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Wraparound vs TOM String Tension

Mr. Cosmo

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Hello, fellow maniacs!

I have two Les Paul reissues I love dearly:

1. 1968 Les Paul Custom Authentic (ca. 2002)
2. 1960 Les Paul Special (ca. 2007)

Both are setup with the same strings, tuned to standard.

The string tension is vastly different between the two, despite similar action. The Custom is slinky and very reactive. The Special is stiff in comparison.

My question: What is driving this difference? I know the headstock angle is steeper on the 1960. However, the stop bar on the 1968 is not even with the TOM, so in theory shouldn't that equal more tension? The '68 has higher frets and an ebony board, but should those things shouldn't make the strings easier to bend?

TLDR: How can I make the Special slinkier?

Any help would be awesome.

Thanks!
 
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Wilko

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can't really get it slinkier. Small adjustments like adding relief can make it feel a tiny bit softer.

That tiny bit behind the TOM adds some slink and raising the tail on the TOM setup can make it feel softer. but that special is just gonna be like that. Specially if the neck is stiffer.
 

Mr. Cosmo

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Thanks, Wilko! I am going to keep experimenting with neck relief.

Where I'm confused:

I always thought the point of over-wrapping a TOM was to achieve wraparound feel/slinkiness. In theory, should not the wraparound be inherently slinkier than the TOM? Wouldn't the custom be even slinkier if I set the stop bar even with the TOM and over-wrapped?

The special does have traditional butter bean tuners (Grovers on the custom,) which give it a steeper break angle behind the nut.

Anyways, these are the things that keep me up at night! 😎

Thanks again for your help.
 

gmann

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The Special is a bridge/tailpiece all in one, while the ‘68 has a tailpiece and an ABR-1. Even tho the ‘68 is also top wrapped and they look similar, they are not the same thing. If you were to string the ‘68 conventionally you would experience a before and after feel. Raising the tailpiece on the ‘68 equal to the ABR would likely cause the strings to pop out of the saddle slots. These are different type guitars and you really can’t make them what they aren’t but rather just enjoy them for what they are. Sounds like you have two great guitars!
 

Mr. Cosmo

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Thanks, gmann!

They are great and I am quite grateful.

In re: enjoyment - I've been practicing a lot lately, and I find the custom so much easier to play. So, I'm gonna keep tweaking the special to try and get a wee bit closer if possible.

I will say that for all extra work, that special really barks!

I really appreciate your feedback, this forum is amazing.
 

Wilko

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Thanks, Wilko! I am going to keep experimenting with neck relief.

Where I'm confused:

I always thought the point of over-wrapping a TOM was to achieve wraparound feel/slinkiness. In theory, should not the wraparound be inherently slinkier than the TOM? Wouldn't the custom be even slinkier if I set the stop bar even with the TOM and over-wrapped?

The special does have traditional butter bean tuners (Grovers on the custom,) which give it a steeper break angle behind the nut.

Anyways, these are the things that keep me up at night! 😎

Thanks again for your help.

I read your post as your special had a wraparound tailpiece. Original specials were wrap tails.

You different feel is due most likely to wood stiffness if they both have TOMs. If wraptail on the special, my original answer is the same. That stiffness is why the special "barks". that feeling is directly the reason it has a sharp attack and clear dynamics.

Yes, top wrapping a TOM tail can help get a "slinkier" feel. it is pretty subtle.
 

garywright

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I can tell you first hand that there is more tension using a wrap tail bridge vs. a bridge to vibrato ( or stop tail ) i tried it with the G string alone on my ‘65 sg junior and could definitely feel the difference ( tried to share a pic but couldn’t )
 

charliechitlins

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Smoke, mirrors and mojo.
Some guitars are stiffer than others and I don't think anybody has broken the code yet.
I can say for sure, though...
The less wood your fretting fingers feel, the slinkier the guitar feels.
Fret height can make a big difference, and big differences in fret height still only amount to a few thousandths of an inch.
 

Wilko

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Smoke, mirrors and mojo.
Some guitars are stiffer than others and I don't think anybody has broken the code yet.
really? many people know what's up, while others just dismiss them as being full of it. stiffer wood makes a stiffer guitar. All else being relative... a thicker neck is more likely to be stiffer, etc. More solid/heavier wood is more likely to feel stiff. Maple neck is going to feel stiffer. tons of good info and experience out there. It's not magic.
 
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charliechitlins

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really? many people know what's up, while others just dismiss them as being full of it. stiffer wood makes a stiffer guitar. All else being rlative... a thiscker neck is more likely to be stiffer, etc. More solid/heavier wood is more likely to feel stiff. Maple neck is going to feel stiffer. tons of good info and experience out there. It's not magic.
This makes sense.
It's just not true.
If it were, every guitar with a chunky neck would feel stiffer than a similar guitar with a thin neck.
 

garywright

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a guitar such as my ‘65 sg junior which enables you to either wrap around the lightening bar or run the strings conventionally on top of the bar and back directly to the vibrato comb is the perfect guitar to confirm that it makes a difference in feel and tension …btw, can we no longer upload pix here directly from your computer library any longer ?
 
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Wilko

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This makes sense.
It's just not true.
If it were, every guitar with a chunky neck would feel stiffer than a similar guitar with a thin neck.
no I didn't say "every". I said "a thicker neck is more likely to be stiffer". That is still true.
 

Mr. Cosmo

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I read your post as your special had a wraparound tailpiece. Original specials were wrap tails.

You different feel is due most likely to wood stiffness if they both have TOMs. If wraptail on the special, my original answer is the same. That stiffness is why the special "barks". that feeling is directly the reason it has a sharp attack and clear dynamics.

Yes, top wrapping a TOM tail can help get a "slinkier" feel. it is pretty subtle.
It is a wraparound on the special.

More fun:

The necks on both guitars are basically identical in thickness. The custom has the ebony board (stiffer) BUT much higher frets and a shallower headstock angle.

It's a bit of a conundrum - I of course wouldn't expect two "identical" guitars to play the same. Nonetheless, it can't just be that headstock angle on the custom that gives more slink. I tuned the special down to Eb just for yuks - still much stiffer!

I am majorly gassing for either an R6 or 68 custom GT w p90s. The big structural diff is the headstock angle. I may never get the chance to compare them side by side. My experience with this custom is that I may actually prefer 60s LPs to 50s!
 

charliechitlins

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The necks on both guitars are basically identical in thickness. The custom has the ebony board (stiffer) BUT much higher frets...
I think that's your answer.
This is why we like big frets.
The fastest, slinkiest guitar I own is a Korean Guild Aristocrat with narrow TALL frets.
Minimal string contact on the fret, minimal finger contact on the wood.
Feels like a sitar!
 

Mark Kane

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Just throwing this out. A good fret buffing and polishing has done wonders for me before on my guitars. Years ago I had a guitar fretted by Holger Notzel. When I got it back the frets were so slick I jumped the strings from .010’s to .011’s
and never looked back. I’ve polished the frets on all my guitars to that level ever since then and it really makes a difference.
 

charliechitlins

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Just throwing this out. A good fret buffing and polishing has done wonders for me before on my guitars. Years ago I had a guitar fretted by Holger Notzel. When I got it back the frets were so slick I jumped the strings from .010’s to .011’s
and never looked back. I’ve polished the frets on all my guitars to that level ever since then and it really makes a difference.
I love the feel of mirror-buffed frets, and when I do fret work for a client, I mirror buff, unless otherwise requested (which has never happened).
OTOH, a lot of sustain can be achieved by using vibrato, and a slightly rough fret acts like a violin bow, and keeps the note singing.
This is why I've also gone from chromed steel and glass slides to brass.
 

Wallaby

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Making sure the nut slots are as low as possible will help reduce stiff feel, along with reducing relief, and setting the action low.

Just my 2 cents.
 

LP59Burst

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The reason I overwrap is that it allows me to have the studs all the way screwed in flush with the body for more metal to wood contact while still maintaining a reasonable tailpiece to TOM bridge string angle.

The issue with doing that without overwrapping is the string angle from the tailpiece over the TOM bridge is very steep putting lots off downward pressure on the TOM bridge. Also, the angle of the strings coming out of the tailpiece can cause some of the strings to hit the top of the front side string hole when exiting the tailpiece which can be an issue as well.
 
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