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Artfulman

Gibson Archtop Acoustic Buzz/Rumble

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Hi there! I bought a brand new Sunburst L4 Custom for my 65th birthday last July, and I could not be happier. I bought a set of Thomastik (spelling?) strings (very expensive) to top off this beauty.

 

Months of happiness and joy. She sounds amazing acoustically and electrically, which is probably why I bought her. About a week ago I picked her up to play (acoustically) and I noticed a "buzz/rumble" coming from the bridge area when I played 5th or 7th fret bar chords. Ho Boy! Here we go. The buzz/rumble was not there when I plugged her in. Only without amplification did I hear this very painful and heartbreaking noise.

 

I wrote to Gibson and they suggested I call a authorized service center. I did. I brought it in. Three super guitar guys that are 30 years+ experience each, were baffled.

One of them said it was the strings - NOPE! I changed them (carefully saving the Thomasticks) and nothing changed. One of them said it was the tailpiece rattling with the ball ends - NOPE! I stuffed the entire assembly with foam sponge material and nothing changed except I lost some fidelity in the tone. The third guy said the noise was coming from the frets BEHIND where I was playing - NOPE! I had my wife dampen the strings on that side and nothing changed.

Finally, I asked my wife to hold different areas of the guitar while I played. It seemed to lessen when she held her fingers on the bridge pickup cover. HHMMMMM!

 

OK. Not wanting to void the warranty by taking it apart, I cut a piece of a thin mouse pad and stuffed it in different areas; the bridge, the pickguard, the tailpiece and then the pickups. When I slid the piece in between the bridge pickup and the pickup cover ring, THE BUZZ DISAPPEARED!I brought it back to the guys at the service center and they are working on it now.

 

I know that I could have just lived with the piece of mouse pad in the guitar, BUT, if this is the one and only NEW Gibson of my life (I am 65) I'll be darned if I'm going to put a band aid on an $11,000 instrument. My wife thinks I'm silly, but the guys are going to fix it right and I'll be playing my perfect Angel once more in my man cave very soon. Someone should have tested this beauty a bit more before sending it out.

 

Thought you all might like to benefit from my troubleshooting/solution in case this ever happens to you.

 

Other Gibsons I own:

1977 ES 355 Walnut with Varitone removed and master volume installed

1934 Super 400 (my Dad's)- Black - Refinished from Sunburst by Gibson in 1967

1963 SG Custom - Black, with middle pickup removed and master volume installed.

1991 ES 335 - White, with 1962 guts (everything) picked and installed from a trashed 1962 ES335.

 

Hope this helps

Spread the LOVE!

-Arti Funaro

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I bought an ES175 in 2013 (couldn't afford a L4!) and did a whole number on the buzzes, rattles and resonances. Pickup cover/pickup surround rattle is common in semis and the springs can amplify the resonances. I replaced the pickup springs with flexible tubing (think I used the sleeve of an old guitar lead) and used the soft side of some velcro strip to mute all the other rattles. Stopped everything except now I get a very slight (acoustic) buzzing only when the pickup selector is in the mid position.

 

I would love to see a pic of your L4 and that Super 400!

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Someone should have tested this beauty a bit more before sending it out.

Seems a little unfair, considering the fact that your guitar has had no problem since last July. They can't exactly test every guitar daily for 8 months.

 

Glad you found the problem, though. I've gone through things like this with a few of my guitars over the years, and rarely figure out where the rattle is coming from. Fortunately it's usually an intermittent problem and something I can live with.

 

$11K does sound like a lot for an L4...

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Im kind of wondering why so much for the L4? there nice.. but Not that nice.. Lots on the market for 3500 to 4000..

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It is a common annoying problem on many Arch tops and it doesn't matter if its a 400$ Epiphone or 20K Citation, it can happen and doesn't mean it is a quality issue.

Sympathetic vibrations and rattles are usually easy to fix but can be a pain to troubleshoot.

As long as it is not a loose brace, it is what I call part of the deal of playing an acoustic instrument with plastic and metal parts on it...

On my Tal I stuck a pick cut in half between the neck pickup and its pickup ring to stop an annoying vibration; not a big deal.

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Im kind of wondering why so much for the L4? there nice.. but Not that nice.. Lots on the market for 3500 to 4000..

 

They are nice. Mine was $3000.00 out the door band new back in 2003. Apparently he doesn't want to talk about it any more. [biggrin]

 

 

AC4C4BB5-F651-4E34-9CF9-9B9EC3B53525_zpsrb28gtse.jpg

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They are nice. Mine was $3000.00 out the door band new back in 2003. Apparently he doesn't want to talk abot it any more. [biggrin]

 

 

AC4C4BB5-F651-4E34-9CF9-9B9EC3B53525_zpsrb28gtse.jpg

 

how do you find yours weight wize? bottom heavy?

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10 to one it's a poorly cut nut. Did you use the same gage string with the Thomastik strings? Did the L4 come with 10s or 11s Gibson Brite Wire Strings? $11K? Where and who did you buy that from cuz L-4 is $6,499 on Gibson site. It came from factory with L-5 Electric .012 strings installed. Is the Thomastick strings .012s?

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how do you find yours weight wize? bottom heavy?

 

The 16" body is very comfortable. Not noticably bottom heavy to me but I always sit when I play.

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I had the same issue on an ES165 some years ago

 

And on a brand new ES335....which played itself in and did not happen again

 

IMO an unfortunate by-product of mounting a P/U on a very vibratory arch top... <_<

 

Some archtops nowadays have a 'floating' neck P/U partly for this reason

 

My current 'squeeze' is the ES225 which has superb P90's screwed directly in to the top, thereby stopping any chance of vibration buzzes etc.... [thumbup]

 

V

 

:-({|=

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AC4C4BB5-F651-4E34-9CF9-9B9EC3B53525_zpsrb28gtse.jpg

 

This beautiful red guitar always makes me green with envy!!!

 

 

BTW if you google you will find that Mr Funaro has played with quite a few people, notably Garland Jeffries. [thumbup]

The guy's done a lot that I'll never do!

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This beautiful red guitar always makes me green with envy!!!

 

 

BTW if you google you will find that Mr Funaro has played with quite a few people, notably Garland Jeffries. [thumbup]

The guy's done a lot that I'll never do!

 

Thank you jd. [thumbup]

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Artfulman $11000 that is a lot of money to pay for an L4. Much as I love my L4 I would buy a Super 400 or an L5 for that kind of money. To be honest I bought my L4 Custom Shop for £1750 secondhand about eight years ago. In the same deal I bought a Guild Artist Award for £2500.

 

My problem with spending a lot of money on a guitar is that you do spend time worrying about imperfections rather than just getting on with the playing. I would rather chase down something I want secondhand. I suppose I enjoy the hunt and the deal as much as anything. Also like Keef Richards I don't enjoy the playing period so much. I have just picked up a 1977 175 signed on the back by Scotty Moore. Funnily I am enjoying playing that more than the L4.

 

By the way my L4 buzzes - the pick-guard area. I can't hear it through an amp so it doesn't bother me much.

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What part of the world are you in that you got charged $11,000 for it? You know you can practically buy two of them for that. Even the high retail price from Gibson at $6500 can be bought for around $5900 at a lot of online stores and MF and GC for $6200. I would not buy anything anymore from the dealer that charged you $11K, that's insane markup.

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11,000.

 

Maybe it's a full-on custom order. I could see that in a case where a certain guy has lots of expendable cash and Gibson accommodates such folks with whatever whims on a full, custom order for an individual guitar.

 

Or maybe that's RETAIL for above said guitar.

 

But either way, I don't usually question such things. There are some folks with lots of money, and I don't question how or how much they spend, except an occasional "thank you" when appropriate.

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Welcome to Axaholics...

 

The Gibson Acoustic Guitar Forum is for discussing anything from general questions about Gibson Guitars to repair, setup, maintenance, etc. Please feel free to post any tips and tricks you have for getting the most out of your Gibson Guitar. We want to hear what combinations work best for the type of music you play...

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Yeah Stein, UR right. I just assumed it was the standard production models sold from Sweetwater, MF, and GC. Forgot all about being a custom level specialty guitar or artist series.

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A few years ago Gibson built a few L-4CES guitars that had carved maple backs and sides. I have seen a couple photos but never played one. They were well over 11,000.00 if I remember correctly and beautiful guitars too. I have no idea how many were built. I wish I knew more about these special L-4's. By the way, I sure enjoy my 2009 L-4CES which I bought new also. And yes it does rattle sometimes too!

Thanks John

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Hi there! I bought a brand new Sunburst L4 Custom for my 65th birthday last July, and I could not be happier. I bought a set of Thomastik (spelling?) strings (very expensive) to top off this beauty.

 

Months of happiness and joy. She sounds amazing acoustically and electrically, which is probably why I bought her. About a week ago I picked her up to play (acoustically) and I noticed a "buzz/rumble" coming from the bridge area when I played 5th or 7th fret bar chords. Ho Boy! Here we go. The buzz/rumble was not there when I plugged her in. Only without amplification did I hear this very painful and heartbreaking noise.

 

I wrote to Gibson and they suggested I call a authorized service center. I did. I brought it in. Three super guitar guys that are 30 years+ experience each, were baffled.

One of them said it was the strings - NOPE! I changed them (carefully saving the Thomasticks) and nothing changed. One of them said it was the tailpiece rattling with the ball ends - NOPE! I stuffed the entire assembly with foam sponge material and nothing changed except I lost some fidelity in the tone. The third guy said the noise was coming from the frets BEHIND where I was playing - NOPE! I had my wife dampen the strings on that side and nothing changed.

Finally, I asked my wife to hold different areas of the guitar while I played. It seemed to lessen when she held her fingers on the bridge pickup cover. HHMMMMM!

 

OK. Not wanting to void the warranty by taking it apart, I cut a piece of a thin mouse pad and stuffed it in different areas; the bridge, the pickguard, the tailpiece and then the pickups. When I slid the piece in between the bridge pickup and the pickup cover ring, THE BUZZ DISAPPEARED!I brought it back to the guys at the service center and they are working on it now.

 

I know that I could have just lived with the piece of mouse pad in the guitar, BUT, if this is the one and only NEW Gibson of my life (I am 65) I'll be darned if I'm going to put a band aid on an $11,000 instrument. My wife thinks I'm silly, but the guys are going to fix it right and I'll be playing my perfect Angel once more in my man cave very soon. Someone should have tested this beauty a bit more before sending it out.

 

Thought you all might like to benefit from my troubleshooting/solution in case this ever happens to you.

 

Other Gibsons I own:

1977 ES 355 Walnut with Varitone removed and master volume installed

1934 Super 400 (my Dad's)- Black - Refinished from Sunburst by Gibson in 1967

1963 SG Custom - Black, with middle pickup removed and master volume installed.

1991 ES 335 - White, with 1962 guts (everything) picked and installed from a trashed 1962 ES335.

 

Hope this helps

Spread the LOVE!

-Arti Funaro

 

 

I sent you a PM asking if you have resolved your noise issue in any permanent fashion. I have two arch-tops—a 25 year old L5 and a brand new Tal Farlow—that produce an awful dissonant tone when playing a chord acoustically anywhere above the 7th fret. Pressing down on one end of the neck PUP appears to reduce or eliminate the noise. At this point, it is not clear whether the noise is coming from the PUP casing, springs, or where the PUP meets the pick guard. Further investigation is warranted. But I really appreciate your helpful post.

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Ditto here on my ES-175. I had the same buzz, same spot on the neck, but not amplified. Replaced the springs on the neck pick-up with some pieces of silicon tubing (1/8" model airplane fuel line) and good bye buzz.

 

BTW, this did not happen until I put on Thomastiks; apparently they deliver more warm tones that provoke the pick-up to rattle.

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