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Binding and the E string


mirage

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I have a Les Paul Standard Ltd and I've got a question about the high E string slipping on to the fretboad binding.

 

It used to be quite a problem due to the saddles being cut incorrectly, but even after having them re-cut I still find that the E string will slip off when doing the Angus young sort of thing, doing fast pull-offs from the 8th 5th frets to open, and occasionally when barring. It's not a problem on any of my other guitars without binding, but I have also tried it on a friends Les Paul Classic and have noticed the same thing.

 

Is this normal for a les Paul, could it be the frets are dressed so they curve too much toward the edge of the fretboard?

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Is there a gap between the fret edge and the neck binding that the string get's caught in? if its not happening yet it soon will do. I noticed you said you had the saddle re cut which I think is where your problem exists. Why don't you buy a new saddle and go from there?

 

If its happening with other guitars then it may just be you...

 

Just an idea

 

Regards

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This wasn't a problem until guitarists began to use lighter gauge strings. The thinner high E is also more likely to snag on any small gap or step in the binding. It's possible to adapt your technique to minimise this, but when you switch from a guitar without binding, or one that has the frets overlapping the binding, it can be a nuisance. Some players never have a problem with this, while others have the guitar refretted overlapping the binding. Can you take a macro shot of the fret ends ?

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it's kind of hard to tell from the picture but it looks like there's more space between the B and high-E string at the nut than the others?

 

Did you measure it against your others to see if it's different?

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Could also be that the nut was cut incorrectly and maybe the slot for the E string needs to move north a couple mm's ...

 

it's kind of hard to tell from the picture but it looks like there's more space between the B and high-E string at the nut than the others? ...

 

Yes, that what it looks like to me. 10s are standard issue, so strings are okay. Looks like the strings are centered over the bridge pup screws, so saddles should be okay.

 

Find a good luthier, explain the problem, and have a new nut installed, spaced with the intention of getting that high E a smidge further back from that edge of the neck from where it is now.

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I have measured the string spacing against other guitars, there is a slight difference but not much. I'll have to find myself someone to cut a new nut i guess, I'm in between techs at the moment.

 

thanks

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I also agree the high E is too close to the binding. The A is displaced closer to the D. Has this guitar been refretted ? The frets ends appear to have been filed so they curve to meet the binding which would encourage the string to slip off. You see quite a bit of variation in how the fret ends are finished, particularly those that have had a refret.

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It does look like the high E is a little too far from the B given the rest of the strings. But if that's just an optical illusion, then you might be running into the reason that a lot of people don't like the way Gibson and a couple of others do their neck binding--they apply it AFTER the guitar has been fretted, which has the effect of making the fretboard slightly narrower than the neck width itself. For a guitar with the same neck width, you have less room on the fretboard on a bound neck of this type than on an unbound neck. You might just be used to your unbound ones.

 

Though I still maintain that it looks as if the high E string is spaced too far from the B in every picture. I'd replace the nut with a Tusq or graphite piece, maybe even an intonation-adjusted one.

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I am having the same probem with my Gibson Les Paul Standard LE. I didnt notice it when I was playing it in the store a few months ago but since then it has progressivley got worse and worse to where now it is hardly playable. I brought it to a local guitar shop where it was set up professionally and they tried to fix the problem by filing down the fret edges but that didnt help. Ive read where others have had the same problem wth similar models. This is a gorgeous guitar and I dont want to get rid of it but I also dont want to spend a fortune to make it play the way it should. (I bought it used so the warranty is gone) Ive contacted Gibson which was no help and I aslo contacted a warranty center about 3 hours from where I live that said they could replace the binding (for a pretty penny.) Please let me know if you find a solution to this problem and I will do the same.

 

axeslinger@netzero.net

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Callen's right--it's the nut, not the frets or binding. Just get a new nut made with the correct spacing.

 

And as for your guitar, axesliger, I can't tell without pictures.

But if the string is slipping, filing down the frets probably hurts more than helps, and this may be why it got worse. You probably have a wonky nut on the guitar like Mirage does.

 

But, again, if you're used to playing on a guitar without Gibson's style of fingerboard binding (not all of the manufacturers do it this way) then it could be that you're used to the frets running all the way to the edge of the neck, whereas a Gibson's don't.

 

It's a learning curve--I had a heck of a time with it when I went from a Strat to a '71 Hagstrom Viking, and it got worse after a few inches of binding fell off the Viking's fretboard. (Let's not even talk about the Hagstrom Swede's neck binding, which is GONE on one side and missing pieces on the other. Hagstrom neck binding from way back when had serious issues with durability). But after I got used to it--which took a while and a deliberate effort to change my finger vibrato technique--I didn't have a slippage issue.

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A properly cut nut will help, but not cure this. We have to accept that the binding creates a relatively narrow fretboard. My Les Paul Custom has a perfectly cut nut, yet I would often pull the string over the binding. In this case, the frets were fairly low, and the transition from fret to binding was very smooth with just a slight click as the string passed over the joint. With higher frets, they are sometimes given a small bevel to drop down to the nibs on the binding, or filed with a curve which causes the string to slip off the edge. The fret ends on my SG had been filed excessively by the factory. I got used to it, but it meant I had to hold back from using a heavy vibrato on the high E.

 

For those who can't / don't want to adapt to the Gibson fret-binding issue, a refret with fret ends overlapping the binding is the only solution.

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