Before heading in to record...

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
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seeabove
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Before heading in to record...

Post by seeabove » Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:25 pm

I keep hearing (or reading) that you want to have you guitat / bass "set up" by a tech before heading into the studio. Makes sense, but what does that entail specifically? Redressing frets? Truss rod adjustments? Restringing? How much does this usually cost? Could I do it myself?

And, maybe more apropos, Bay Area TapeOpers, who are some good yet kinda cheap techs in and around the East Bay I could go see?

Thanks!
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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by joelpatterson » Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:37 pm

Hey, how's it goin'?

I think what everybody's talking about is that lots of times, people will come in and especially when you plug the bass in, you'll start hearing all the little funkinesses that you don't notice live in performance--buzzings, cracklings, little very subtle things that are real glaring when you go to record.

I'd think if you took a real cold cruel look at the axe, started listening for fret buzzes and things you don't just ever "notice," you'll see if there's anything that needs work.

I'd say this is just similar to bringing something "up to spec." Hopefully a guitar shop could go over it and it wouldn't cost too many arms and legs? I know an excellent place in North Adams, Massachusetts, if you can't find anyone local.
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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by jajjguy » Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:45 pm

A very good tech 'round these parts charges about $70 for a setup. This mainly consists of neck alignment, bridge adjustment, intonation, but would probably also include any random tweaks that need to be made that don't require new parts or loads of hours, like fixing a ground hum or something like that.

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by aurelialuz » Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:57 pm

INTONATION. big big deal. i can stand fret buzzes, that's character. improperly intonated guitars are unusable.
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Slider
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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by Slider » Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:57 pm

I've wasted whole days trying to get one song done with an un-intonated guitar.
Then finished the same parts in minutes the next day after having it setup.
You'll end up saving money in studio time in the long run if they're setup.

Unless it's Bob Dylan, or early Kinks, the shit should be in tune.
It's rare that out of tune is charming.

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by cgarges » Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:04 pm

aurelialuz wrote:INTONATION. big big deal.
Yes, please.

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by mrufino1 » Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:01 pm

Intonation is of course most important. One area often overlooked (I just got wise to this a few months ago) is setting the correct pickup height so the strings are balanced as well as acheiving the optimum output- if the pickups are too close it actually decreases the output and makes it sound duller, to far away and not enough output...

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by SlabOLab » Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:34 pm

Check out Subway Guitars in Berkeley - fat dog's aesthetic is pretty much in line with the tapeop way of the world, and they can set you up for a pretty good price.
Piles and piles of cool stuff, too.

http://www.fatdawg.com/

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seeabove
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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by seeabove » Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:55 pm

Perfect! I'll head out there on Tuesday. Any other places? Someone once mentioned Guitar Solo in SF...
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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by stinkpot » Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:57 am

if you 've never set up a guitar before, i don't recommend trying it yourself. especially a truss rod adjustment. intonation is hard enough to get right if you only kind of know what you're doing.
it's well worth $70 to have it done right the first time.

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by Scodiddly » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:28 am

Intonation is the main thing to get done - if you've changed to a different string gauge your intonation is probably a bit off. Plus there's the pickup balance thing, and whatever else. I'm no luthier but I do occasional setup and electronic repairs on guitars, and usually there are little adjustment problems and noisy pots and such. When the customer gets the guitar back he/she's much happier with how it plays and sounds.

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by daede » Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:03 am

PS- If you go to subway, ask for Johnny Nitro. On top of being a super cool cat, he does IMHO pretty darned good work.

He put a P90 in an old harmony guitar and set it up for slide for me. It turned out pretty spectacular.
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seeabove
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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by seeabove » Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:15 pm

daede wrote:PS- If you go to subway, ask for Johnny Nitro. On top of being a super cool cat, he does IMHO pretty darned good work.

He put a P90 in an old harmony guitar and set it up for slide for me. It turned out pretty spectacular.
Will do.

Anywhere else? Buehler? Buehler?
I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven?t just been sitting on my ass all afternoon.

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Re: Before heading in to record...

Post by daede » Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:19 pm

Also... check out Larry Cragg... he also does great work. He's been doing my setups recently and I couldn't be more pleased. He also has quite a few well known clients... if he's good enough for them, he's certainly good enough for me. :)

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