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jalevinemd
Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 523
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 10:02 pm:   Edit Post

I've been playing the Big Bear a lot lately (6 string Resurrection guitar). It's my only guitar strung with 10's. All the others have 9's. I noticed that when doing full step bends on the high E, my fingers tend to ride over or alongside the B string...not so much under it, where I'd like.

Is this a function of:

A. My action is set too low
B. My frets aren't tall enough
C. The force needed to bend a 10 high E vs a 9
D. A combination of A, B, C
tom_z
Senior Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 455
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 7:11 pm:   Edit Post

Jonathan - My guess would be the light gauge strings and the action. I've played a few of my guitars trying to reproduce your situation and I can't. The E strings on my guitars are .011 or .012 and my action is not particularly low - the guitars have varying fret size and wear.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1721
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post

Jonathan:

Do you really mean "full step" bends, as in two frets' worth? Geeze, I NEVER bend 'em that much!

Bill, tgo
jalevinemd
Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 524
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 8:16 pm:   Edit Post

Bill,

What can I say? I'm a 70's rocker at heart.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 1722
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 8:36 pm:   Edit Post

With fingers of iron! LOL

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1341
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 9:38 pm:   Edit Post

Thus the use of 9's on the other guitars. You can get the E string bent at least half way across the neck with 9's...

I would guess that A/C is the correct answer. I doubt that it would take an increase in fret height to solve the problem for you. You are probably losing some down pressure to achieve the sideways pressure for the bend.

It could be technique as well, though I hesitate to suggest it. I find that if I flatten my fingertip on the board before I make contact with the next string, then it slides under. If I can maintain a more vertical angle with my fingertip until contact is made and then begin to flatten out a little, the rotation helps to lift the string I want to go under. I do admit that I tend to catch the next string(s) on my fingertip rather than getting completely under them, so they go along for the bend ride, though without being fretted or making sound. I don't know - just an idea...

-Bob
hieronymous
Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 77
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 10:33 pm:   Edit Post

Stevie Ray Vaughan used a .016 E!

(well, after checking around a little on the internet, some sources say .013 - which is still crazy - but I swear I remember reading a Guitar Player article or something like that that gave the .016 guage...)

(Message edited by hieronymous on October 16, 2006)
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1087
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 12:31 am:   Edit Post

From what I recall, SRV tuned a full step down, so bends would have been much easier. But me no expert - perhaps he was into open tunings?
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 809
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:13 am:   Edit Post

SRV's strings were 13's and 14's, he sometimes even used 18's on the first string. Rene Martinez convinced Stevie to switch to smaller gauge strings 11's and 12's. He did tune down too. Not sure of, a 1/2 or a whole step.
I got this info from a conversation with Tommy Shannon at the Hard Rock in Dallas when we opened a show for the Arc Angels.
hieronymous
Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 78
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:41 am:   Edit Post

Good point guys - I forgot about the tuning-down bit!

I always just kind of took for granted that Hendrix and SRV just happened to tune down - maybe for their vocal range? But then I read about Pete Cosey, who played guitar for Miles Davis in the '70s - he would do all kinds of crazy alternate tunings, including changing the order of the strings! (Listen to Miles Davis's Agharta and Pangaea and it kind of makes sense.) And he also mentioned tuning down a half-step as an alternate tuning, and that he showed it to Jimi Hendrix!

Not sure where I'm going with this, sorry to go off topic, and sorry for all the exclamation points!!!
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 595
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 7:42 am:   Edit Post

A number of his songs are tuned down a half step to Eb.

Keith
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 810
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 8:21 am:   Edit Post

A lot of bands tune down 1/2 step. Most of them do it for vocals reasons. I don't think this was the case with SRV though.
Ever try to bend 14's. Ouch!
I know people may bring up Billy Sheehan here, but bass strings don't have a tendency to cut into your finger.
tom_z
Senior Member
Username: tom_z

Post Number: 456
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 8:35 am:   Edit Post

Olie - that's what calluses are for. It is a little more difficult to bend 12s, but somehow the Pyramids I use are noticeably more flexible than other strings I've used and there's a great payoff in tone, at least subjectively, to me.

That said, I can't imagine living with a .016 E.

Peace
Tom
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 811
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 8:48 am:   Edit Post

Tom, I have well callused fingers myself. But try bending a 14ga (solid not wrapped) string and it can cut into a callus. Bass strings are all, (that Iíve ever played anyway), wrapped and have a much larger mass therefore not as easy to cut into flesh, being it callused flesh or not.
I play 9ís on all my guitars. I also prefer electric stings on my acoustic guitars. I have my momís old Daion Gazelle strung with Elixir 9ís and everybody that plays it is amazed at the sound and playability.
I am a bass player first then guitar but still like the smaller strings on my guitars.
jalevinemd
Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 525
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 5:55 pm:   Edit Post

Olie, I'm with you all the way as far as electric strings on my acoustic. I know people say it takes away from the tone, but for me the increased playability is well worth it.

I also use 9's on all my electrics. But, for reasons I can't understand, 9's always felt like 8's on the Big Bear. Hence, the switch. I raised the action a hair and am not having quite as much trouble with bending as previous.

Regards,

Jonathan
elwoodblue
Member
Username: elwoodblue

Post Number: 99
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 2:54 am:   Edit Post

I hear Howard Roberts used 15's for high e.
...with strong hands I imagine it was a sort of damping factor for him...all his lines were so tight.
811952
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 859
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 5:49 am:   Edit Post

I used to gig with a guy (Ken Hays of Paris, Illinois) who used a .17 for the high e on a lovely Koontz archtop. There wasn't a whole lot of bending going on, but the sound was pure smooth jazz all the way. This is the same guy who plays rock gigs with a Howard Roberts Fusion (archtop) with a scalloped fingerboard, and just kills with it through a pair of Boogies.

John

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