Help with first semi-hollow parts and upgrade

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Oldguitarguy, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    This is my first semi hollow recently picked up. It’s an Oscar Schmidt Delta King. Needs some TLC. Can the semi hollow experts help with some set-up and upgrade advice?

    1) suggested string type? Electric or acoustic? Type? size?
    2) suggest pickup upgrade type from Guitar Madness or GFS or other?
    3) pots & switch?
    4) TUSQ nut?
    5) any special set up for semi-hollows?

    I know a lot of the response is personal preference but I wanted to start with your expert suggestions for a typical semi-hollow.

    It also has a lot of relief and high action. Hoping that the truss rod is in good shape and not frozen. Should I hit it with some WD40 or other lubricant before trying to adjust?

    Would appreciate any general thoughts too.

    Thanks

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  2. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-holic

    In terms of setup, just set it up as you would anything else with a TOM. I wouldn't preemptively assume there's a truss rod issue. Get a wrench on it and do what you need to do. If it fights you, go from there.

    Being naturally a bit "woodier" in tone, I wouldn't go with pickups that are too hot or "hifi" but otherwise you can go in just about any tonal direction you want from PAF to Gretsch-y or anything else. The wiring side of things is obviously a PITA because you need to work through the holes and F-holes. If you are removing the output jack, tie a piece of string to it first so you can use the string to guide it back into place when you go to reinstall.
     
  3. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    You'll need to use strings made for electric guitars, since you have magnetic pickups. Size and type should be what you like to play.

    You should put some hours on the pickups you have before changing them, to find out how you like their sounds. Even if you decide to go with different ones, you need to have a clear idea of what you like and what you don't like about these.

    I wouldn't spray any oil/solvent stuff in the truss rod area. See if the nut moves freely before you try to fix anything. If it needs lubrication, the best way is to take the nut off and put a little grease on the threads.

    That's a good looking guitar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  4. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    Thanks Jim. Will do. So there is no real risk to loosening the nut all the way? I haven’t done that before but it would be great to get some grease in there. Should I do this on all older guitars on receipt for maintenance? I think it would be great to avoid a frozen nut later if there is no real downside.
     
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  5. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    I like the string trick. Thanks. What are Gretsh style pickups - toastbuckers?
     
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  6. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    As @SoundDesign and I suggested above, there's no reason to fix anything if it's not broken. If the truss rod nut adjusts smoothly without needing excessive force, I would not mess with it.
     
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  7. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    North Pole
    No you don't loosen the truss rod nut all the way.....unless it has a problem, and 99.9% of the time it won't.....

    You string the guitar up.....tune it to pitch, stretch the strings until the notes don't drop anymore....

    THEN you check relief

    You put a capo behind the first fret, and then you push down with your right hand finger at the last fret. Between frets 7-10 there should be just enough gap between the low E and the top of each of those 7-10 frets to fit a thin business card in there.....should JUST go....

    too much of a gap - slightly tighten the rod

    too little or no gap - slightly loosen the rod

    Then re-tune and check...

    That's the first step.....

    THEN you move onto action height by adjusting the bridge legs.....
     
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  8. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-holic

    When I think Gretsch I think Filtertron and you can get a humbucker-sized version of those (and just about anything else) from many vendors. Gold foil, P90 - you name it. As @Triple Jim said though, you need to know what you're after before you go get it. If you don't know what you want, play what you got.

    I understand the temptation to do a clean sweep with a newly acquired guitar (especially one that has maybe been neglected a bit) but there are benefits to resisting that urge. Clean it up, set it up and play it for awhile. See what you have. If there is something wrong with it, fix it. If you can't get the sounds out of it you're after, then think about what steps (within reason) you can take to get where you want to go.
     
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  9. Wizzer

    Wizzer Squier-holic

    Age:
    47
    Jul 12, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I'd go with the Liverpool humbucker-size Filtertrons from GFS, personally.
     
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  10. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    90
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    I had these in a jazz box..They worked just fine for me..
     
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  11. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    @Wizzer and @Papa Joe, would the Guitar Madness Toasterbuckers be similar? Has anyone tried them? Alnico 2 or 5? I have other types of guitars, but want the sound in the semi-hollow to be classic for that model. Would the GFS Liverpool’s fit in a humbucker spot without modification?
     
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  12. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    90
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    Sorry can't answer that..Only tried the GFS ones..The Liverpools fit the JT Jazz box just fine..
     
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  13. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Dr. Squier

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    I use the same strings, nuts, and pots on my semi- and full hollow bodies as I do on my solid bodies. Pickups depend on what sound you want and how much you want to spend.

    I concur with @SoundDesign on the wiring being a PITA. There are a couple of videos by Will Kelly on wiring a semi-hollow.
     
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  14. Jay Jackson

    Jay Jackson Squier-Nut

    Age:
    66
    778
    Sep 1, 2018
    sanluisobispo CA (3401
    As far as Strings use electric strings and gage start with the same as you normaly use and for type steel will sound brighter than nickel. For pickup I use a under wound alnico 2 from GM match set 53, using a underwound will help with unwanted distortion and feed back, that's just my preference underwound. If the pots and switch work good then don't change them, it is a real Pain to change them out. If the nut on the truss rod is hard to move you can heat the nut buy using a soldering iron that will expand it some which might make it turn easy'r . after you have the action low you can do a fall away on the last frets from 13 down to the 20th doing this will help to get the action lower and eliminate Buzz at that end of the neck. Oh I also take the pickguard off to open up the f hole and then use a color crayon to fill in the holes left from the pickguard.
     
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  15. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    what’s a “fall away”? Thanks
     
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  16. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    90
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    Fall away refers to the upper frets being lower than rest..It's best done on the fret board before installing frets..
     
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  17. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    Fall away= Above my tech skill level. Lol.
     
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  18. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    635
    Mar 2, 2019
    Nj
    Cleaned up the Oscar Schmidt Delta King OE30 (Made in Indonesia) tonight and gave it some TLC. Really cleaned up nicely. Grover tuners, Washburn W421 and W423 pups. Turns out the extra relief was caused mostly but 62-13 strings!. Lol. Plan on replacing with 52-11 acoustic- electrics as soon as I can get to GC. Can’t wait to try it out with new strings. Interested to hear the pups, but likely to replace with Filtertrons. I like what I read about them, trust the ST experts and they fit my goal - and they really look great too. Thanks for the help.
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  19. Jay Jackson

    Jay Jackson Squier-Nut

    Age:
    66
    778
    Sep 1, 2018
    sanluisobispo CA (3401
    A Fall away/Step down of the frets is when the fret just after the one before it is made a little lower giving the string more clearance above the fret. It can be done using a leveling beam or a Radius leveling block or with a crowning tool. You just go over the fret two more times than the previous fret, lower it about .35 mm then the one previous.
     
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  20. brodg68

    brodg68 Squier-Meister

    Age:
    52
    134
    Jun 11, 2017
    NC
    There is a ton of good advice in this and part two of the video when working a hollowbody:
    1- use plastic tubing from the hardware store - check
    2 - painters tape around the f-holes - check
    3 - lay that bad boy out on cardboard before you put it in the guitar the first time - check
    4 - if you're doing coil splitting I really advise #3
     
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