Saturday, January 21, 2006

Funk

No, not the musical style, the mood I'm in.

I had sent my Glissentar back to Ed Reynolds in Austin to have him make some extra bridges for me that would allow me to have various string heights without having to use shims, and also to adjust the string channels on the nut to match the gauges of the strings I decided to use. It was supposed to get here yesterday, but it didn't. I'm bummed.

Today was supposed to be entirely devoted to playing with my new axe, but... alas... UPS sucks. But then, that's one of the little inconvieniences attending life in a little, tiny, itty-bitty town in the middle of vast tracts of gorgeous nothingness: It sometimes takes longer to get stuff. Overnight? Yeah, right: allow three days. [sigh]...

The reason I had Ed make the extra bridges was twofold: 1) The new bone bridge he made transferred string vibrations to the ribbon transducer more effeciently - hence it yeilded a better sound - but only if I didn't use shims to adjust the action: shims totally wrecked the sound by reducing that effieciency even beyond that of the original plastic bridge, and 2) I wanted to be able to experiment with three different string heights to judge the differences in playability, intonation, and "buzziness" (High-tech terminology). I had him make two tall bridges that would result in the strings being 1/8" above the 12th fret, and one short bridge at 3/32": I know 1/8" will be high enough and 3/32" will be as low as I can go, so the third I could sand down to suit me. Hey, I'm a perfectionist about this stuff. Probably why I'm a bachelor.

The string combination I settled on is a masterful stroke of absolute brilliance - but then again, it was I who came up with the idea, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised (Or, should I use the royal "we" here?): Since the Glissentar uses a ball-end set of nylon strings, choices are limited, if I may be allowed a profound understatement. By a wild stroke of luck (Not really: I'm highly favoured by God, dontcha know), the strings Godin sells for the Glissentar are made by D'Addario, and D'Addario's are what I prefer anyway. For the bass (wound) strings, at least. Well, since the A's, D's, and G's are all doubled wound string courses, they are fine as they come from Godin (Though they are "OUCH!" expensive!!!). However, the low E is a single string, so it does not have enough bassiness - or "balls", as I like to say. So, I got a .47" Super High Tension D'Addario single string (The stock Glissentar strings are regular tension) which matches the tone of the other wound strings perfectly, but which initiates a much greater output down at the bottom of the frequency range. Since those strings have a spaced winding on one end to allow for bridge ties on a standard classical guitar, I was just able to knot them behind a donut ball and they work fine that way. Like I said: Perfectionist.

The two B and E treble courses were a different problem alltogether. Since the Glissentar was designed as a fretless instrument, those strings are pretty low tension to allow for a fretless "growl" during portamenti licks. This flabbiness resulted in a) a low output, and b) a tendency to buzz out during spirited playing. The tone was also dull compared to the wound strings. What I ended up doing was I got some Savarez Alliance High Tension carbon fiber synthetics, which are unholy bright, but they are not nearly as fat for the tension level as nylon strings are. Ends up that they match the tone of the wound strings and they don't break up nearly as early as the stock strings do at fff playing intensity.

Instead of telling you about all of this "fun with toys" stuff, I was supposed to be enjoying it myself!

I need something to take my mind off of this.



You don't feel so great either, huh? Just my luck today I guess.

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