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J200 Action??


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Hi Guys..


I am the proud owner of a new gibson j-200 True Vintage sunburst.. this guitar ROCKS!! i love it!!


From brand new out of the case, i noticed the "action" was very high! and i thought "what the heck!" untill

i read the enclosed manual that came with it, explaining about having to have the guitar set-up by a professional

guitar tech (or gibsons costomer service dept) i live in the UK so thats not possible! however, i took it along to

a guitar tech and he looked at it very closely and found that the frets had no "dressing" done to to them, also

there were odd high ftets! (having payed £3000 for this guitar you would have thought it to be perfect!) so i

left the guitar with him to do the hole set-up.

A week later i picked my guitar up (i dont know how i survived that long without it !!) and found it a lot better,

the frets were nice & smooth, it was a lot easyer to play! now, a couple of weeks playing it ive noticed the E & B

strings are not buzzing but not ringing so good either! this only happens on odd frets!

Ive done some measurements, and at the 12th fret low E (top of fret to underside of string) is .062 and the

high E is .058! now im wondering what should it be! what is the minimum gibson recommend?

Oh yes.. the strings are d'addarios 12s

Any ideas guys..

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Sounds like it needs a truss rod tweak...I am suspicious that your tech told you that the frets needed dressing out of the box, I've never heard of that before. I've had a guitar (not Gibson, I should add) or two that had a high fret or two that needed to be tapped down, but never actually dressed, if by dressed, your tech means the extensive procedure of filing down and re-crowning your frets.

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New guitars often have a very high action and need to be professionally set up.I own a J200 which needed to be set up and played much better after it was. Personally I like the action relatively low. I understand that the luthier who did my work needed to dress the fret,

alter the bridge , set the nut etc.


New guitars can move about a bit given the wood is still settling in and your experience with the B and E strings is not uncommon. With some of the guitars that I own, I have had to take them back for a further set up within a 2 months or so after I have purchased them. In my view new guitars will need regular set ups for the first few years. After that they tend to stay pretty stable. However changes to string guages will require truss rod adjustments. I have had a Les Paul since 1974 and its action has been very, very stable for 20 years. I've had one set up in 4 years. Having said that I don't play it that much anymore.


Great guitars still need to be set up so don't worry about the need for regular adjustments. My J200 is now three years old and its been set up three times. In fact I just had it set up last week. Its a dream to play at the moment and I expect that this set up will last hopefully for more than a year. However it depends how much you play it and what different environments you are playing it in (hot, cold, humid, dry etc).

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congrats on your new Gibson from another UK player =D>


There are quite a few UK-based forum members - let us know roughly where you are and you may get pointed in the direction of a good luthier to allay your fears...

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Townzend, welcome to the Forum. Love the name.


A couple of us know a great bloke based in South Suffolk who is God when it comes to Gibsons in the UK. If you live in the area or can get your guitar to him then do so. He is an authorised Gibson repairer and does some of their warranty work and really knows what he is doing.


Send me a PM if you want his details. And no, I'm not on commission from him.


Hope you get it sorted.


Post pictures.

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It has been my experience that most factory built guitars need some kind of action adjustments/setup to be "right". Martin in particular ships their instruments with higher than acceptable (for most players) action. I undertand part of this thinking: it's easier to adjust action down than it is to bring it up, but it can be a deal breaker for the uninitiated buyer. When I bought and sold guitars for a living it was sometimes awkward to explain to a beginner that yes, this $4K Martin is a superior guitar to this $500 Seagull, it just feels like it's strung with telephone cable because -blah-blah-blah-. Most of that discussion is lost on someone that doesn't understand guitar construction and adjustment. My SJ200 was the same - strings high in the nut with a full-height saddle, making the action much less than desireable. But my years of playing, inspecting and adjusting guitars let me see that yes, this is a very fine instrument that can be tweaked to my liking. Few guitar sellers these days take the time and effort to adjust new factory instruments before they hit the floor for sale; used trade-ins are more likely to get a trip to shop for setup. A free setup on a new guitar was/is a sales tool that helped, but why do manufacturer's feel they need to ship their instruments with ungodly high action when the majority of players want a more "playable" guitar out of the box? Sure, a few players want a guitar they have to wrestle with......they like higher-than-the-average-bear action that they can manhandle and bang a lot of volume out of......it works for them. But the vast majority of players want something a bit easier to fret and though the retail salesman can tell them what's possible, an inexperienced buyer wanting a high end guitar can be hard to convince. Man this thing is hard to play! This guy says it can be made better, but hey, he's trying to sell me this expensive guitar. I think I like the way that little Yamaha over there plays better, and it's a quarter the price! Wouldn't it be better for all concerned if the instruments had better factory setups? Sure, there will always be room for fine tuning a setup for the individual player, but in general I believe factory setups from American manufacturer's suck. (Taylors may be a exception to this......their factory setups are usually quite good.)


It is a shame that after spending big bucks for an American-made guitar you have to give up your new guitar for a few days and shell out more money to make it play to your liking. I hope you can find the right person to get your guitar in shape. I place at least some of the blame on Gibson in this case for sorry, too-generic factory setup work. I do think that if you do not do minor setup adjustments yourself (saddle height, t-rod twisting) it's a good idea to let the guitar acclimate to your environment before having a luthier do the final adjusting. A new guitar will move for awhile as it begins it's life as a played instrument as opposed to a wall hanger in a store. This "honeymoon" will also give you time to settle on a string of choice and, through playing the instrument, let you decide just what kind of adjustments you want done.

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Hi, welcome to the forum

I have a similar problem-i have my SJ 200 Custom Elite since 09.02.2009 - from ebay. Second hand. Came to me with wrong frets (so said the luthier after inspection). Even the first E string is sliping out of the neck!!! And as I live in Bulgaria there is no Gibson luthiers here... The luthier who tried to adjust my SJ 200 couldn't do the job well and only took the money...

Now in the end of march I'll go to another town to another luthier...

Those expensive guitars are very capricious in seems...

I can only whish you a very good luck with the next luthier!

As I whish it to me too with mine :-)

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Gibsons sometimes come with "humps" up the neck. My j-45 required some fret dressing which fixed a lot of problems.


Gibsons need a little work, by and large, although a good setup is usually sufficient. They can be a little moody. so you should expect the odd buzz. However, a good truss rod adjustment and treament of any irregular frets will work wonders.


Try not to obsess. Gibby's are not known for perfection. They have character.

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For what it's worth, my theory is that some manufacturers deliberately produce specifications with standard heights/set-ups that would result in almost unplayable actions for many guitarists in order to avoid people returning the guitar after purchase because the action is so terrible. The result is that many guitars on the shelf play like 'dogs'. However a good luthier can generally set the guitar up to suit your requirements.

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Hi Guys.. Thanks for all your replys, i know im in the right place now!!

Ive decided NOT to return my guitar back to the tech that did the work, i just dont want him anywhere

near it again! i'm not very happy.. after a very close inspection, you can see scratch marks across the fingerboard

near the edges of the frets where he's filed the frets!! i also found that the saddle was put back in the wrong

way round!! (ive put it back in the right way) the E & B strings from what i can see, have been cut in the nut to deep..

Now i must point out, that ive done a few set up jobs on guitars ive owned.. a Gibson 335 1970s, this had a

brass nut, and i made a new bone nut for it, set it up, it was wonderfull.. i could have sold that guitar dozens

of times over!! next, a Fender Jag.. new nut & set up! 12 string acoustic.. new nut & saddle plus refret, try marking

out & cutting slots in a nut for 12 string??

Now i can here you say.. "why did'nt you do your J200?" because Gibson recomended a qualified luthier, if

anything went wrong with the guitar, and it had to go back to Gibson they would'nt be none pleased i'd done

work on it myself?


So, what have i done to the action.. alls ive been able to do is raise the saddle with a slither of formica! i cant do

anything with the nut, it really needs a new nut re cutting! like i said in the begining, i'm not happy.. ive spent

3 grand on a guitar & having all these problems! at the moment its hard work to play?


Nut Action.. most of you will know this but, if you press a string on the 3rd fret & hold it there, look at the clearence between the first fret & the string.. you should be able to pass a piece of newspaper between the gap! now thats good!

Well, my E & B theres no gap! its tight on the fret?


I live about 10 miles from Peterborough UK, so if anyone knows of a good guitar luthier please let me know, ill

travell any distance to get my guitar done properly!


Thanks Guys...

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This is "The One"







"I got a Gibson' date=' without a case"[/i']


Fab looking guitar mate. It's The One indeed!


Google "Dr Robert's Guitar Surgery". Peterborough to Sudbury is a bit of a trek, but give Robbie a call. You'll work something out and it will be worth the effort I'm sure.

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