My colleague, Mr. Wong, purchased a Peavey Predator EXP 1 recently. He decided to assign this guitar to a drop-D tuning (E-B-G-D-A-D high to low) so a thicker E string was incorporated to compensate the tension. He brought this guitar to the office for a second opinion in terms of set up which I gladly obliged (I need the practice, remember?). My concerns were:
- Bridge alignment: Often after such tinkering, locking dual action bridges would often be misaligned (not too severe, though) & this would affect tuning stability.
- Action: Having thicker strings on board would mean a change in neck tension (albeit detuning the instrument) which would affect the neck's straightness + string action + fret buzzing.
My approach to this procedure is to check for 3 main tell-tale signs:
- Look at the bridge
- Check the neck
- Check tuning
A quick neck check for straightness- capo the first fret, press down the strings at the final fret (in this case the 24th fret) & note the gap between the fret crown & the strings, at the neck's center portion. This Predator had been well taken care of in this aspect, the neck sports a straight profile. However, it means nothing in terms of preferred playability- some of us don't fancy a super straight neck pertaining to the action & how the notes choke out upon bending (radius considerations, my friends...).
After 3 tuning attempts, the higher E & B strings always ended up sharper than the rest of their counterparts so it told me once again rectify the spring tension. Yes, that's a pink KORG Pitch Clip in action.
To be continued...