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Setup Question - Les Paul


ridger

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The Gibson website says the bass string should be set at 5/64 on 12th fret and treble string at 3/64 on 12th fret. I can get the bass string set to specs with no buzz, but the treble set to specs is virtually unplayable. I can get a clear note on the treble string on the upper 5 frets, but below that it buzzes. I have to set the treble string to about 5/64 before it becomes playable, but at that setting the action is higher than I like. So give me some advice....truss rod adjustment...fret honing....take it to a professional? Have any of you had this problem? Thanks.
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When you say, "the upper 5 frets", are you referring to the first five (up by the nut), or the last five, frets 18 through 22, near the neck-pickup?

 

In any case, if this guitar is under warranty, take it in to be checked out, and describe your troubles and concerns in detail. If it hasn't been that long since you bought it (new or used), most shops (any good ones, anyways) will help you with some initial set-up work for free.

 

If none of the above applies, start by checking the neck relief:

 

Get some feeler-gauges, and a capo, to do this right; and a combination truss-rod wrench and phillips-head screwdriver that'll fit a Gibson.

 

If you have a capo, put it at the 1st-fret; if not, you'll later use your fretting-hand's 1st-finger do hold down the 6th- and then the 1st-string;

 

Hold the guitar in playing position, and with your picking-hand's index-finger, fret the 6th-string between the 16th- and 17th-frets, down where the neck meets the body;

 

Now, with your fretting-hand, fret the 6th-string at the 7th or 8th fret, and visually observe the amount of space between the string and the top of that fret as you do so. (You are using the string as a straight-edge ruler to reference the neck against.) Measure the distance from the bottom of the string to the top of that fret, by trying different feeler-gauges between the string and fret. That's how much relief- bow, or lack thereof- your neck has against the pulling tension of the strings.

 

Repeat the procedure for the 1st-string now. They should have the same measurements; if not, a twist may be indicated, or it may be uneven frets due to various causes.

 

If the relief is pretty much the same, and the frets are leveled correctly, it's a matter of dialing in the amount of relief via the truss-rod adjustment nut, under the access-plate on the face of the headstock.

 

(Loosen the top screw, then remove the bottom screw, putting it somewhere safe; carefully turn the cover away just enough to get in there with the truss-rod wrench, being sure not to push it against the tuner hardware; then gently tighten the top screw to hold it in place. When returning the access-plate to its normal position, be careful not to overtighten the screws to avoid cracking the cover-plate.)

 

Adjust the truss-rod in 1/8- to 1/4-turns at a time, and let the neck have a little time to settle into place. (Some guitars may even take a few days to completely settle in.)

 

Tighten the truss-rod to straighten the neck, and loosen the truss-rod to add more relief. A good starting point is to set it up for about .010" relief; some folks like an arrow-straight neck- with no relief whatsoever- and some like as much as .014" of relief, with a high action to boot!

 

The amount of relief will affect the overall action and feel, and the intonation will be affected by both. All three are quite interactive, and a bit of trial-and-error going back-and-forth may be in order.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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No sweat!

 

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/icons/icon3.gif Also be sure that the pickups, especially the neck-position one, and their polepiece screws aren't too close, and touching the string when it's fretted and brought closer to them.

 

And post back and let us know how things work out for you!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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This is a note not just for this situation but a generality.

There may be physical problems with a guitar if it buzzes/frets-out, etc., but there's not a single standard set up for everyone's action or fore any type of guitar.

Many factors---but most especially playing style----can affect what's right for any guitar/player.

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Two of my guitars have jumbo frets...the Schecter and the Ibanez. Everyone who sees it says the action is too high, then they play it and sound all crappy because they push too hard (keeps people from wanting to play my guitars).

 

With the jumbos, your fingers never touch the fretboard unless you are getting a bend or vibe.

 

See how it feels if you loosen up a bit and keep the strings off the rosewood.

...it's Mr Stabby, da da da da da daaaah, da da da da da da daaaah...
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