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Huge problems with brand new J-45.


Sedandelivery

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I have a J-45 that has been purchased within the last year. The action is pretty high and there is a buzz under the bridge somewhere that is driving me nuts. I took it to a local repair shop, and they told me that the buzzing may be a problem with the bridgeplate, and that the action is high because the neck needs to be reset. I was so pissed. It's mostly ignorance on my part for not recognizing the problem, but the action is not so insanely high that you can't play it or anything. It plays fairly well, just not like butter with low action like I need it to. I figured the problems with the action were just due to a bad setup, plus I never dreamed a brand new guitar would need a neck reset.

 

Is this something that is fairly common? The warranty should cover the repairs, but if they need to totally fix the bridge and reset the neck, it will be like they are building the entire guitar over again. I'm also not looking forward to waiting for the repair, plus, I've never had a neck reset done before and I'm very nervous about who I choose to do the job.

 

Does anyone know any exceptionally good Gibson certified repair shops in the Northeast? I am willing to go anywhere in southeastern NY, CT, RI, MA, or NH. I have looked on the Gibson site and found a few that look like my best option, but I just wanted to see if anyone on the board can vouch for any place in particular.

 

I assume getting the repairs done is the best option. I would guess trying to sell it would be a wash because I would have to tell the buyer that it needs a neck reset either now or in the very near future. Any other options or advice?

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OK, wait a minute. Sit down, take a deep breath and relax. First of all, is the tech who looked at your guitar reliable? I would start with getting a second opinion. You are correct. A new guitar should not need a neck reset. There's a 99.9% chance there's something else going on.

 

If your buzz is coming from the bridge area, I would first check to make sure that the ball ends of your strings are fully seated up against the bridge plate. If not, that's one common cause for buzzing in that area.

 

Gibsons come from the factory with the action intentionally set high. That's because it's much easier to lower it than to raise it. A good tech can check things out for you. You probably only need the saddle lowered.

 

"IF" it does require a neck reset, the warranty will cover it, providing that you are the original purchaser. However, you'd still want to have an authorized Gibson repair facility look at it and evaluate it, prior to shipping it back to Gibson. I'd be willing to bet though, that it does not need a neck reset.

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+1 again. The ball ends have gotten me a few times too. Once it was my strap button too, it's worth checking around for anything (tuning machines etc) that's part of the guitar.

 

Do you have any measurements of the action at the 12th fret and or a picture of the bridge/saddle. It's always hard to tell but i'd be inclined to think that you just need a good setup.

 

In the unfortunate event that there is a problem with it Bozeman will help you out. They're great up there. The thought of having to send your guitar out to them is a tough pill to swallow (i know) but it'll be home soon enough better than ever.

 

Good luck, let us know what happens with it..

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My two year old Martin HD-28V just left for Nazareth to get a neck reset. If it wasn't done properly in the first place, there isn't much you can do but send it back.

 

Frustrating as it may be, bear in mind that resets often improve the tone as the original set was most likely loose in the pocket to come that far forward. Patience can provide reward.

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Take Mike's advice. Have a reputable guitar tech who is authorized by Gibson

to take a look at it. There have been several threads here in the past few years

about guitars that supposedly needed a neck reset....most were handled

by minor adjustments....go slowly and always seek second or third opinions.

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Thanks for all the quick replies!

 

I am slowly calming down and I will get a 2nd and 3rd opinion as soon as I can. I will try to get the action measurements and a picture as soon as I can. How exactly do you measure action? One explanation I found on the web says from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. Is this how most people do it?

 

Also, if I do need a neck reset, do you guys recommend sending it back to Gibson or having an authorized repair shop close by do the work?

 

Thanks again.

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A little while back I posted about some action issues with my 2007 AJ. I had owned it for almost a year and I finally got around to taking it in for a set up as the action was also high. Anyway, the tech at the shop I took it to said he would not be able to get the action where it should be because the neck was slightly off.So he suggested either a neck reset or a ( horrors of horrors ) bridge shave. So I'm thinking what the hell? Bridge Shave? We talked for an hour and he told me exactly what he would do and what the results would be. Now this guy has 30+ years experience and really knows his stuff but still I'm thinking bridge shave? I get a second opinion, they say neck reset. I post on this forum and the overwhelming opinion is "DO NOT SHAVE THE BRIDGE,WHO IS THIS GUY? WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS! BURN HIS SHOP DOWN!" Not quite but you get the picture. So I end up taking it to a guy in Bellingham Washington who I picked off the Gibson website. He looks it over and he says to shave the bridge! Now this is a certified Gibson repair tech. I talk to him for an hour. He says he can do neck resets but he doesn't have a spray booth. He says " if you want to send it to bozeman, no problem but your won't see this guitar again for six months ". So I say " would you shave the bridge if this was your guitar?" He says he absolutely would. Those of you familiar with AJ's know that the bass side off the bridge is much thicker than the treble side. To wrap this up, I gave the green light, he shaved the bridge and the guitar plays fantastic now. The bridge is now almost even all the way across now and you would never know any work was done to it unless I told you or you were also an AJ player and noticed that the bridge was no longer thicker on the bass side.

 

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So in a nut shell I got my bridge shaved by an authorized Gibson tech under warrrenty.

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When I first got my J45 it soon developed a buzz that sounded like it was coming from the bridge area. I went frantic trying to find it not realizing this problem is fairly common with new guitars that might need a set up. It wasn't anything to do with the bridge as it turned out. The tech made a couple of adjustments and 2 years later I haven't had any buzz since. Don't panic, take it to someone reliable.

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I'm waiting for the lively discussion that the above post may well bring about! =P~

 

OK, I can't resist. All I will say is that there is a reason why the bass side of the bridge is thicker on some Gibson models. Hopefully you won't have any problems down the road. Since an authorized Gibson repair facility did the work, you should be covered if you do have problems.

 

The lesson of this story though, is to make sure that an authroized Gibson repair facility is the one that makes the recommendation and does the work. I'm not so sure that later problems would be covered by warranty if an unauthorized facility shaves the bridge, since it was made thicker for a specific reason, by design.

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This may be dumb of me to mention; it may have absolutely NOTHING to do with the issues you are experiencing - but when you check the action height, take a long hard look at the NUT. My J-45 came with a nut that was not cut anywhere near deep enough, so much so that it affected the intonation when I played.

 

My guitar had the Gotoh/Kluson tuners. I had a persistent buzz I couldn't locate - until I gently tugged on the buttons and found the G string's tuner button had come unglued. A little adhesive and that problem went away.

 

Good luck!

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I'm waiting for the lively discussion that the above post may well bring about! =P~

 

Perhaps the tech in question was unfamilar with the design of the AJ bridge, and thought it mishapen.

 

I guess it's good that the guitar plays better now. Still...

 

If it were my guitar, I would call Gibson Montana and get their take on this.

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Some time ago (it may have even been on the old forum) people were complaining about their bridges not being a uniform height all the way across. They were even saying how poor the quality control was at Gibson for putting on a bridge like that. At the time, we even checked with Bozeman to verify that's how they're supposed to be.

 

The bridge is a very important structural part of the guitar and if Gibson made them that way for a reason, I don't think I'd want to change it.

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People are entitled to there opinions of course. All I can say is that the guitar plays to spec, the tech didn't anticipate any problems down the road regarding the neck. ( and IF a problem came up I can still send it to Bozeman ) As far as the bridge is concerned, yes I realize that they are made that way for a "reason". I'm sure someone will post a novel about what that reason is and why I should never have touched it. If this was any other guitar this would not have even been an option and it would be in montana right now gathering dust. Regardless, I'm happy with it now.

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Say, my friend,

 

I had problems with my new J-45. It had a bump in the neck which was never really corrected -- my luthier dressed (sanded) the frets down to minimize it. The guitar plays well.

 

I encounter a buzz from under the bridge as well. It's really odd and I've never found a luthier who could I identify the cause. I had one luthier call it "the Gibson flash", which I really can't translate. Another luthier simply couldn't could find anything wrong.

 

However, I've noticed that if I humidify my guitar properly, it goes away. I would suggest getting two dampits and giving your guitar a some moisture. It may be dried out. There's an excellent Youtube video that descrives how to do this.

 

I really, really, reall doubt your guitar needs a neck reset. It's not impossible, but I just don't see how the angle could be that incorrect. Gibson action is set high from factory. An adjustment from the truss rod should make things much better.

 

Again, the likelihood of you needing a reset is extremely unlikely.

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Add me to the second and even third opinion vote. I have an amazing Custom Shop J-45 that had a strange phenomenon of buzzing from the tuning machines--it would start low and then get loud like an army of crickets. One tech wanted to do all kinds of nasty stuff to it when he saw that it was not comming from the machines. Took another tech less than 5 minutes to make all go away.

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I won't post a "novel" on the reason why it's thicker on the bass side, but here's a fairly short explanation which was given to us at the last Gibson Homecoming.

 

When you tune up the bass or large strings they tend to put more tension on the saddle, just because they are bigger. This tends to lean the saddle forward toward the sound hole. This can pull the guitar out of tune and possibly even crack the bridge.

 

So, Gibson figured if the bass side of the bridge were deeper than the treble there could be more wood to cover the saddle and keep it from leaning. The bridge is thicker on the bass side by design. This is not true on all Gibson models though, as things vary from one design to another.

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I won't post a "novel" on the reason why it's thicker on the bass side' date=' but here's a fairly short explanation which was given to us at the last Gibson Homecoming.

 

When you tune up the bass or large strings they tend to put more tension on the saddle, just because they are bigger. This tends to lean the saddle forward toward the sound hole. This can pull the guitar out of tune and possibly even crack the bridge.

 

So, Gibson figured if the bass side of the bridge were deeper than the treble there could be more wood to cover the saddle and keep it from leaning. The bridge is thicker on the bass side by design. This is not true on all Gibson models though, as things vary from one design to another. [/quote']

 

This design -- the 'wedgey bridge' -- was used on several/many Gibson models in the 1930s, not just the venerable AJ. On *faithful* re-issues of those models, as well as of course on the actual guitars themselves, you will see the same bridge design. Check out a J-35 re-issue, for example -- it should have the same wedgey bridge.

 

As Mike has noted, the concept was that the tonal character was/would be enhanced through this design.

 

Similar theory exists behind the pyramid bridge used by Martin in this period.

 

Fred

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