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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Action - how low can you go?

I put the LKSM-12 down very, very low. Lower than most guidelines I've read. The 1st course is about .045 inches. The 6th course is about .055 inches.

It doesn't buzz - as long as I don't pound the strings.

Tension is also very low. Today I'm using heavy Elixirs; they are tuned down a fifth from concert pitch, thus they pull about 250 pounds. When I use Elixir mediums, I tune it down a minor third. This pulls about 210 pounds.

Then I took out the relief until the top strings start to "sizzle", which is how I describe the very slight buzzing against the frets. I think this is the treble equivalent of the "growl", which is the buzz of low strings on the frets. The relief is non-existent to almost negative. It's very easy to play.

The downsides are:
- some lack of sparkle due to the low tension
- difficult to get the room to respond well to frequencyies under 70 hertz

But I'll sacrifice some clarity to ease-of-playing; lately my hands are kind of sore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. A couple of thoughts:
-Taylor sets up their 12-strings at 3/64" on the treble side and 5/64" on the bass. You are at about 3/64" and 4.5/64" so not too far off.

-Tuning the Elixir heavies where you do makes sense. That is a LOT of tension at 3 half steps down.

I've been tuning to DADGAD dropped down to B. I recently put a new nut on my old Taylor 555 and strung it up with my usual set and tried going another half step down. On this guitar, with the D all the way down to Bb, it has a beautiful piano-like tone.

Check out my vesion of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring":

I enjoy your insights.

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