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bigtim

For those who set up their own guitars I have a question for you guys

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I have an SG. It is the second one I have owned. I have been setting up my own guitars for over 20 years. I think (IMO) I do a pretty good job of it and also I do get paid from others as well on guitar set ups. My current SG which is a 2009 Standard in classic white with the coil taps and slim 60's neck keeps on needing adjusting. I fool with it all the time and it does not stay where I leave it. For instance, the neck needs adjusting once every 5 times I pull it out to play and I am having to adjust string height as well. I play it often as it is my main guitar. My other SG was solid. I kind of wish I held on to it but I wanted to go back to the 60's neck profile. I am about sick of this to tell you the truth. I do not constantly change strings either. And when I do I change them one at a time like on a floyd rose because from past experience, the SG will really get out of whack. Now I know the older SG's from the 70's do not seem to have this issue due to being slightly heavier body, maybe because those were a different type of mahogany wood, I am not sure but they were heavier . I do not know what the heck is going on here. My favorite guitar seems to be in constant need of adjusting. I do not gig with it, I do not keep it out in the garage, it is in a climate controlled environment. What the heck is wrong and do you guys have any of the same issues? Thanks, Tim

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It's impossible to be certain without having held it for oneself but I rather suspect it's the thin neck which is the root cause of your problems rather than any issue with the body.

 

One of my 1960 Classic LPs has a very slim neck-profile (even by '60s neck standards) and whilst I don't need to adjust the truss-rod or action the tuning can be all over the place if the temp. and humidity levels have changed much between play-times.

 

I note that you say it's in a climate controlled environment but, even so, I still think it will be due to the neck profile.

 

Pip.

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Either neck is no good or you are using the truss for the wrong things.

 

My Les Paul is like Pippys' up there, wisp of a thin neck, in...17 years it has never had a truss change. In my long experience no guitar needs that kind of tweaking, through all the dumb crap I've put them through.

 

Get a pro to look at it, someone that doesn't fool with it every 5th time out of the case. Follow his/her advice and see if you don't have to mess with it anymore.

 

Good luck with it.

 

rct

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my 2 SGs do not have the 60s neck, they're pretty stable in regard to truss rod and intonation.

 

I do have one LP with a 60s neck, but that too, just as stable as my 95 with the 59 profile.

 

what is your climate like where you are? what gauge strings are you using?

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I am using 9 guage, temp outside is 50-40's this time of year. I keep it inside with a temp averaging about 68 for the most part this time of year. As far as the truss rod goes, I do not think I am using it for the wrong "thing" if you will. I am thinking of going to back to ernie ball strings though. I have been using dunlops for the past year or so. I know on my other SG things were better stabilized all the way around without need of adjusting constantly. I believe I may have a "picky axe" if you will. I have another set neck guitar that stays in the same room ths SG is in. It never needs anything. It is a carvin dc200. It is thicker all the way around with a maple fret board. I am getting disgusted with it and thinking of going back to a strat and staying there and maybe pull the SG out every now and then.

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.

I've had a coupla SGs over the years and a '65 MM double cut with a very thin neck (similar to the SG) - hardly ever touch the truss nut.

 

Adjusting the neck - with the truss - I'm assuming you're talking about the relief changing. I'm thinking along the same lines as Pippy. Or is it possible the truss rod is not working properly?

 

 

.

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FWIW I have seven other guitars (two of which are also '60s neck-profile LPs) in the same room as the Classic I mentioned in my earlier post yet it's only the 1991 Classic which has tuning issues probably because it has a neck considerably slimmer than a regular '60s profile. How slim IS your SG's neck? Can you measure it with a digital caliper?

 

As a matter of interest why do you think changing the brand of strings you use will make a difference? Gauge, yes, but brand?

 

I'd do as rct says and take it to a GOOD luthier to let him have a go.

 

Good luck!

 

Pip.

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Well I have noticed the dunlops do not last very long and get dull alot faster than ernie balls will. Yes I could measure with some calipers but am at work right now but can do it later this evening. The truss rod does work right. I have been thinking it is due to the thin body route where the neck is glued into the body. It frets out near the body and this is where the problem seems to be constant. I have experience filing frets as well as I have said previously, I do all the work on my own gear. Like I have said the guitar is in need of constant adjusting. It is the only guitar I have ever had to be this way. I thought the 79 strat 3 bolt set up was a pain in the butt. This one seems to take the cake. It sucks........

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I have 4 SG's with '60's neck profiles. They don't have any more tuning, or adjustment needs,

than any other guitars I own.

 

How is the neck joint, on your SG. Solid, or less so? A good friend of mine had a similar problem,

with his SG, sent it back to Gibson, and it was determined the neck joint was "faulty," on his. I'm

not saying that'st he case on your's, but you might have it checked out. Gibson replaced my friends

guitar, as it was obvious (to them) it was a build issue, and not neglect or mistreatment, on his part.

 

Tuning issues, are (more likely) the nut! If it has a Corian nut, I'd replace it, with bone! But, that's

just me. It's the first thing I have done, as part of the deal, when purchasing any Gibson USA guitar.

Some, CS models come with bone nuts, already. Tuning keys (machine heads) are rarely the cause.

Unless, they're obviously faulty, to begin with. If you hear a click or "ping" when tuning, it's the string

catching, in the nut slot! And, they will often not hold tune, for that reason.

 

Just some things to look out for, if you didn't already know, or do so.

 

Cheers, and good luck! Hope you get it sorted out, soon!

 

CB

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I do not think I am using it for the wrong "thing" if you will...

 

Ok.

 

You go on to say it is fretting out up high by the body and hypothesizing about the neck pocket too small, whatever. That is the truss back too far relative to the frets up there at the body.

 

I'm not dogging you for your abilities or your set ups. Setting the truss is part of a whole picture of nut, bridge, and overall fret health, not just setting the truss.

 

In your position, I am a guy that would just lift the bridge to get around the fretting out because I know that if I start moving the truss to fix one thing I will be moving the truss every weekend.

 

You mention temperature, but no mention of humidity. In high humidity environs like my basement, any brand of strings will gunk over quickly. It'll also give the fingerboard a lift, especially down where it joints the body. Lighter the neck the more noticeable, so you may just be seeing changes in humidity affecting the fingerboard followed by you moving the truss to correct it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

rct

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I’ve experiencing this problem with my Epi Casino Coupe. I made a small truss rod adjustment shortly after buying (last September) and it didn’t work initially.

The whole sordid story is here: http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/125175-trussrod-adjustment/

 

Capmaster, as usual, has insight into this sort of thing, but my guitar was new. Yours is not, so we are not comparing like for like.

Since posting the above, there was some more ‘movement’. On the 1st occasion I backed off the relief (truss rod) a quarter turn. As usual nothing seemed to happen. After a few days though, it came ‘good’.

 

However, after a couple more weeks it shifted again. This time the neck relief had remained pretty good so I merely adjusted the bridge saddle for a better action.

That was 3 weeks ago, and so far, its holding.

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Ok.

 

You go on to say it is fretting out up high by the body and hypothesizing about the neck pocket too small, whatever. That is the truss back too far relative to the frets up there at the body.

 

I'm not dogging you for your abilities or your set ups. Setting the truss is part of a whole picture of nut, bridge, and overall fret health, not just setting the truss.

 

In your position, I am a guy that would just lift the bridge to get around the fretting out because I know that if I start moving the truss to fix one thing I will be moving the truss every weekend.

 

You mention temperature, but no mention of humidity. In high humidity environs like my basement, any brand of strings will gunk over quickly. It'll also give the fingerboard a lift, especially down where it joints the body. Lighter the neck the more noticeable, so you may just be seeing changes in humidity affecting the fingerboard followed by you moving the truss to correct it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

rct

 

Yes i agree there may be a humidity thing as well. I too am raising the bridge to work things out and once I get her all back to being normal it will last about 1 week or so. Maybe it is the fact I keep it in the case and not out on a stand outside of a case when I am not playing it. My brother told me to ditch the stock gibson case that has the wool type of lining in it because it holds moisture. I will see if any of this helps and stabilize it.

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Yes i agree there may be a humidity thing as well. I too am raising the bridge to work things out and once I get her all back to being normal it will last about 1 week or so. Maybe it is the fact I keep it in the case and not out on a stand outside of a case when I am not playing it. My brother told me to ditch the stock gibson case that has the wool type of lining in it because it holds moisture. I will see if any of this helps and stabilize it.

 

I keep mine in cases and they don't have any problems. I've heard a lot of good stuff over the decades but ditch the case because it holds moisture is a new one by me!

 

We aren't talking about yer Martin here, it's an SG, it was made to live through guys like me using it to go out and have fun on the weekend. If it can live through that, it can live through a case!

 

Find yer local dependable all around good guy named Luther. Tell him you need a set up. Bring the strings you want on it, make sure you tell him/her if a different gauge than has been on it, and let Luther have at it. It'll prolly be the best thing you ever did and you'll get past this.

 

rct

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I keep mine in cases and they don't have any problems. I've heard a lot of good stuff over the decades but ditch the case because it holds moisture is a new one by me!

 

We aren't talking about yer Martin here, it's an SG, it was made to live through guys like me using it to go out and have fun on the weekend. If it can live through that, it can live through a case!

 

Find yer local dependable all around good guy named Luther. Tell him you need a set up. Bring the strings you want on it, make sure you tell him/her if a different gauge than has been on it, and let Luther have at it. It'll prolly be the best thing you ever did and you'll get past this.

 

rct

 

^ This.

 

I usually set up my own guitars. I'll tweak truss-rods, mess with both the bridge end and the nut end. I kinda know what I'm doing, but sometimes...

 

Every now and again I get one that won't behave for me. I take it to my dependable Luther. He knows I do my own set-ups most of the time, he knows I come to him for fret-work, he shows/teaches me stuff, he's even been known to sell me his old tools.

 

My dependable guy can fix the set-ups I've screwed up - of course he never tells me I've screwed it up [biggrin] ... he just tells me how he fixed it (from which I figure out what I was doing wrong).

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I also have done dozens of home set-ups....

 

And messed up on a couple of occasions

 

Requiring the eye and experience of a reliable tech

 

And the mess-ups involved truss rod adjustment..... :blink:

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Thanks for all of the responses and advice. I had a dealer check it out too. To him it was just average small issues and thought I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill. I will however look into the string nut. I know she could use a another one as it does ping from time to time while tuning. Thanks again, Tim

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Thanks for all of the responses and advice. I had a dealer check it out too. To him it was just average small issues and thought I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill. I will however look into the string nut. I know she could use a another one as it does ping from time to time while tuning. Thanks again, Tim

To check a sticky nut (where lots of tuning issues come from), simply pluck a note and press down on the string behind the nut. If it goes sharp and doesn't return to pitch when you let off, it should be easy to see where it's causing problems.

 

If you think the nut might be too high, use a tuner and check the notes from about the 7th fret on back to the nut. If they get sharper as you get close to the nut, it's because the nut is high and fretting closer to the nut is making the notes sharp, because it takes more tension to press the string down.

 

If you have both of these things going on, it's likely an easy fix, having the grooves of the nut worked on. Don't have to replace the nut, just the slots grooved better.

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I'll add a +1 on taking this SG to a really good luthier. I also do most of my own work, but when I'm baffled, I take it

to my favorite guitar guy and pay him properly to do his stuff. He's worth it. He has tools and measuring devices that

I don't, and experience to get the best out of it all. One fret that's sticking out too much could cause this.

 

No guitar should require this much 'tweaking.' I own two SGs and numerous other guitars, and they go out gigging

with me and live in their cases and hang on the wall and sit on stands in my music room, and they all seem to

behave. I've gotten each of them setup once by my luthier, and after that I can keep them that way.

 

I'll also suggest that you lube your nut slots. I use a home made mixture of vaseline and powdered graphite, but there

are several commercial products you can buy that work well. Guitar Grease from Stewmac is an example. A tiny dot on

a toothpick is enough for a nut slot. Also lube the saddle slots, and the stuff is good under the string tree on a Fender

and applied sparingly to the gears on open face tuners.

 

Humidity extremes can cause proud frets in just about any guitar. In winter in the North Country I keep a humidifier going in my music room, set

up on a timer. I also keep an Oasis humidifier in my acoustic guitars. I like those because they don't leak and they let

the humidity enter the guitar as needed. Acoustics are more vulnerable to humidity issues because of all that bare wood

inside. Electrics are usually sealed up pretty well, especially Epiphones and MIM Fenders because they're coated in

polyurethane, not lacquer. So I've had no trouble with my 'cheaper' guitars after paying for a pro setup.

 

I have a MIM Telecaster, '72 Deluxe replica. Love this guitar. But I almost gave up on it, trying to set it up myself.

Finally, I decided to give the pro a chance, and either he'd fix the problem so I could keep the guitar or the better

setup would help me sell it. But as soon as I played it after paying him, it was like night and day. No further problems

and that Tele is now one of my favorite guitars. He said it was the nut slots. Go figure. It's been several years now since the

setup job, and I've had zero problems and played lots of great music on that Tele. Very worth it IMHO.

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Could be a faulty neck. I know of only two high-level guitars where it happened, and one of them has been an SG of mine that was replaced by the retailer after 69 weeks I dealt with neck instabilities. Here's the topic:

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/114066-update-on-neck-curving-back-and-forth/

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I've lived in the desert southwest now for 10 years, where it's extremely dry all the time. Moved here from the east coast. It took several years for my guitars to stop moving, particularly the Gibsons for some reason. My guess is that their fretboards are "spongier" than my Fenders or something. But in truth, some of those also took a few years to completely adapt to the low humidity.

 

I have a '66 Jazzmaster, and that thing actually developed a loose fret after being here all that time. May or may not have to do with humidity though.

 

And yes, I use a moistening product on every rosewood board guitar I have, every time I change strings.

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Humidifiers! [thumbup][biggrin]

 

For those of us living in the Mid-West, we need them, as our Summers can be quite humid,

and the Winters quite dry! Plays H311, with necks...especially the somewhat softer mahagony

variety. The "Fender" maple necks don't seem to move quite a much, but they still move, some.

With a good room (or household) humidifier, things stay a lot more consistent! Just a

thought/suggestion.

 

CB

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