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Thread: Setting up a Fender FM60e

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    Default Setting up a Fender FM60e

    I'm in the middle od setting up a Fender FM60E 5 string electric. What is the optimal string height for the low C string at the first fret? I'd like to get it as low as possible but don't want to screw up the nut. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Ken

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting up a Fender FM60e

    I wouldn't obsess over the numbers at the first fret - just set it so it's "right", see: http://frets.com/FretsPages/Musician...nutaction.html

    You will need a reasonable height at fret 12 for that string though - it'll be a big floppy string and it'll need some room to move.

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    Default Re: Setting up a Fender FM60e

    Thanks for your reply, Tavy. No matter what you do with that pesky C string leaves it a bit unruly it seems. I set it at .016 and left it there rather than mess around and end up with a buzzing open C. A light touch and it's fine, but a heavy hand causes it to go a bit sharp. Since no one other than you replied, I'm guessing there is no optimal height like the other four strings. Thanks again for replying. Ken

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting up a Fender FM60e

    I didn't answer because I don't have measurements to offer. I will say .016 at the first fret seems quite high. I think I'm more in the single digits, a few thousandths.

    For 5-string I like the C quite heavy, .056. Not all strings so good this short at that gauge--when experimenting with singles from a local shop, back when, I found a D'Aquisto sounded terrible--the core was too thick.

    Very good results from a heavy .056 stainless-steel-wound Ernie Ball on my 14" scale Ryder.

    As to height at the nut, my technique is eyeballing the deflection, as I fret, comparing the nut-1st fret with the 1st-2nd fret deflection. Assuming the fretted note behaves fine, the deflection when going from unfretted to fretted should be close to that. I leave it a smidge higher.

    I guess if one is used to high-tension double-course acoustic mandolin, the C will be unsatisfying. I find it behaves like the E on electric guitar when using typical light strings (.010-.046)--you can't just bang away, without distortion to cover it up. Instead, you treat it with respect and draw the tone out. The same should apply to electric mandolin.

    I use what most would consider light-top, heavy-bottom gauges for the 5-string. .010, .014, .024, .040, .056, with the wound strings in stainless steel. Since gauge should increase by about a factor of 1.5 going down a 5th, a .040 needs a .056 to approximately match tension. My gauge set is roughly in this ratio between strings, going a bit heavy for D and A.

    The heavy bottom means the pickups need an E-biased tilt to be evenly voiced across the strings.
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