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J200 dead e string problem


Guildford Paul

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Hello all - I have a problem with my 1989 blond J200. On the top e string when I fret F#, G in particular and G# and the note is dead-sounding. I doesn't seem to be the frets, it can't be the nut; I have swapped out the bridge saddle too but the problem remains. Any suggestions? Could it be the neck or the body of the guitar?

Cheers Paul

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It could be all manner of things. It may well be that a truss rod tweak is needed, but before that, I would try changing the brand and/or gauge of strings you use. It could be an inherent tonal incompatibility between guitar and strings, for example my SJ200 HATES Martin strings...it just doesnt sound like it should when they ate installed. However, Rotosound or D'Addario are just fine. It is very particular to each individual guitar. What type of wires are you using at the moment?

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This is just a guess, but here's a couple of things to consider.

 

Your top may have come up a little (humidity) and you may have replaced the saddle with a lower one, or you lowered the action by lowering the saddle too much. If so, that could have changed the break angle over the saddle. The string doesn't put enough downward pressure on the saddle, then the sound is gone. You may need someone to set it up properly and restore the break angle.

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It could be all manner of things. It may well be that a truss rod tweak is needed' date=' but before that, I would try changing the brand and/or gauge of strings you use. It could be an inherent tonal incompatibility between guitar and strings, for example my SJ200 HATES Martin strings...it just doesnt sound like it should when they ate installed. However, Rotosound or D'Addario are just fine. It is very particular to each individual guitar. What type of wires are you using at the moment?[/quote']

 

Good thought despite the fact that I am actually using Gibson J200 Strings!! Didn't mention that but I deleiberately put those on so as to eliminate the possibility that the strings were incompatible BUT knowing the law of sod, an individualistic guitar could object to its own kind - will bear in mind your tip.

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This is just a guess' date=' but here's a couple of things to consider.

 

Your top may have come up a little (humidity) and you may have replaced the saddle with a lower one, or you lowered the action by lowering the saddle too much. If so, that could have changed the break angle over the saddle. The string doesn't put enough downward pressure on the saddle, then the sound is gone. You may need someone to set it up properly and restore the break angle.

[/quote']

 

Agree this is a problem beyond my limited technical klnowledge and as you say, change a saddle and you are also changing lots of of other things, string heights not least amongst them. I think it is a combination of 'barometrics' and humidity, saddle height, fret uneveness and perhaps the fact that the bridge under the saddle is not even so there is not adequate pressure against which to make a sound. I have had it set up (at Charlie Chandlers) since the problem kicked in and of course it didn't fix it - Charlie filed the saddle which seemed to have some effect (probably wishful thinking) but the problem remained and has if anything got worse. Flipping nuisance. I am going to gather as many ideas as I can then take it in, armed with suggestions... Thanks for your post!

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Just one more idea' date=' but it might be worth checking. You might pop the saddle out and make sure it's completely flat on the bottom. Put it on a flat object like a table and make sure that it's completely flat on the bottom. It's possible that the one end isn't coming in contact with the saddle slot. [/quote']

 

That's a great idea Mike - will do that!! Cheers

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If it was me, I would have a good luthier set it up. That's what they sort out for a living.

 

The guitar is too valuable to risk if you let less experienced people work on it including yourself!! I've had buzzing and deadspots on my guitars and yes the do change drammatically over time particularly when they are new, as new guitars need to settle in and they usually move around for awhile until a couple of years paas by. Also the weather and time of the year (hot or cold) can impact on their set up.

 

Me I just love getting my guitars back after they've been set up by an expert!

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If it was me' date=' I would have a good luthier set it up. That's what they sort out for a living.

 

The guitar is too valuable to risk if you let less experienced people work on it including yourself!! I've had buzzing and deadspots on my guitars and yes the do change drammatically over time particularly when they are new, as new guitars need to settle in and they usually move around for awhile until a couple of years paas by. Also the weather and time of the year (hot or cold) can impact on their set up.

 

Me I just love getting my guitars back after they've been set up by an expert! [/quote']

 

You are dead right - that is what to do...thanks

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Hi Paul - Just make sure that the luthier yoyu choose is a good one because some are dreadful (personal experience)!

 

And if they are bad you will get your guitar back with them telling you some fanciful story about why the neck is a problem etc.

 

Good luthiers make the complex go away! I had a problem with my J200EC when I purchased it and the store I bought it from provided a luthier. After 2 set ups with unsatisfactory results he then told me that the neck had problems. I then took it to someone else and he fixed it without any fuss! It now plays great.

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Let us know if it works or not. If not' date=' maybe we can think of another idea.[/quote']

 

Mike mate - am findng it difficult to tell if the saddle has an uneven bottom - more reason to go to a top luthier methinks - the guitar is worth it - but your point is dead right - if there is a gap the sound will not be there and I can't verify or disprove that - I need to make sure anyone I give the guitar to will actually listen to the pearls of wisdom I am gathering through these comments we are sharing - I've half a mind to send it back to Gibson and ask them to weave their magic spell! What thinkst thee?

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Sending it to Gibson would be an option, but it would be much faster to take it to an authorized Gibson service center near you first. Unless I missed it, I don't see where you're located. You can go to the main Gibson website and find a listing of their service centers/dealers.

 

I think before I did that, though, I'd take a piece of medium sandpaper. Place it face up on a surface that you know to be flat (countertop, etc.). Then, holding the saddle upright (like it sits in the saddle slot), run the bottom across the sandpaper a few times, making sure you hold the saddle level. That should flatten it out, if that's the problem. Only make a few passes though, so you don't alter the height of your saddle. A few passes shouldn't make much difference to the height.

 

Then, when you reinstall the saddle, make sure to press down on the saddle to make sure the bottom fully makes contact with the saddle slot.

 

Another option would be to buy/order a replacement saddle (tusq or bone) and try the new saddle to see if you still have the dead spot. The cost for a new saddle would still be cheaper than shipping charges to Bozeman and it might confirm or eliminate the problem.

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