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NEW Les Paul Custom: neck too straight?


Sven Bornemark

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Hi fellas! This is my first visit to this excellent forum.

 

A few days I ordered a brand new Gibson Les Paul Custom. It arrived today, and the overall craftmanship, tone and looks of this instrument is totally amazing. I'm in love! #-o

 

But one thing puzzles me. The action of the guitar was really low when it arrived. My first move was to raise the bridge a little. That didn't help much, so I raised the bridge twice after that. Still the action is so low that the bass strings buzz too much, while the action at the 12th fret is now higher than it should be.

 

I braced myself and carefully loosened the trus rod about half a turn. I then pressed gently on the top of the fingerboard to help the neck bend slightly in the right direction. I can't say it helped much, and after that operation there's not much more I can do; the trus rod is now almost entirely loose.

 

Question: Is it common these days that brand new Gibson Les Paul Customs come so poorly adjusted, that the string buzz is annoying and "careful repair work" doesn't help? Is this a typical Gibson thing? I find that really hard to beleive, since both my other two Gibsosn (an SJ200 and SG with P90s) were perfectly set up when they arrived new.

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Hey, Sven. I can't say that Gibson guitars come that poorly adjusted, especially not the Custom Shop guitars. When I first got my custom, I noticed that the neck was very straight. It has never caused buzz, and it is a thick neck, so I never had to make changes. A lot of guys make the case that you should always play a guitar in a local shop before buying, and one of the reasons for doing so is that you can have the store tech adjust the guitar to your preference.

 

You may want to check the guitar for high frets, but I doubt that is the case.

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Well, you're located in Sweden so that guitar took a bit of a journey to get to you, including a ride on a ship, where it passed through several different climate changes which probably caused the neck to change a bit. I have to get my guitars set up up twice per year (spring and fall) just because of the changes of season so it's not like they don't go out of whack. Even here in the US where the guitars aren't shipped as far, it's not uncommon for new Gibsons (or any other brand of guitar) to need a good setup - it gets shipped across country, might sit in a wholesaler's ware house for a few weeks or months under who-knows what sort of conditions before it's shipped to the retailer where it might sit in another warehouse or stockroom before it, if ever, gets put out on the showroom floor.

 

If I were you, I'd take it to the retailer where you bought it and see if they'll do a free setup for you; I don't know what it's like where you live, but it's not uncommon for a store to do an initial setup for no charge. At any rate, it can't hurt to ask; if they won't do it, then I'd pay to have it done anyway.

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Guys, you're very kind and helpful. I thank you! =P~

 

I bought this guitar from a webshop. They offer a 30 days money back guarantee, so I feel totally safe. The thing is, that I'm trying to find out if this guitar is fixable by a local guitar tech here. I know I can send it back, but I'd rather keep it and play it now! You know the feeling..? :-

 

A lot of guys make the case that you should always play a guitar in a local shop before buying' date=' and one of the reasons for doing so is that you can have the store tech adjust the guitar to your preference.[/quote']

Of course you're right. No need to rub it in. [-(

 

The guitar arrived with a close-to-perfect tuning. This implies that there HAS been some string pressure on the thing since it left the factory. But as you said, who knows how many boats and wareouses it's resided in before it reached me, and for how long...

 

One method is to simply wait and see if the neck bends like I want it to. But I doubt that will happen within 30 days.

 

In Sweden we refer to this kind of issues as "industrialized country problems". :-k

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My Gibsons are liable to change with the weather even though I dont go out the house with them.. Dont go thinking just because you got a Custom everythings gonna be just perfect... All guitars need adjustment... Customs are no exception..

 

Congrats on the purchase...How about some pics?

 

Welcome to the forums,

 

Regards

Flight959

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Of course you're right. No need to rub it in. =P~)

 

I wasn't trying to rub it in' date=' my friend. I only don't know your level of experience with guitars and I was merely stating some player's preference. I have ordered from the web myself, but I do my own guitar setup. I hope you get your new Gibson playable soon and enjoy her for many days to come. Congratulations and welcome. We would love to see pics of your new Custom soon.[img']http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/pp109/LJVigil3/thumbsup2.gif[/img]

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A lot of guys make the case that you should always play a guitar in a local shop before buying' date=' and one of the reasons for doing so is that you can have the store tech adjust the guitar to your preference.

 

You may want to check the guitar for high frets, but I doubt that is the case.[/quote']

 

I almost *never* trust a "store tech" to adjust my guitars. In too many cases that equates to "the only salesman who knows upon which end of the neck the truss rod adjustment might live". And that's about it. I learned how to do my own setups long ago, so I really have no problems buying guitars online. It's only when I run into more serious problem that I turn to a good repair guy.

 

If I'm buying a new guitar, I'll often try to *avoid* local shops (except for used and vintage shops), and particularly Guitar Centers, where the guitars are sometimes badly abused before you get to them. Buying guitars from online sources has been very good to me (knock on wood).

 

I suggest that if you have questions about doing your own setup, buy a book called 'How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great" by Dan Erlewine -- it's about $14 at Amazon. If you've got several guitars, it might be worth picking up the "setup toolkit" (I don't know what, exactly, they're calling it) at StewMac.

 

In this particular case, I'd definitely get hold of a good metal straight edge and look for a high fret or two...

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i'm with chongo on the setup thing. get paul balmer's Haynes manual for the les paul, and dont be afraid to get your fingers dirty. or break a guitar or two. but then thats what budget guitars are for, right?

 

in all seriousness though sven, is the intonation ok all the way up the neck?

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You Axe is Fine, it just needs more forward bow. You have to wait 24hrs after any truss rod adjustment, for the neck to settle, your strings will pull it in. It's soft Mahogany not maple. Check your forward bow by holding the low "E" string down at the 1st and 12th frets and looking up to a light for its clearance.

 

Your looking for about 3 to 6 thou, depending on where you mainly play on the neck. You want more if its lower and less if your mainly higher up. Throw some 52-10's on it or 48-10's set the strings to buzz then go up from there and don't ever push on the neck to try and bend-it wait 24hrs, Dude.

 

Also most likely your strings are riding high on the nut. A pro will have to cut them just right, then readjust everything you messed with for it to be real nice.

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I wasn't trying to rub it in' date=' my friend.[/quote']

I know! No problem, dude. :)

 

in all seriousness though sven' date=' is the intonation ok all the way up the neck?[/quote']

Yes, it's near perfect. In fact, I've never played a guitar with a better intonation. This may be because of the rather heavy strings it came with (.011 I guess).

 

You Axe is Fine' date=' it just needs more forward bow. You have to wait 24hrs after any truss rod adjustment, for the neck to settle, your strings will pull it in.[/quote']

Hopefully you're right. After I stopped playing (late) last night, I tuned the guitar two seminotes sharp to increase the tension and then I put it back in its rack. Later this evening, when I get home, I'll check and see if it's started to bend the way I like.

 

Check your forward bow by holding the low "E" string down at the 1st and 12th frets and looking up to a light for its clearance.

 

Your looking for about 3 to 6 thou' date=' depending on where you mainly play on the neck.[/quote']

Last time I checked, that clearance was almost NIL. That's what bothers me.

 

Guitars... [-(

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Don't be over-spring the neck by doing Stupid things dude. You want to make a truss rod adjustment only (don't go up a few tunings to try and force the neck into a forward Bow position) then wait a while. It will go.

 

Your springing the neck. Dont do that.

 

You said you turned the truss rod adjustment about a half of a turn and it was loose. I bet in 24hrs it wont be, and you will have some clearance between the 3rd and 9th or so frets. In that position your strings will have room to vibrate without touching the frets.

 

Even 9-42's will pull a gibby into forward bow, quickly. Quit shocking your new neck. Don't hurry-up and wait. Just relax and wait. It really will go into a forward bow position within an hour or so. but its always best to wait the full 24hrs. then go from there. Just do small adjustments at a time, with the rod nut only. Remember don't ever get the neck into a under bow condition. Ya know to straight.

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I just came back from guitar tech Peter Clemmedson in Malmö. He's a great guy! He spent 10 minutes on the truss rod and bridge height adjustment and then told me no to worry. He told me that the string buzz that's left now will probably go away with time.

 

Other factors that matter are the style of the player (yes, I admit I often play my guitars quite hard, but I can adjust) and string gauges. I'll definitely get some sets of "slinky top, heavy bottom" for this baby.

 

So all in all, everything is cool. It was just me over-reacting to the shipment of a brand new expensive Gibson that buzzed like hell.

 

I want to thank you all for your patience and friendlyness. You guys rock!!! =P~/

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