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new Opiate FAQ


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#1 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:07 PM

Scale / Chord Tools
I see people asking about stuff like this, so I figured I'd finally add it to the Opiate FAQ. Most of these are links to online tools and a few are programs you can install on your computer.

http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/
http://www.all-guita...itar_scales.php
http://www.all-guita...s.com/index.php
http://www.scaletool.com/
http://www.subjectmusic.com/easychord/

Setting Up A Guitar (or bass).

Ok, so you have a new guitar or you feel that your old one needs some tweaking. This is a short blurb on how to do a setup on your own electric guitar. If you are unsure about anything here or don't feel confident messing with your guitar, take it to a professional. For those of you who want to be a little more adventurous and learn a bit more about the instrument this stuff is well worth knowing.

1.Truss Rod - this is the rod that runs down the centre of the neck and couteracts the tension of the strings to keep the neck more or less straight. There is a common misconception that the truss-rod is there to help you adjust string height. This is only partly true.

Look down the neck, from the headstock towards the body. All the frets should look parallel to one another. If they don't the neck may be twisted or the frets might be unevenly seated. In either case, you need to take your guitar to a pro. Now look down the edge of the neck. The neck should have an almost imperceptible curve AWAY from the strings. If there is a really noticeable dip, then your truss rod needs adjusting. Go find an appropriate sized allen key.

Adjusting the truss rod is easy, provided you are gentle and careful when you do it. Rule #1 - never adjust a truss-rod more than 1/4 turn at a time before retuning the strings and rechecking the curvature of the neck. Turning the truss-rod clockwise (looking down the neck towards the body) should tighten it, which will decrease the curvature of the neck. Turning it anti-clockwise will loosen the truss rod and allow the neck to become more curved (if the truss rod is too tight the neck with either be dead straight or bowed towards the strings - either way it's going to be giving you lots of fret buzz).

Never adjust the truss-rod more than 1/4 turn before retuning and checking.
If you adjust it more than a full turn in a sitting, you might want to leave the guitar a day or so before continuing to give it a chance to settle in.

2.Saddles: for strat-type bridges, each saddle will be individually height adjustable, for gibson-type bridges there will be one big screw either side of the bridge that lets you adjust the height of the whole thing at once.

Most people will want to have the strings as close to the fretboard as possible without buzzing against the frets. For the strat-type bridges, you might want to try to maintain a curvature to match the fretboard (ie middle strings higher than the outside ones).

EDIT: lower strings = easier playability, higher strings = better volume and sometimes better tone. Welcome to the art of compromising. Also, if you like playing slide on your guitar, you'll want to set the strings a bit more on the high side. Low strings are great for shredding.

3.Intonation: Check the twelfth fretted note against the open string using a tuner. If the twelfth fret note is sharp, you want to move the saddle further away from the neck. If the note is flat, the saddle needs to be moved towards the neck. Retune and check as you go. Take your time and be precise. Once you get the intonation sorted out properly, your guitar will be a pleasure to play. There is nothing more annoying than an instrument that gets more out of tune as you go higher up the neck.

Other Things Worth Doing:

Lubricating the Nut: not as obscene as it sounds. When you change strings, get a mechanical pencil (one of the ones that you 'click' for more lead to come out) and run it back and forth through all of the nut slots. The 'lead' is actually graphite, which is an excellent lubricant. This will stop your strings going out of tune when you play bends - which happens because when you bend, you pull a bit of extra string length past the nut, and then it gets caught on the nut and sticks there, making the string go flat when you let the bend go - conversely, sometimes at a later point, that bit of string goes -creak- and slips back through, making the string go sharp. If you lubricate the nut of your guitar, the string will be able to move back and forth freely and your guitar will stay in tune.

Also, if you have switched up a few gauges of string, maybe the nut slots aren't actually cut wide enough. Simple solution draw the string back and forth through th nut groove until it moves easily - using the string as a tiny file. This should shave off enough plastic/bone whatever (unless it's metal - then you probably need a new nut) to do the trick.

Strat Whammy bars: don't use it? Immoblise that stupid POS. They suck tone and make keeping your guitar in tune a nightmare. Take the big rectangular cover off the back of your guitar. See the springs? There is space for 5 springs there. Put 5 springs on (buy more at local guitar store if you need them - they are uber cheap), and then tighten the screws - that they are attached to via a little metal plate - as tight as you can physically get them. Preferably until the metal plate is pressing against the wood at the neck end of the cavity. Your bridge is now in firm and immovable contact with the body of the guitar. This will help sustain, tone and keeping in tune.

Floyd Rose Whammy Bars: if you have a Floyd that needs tweaking, take it to a pro. Floyds are a pain in the ass and unless you know what you are doing with them, you should leave them the hell alone.
(20 mins of ambience)
Jun 25 2007, 09:46 PM
ELECTRONICS.

Crackly socket: Your guitar makes nasty static noises when you wiggle your guitar lead? Undo the socket plate (usually held in place with four screws around it) and bend inward the long contact of the socket itself. This should make the guitar lead really click into place when you put it in the socket and hold it firmly. Test that the socket holds the tip of the guitar lead tightly before you put the socket plate back where it came from.

Crackly tone/volume control: remove the control plate from the guitar or rear access panel from the back. There's a little metal cylinder inside the guitar that has a shaft which is turned by the knob you use to adjust the volume or tone. This thing is called a potentiometer or "pot". Get some contact/switch cleaner (don't try substituting ANYTHING else here - it won't work and you might damage the component) and spray a small amount into any hole you can find on the metal cylinder part (there are usually a couple of places for this) and then turn the knob back and forth a few dozen times. This should clean the pot and fix the crackle issue. If it doesn't work, try again once or twice. If it's still not working, you might need to replace the pot.

BUZZZZZZZZ!

There are a few reasons why guitars make that horrible buzzing sound when you aren't playing. The first and probably most common is electrical interference. This can be especially bad with single coil pickups. Humbuckers can still be affected, but generally not as badly.

First thing to try is getting as far away as physically possible from things like flourescent lights and especially computer monitors. These things produce tons of interference.

Second, try plugging your amp into a different socket in your house. Pedals too. Try them on separate power outlets, try them on the same power outlet using a power board. Basically try them in a few different places and configurations. Sometimes the wiring in particular rooms is conducive to making your stuff buzz. There is also a phenomenon called a "ground loop" which is a common cause of pedals buzzing. I don't fully understand so I won't try to explain it. But if you try changing around where you have different stuff plugged in, you might be able to get rid of it. Also be aware that not all pedals play nicely when daisy chained. Start with no pedals and add them one at a time if you think you have this problem and it will help you to isolate it.

Third, have a look at where your cables are. Power cables, carrying AC power can interfere with your instrument's signal if they are close to your signal cable (anything between instrument and amp). Cables carrying DC power (like the 9v DC pedal power cables) are not an issue. It's the constant fluctuation of the AC power that produces interference through EMF (not going to explain EMF here, go do some research on it if you actually care). So... you should try to get your signal cables running somewhere where they won't coincide with mains power cables. It's not always possible to get the two away from one another, but you can minimise the effect by having the two types of cables crossing at right angles. If they are running parallel, the interference will be much worse.

Fourth, and most annoying although quite common. You have a grounding problem with your guitar. Take the cover off the control panel cavity on your guitar (sucks to be you if you own a strat - that has to be one of the silliest pieces of design ever imo). Most guitars will have a wire which is either un-insulated or black that is soldered to the back of one or more pots - not soldered to one of the contacts, I mean the actually body of the pot. This is the earth or ground wire. Follow it's path. It should connect to the pickups at some point, it will often also be connected to the bridge or trem plate (common in strats) and it should also be connected to the ground on your output jack*. If it's not connected to one of these places, either get out your soldering iron if you know how to use it, or take the guitar to someone who knows what they are doing. Connect these things up and you should get rid of the hum.

If you did this and you lost your guitar signal entirely or it just got real noisy - then you probably joined it to the signal wire somewhere. You haven't destroyed your guitar, don't panic. Just undo the connection you made and try again (or take it to someone who knows what they are doing).

Fifth - shielding. This one can be difficult, but is sometimes very worthwhile. It operates on the principal that if a wire is inside an electrically conductive container, it cannot recieve electrical interference. You can buy conductive paint to spray around all inside your control cavity (you ARE going to remove ALL of the components in there before you do this, right?) and on the back of the cover, or you can line the cavity and back the cover with some kind of adhesive metal foil. Shielding is probably something best left to the pros unless you are pretty handy and confident in your own ability. I've never seen conductive paint for sale anywhere, but I have read about it and I'm sure it exists. You can also buy special scratchplates which come with a conductive coating already on the back of them (or is it just backing for the scratchplate?.. I forget).


*Wiring the output jack - this is something that almost everyone has an issue with at some point. One or both wires can come away from the output jack if the jack moves/twists/turns inside it's mount. All you need to know about this is:

TIP - signal
SLEEVE - ground

Look at which part of the lead touches which contact on the output jack. The tip of the lead carries the signal and the sleeve (the bigger part) is the ground wire.

If you haven't used a soldering iron before, or you aren't very good at it. I strongly suggest that you get some practice before cutting loose on the innards of your treasured instrument. You probably won't damage anything with poor soldering technique (although you can fry a capacitor if you heat it up too much, so be careful of that) but good solder connections conduct electricity better and also last for much longer. There are a few good online tutorials that will teach you good soldering technique, which you should read if you are new to soldering or just looking for some good tips.

How to solder

How to solder 2

Finally, buy a cheap digital multimeter. It will save you hours of hassle and trying to figure out which connections work and which ones don't. It's also really handy for testing the voltage in batteries.
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#2 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:08 PM

scottie (20mins of ambience got to bed jessica)
wrote almost all of that except for the first part goes to cybrid
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#3 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:16 PM

Learn all about guitar effects
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#4 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:17 PM

Learn all about guitar amps
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#5 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:18 PM

Learn all about Bass amps
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#6 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:19 PM

Learn a lot about the guitars build and specs
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#7 hellecaster

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:28 PM

Cool pedal demos


A TON of pedal demos
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#8 hellecaster

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:51 PM

Learn about all types of drums
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#9 static

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:45 PM

i love you more
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#10 whalephanthouse

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:46 PM

i had to take it back when i saw they were wikipedia..


i'll post some good drum shell info sites later.
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#11 Dr. Octagon

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 10:04 AM

Recording With Your PC
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#12 hellecaster

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 09:04 PM

i had to take it back when i saw they were wikipedia..


i'll post some good drum shell info sites later.



hey man give me a break I don't have THAT much free time
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#13 descolada

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 06:12 AM

what a great setup faq that is ;)
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#14 whatever man

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:27 PM

Yarr! ^^^ That was me, but I decided to come here as myself instead of in disguise.

Nice to see opiate lives on :)
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#15 Anavidovic

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:28 PM

sup scott

good to see you here mang
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#16 hellecaster

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:28 PM

Hi Scott WElcome!
I gave you props on the faq btw

and this thread needs to be cleaned and locked
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#17 whatever man

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:31 PM

i'll get right on it

wait, i'm not a mod

lol

it's kind of relief to be honest
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#18 hellecaster

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:33 PM

we had a mod for a day here i think
I don't know who he is though
seemed ok
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#19 Tío Broomy

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 12:40 PM

ngh, it was me


i actually was doing work and taking stuff seriously


then everybody got de-modified




irony was the main reason i wanted to be mod of this
version of opiate

cuz everybody hated me on the c0ma one
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#20 whatever man

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 06:04 PM

cool thing to do with bolt-on neck guitars

1. undo all of the screws at the neck plate about half a turn (it's not necessary or beneficial to undo them any further)
2. apply pressure to top of headstock, pushing the neck into the body
3. you may hear a creak/crack noise and feel a slight shift of the neck
4. retighten screws, retune, check intonation

this just uses the string tension to help pull the neck more firmly into the neck pocket. the tighter the neck is sitting in the pocket, the greater the transfer of vibration from the neck to the body will be. this means fuller tone and in some cases a bit more sustain. unless your guitar is in really bad shape, this won't make a huge difference. if it has been well setup, this will make no difference at all.

it's easy to do and worth a shot though imo. make sure you play your guitar acoustically for a bit before and immediately after so you can listen for the difference.

i already posted this in the guitar thread, but stuff gets lost in there and also i was sick of seeing broomy's post from august as the last one in this thread.
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