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Kasper

New ES 339 problem

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After having owned an Epiphone ES 339 and Casino Coupe I have made the plunge and bought a new Gibson ES 339 2014. I have had it for a week. Overall I like it very much. Really comfortable, great weight and good sound. It is my dream guitar. My two favorite guitarist are Otis Rush and Freddie King who played ES 3x5's. But some things bother me. At first the bridge pickup didn't work at all. After a while it sputtered a little and now it works. Should I be concerned? Also at first I got a horrible sound from the bridge area (I think) when bending the high e-string. After making sure everything was screwed tight the e-string is now fine, but the problem is then with the b-string. What could it be? It also does it on the last fret, so it isn't the frets fault. I also tried lowering the pickups. Oh the high e-string isn't fine after all. I already broke it twice in one week at the tuner head. So I guess there is a sharpe edge or something in the tuner head. Besides all this I really like this guitar, but I consider maybe sending it back and get another. But I would love to avoid all that fuss and just fix it myself. Do you have any suggestions?

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As for the intermittent bridge pickup, it sounds like the selector switch has some debris in it. It may need to be cleaned even though it's working now. I have found the only effective way to clean them without getting any chemicals on the instrument is to carefully remove it from the guitar, (still attached to the harness of course) protect the finish and clean with a good electronic cleaner.

Also, I have taken a piece of copy paper, shaped to a point and lightly soaked with the electronics solvent to slide it within the contacts of the switch.

 

There still may be bits from the construction of the guitar in the body cavity that are getting logged in the electronic components. Cleaning it out can be a bit of a pain. I would not however use compressed air to remove it because that is likely to push it into other parts… A small electronic technician's vacuum may be the best bet but I know that something like that may not be readily available. I have used cotton swabs that were moistened to help…

 

The sound and string breaking problems are more than likely because the nut and the bridge are in need of attention… I am sure that these are minor touches that unless are grossly obvious, will need to go to an experienced luthier.

 

I am definitely a do it yourself kind of guy but when it comes to using files on my guitars I give them to my luthier. One fret may need a touch and that can make world of difference. Besides it has been my experience that once I get that full set up from a experienced professional it will last for many years. Any adjustments that are needed after are always minor and I can do them myself. I seem to be going ten or more years before I have to get a fret replaced or dressed.

 

Good luck with your new guitar. Replacing it is an option but if you have bonded with the way it plays and sounds I would go the luthier route. Another instrument may be perfect but the chances are that you will trade your minor issues with different ones…?

 

All the best,

jv

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My 1st 339 was a 07 one in fact I think they had only made them for 3 months when I got mine , in early 2011 the back of the upper horn cracked I sent my 339 to Gibson and they sent me a new one, this one is May of 2011. When I got the 2011 339,they cut the nut spacing wrong , the E (1ST) kept slipping off the fretboard. The plecked frets were to high. I had a friend put on a new bone nut and took the frets down. It`s my main guitar over my Tele and Strat!

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Sorry to hear that your new 339 is causing you concern. I agree with joevacc that the toggle switch needs to be cleaned or maybe it was slightly bent during assembly and needs a minor adjustment. Getting to it on a 339 is a pain. With a small mirror you may be able to get into the F hole and take a look at it. Contact the dealer you bought it from and they may just give you a new tuner to replace the one you suspect it causing an issue and have them check the toggle switch. If you are taking it to a dealer or luthier, I would have them look at the nut while there, like joevacc, I think that is your string breaking issue not the tuner. As the frets are dressed with a PLEK machine at the factory, a fret is usually not an issue unless one has slightly lifted from the fretboard. (very rare in a new guitar). I would suggest that if all other things are fine with this guitar, do not give up and exchange it for another. If your dealer is not working with you, contact Gibson Customer service for assistance. Sending you a tuner would be a lot cheaper and safer than shipping a guitar back and forth.

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I might be wrong but it sounds like a nut binding issue. The string getting caught in the nut as you bend and then it lets go and changes the sound. A binding nut will also cause string breaks. If you have noting else around, try some graphite (pencil lead) in the nut slot to see if that frees it up.

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I might be wrong but it sounds like a nut binding issue. The string getting caught in the nut as you bend and then it lets go and changes the sound. A binding nut will also cause string breaks. If you have noting else around, try some graphite (pencil lead) in the nut slot to see if that frees it up.

 

I have put Graphit All Guitar Lube in the nut and on the saddles. But I thought the nut only could have an influence on open strings.

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I had the same kind of problem with my 2014 ES359 on the E string upper frets , I discovered it at home, not in the shop !!!.

 

I tried to adjust the height of the bridge with the 2 screws because I though the strings were too low

 

and also the strings touched the stop bar at the back.

 

I got fed up and went back to the shop: they never told me what they did but 15 mn later the setting was perfect

 

and it's still the case 6 months later>>>>>>go to the shop or to a good luthier, the problem is certainly a minor one.

 

The 339 and family are amazing guitars !!!

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It sounds like the note is "fretting out." That's what happens when the bent string reaches the point where the frets are curved around so there's no longer any space between the string and the frets up above where you're fretting the note. Every guitar will do that to a certain degree, depending on a bunch of factors, including the radius of the fretboard, where you're bending the string and how high the action is.

 

The note seems to be fretting out a little earlier than normal. If you raise the action, it will help the problem substantially.

 

Your guitar has a 12" radius on the fretboard. A guitar with a sharper radius on the fretboard will fret out earlier. Guitars with really flat fretboards won't fret out much at all. Some Les Pauls have a compound radius fretboard, where the fretboard gets flatter as you go up the fretboard, so fretting out isn't much of a problem even if the action is really low.

 

Long story short, try raising the action some. [thumbup]

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It sounds like the note is "fretting out." That's what happens when the bent string reaches the point where the frets are curved around so there's no longer any space between the string and the frets up above where you're fretting the note. Every guitar will do that to a certain degree, depending on a bunch of factors, including the radius of the fretboard, where you're bending the string and how high the action is.

 

The note seems to be fretting out a little earlier than normal. If you raise the action, it will help the problem substantially.

 

Your guitar has a 12" radius on the fretboard. A guitar with a sharper radius on the fretboard will fret out earlier. Guitars with really flat fretboards won't fret out much at all. Some Les Pauls have a compound radius fretboard, where the fretboard gets flatter as you go up the fretboard, so fretting out isn't much of a problem even if the action is really low.

 

Long story short, try raising the action some. [thumbup]

 

It also does the noise when bending on the last fret, so it can't be the frets that are doing it. Also my relief is about 0.012 and the action of the high e-string is about 5/64 on the 17'th fret. I like it a little higher so I can do bends.

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I was just noticing something. Doesn't it look like the bridge is fittet the wrong way around? The screws to adjust the intonation should face towards the end of the guitar, not towards the pickups. And aren't all the saddles supposed to face the same way? At the moment 3 are facing one way and 3 are facing the other way.

 

Edit: I just looked at Sweetwaters webpage and the orientation of the bridge looks be a little random, so mine is probably fine.

post-65307-078901000 1420656441_thumb.jpg

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On Gibsons the intonation screws do face the pickups, so your bridge is fine. Also the saddles usually do NOT all face the same direction so that I don't think the bridge is cause of your problem.

 

I agree with Bad Blues, it sounds like it is fretting out and you may just need to raise the action a little.

 

Besides in Denmark, it is illegal to bend more than a quarter of tone so cut that out [flapper]

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I flipped the bridge over and I think it solved the problem. So I guess there was something wrong with the saddle. But I also noticed a little chip on one of the other saddles, so maybe that was the cause somehow.

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Fretting-out... per your video.

 

+1 What BadBluesPlayer said.

 

Assuming the neck is setup properly, generally, use a higher action when playing blues. It makes accessing the strings for bends easier. Or you can get one with compound radius neck like some of the newer Les Pauls.

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I was just noticing something. Doesn't it look like the bridge is fittet the wrong way around? The screws to adjust the intonation should face towards the end of the guitar, not towards the pickups. And aren't all the saddles supposed to face the same way? At the moment 3 are facing one way and 3 are facing the other way.

 

Edit: I just looked at Sweetwaters webpage and the orientation of the bridge looks be a little random, so mine is probably fine.

Last I knew, Gibson shipped the guitars with the TOM bridges screws facing the pups, and the Nashville bridges facing the tailpiece.

 

Reason being, the TOM screws can hit the strings when facing the tailpiece. The Nashville bridge is a little wider, and the strings hit the edge of the bridge before they hit the screws.

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Watching the vid, it really does look and sound like it is fretting out, due to the action being too low.

 

If the action seems high, it could be you have too much bow in the neck adjustment. More bow will make the strings higher off the fretbaord when playing around the middle of the neck, but also make the heel of the neck, and the upper frets, higher in relation to the rest of the fretbaord.

 

Picture a football shape- that's the string vibrating. It's vibrating wider at the center than at the ends. Now, picture your neck bowed the same amount. If you lower the bridge, the strings are still higher off the center of the fretbaord than at the ends. So, in effect, the action could be relatively high, but the heel of the neck is higher than the rest of the fretbaord.

 

If, you adjust the truss rod to be a little straighter, ever so slightly, the strings will get lower because you are bowing the neck back. If you then raise the bridge to bring the action back up, you are then higher off the heel.

 

If you don't feel confident making adjustments, take it to someone and have it adjusted better.

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Thanks for the replys. It is nice to know that people are willing to help. I turned the bridge over, so the screws face towards the end, and nothing else, and now there is no more horrible bending noise. The noise also came when bending on the last fret, with the pickups all the way down, so it couldn't be a problem with the action. I am pretty sure it is the bridge that is the culpit. The strings do touch the screws when turning the bridge over, so I just afterwards raised the tailpiece. But the main thing is that the noise is gone, so it is up to me to make it sound bad.

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Thanks for the replys. It is nice to know that people are willing to help. I turned the bridge over, so the screws face towards the end, and nothing else, and now there is no more horrible bending noise. The noise also came when bending on the last fret, with the pickups all the way down, so it couldn't be a problem with the action. I am pretty sure it is the bridge that is the culpit. The strings do touch the screws when turning the bridge over, so I just afterwards raised the tailpiece. But the main thing is that the noise is gone, so it is up to me to make it sound bad.

 

It's always good to go ahead and try different things. That's how I started. But a couple things - I can assure you that you shouldn't turn the bridge around. It may appear to solve the problem, but it will cause more problems than it solves. You will need to address the problem properly if you want your guitar to work like it should. The best thing you could do is take it to somebody who is experienced who you can trust. Or find out how to do it properly yourself without just trying random things until it works out. [thumbup]

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