this Forum), amps ("upgrade" to a $3000 boutique tube), and, of course, guitars. GAS-aholics share a common sentiment: Everything will be different after that next purchase!!

    You have been warned.


  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    1) 2) Telecasters are wonderful guitars with broad-spectrum tonal capabilities as well as seemingly infinite variations on a theme (see The Telecaster Thread), and your new axe is quite interesting. What I did with my my own '66 Custom Telecaster was to use heavier strings, and replace the threaded steel 3-barrel bridge with intonated brass barrels from StewMac. I believe that the basic resonance is affected by the three barrels resting in pairs on the six screws resting on the steel plate with an appropriate tension. It took a good deal of trial and error to arrive at the proper blend which for me is a set of 0.011 Stay in Tunes with moderate tension and stiffness. I also had a new switch installed for more choices in pickup combinations.

    3) Nice guitar you've got there. Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    Last edited by citizenk74; 12-13-2019 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Spelin

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    the great thing about teles...and fenders in general, is that they can be tweaked to your hearts content..not only can you adjust the saddle height to whatever action is comfortable, but you can also adjust the neck..with a shim if needed...if the overall neck to body angle is not correct...(many original fenders came from the factory with shims in the neck pocket)

    using heavier strings does not really change the saddle/action height..really 2 distinct issues..tho often the extra tension from heavier strings will make the neck bow increase, so that it feels as if the action has lifted a bit..but it's really not quite the same thing!!!

    ideally, you want the correct bow (thru trussrod adjustment) and the correct action height


    cheers

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel

    The Tele has 11s on it and it's got a great warm tone, but I find that the action is so low compared to what I've been accustomed to (playing with medium gauge strings on an acoustic), that it is much harder for me to play.

    So my question is: should I raise the action so I have a feel similar to my acoustic, or use heavier strings, or both?
    Assuming the action on your acoustic is somewhat high, my answer is...... neither.

    An acoustic guitar is made for strumming and making lots of sound. They work great and look nice. And they can be used for other things, but are inferior to other guitars at those other things. Generally speaking, 11's are heavy for an electric guitar but are OK.

    It's not uncommon for a guitarist to get used to a classical guitar, archtop with 12s, acoustic guitar for strumming, semi-hollow with 10s or 11s for jazz or pop/rock rhythm, and an electric with slinkys for rock and blues extreme bending etc. Every single one of those has a different feel, and switching off can take some getting used to.

    Enjoy the ride.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    My acoustic is used almost exclusively for fingerpicking, FYI.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    So my question is: should I raise the action so I have a feel similar to my acoustic?
    You have my permission to do so.

  20. #19
    Low action is a preference based on your personal touch. Tommy Emmanuel has low action for his fingerstyle. I would venture a guess that most jazz guitarists play with a low action to facilitate faster lines. Some really really low. An aggressive touch would make low action sound pingy.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Raise your strings, naturally


    I don`t mean to underestimate you since you are able to change the pickup in your guitar...sometimes people are skilled in advanced things, but need help with simpler tasks.
    Don`t forget to take tuning off strings, so you can easily screw the bridge higher.

    I`m with others commenting here, try to play it as it is first. Everybody do not have to play guitar like Freddie Green you know.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    No reason to switch amps -- Quilter makes fine amps! -- and I'm not sure I'd call the Fender an "upgrade," necessarily.

    Caution: You're new here. One of the risks of spending time on this Forum is developing a near-fatal medical condition -- Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)! ["Near-fatal" since you may lose life, limb, and/or family!] It starts with something innocent, like trying a different type of pick, and then the $0.25 pick you originally used happily for years now turns into a $45 pick (that you still may lose in the couch!). From picks, you move onto strings, straps (fine, Corinthian leather!), cables (with 100% Phoenix feather core), effects (approved by members of this Forum), amps ("upgrade" to a $3000 boutique tube), and, of course, guitars. GAS-aholics share a common sentiment: Everything will be different after that next purchase!!

    You have been warned.


    You are right about GAS


    I awakened first i had collected 66 guitars and bass guitars. I don`t no longer feel that i must soon get that and that and...guitar, i can breath easier now.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by savofenno
    You are right about GAS


    I awakened first i had collected 66 guitars and bass guitars. I don`t no longer feel that i must soon get that and that and...guitar, i can breath easier now.

    Wow, that's a serious case! Congrats on your recovery!

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Added first direct-to-Garageband effort using Lollar CC neck pick-up through Apogee Duet (no EQ, effects, nothing - just wanted opinions on the clean sound/tone). Thx.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    So as a fingerstyle acoustic player do you pluck hard to get loud volume?
    If so, that technique will need to be adjusted for playing a tele with low action.
    One thing I like about playing electric is that you can play softly and let the amp do the work.

    I play at a weekly acoustic jam where I have to bang the heck out of the guitar just to hear myself.
    But when I play plugged in I play with a much softer touch -- which is my more natural playing style.

    Your tele may be set up just fine, but if you want to raise the strings it's super easy -- a small hex wrench is all that is required.
    If you decide to adjust your string height, I wouldn't try to "match" your acoustic that you are used to.
    I'd just go for a very small upward adjustment and see if you like that better.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    I have fingernails for the acoustic, so I may have to lose those to get the proper touch with the Tele. I use a pick, too.

    I added to my original post my first direct-to-Garageband effort using Lollar CC neck pick-up through Apogee Duet (no EQ, effects, nothing - just wanted opinions on the clean sound/tone). It's done finger style with no pick (but with a very helpful metronome that only I could hear). Just added a few seconds with flat pick, too. Pasting them here "for good measure' (cough):




    Chestnuts by The Colonel | Free Listening on SoundCloud
    Last edited by The Colonel; 12-14-2019 at 10:59 AM.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Sounds great to me. No buzzing or fretting out. You could certainly go a little higher so you can dig in more, if that's your thing, but from these two clips it seems you use a softer touch?

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Sounds great to me. No buzzing or fretting out. You could certainly go a little higher so you can dig in more, if that's your thing, but from these two clips it seems you use a softer touch?
    funny you say that: after reading all the comments here I made a concerted effort to focus on a light touch, and it seems to have made a difference. I am considering recording into GB the slower version of Chestnuts I do on my acoustic for comparison.

    thanks for your kind words.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Teles are VERY touch responsive...they can go from a whisper to a scream just based on touch.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Maybe I should marry one! ?

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Lol.

    Definitely do the recording of the tune!

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Checked out your stuff on YouTube. Very nice and nice jazzy tone on the acoustic.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    I have fingernails for the acoustic, so I may have to lose those to get the proper touch with the Tele. I use a pick, too.

    I added to my original post my first direct-to-Garageband effort using Lollar CC neck pick-up through Apogee Duet (no EQ, effects, nothing - just wanted opinions on the clean sound/tone). It's done finger style with no pick (but with a very helpful metronome that only I could hear). Just added a few seconds with flat pick, too. Pasting them here "for good measure' (cough):




    Chestnuts by The Colonel | Free Listening on SoundCloud

    Sounds fine to me.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Thanks. We are always in search of that elusive "Jazz tone..."

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Here's what Julian Lage says about playing a Tele vs an acoustic guitar in the Guitar Player article, "Julian Lage on the Lure of the Telecaster".

    (See entire article here: Julian Lage on the Lure of the Telecaster - GuitarPlayer.com )

    Does playing the Telecaster require technical adjustments?
    Absolutely. My background is jazz alternate picking, which allows a great deal of flexibility and speed when needed, but, coupled with starting when I was really young, it means I have always had a very hard touch. I always had an image of pulling the sound out of the guitar, even though that’s not necessarily what happens. A lot of the things that are beneficial for pulling the sound out have a way of overpowering the Telecaster. Specifically, it’s the concept that the right hand is in the driver’s seat. There’s a sensuality with the Tele that I don’t hear when I focus on the right hand. When I don’t think about that hand as much, or I think about the left and the right hand together, there is a delicacy and a swiftness that is rewarded. You still want to resonate the body and the neck, but you’re going a shorter distance. You’re trying to make something impactful that will travel the half inch to the pickups, and from the pickups to the amp. I don’t feel like I’m driving a Telecaster the way I am driving an acoustic guitar. I’ve come to look at the Tele, the amp, and my technique as one instrument.

  36. #35
    I’ve never heard or played through a Quilter that I liked. Sterile. And yeah I’ve heard all the nice things about them. Go tubes. Even for jazz.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Wow, that's a serious case! Congrats on your recovery!

    I feel relaxed now, did not destroy my economy, but i had to save with other things. I am not in debt, and never was, but it was kinda hard.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    I have fingernails for the acoustic, so I may have to lose those to get the proper touch with the Tele. I use a pick, too.

    I added to my original post my first direct-to-Garageband effort using Lollar CC neck pick-up through Apogee Duet (no EQ, effects, nothing - just wanted opinions on the clean sound/tone). It's done finger style with no pick (but with a very helpful metronome that only I could hear). Just added a few seconds with flat pick, too. Pasting them here "for good measure' (cough):




    Chestnuts by The Colonel | Free Listening on SoundCloud
    That sounds good to me.

    John

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by The Colonel
    I have fingernails for the acoustic, so I may have to lose those to get the proper touch with the Tele. I use a pick, too.

    I added to my original post my first direct-to-Garageband effort using Lollar CC neck pick-up through Apogee Duet (no EQ, effects, nothing - just wanted opinions on the clean sound/tone). It's done finger style with no pick (but with a very helpful metronome that only I could hear). Just added a few seconds with flat pick, too. Pasting them here "for good measure' (cough):




    Chestnuts by The Colonel | Free Listening on SoundCloud
    Your tone sounds good to me. It is warm and clean, with healthy upper-midrange clarity. Very nice!

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    I may just do that.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Your tone sounds good to me. It is warm and clean, with healthy upper-midrange clarity. Very nice!
    Thank you so much. The playing -- like me -- is a work in progress.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Thanks, John. I may have gotten ahead of myself with the up-tempo version, instead of the slower, ballad-like chord melody version I started with. I worked it out first on the piano last year and it migrated to the guitar.

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    I think the sound is fine, and remarkably similar when playing with nails and the pick. We all use technique to arrive to the sound we have in our heads, no matter what the gear is. I personally had to find a compromising solution between electrics, acoustics, jazz guitars, etc, something that doesn't require too much of a different technique when changing instruments. So the electrics get the high action. It also has to do with the energy you have when playing live, where higher action definitely works better for me.

    It is very easy to experiment with action and relief on a tele, so spending some time doing that will help. My ideal action suits my preferred attack, not the other way around. And I strongly agree with Julian Lages opinions on playing softly, I remember him saying that about acoustics too. I go after dynamics, I like the guitar to support both a whisper and a shout, and not all instruments can do that with a low action. I've found the factory proposed settings on Fender and Gibson to be a good start.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I think the sound is fine, and remarkably similar when playing with nails and the pick. We all use technique to arrive to the sound we have in our heads, no matter what the gear is. I personally had to find a compromising solution between electrics, acoustics, jazz guitars, etc, something that doesn't require too much of a different technique when changing instruments. So the electrics get the high action. It also has to do with the energy you have when playing live, where higher action definitely works better for me.

    It is very easy to experiment with action and relief on a tele, so spending some time doing that will help. My ideal action suits my preferred attack, not the other way around. And I strongly agree with Julian Lages opinions on playing softly, I remember him saying that about acoustics too. I go after dynamics, I like the guitar to support both a whisper and a shout, and not all instruments can do that with a low action. I've found the factory proposed settings on Fender and Gibson to be a good start.
    Thank you and thanks for the sage words.

    -Colonel

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    I'd try raising the action first, then if you still feel the same way, put .12s on
    I have .11s on my '52 reissue, but the frets are tiny, and i use it for rock as well as jazz, so I'm gonna put bigger frets on one day soon, if you're not bending the strings, I'd try .12s with fairly low action, if there is no buzz, go low

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    I'd try raising the action first, then if you still feel the same way, put .12s on
    I have .11s on my '52 reissue, but the frets are tiny, and i use it for rock as well as jazz, so I'm gonna put bigger frets on one day soon, if you're not bending the strings, I'd try .12s with fairly low action, if there is no buzz, go low
    Thanks - will do.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Aside. One thing that really bugs me is fret buzz. Some folks don't mind it if it isn't coming through the pickup, but still