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PuerAeternus

ES-335 with unstable, Rubber Neck

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Hi, I bought a Gibson ES-335 Sunburst Dot in 2011, the model that sold for around $2800 back then. From the very start the guitar neck had way too much relief, making the action high and higher notes fretting out. The guitar somehow also arrived without a retaining wire on the bridge so when I first tried to set the intonation, the saddles started lifting out! I probably should have returned the guitar right then, but I bought a new retaining wire.

 

I had a tech do a a complete set up, he straightened the neck and the guitar was generally a lot better in terms of playability. Over time for some reason, relief crept back into the neck, prompting further truss rod adjustments. I thought it would eventually stabilize, but it hasn't. Every time I would get the neck dead straight (some minimal buzzing in the lower frets that can't really be heard when played thru an amp, very low action with easy bends and no high notes fretting out, microscopic tiny gap at the 7th fret when using the Low E string pressed down as a straightedge), after a short period of weeks the neck would un-straighten itself out. I wasn't touching the bridge at all, so I knew it had to be the neck.

 

Now the threads are completely protruding out, the easily malleable nut has also been worn down and the truss rod has been maxed out, and yet the neck still has too much relief, which makes it harder to play than my other guitars (Schecter C-1, FEnder deluxe Tele, Rickenbacker 330)... and I never really want to play it even though it sounds just as good if not better than all those guitars.

 

 

http://instagram.com/p/aE8tSxsIn2/

 

I thought this was a very uncommon problem but then I found this website

http://fingerlakesguitarrepair.com/a-disappearing-truss-rod/

 

which describes the same exact same problem, and

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=o5lRbEFPJZIC&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=rubber+neck+stiff+neck+guitar&source=bl&ots=QSZHeX_bGe&sig=kNoGUFh5MPVCyxGJwTmIKjI0bZo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9SGxUfq1GdLC4AP4-YCwCg&ved=0CEcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=rubber%20neck%20stiff%20neck%20guitar&f=false

 

(the bottom of page 2 describes it really well)

 

 

I find this a real let down since the guitar sounds so good(I also know the playability has the potential to be really good only if the neck were stable) but this problem (rubber neck) has never occurred on any of my other guitars.

 

 

My tech recommended contacting Gibson when I asked him about this..I tried http://www2.gibson.com/Gibson/Talk-2-Us.aspx

but ran out of characters, so I decided to make a longer more detailed post here.

 

 

Now I know Gibson's warranty is pretty limited, and I have modded the guitar with an uncovered SD-59 in the neck and removal of the pickguard.......

I don't see what they could do short of sending me a new replacement, which i heavily doubt Gibson will do.

This was my first Gibson....

Did I basically just get really unlucky and end up with a $2800 loss?

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There shouldn't be a problem with warranty service. Gibson is good about those kinds of things. Just swap the stock parts back in before you send it back. The warranty on the neck is not voided by working on the pickguard or replacing pickups.

 

Call or email Gibson CS with good photos of the problem. [thumbup]

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There shouldn't be a problem with warranty service. Gibson is good about those kinds of things. Just swap the stock parts back in before you send it back. The warranty on the neck is not voided by working on the pickguard or replacing pickups.

Call or email Gibson CS with good photos of the problem. [thumbup]

 

Right on the money, BBP.

Good photos will help expedite things.

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Gibson Custom guitars come with a lifetime warranty for the original retail purchaser.

 

Point #1 on the warranty states it does not cover "any instrument that has been altered or modified in any way", which makes it sound like even changing strings voids the warranty. [biggrin]

 

As long as you don't try to replace the truss rod yourself or do something invasive like that, I think Gibson will at least take a look at it.

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Gibson Custom guitars come with a lifetime warranty for the original retail purchaser.

 

Point #1 on the warranty states it does not cover "any instrument that has been altered or modified in any way", which makes it sound like even changing strings voids the warranty. [biggrin]

 

As long as you don't try to replace the truss rod yourself or do something invasive like that, I think Gibson will at least take a look at it.

 

 

Word, I got another tech to look at it, he said the truss rod is working way too hard to compensate for the forward bow, so I got him to put the original 57 neck classic back in. Hopefully Gibson won't try to say there is nothing wrong the guitar, and send me a replacement.

 

If they do, would I be able to ask for a cherry red one instead of a sunburst?

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Word, I got another tech to look at it, he said the truss rod is working way too hard to compensate for the forward bow, so I got him to put the original 57 neck classic back in. Hopefully Gibson won't try to say there is nothing wrong the guitar, and send me a replacement.

 

If they do, would I be able to ask for a cherry red one instead of a sunburst?

 

Their fix might be to stick a thicker washer under the truss rod nut.

 

If they replace the guitar, then the warranty says they'll "replace the instrument with one of the same or most similar style of a value not in excess of the original purchase price of your instrument". I think the 2013 cherry red is the same price as the 2013 vintage sunburst, but a 2013 model costs more than a 2011 model... That being said, I think if replacement is necessary, you could ask for a 2013 cherry red. [thumbup]

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If they replace the guitar, then the warranty says they'll "replace the instrument with one of the same or most similar style of a value not in excess of the original purchase price of your instrument". I think the 2013 cherry red is the same price as the 2013 vintage sunburst, but a 2013 model costs more than a 2011 model... That being said, I think if replacement is necessary, you could ask for a 2013 cherry red. [thumbup]

I did a warranty return in the not too distant past, and Gibson opted to replace the guitar. I was offered the most equivalent options available, since my model was no longer in production. If they elect to replace rather than repair, then certainly you should state your preference, and my guess is they'll honor it if the price is in the same ballpark.

 

Note that they often will first have you take the instrument to a local authorized tech for evaluation, rather than sending it to the factory.

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The 2011 ES-335 Dots were shipped stock with wireless ABR-1, so there was no "Gibson fault" [wink]

 

And from the pic you´ve posted here http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1172690

it looks like you´ve overtightened the truss rod already... to the point of stripping the nut edges..

Rule No.1 : never force it.

 

This is how the "poor Gibson quality" threads originate, I guess B)

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The 2011 ES-335 Dots were shipped stock with wireless ABR-1, so there was no "Gibson fault" [wink]

 

And from the pic you´ve posted here http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1172690

it looks like you´ve overtightened the truss rod already... to the point of stripping the nut edges..

Rule No.1 : never force it.

 

This is how the "poor Gibson quality" threads originate, I guess B)

 

 

Well I actually got a tech to replace the nut in that old pic, and now the new nut is getting stripped as well! The tech I went to yesterday to swap the original 57 neck in (matt brewster of 30th street guitars) said I did not do anything wrong, the truss rod is overtightened but the neck still isn't straight. He said there's just too much forward bow in the neck and the truss rod is working too hard/just not able to correct it.

 

I mean how else would I go about doing this? For all my other guitars, I just did like one truss rod adjustment, the neck got to exactly where I wanted it and has stayed stable so I never touched them again.

Not the case with my ES-335, why else would it be overtightened and the neck still not be straight?

 

how does the wireless abr-1 work? when i was trying to correct intonation the saddles started flipping out.

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Well I actually got a tech to replace the nut in that old pic, and now the new nut is getting stripped as well! The tech I went to yesterday to swap the original 57 neck in (matt brewster of 30th street guitars) said I did not do anything wrong, the truss rod is overtightened but the neck still isn't straight. He said there's just too much forward bow in the neck and the truss rod is working too hard/just not able to correct it.

 

I mean how else would I go about doing this? For all my other guitars, I just did like one truss rod adjustment, the neck got to exactly where I wanted it and has stayed stable so I never touched them again.

Not the case with my ES-335, why else would it be overtightened and the neck still not be straight?

 

how does the wireless abr-1 work? when i was trying to correct intonation the saddles started flipping out.

 

 

The wire is (was) there only to keep the saddles in place when the string is changed and when there´s no pressure to keep saddle in place. I can not imagine how would the saddle flip out with string in saddle´s groove (assuming you just slightly loosen them when correcting intonation )..

 

As for the problem with neck - could be you overtightened the nut when first adjusting ? Compressing the wood too fast so it gives way before the neck can react.. There is a reason to only go by 1/4 a turn at once - or better by only 1/8.

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The wire is (was) there only to keep the saddles in place when the string is changed and when there´s no pressure to keep saddle in place. I can not imagine how would the saddle flip out with string in saddle´s groove (assuming you just slightly loosen them when correcting intonation )..

 

As for the problem with neck - could be you overtightened the nut when first adjusting ? Compressing the wood too fast so it gives way before the neck can react.. There is a reason to only go by 1/4 a turn at once - or better by only 1/8.

 

I got the tech to do the first truss rod adjustment

:9

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It is not uncommon for problems to develop with the nut and washer crushing the wood under the washer and not being able to pull the neck back. It is a known issue that happens sometimes and is normally covered under warranty. So you probably haven't done anything wrong. They may repair or fill the area under the nut and replace it with a better washer and a new nut. Or they may have to do something more serious or replace the guitar. [thumbup]

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I forgot to respond to the wireless ABR in my earlier post.

Gibson has replicated & installed that bridge on a number of models,

including the ES-330L I own - and the saddles can start to lift.

Only one did it on mine, and I pressed it back into place.

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.

 

ok got the return authorization.... no experience shipping guitars, and I threw out the big Gibson Cardboard box the guitar came in

 

If i packed the guitar in the guitar case myself with newspapers and stuff, then bring the guitar in its case to Fedex, would they be able to give me a big box there and then I could pack it myself there?

 

Don't feel like packing the entire thing by myself and lugging a huge box with a guitarcase+guitar in it 5 blocks or thru the subway.

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.

 

ok got the return authorization.... no experience shipping guitars, and I threw out the big Gibson Cardboard box the guitar came in

 

If i packed the guitar in the guitar case myself with newspapers and stuff, then bring the guitar in its case to Fedex, would they be able to give me a big box there and then I could pack it myself there?

 

Don't feel like packing the entire thing by myself and lugging a huge box with a guitarcase+guitar in it 5 blocks or thru the subway.

 

I use a local company that can build a box to fit. FedEx might be able to do that. I would ship it without the case: a properly made box will work well enough. I have a bass that came from Japan without a case in a cardboard box, with zero issues. If Gibson requires shipping it in the case, that's another matter obviously.

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.

 

ok got the return authorization.... no experience shipping guitars, and I threw out the big Gibson Cardboard box the guitar came in

 

If i packed the guitar in the guitar case myself with newspapers and stuff, then bring the guitar in its case to Fedex, would they be able to give me a big box there and then I could pack it myself there?

 

Don't feel like packing the entire thing by myself and lugging a huge box with a guitarcase+guitar in it 5 blocks or thru the subway.

 

 

I would definitely use the case and a shipping box. If you live in Manhattan you can go back to Matt and ask him for a guitar box, break it down so it's easy to carry home. If not, you can go to 48th street and ask in any of the stores. They routinely break down shipping boxes and throw them away. If you live in Westchester you have Guitar Center and Sam Ash. You can also arrange for UPS or Fedex to do a home pick up for a pretty nominal fee. I think the last time I shipped a guitar I had Fedex pick it up from the studio and it cost ann extra $12.00 which to me was well worth it.

 

Personally, I would not trust UPS or Fedex to advise or build a shipping box for a guitar. The people that work at these places are very adept at shipping but usually know nothing about the nuances of shipping guitars. My 2 cents. Good luck...

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I would definitely use the case and a shipping box. If you live in Manhattan you can go back to Matt and ask him for a guitar box, break it down so it's easy to carry home. If not, you can go to 48th street and ask in any of the stores. They routinely break down shipping boxes and throw them away. If you live in Westchester you have Guitar Center and Sam Ash. You can also arrange for UPS or Fedex to do a home pick up for a pretty nominal fee. I think the last time I shipped a guitar I had Fedex pick it up from the studio and it cost ann extra $12.00 which to me was well worth it.

 

Personally, I would not trust UPS or Fedex to advise or build a shipping box for a guitar. The people that work at these places are very adept at shipping but usually know nothing about the nuances of shipping guitars. My 2 cents. Good luck...

 

Word, I didn't even know about the home pickup option.

That works really well, how do you pay them that way though?

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Word, I didn't even know about the home pickup option.

That works really well, how do you pay them that way though?

 

 

Shipped the guitar back using FedEx Ground.... not bad only $60, $20 for the box.

apparently UPS would have been like $100.

 

Unfortunately I think Fedex might have forgotten to put the RMA number on the carton along with the address.... I did put a sheet of paper clearly stating the RMA number inside the case, so hopefully there won't be too much confusion.

 

Requested a Cherry Red model as a replacement, hopefully this all works out, will make a NGD if it does.

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Its fiber compression.

Your not going to be able to adjust a soft neck with the rod. Until someone tortures that stick. (neck)

Its unfortunate but happens.

In the after market , the non warranty , second owner/vintage world the problem is addressed with heat treatments and or a "pull and plane" removal of the frets and leveling of the board and a refret. In some cases folks will replace the whole board, especially with nonadjustable acoustic necks, classical's and early French guitars with no rods or fixed rods.

In the OP's case a return to the factory is justified .

There are soft necks out there friends.

Be not afraid !

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Its fiber compression.

Your not going to be able to adjust a soft neck with the rod. Until someone tortures that stick. (neck)

Its unfortunate but happens.

In the after market , the non warranty , second owner/vintage world the problem is addressed with heat treatments and or a "pull and plane" removal of the frets and leveling of the board and a refret. In some cases folks will replace the whole board, especially with nonadjustable acoustic necks, classical's and early French guitars with no rods or fixed rods.

In the OP's case a return to the factory is justified .

There are soft necks out there friends.

Be not afraid !

 

 

So my Fedex Tracking says Gibson got the guitar last week, ... but they haven't given me an update or anything... when I should call or email back requesting an update?

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So my Fedex Tracking says Gibson got the guitar last week, ... but they haven't given me an update or anything... when I should call or email back requesting an update?

 

I would think two weeks IN THE SHOP would be a reasonable time to call and get at the very least an update. My friend sent a LP custom in a long time ago and they didn't get to look at it for a month, but when they did they sent him a new guitar. One thing I will advise you is to be reasonable on the phone.

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There shouldn't be a problem with warranty service. Gibson is good about those kinds of things. Just swap the stock parts back in before you send it back. The warranty on the neck is not voided by working on the pickguard or replacing pickups.

 

Call or email Gibson CS with good photos of the problem. [thumbup]

 

Good advice ^^^^ [thumbup]

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