Topic: Got new strings - Went from 10's to 11's...minor issues

I was told I should move this over here to get some more advice on this...

So I decided to switch over from 10-46 to 11-48 -- Ernie Ball Power Slinky, purple package. Now on my Les Paul, the notes seem to die out on the high end when I bend on the high E. I've heard that that normally happens when the action is too low. So I raised it, it seems to have solved the issue, but now the action is almost uncomfortably high. Do I maybe have to just play it in? Or could it need re-fretted? They do seem a little worn down.

The 11's seem to be alright on my other guitars -- they're actually great.

For perspective, and if anyone sees this as an easy-to-fix issue, I'm just a senior in High School, so I don't know that much about setting up guitars apart from how to set action, change strings, adjust the tension rod and pickups, etc. So, of course, I'm open to learning.

2 (edited by macg1 2019-01-26 12:48:29)

Re: Got new strings - Went from 10's to 11's...minor issues

Rule #1 of guitar set up: take it to a tech

Rule #2 of guitar set up: first learn rule #1

Been playing guitar for 33 years and other than checking the intonation and changing strings, everything else goes to a professional. I don't do my own surgeries either.

It is unlikely a refret is needed, but a proper full set up including polishing out some high spots on certain frets, truss rod adjustment (don't do it yourself, it is possible to ruin a guitar in awful ways) and checking nut and bridge saddle slots for a higher gauge may be needed.

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3 (edited by DougH 2019-01-26 14:11:12)

Re: Got new strings - Went from 10's to 11's...minor issues

It's only 1 gauge up, so minimal setup is required.

Don't say which fret you're doing your bends at but.

Put a capo on the first fret.
Hold down low E, at like 17th fret.

How much space is there to string to 7th fret.
Should not be more or less say a piece of paper folded over.
That's roughly 8-thou.
Then check high e same way.

That's your relief setting on the neck, which it probably needs a slight twink as it sounds like you're fretting out on your bends

---------------

(If only I had 1% of Joe's guitar talent)

Re: Got new strings - Went from 10's to 11's...minor issues

I agree with macg1 take it to a tech. You will not regret it. Although I might add a 'good' tech. Ask around in your area who is good and who isn't.

Although I'm not a Les Paul guy I prefer my string height a lot higher than DougH mentions but it really depends on the music you play. DougH's set up will be fast for sure. For blues I need to get a little bit under the string for the big bends and vibrato. I realize a Les Paul has vintage frets (at least I think it does) so a heavier gauge string combined with those frets is going to require some hand strength but again, it depends what kind of music you play.

Only thing to do is try it and see what you like. Everyone is different and if it gives you the feel and tone you are after, you're all set.

Re: Got new strings - Went from 10's to 11's...minor issues

I've heard that that normally happens when the action is too low. So I raised it, it seems to have solved the issue, but now the action is almost uncomfortably high.

Note that a setup is adjusting relief + action + intonation.  It's not just raising the action. It's adjusting the trussrod, bridge and intonation in concert with one another.  Always possible you have a high fret or something, but i'd get it set up correctly first.

Doing a setup on a guitar isn't hard at all.  There are a lots of books and probably good video lessons.  Just go step by step, follow the process.  Measure and go slowly.  You'll get a feel for it over time.  I've done my own setups for 15 years now and it's great to be able to fix issues quickly and be able to dial in what you personally like.  It's also a way to bond with the guitar and really get to know it.  When things don't feel right, you'll know why.  If it needs fret or nut work then I bring it in, but that's extremely rare.

Like anything else, though, it takes time to learn.  In this case I'd agree with the advice to take it to a good tech, get it set up correctly how you like it.  Then measure (and write down!) what the results are.  I measure relief at 7th fret and 1st, 12th, 22nd fret action on high/low E strings.  That way you have a target of what good is when the action & relief eventually drift and you want to try it yourself.