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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    88 Custom String Tension

    Merry Christmas..I've been playing a few of my guitars today and pulled out my first Paul I ever bought 88 Custom. Semi retired it even after having it re-fretted and Pleked. Had all members of The Last in Line sign it. Anyway guitar is top wrapped and it has the tightest tension of any Gibson I own ..The high E is a mutha to bend....WHY?? Head stock angle?

  2. #2

    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    String gauge? action? The headstock angle is not the issue. Mine's an 87 with an 008 top E set up to just-not-buzzing action and it's super loose, easy to bend and just as slinky as my other guitars. The only issue with running super light gauges is that while physically easy to bend, they have to be pushed further for the same tone shift. Maybe you are comparing guitars with different string gauges?

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member Triplet's Avatar
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    I had a similar problem with a '07 Custom. Bone nut cured it.
    .
    'then she made me play games I didn't wanna play...'
    .
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    Fer fux sake! Duane's left and Dickey's right!
    .

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    Thanks for the reply...no same gauge DR's Tight fit 9-46... Sometimes Dean Markley Blue Steel ...had the guitar re-fretted new bone nut and pleked a few years back. Still high E tighter then hell....even with top wrapped. Tail back to normal now. Took tuneamatic off and put ABR. All tail pieces down all the way or real close to body on all my Pauls. A bud of mine had a 58 Reissue that was the same way

  5. #5
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    your top strings are swapped. Your "B"string is in the "E" spot.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    Ditch the top wrap.

    String your tailpiece normally.

    Raise your tailpiece studs so that 3 threads are showing above the bushing.

    That e will bend like butter

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    I did go back to normal tailpiece and put DR's on it...had Ernie Ball Slinkys....better but not butter

  8. #8

    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    When I retire and have way too much time I'm going to try and disprove some of the popular and contentious beliefs about electric guitars with science. I have an odd bunch including three conventional Gibsons, one (ES-335) strung 010 - 046, one 009 - 046 and one (LP) 008 - 038, all non top-wrapped; the Les Paul and one other have TP-6 tailpieces. I also have a little Hohner G3T headless with double ball-end strings, also light but I can't remember the gauges but the top E is an 010; the tail end balls are directly behind the saddles. The MusicMan Majesty has a floating trem and the strings take a sharp and short path at the trem end. It's also got 008 - 038 strings.

    My subjective assessment is that the LP and the Majesty are pretty much identical in terms of slinkiness despite a 1" longer scale length on the Majesty; frankly 008s are so soft and the action on both is so low that this is no surprise. The G3T has no "spare" string length; the whole string length is pretty much directly from nut to saddle so slinkiness doesn't have any added component due to extra string. It's top E is about the same in terms of slinkiness to the ES-335. I've also played (but don't own) a bunch of guitars with string lock nuts and various gauges of strings. I just don't experience the change in slinkiness due to extra string lengths after the nut or after the saddle that others claim to feel.

    This specific problem is a mystery. Swapped E and B strings makes a lot of sense.
    Last edited by rick c; 02-13-18 at 08:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    No I get the swapped string ....but it's always been that way, and I'm the original owner. I'll try raising the tailpiece . Maybe it has something to do with neck set angle or top carve. It is what it is I guess.

  10. #10
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    I'm not buying it. This isn't rocket science.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    No it's not...but I will say another character about this Paul compared to the other 8 .....the 88 stays in tune no matter what...How long it stays in case....outside to inside... doesn't matter.....so maybe....just maybe the stiffness of the neck and head stock attribute to the tension. Thanks for the reply's

  12. #12

    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    It's relatively simple science with a few extra components; at it's simplest (like my Hohner G3T) the tension of the string is simply a function of scale length, string gauge and tuning. Some may wish to add string metallurgy, coatings, age and deterioration to this simple model; temperature too if you want to get really picky. I will accept that an extra long section of string after the nut due to a long head stock, eg. top E on a Strat or at the other end, after the bridge saddle with a trapeze tail piece for example, should in theory give the string extra slinkiness, acknowledging that the string could move length-wise across the bridge and or nut when being pulled. We have got into this discussion/argument before regarding top wrapping or not, lifting tail pieces or not on slinkiness. I've tried all combinations with the same string gauge and have never experienced a difference; I prefer not top wrapping as the extra break angle at the bridge saddle helps to keep really light 008s in the notch of the saddle (this is not a tension effect) and I have a gold plated tailpiece.

    I can't see how anything else can have an impact on a string's flexibility. I'd get out a caliper and measure the string gauge; a thicker than expected string is the only thing that makes sense to me.

    I should comment that my 87 Les Paul Custom also stays in tune very well. This makes me wonder if the problem others have is more to do with string gauges; as stated earlier I use really light gauges 008 - 038 so it's less likely that there is any binding in the nut slots to result in catch-and-release of tension across the nut while playing.

  13. #13

    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    My '89 is similar, maybe 'cause it's so heavy i have no strength in reserve after i lift it out of the case.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by wait rose View Post
    My '89 is similar, maybe 'cause it's so heavy i have no strength in reserve after i lift it out of the case.
    That's funny....and I thought mine was heavier like 10-11lbs...but was surprised to find out it's a lot lighter....weird.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    If you have been playing something else with taller frets, a Custom (with lower frets) can indeed feel like hard work. Does it need a refret?
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 88 Custom String Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by latestarter View Post
    If you have been playing something else with taller frets, a Custom (with lower frets) can indeed feel like hard work. Does it need a refret?
    Thanks for the reply....actually it has been re fretted with medium jumbos....should of went stainless because I just had a 58 Reissue done with stainless and love it. It was a lot more work with the worn down frets

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