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danielwewo

Gibson Warranty Didn't Fix My Les Paul

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Well, I figured out what the problem was. A few of you knew exactly what the issue was right away. I didn't even realize until I played it, but I AM pushing the strings too hard!

 

But... I'm still a little suspicious that something is up because I wasn't lying when I said that other people have the same issue when they play this guitar. I tested how much the pitch changes when I press the string all the way down, and if I press it to the wood I can get more than 1/4 bend in most places, on the 3rd string second fret I can even get a whole 1/2 step bend! This can't be normal, right? I have to touch the 3rd string so crazy lightly to get the proper pitch.

 

Am I just incompetent at guitar? Lol. I've got plenty of other guitars and never have this issue with them.

Hello Daniel, and welcome to this nice place in the web! [thumbup]

 

Reading the quoted post gives me another idea not mentioned previously. Assuming your strings have sufficient action and fret buzz is not a serious problem, my guess is that you are bending the neck unwittingly. I found out that this is the only way to achieve pitch bendings of the range you describe, on my only set-neck Fender with mahogany neck and super jumbo frets as well as on my "Fretless Wonder" Gibson SGs. My medium jumbo-fretted Les Paul guitars allow for that, too, albeit it's a bit harder on those with the fatter late 50's and Axcess necks.

 

Furthermore, on Les Paul guitars I need strap locks to feel safe and comfortable. They make me fret relaxed without the fear of dropping her. I'm sure I even would put them on a genuine '59-er if they weren't already there. [biggrin]

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Well, I figured out what the problem was. A few of you knew exactly what the issue was right away. I didn't even realize until I played it, but I AM pushing the strings too hard!

 

 

This is my problem too...especially on the low E when I play a G chord. It could be perception, but it seems to be more pronounced when I play the Less Paul. My problem is that I primarily play bass and press hard on the strings to begin with.

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This problem sounds typical of a set up where a perfectly good luthier who is trusted in the community gives you a guitar that sounds out of tune. I hope I'm not too late in the game to make a couple of suggestions for further set ups.

 

1. A set up is never complete until you play it and the luthier adjusts the action to your playing style. You're heavy with the fret hand. A lighter string string gauge and lower action may help, because you don't need to push as far, and the strings don't fight you as much. Start with 9's. You said that was a 2005, so I think it came with 9's on it. Heavier strings = more tension at standard tuning = more pressure required to press the string. A change in strings = a change in the nut and saddle slots to accommodate. Your heavy touch may be a reaction to the fact that the strings are harder to push and bend. Many professionals practice with lighter gauge strings and play live with heavier. It's like working out with weights, running, or even singing. You warm the muscles before getting out there and pushing hard. You're presently in a mode of learning good habits, but you're also working muscles that have never really had to be used the way they are.

 

2. More, not less tension in the truss rod to allow for lower action. While it's true that a lot of new players tend to be hard on the picking hand, a lighter touch is a good habit to get into. Also, just because a fret buzzes on the string, that doesn't mean that the amp picks it up or that it's necessarily a bad thing. In the beginning, you're hearing your electric almost as loud as you hear your amp, so it kind of lies to you.

 

3. Sit with a luthier and learn how to adjust your own truss rod. If there is anything that many of us is afraid of (other than our wives finding out we just bought another guitar), it's that magic piece of metal that relieves and tightens the neck. Learn how to adjust your truss rod and you can start making minor adjustments yourself. It's already been suggested that you get the tools to measure your string height and a decent tuner. Being able to adjust saddles and your truss rod are the next logical steps.

 

In the end, playing guitar is about your feel. What works for me or anyone else on this forum might not work for you. You're lucky, you started on a Les Paul. Many of us started on something that wasn't much better than a plastic guitar from Walmart. I started on what would now be classified as a vintage/classic Martin from the 1930's. When I first tell people that, they're like, "oooh!" Yeah, it was OK, but those old guitars didn't have a lot of adjustment and you played them the way they were. Next was a Sears Silvertone with the amp built into the case and the worst wood known to man. When my mother saw I really wanted to play and was willing to play a guitar that had strings still on it with rust from the 60's, she finally helped me get a Les Paul Custom. That was 1980. I never looked back. The one thing I'm glad I learned was how to adjust my guitar to my style of playing. I'm not Joe Bonammassa (sp?) Heck, I'm not good enough to carry his tuner, but I know I like the sound I make. I live in the East where it gets really humid in the summer and really dry in the winter, so truss rods need to be adjusted. You're lucky in that, unless you travel with your LP, you won't have as varied weather; but make no mistake, air conditioning and open windows can have a similar effect on your guitar. Get to know her, she'll love you for it.

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... 2. More, not less tension in the truss rod to allow for lower action. ...

 

The truss rod is NOT for setting the action. It's for neck relief only. The bridge (or saddles - depending on the guitar) is for setting action.

While true, that a flatter neck relief may help you lower the action, it also can lead to fret outs and buzzing. It's a balancing act.

 

If you don't know how to set up your guitar, take it in. Ask if you can watch how it's done. There a tons of videos on how to setup your guitar on Youtube.

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1. A set up is never complete until you play it and the luthier adjusts the action to your playing style. You're heavy with the fret hand. A lighter string string gauge and lower action may help, because you don't need to push as far, and the strings don't fight you as much. ...

The OP is an experienced player and refers to having ten years of playing experience in different bands. He's just not that accustomed to Les Paul guitars and perhaps mahogany necks. Anyway, a heavier gauge would be the way to go as he already suggested himself.

 

 

2. More, not less tension in the truss rod to allow for lower action. ... Also, just because a fret buzzes on the string, that doesn't mean that the amp picks it up or that it's necessarily a bad thing. ...

There is just correct or incorrect neck relief, regardless of action and even nut grooves. Correct means 0.1 ... 0.2 mm respectively 0.004 ... 0.008 inch @ 6th fret when fretted @ 1st and 14th fret. This is once to twice the thickness of an 80 g/m2 sheet of paper, the standard weight sold at every discounter for printers, copiers or the like.

 

Note: Basses are a completely different thing. They have to be adjusted to avoid buzz between 5th and 7th fret and nut (!) when fretted @ 6th and 8th. This is due to attack partly crossing frets through the string cores, in particular the lower two (4-string) or three (low B 5-string or 6-string), and exciting sympathetic overtones. The buzz strides back into the fretted part and will be transduced through the amp. And yes, it will eat up frets, too.

 

Fret buzz is always a bad thing, except for a greedy luthier who might gladly charge you for lots of refret jobs without sincerely telling you what eats up your frets.

 

 

3. Sit with a luthier and learn how to adjust your own truss rod. If there is anything that many of us is afraid of (other than our wives finding out we just bought another guitar), it's that magic piece of metal that relieves and tightens the neck. Learn how to adjust your truss rod and you can start making minor adjustments yourself.

See above about correct and incorrect neck relief.

 

 

In the end, playing guitar is about your feel. ...

I agree completely. To my guess nice intonation and buzz-free vibration improve the feel. I think I'm not alone in this. [biggrin]

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Lots of great ideas here guys. I had the idea to play heavier strings, but some people said lighter strings... I feel like if I were training myself to play softer, I should get lighter strings, but when I actually play live or jam with the band that maybe I should play the heavier strings then?

 

 

It's weird, I always practiced with 11's or 12's because I tried to make my hands stronger so that bends on 10's are like butter. I'm a huge Stevie Ray Vaughan fan and he always used 13's (I know he usually tuned down 1/2 step too.) and I liked the sound of the thicker strings. Maybe I just trained my hands too much haha.

 

I can't really even play 9's, I can barely even feel the strings below my callouses.

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Yeah, I referred to relief as setting action. That's a saddle/bridge height thing. I meant the relief and bow. There's a reason I only set up my own, I don't have to tell me what to do with the right verbiage. LOL :rolleyes:

 

When I referred to "buzz", I was talking about that buzz that many of us get if we hit a little too hard. I don't care if I'm watching a video of Kenny Wayne Shepherd or <insert unknown here>, I hear buzz every now and again. No, not every time or consistently, but it does happen. I agree, if it's always there, then there's a problem.

 

Sorry I thought the guy was new. When people were talking about the fact that pressing harder would cause a note to go sharp, it seemed like it was new. That's a kind of a new player thing, so I made an assumption.

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I can't really even play 9's.....

 

Agree with this completely. Nor can I.

 

Stay on the .11s with an .18 plain G.

 

You just have to play/practice enough (regular and quite a LOT) to get an efficient, accurate touch.

 

Plus the frets will start to wear...eventually your hands learn, so to speak.

 

Best wishes.

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...You're heavy with the fret hand. A lighter string string gauge and lower action may help, because you don't need to push as far, and the strings don't fight you as much...

Probably the absolute worst advice I've ever seen. Lowering action on a modern electric guitar played like we play these things never helped anyone play better ever. Raise them. Strength is everything, because you can't control any gauge of strings without the strength and height needed to exercise that control.

Many professionals practice with lighter gauge strings and play live with heavier...

I have known a whole bunch of professional guitar players in my life and I've never heard of any of them ever doing this ever. Who does this?

2. More, not less tension in the truss rod to allow for lower action.

No. Just no. Nothing else to it. No.

3. Sit with a luthier and learn how to adjust your own truss rod. If there is anything that many of us is afraid of (other than our wives finding out we just bought another guitar), it's that magic piece of metal that relieves and tightens the neck. Learn how to adjust your truss rod and you can start making minor adjustments yourself. It's already been suggested that you get the tools to measure your string height and a decent tuner. Being able to adjust saddles and your truss rod are the next logical steps.

I've had a few guitars now longer than ten, fifteen years that have never had the truss touched. Gigging, out of the house, well loved, beat in bars guitars.

 

rct

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I know exactly what to OP is talking about now. I just got a new SG today and it has 9's on it. It is staying in tune but if I press to hard it sounds sick and the pitch will change. It sucks. I will be putting 11's on it very soon. Those thin strings will really stretch like you are bending strings just when playing individual notes.

 

Steve

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I know exactly what to OP is talking about now. I just got a new SG today and it has 9's on it. It is staying in tune but if I press to hard it sounds sick and the pitch will change. It sucks. I will be putting 11's on it very soon. Those thin strings will really stretch like you are bending strings just when playing individual notes.

 

Steve

 

 

I don't know how common it is for a guitar to be this rough on the pressure thing. I've got other guitars with jumbo frets and don't have this problem. I haven't gotten around to putting bigger strings on yet, but I'll let you guys know how it goes. I play 10's on my 2014 American Deluxe Strat as my main axe right now and I don't have this issue, but the frets are definitely not as big.

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If you are sounding out of tune on open chords it's almost certainly due to the nut being too high. You can diagnose this easily by placing a capo on fret 1. If you're heavy fretting style is then OK (assuming it's a good capo) then the problem is confirmed.

 

Lighter pressure when fretting will fix this but you really need the nut height adjusting to your own playing style, especially if you're switching back and forth to your bass all the time.

 

Please don't adjust the nut height by making the slots deeper. This will cause tuning problems in itself, most likely string binding. The strings are supposed to rest on top of the nut, half in, half out of each slot. To lower nut height it needs to first be removed (score the lacquer with a craft knife first to prevent the but bringing out half of your finish with it) and then you should gradually sand the bottom evenly until you've achieved the desired height.

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If you are sounding out of tune on open chords it's almost certainly due to the nut being too high. You can diagnose this easily by placing a capo on fret 1. If you're heavy fretting style is then OK (assuming it's a good capo) then the problem is confirmed.

 

Lighter pressure when fretting will fix this but you really need the nut height adjusting to your own playing style, especially if you're switching back and forth to your bass all the time.

 

Please don't adjust the nut height by making the slots deeper. This will cause tuning problems in itself, most likely string binding. The strings are supposed to rest on top of the nut, half in, half out of each slot. To lower nut height it needs to first be removed (score the lacquer with a craft knife first to prevent the but bringing out half of your finish with it) and then you should gradually sand the bottom evenly until you've achieved the desired height.

 

I'll try testing it out with a capo on and see how it goes. I've got like 4 different capos from different brands so I'll try multiples.

 

As an aside, I just played a 4 hour bar show using just my les paul this weekend, with .12s on it and it was perfect. My fingers only hurt a little bit in the last set and I had no tuning/pitch issues. I was even able to rock the Enter Sandman solo and all of its bends for our last song with the .12s ;)

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Guest Farnsbarns

I wouldn't take the nut off to adjust it. Just cut the slots deeper. You can then file the top down if necessary but there is actually no extra friction as long as the nut slots are the correct width. There will still only be contact with the bottom half of the string.

 

Now you've got differing opinions on how it should be done. Sorry, but I think you'll struggle to get the right height by removing material from the bottom and that method assumes all the strings are too high by the same amount. Not likely IMHO.

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Gibson didn't fix my guitar either. But they did:

 

* Pay for a luthier (a proper luthier not a 'tech') to look at it who replaced the nut masterfully

* Send me two replacement pickups based on the fact I said I thought pickups with less magnetic pull might fix the issue I had

 

All free and with relative expediency.

 

This despite the fact I had gutted the electronics, fitted new tuners and new after market pickups.

 

It still have a few minor issues but everything possible and reasonable has been done to correct them. Their only concern was that I was happy with the guitar going forward and that I kept confidence in the brand etc. Which not every company cares about let me tell you! So thanks to this I have a guitar that is quite different to what they sold me but which plays and sounds fantastic (to me).

 

If I had not modified the guitar I am sure they would have replaced it no quibble. I happen to really like the guitar though and wouldn't want another.

 

Just to say: Gibson warranty service (EU) and persons I had dealings with (Stijn) were top notch and very helpful.

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