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Thread: Question: Trouble Bending Strings on Cutlass

  1. #1

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    Question: Trouble Bending Strings on Cutlass

    Hello Ball Friends,

    I recently got a Cutlass RS with the roasted maple fretboard and this is the first guitar I’ve ever owned with a maple FB. I’m not sure if it’s the maple FB or maybe the setup (string height) but I’m really struggling to bend strings when playing. Here is what I’m finding when trying to bend two or more octaves higher:

    A). I get a lot of sound from my finger rubbing against the FB It’s like a dry running sound and to that end the movement of my finger against the FB isn’t very smooth. I feel like my finger tips skip a bit almost like I’m pressing down way too hard on the FB. If I try to not press down as hard it seems to be a tad better. Is that usual with maple FBs? Is there an oil people use to prevent this?

    B). I am really smacking against adjacent strings when I bend. On my other silhouettes and other guitars, when I do a bend upward my finger kind of goes under the strings above. Hopefully that’s makes sense. On the cutlass, my fingers end up kind of bending the strings above and this making lots of noise both on the way up and the way down. I’m wondering if perhaps my strings are too low?
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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by mb99zz View Post
    Hello Ball Friends,

    I recently got a Cutlass RS with the roasted maple fretboard and this is the first guitar I’ve ever owned with a maple FB. I’m not sure if it’s the maple FB or maybe the setup (string height) but I’m really struggling to bend strings when playing. Here is what I’m finding when trying to bend two or more octaves higher:

    A). I get a lot of sound from my finger rubbing against the FB It’s like a dry running sound and to that end the movement of my finger against the FB isn’t very smooth. I feel like my finger tips skip a bit almost like I’m pressing down way too hard on the FB. If I try to not press down as hard it seems to be a tad better. Is that usual with maple FBs? Is there an oil people use to prevent this?

    B). I am really smacking against adjacent strings when I bend. On my other silhouettes and other guitars, when I do a bend upward my finger kind of goes under the strings above. Hopefully that’s makes sense. On the cutlass, my fingers end up kind of bending the strings above and this making lots of noise both on the way up and the way down. I’m wondering if perhaps my strings are too low?
    Re: part A - another guy here called Bill had that on a BFR

    I don’t think it’s common - I have two cutlass with maple and I don’t get it. It may be that if you give it a cost of gunstock oil and wax it will stop.
    Also, can you feel any raised grain on the fingerboard? If so, you would want to sand with high grit, then probably oil and wax. This is just me thinking aloud tho - YMMV. See what others chime on with.

    B) sounds like your action is too low perhaps. Or you need need some truss rod adjustment?
    I have a low action on mine so on any of my guitars I never go under the adjacent string when I bend. If I’m bending as you are I expect the adjacent strings to bend too, but as I’m not fretting then or plucking them it sounds fine. But that’s what I’m used to - you are used to something else
    Might be worth getting a full setup done
    Last edited by TripHazard; 01-12-2021 at 03:58 AM.
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  3. #3

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    In regard to item B, it's a matter of preference. Some players prefer high action and like to go under adjacent strings when they bend, others prefer low action and push into adjacent strings when bending.
    If you have a particular set up preference, you might have to make some adjustments or have a tech make adjustments on a new guitar.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by TripHazard View Post
    Re: part A - another guy here called Bill had that on a BFR

    I don’t think it’s common - I have two cutlass with maple and I don’t get it. It may be that if you give it a cost of gunstock oil and wax it will stop.
    Also, can you feel any raised grain on the fingerboard? If so, you would want to sand with high grit, then probably oil and wax. This is just me thinking aloud tho - YMMV. See what others chime on with.

    B) sounds like your action is too low perhaps. Or you need need some truss rod adjustment?
    I have a low action on mine so on any of my guitars I never go under the adjacent string when I bend. If I’m bending as you are I expect the adjacent strings to bend too, but as I’m not fretting then or plucking them it sounds fine. But that’s what I’m used to - you are used to something else
    Might be worth getting a full setup done
    It’s Bill here re question A ��. I had a very similar issue and tried all sorts of things. I solved it completely in the end by applying a tiny bit of talcum powder to my finger tips. The talc must rub off on the FB and it’s been months since I had an issue. Sometimes the simplest of things does the trick!

  5. #5

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    I'd wager that it's caused by the string height - not due to the fact that it's maple ?
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  6. #6

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    My 2 cents is this: On all my guitars with a trem, I ALWAYS use one less spring than comes from the factory. I play 9's and my tension on all my guitars is super springy with low action. I am constantly bending, so it has to feel good to me. To make up for removing a spring, I tighten the claw and will often have the two outer springs stretched inward, like this.

    Question: Trouble Bending Strings on Cutlass-img_5572-jpg


    Give it a shot and see if it plays more like you like.



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