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Buzzing Les Paul Tribute

Luke Flyswatter

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I just bought a brand new Les Paul Tribute Plus, and although it's a beautiful guitar, it buzzes like the dickens. I have set up all of my own guitars, but this one I can't get rid of the buzz. The action was low when I bought it, but it buzzed all the way up and down the fret board. I can't even get it set at the standard 6/64th on the bass side as stated in the manual for the guitar. The A string buzzes like no tomorrow, no matter how much or how little relief I dial in. The only solution is to raise the action sky high.


Looking around online, I've noticed a lot of complaints about absurd fret buzz with this and other high end Epiphones. Naturally, Epiphone won't return my calls regarding this either.


Am I going to have to pay to have a full fret leveling done on a brand new $600 guitar? Having a setup done is one thing, but no amount of truss rod turning will remedy the buzz. Why is Epiphone shipping such low quality instruments?


I'm really rather disappointed. I also found a wire inside that needed soldering, it was hanging on to the pot by a thread.


Everything else is great. The guitar looks amazing, the tuners are fabulous, the finish is nice, the top is a nice flame maple. I'd really hate to have to send it back for another one that may not have as good of a top.


The manual states that action lower than the 6/64ths is not a warranty issue, but what about action WAY above that setting? Can I take this to a certified service center to have it fixed? I'm pretty sure they'll have to do a fret leveling. I was really hoping for something a little better at this price point. At the least it should be properly functional.

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I hear ya i just bought a ace frehely budokan for 800 i love the

guitar like you said the finish the feel sound but i also have fret buzz on the 6 and 5th


what neck type is yours my is called a d shape and i know the ultras have the same problem and the same neck.

I dont want to return my guitar eaither. I am going to bring it in for a professinal set and see if it can be fixed.

one thing the tech said was that my nut was alittle high and he would have to bring it down.

hoping thats the problem.

keep me posted if u find out anything.

Epi going to start losing customer if they keep this up. there guitars are getting

more expensive and the quality is going down? you can now buy american gibsons

for the price of some epis


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Yeah, this is crazy. It has the sticker saying it was set up and inspected in the USA. Was it inspected by a blind and deaf mute?


I paid for a working guitar. This guitar doesn't even meet their own VERY HIGH action standards. I have to set it quite a bit higher to alleviate the buzz.


I wanted to look at the option of another color, the retailer said they had others in their facility, but they weren't available, because they were being sent back due to quality control issues!


Here I was miffed into thinking Epiphone had really come up a few notches. I mean, a Les Paul with Gibson 57 classic pickups for $600 is great, but not if it's not playable.


I guess it's our duty to go around to all the websites and post reviews warning other people about buying Epiphone products if they're going to be like this, and refuse to even return people's phone calls.


From Gibson's own PDF "How to Buy A Guitar"


Electric guitars typically have

lower action than acoustics. The

strings should be close enough to

the fingerboard that they’re easy

to play, yet high enough that there

is no buzzing around the frets. Fret

buzz could also be caused by frets

that are too high – an indication of

bad quality control and a real cause

for concern.


I suggest not reading their PDF, because they break every rule and do everything they're complaining about with their Epiphone line.

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Can you make a "buzz map", like this (no buzz: "0"; buzzing: 1-9 depending how bad it is):





0 0 0 0 0 0

------------1st fret


0 2 3 4 0 0

-----------2nd fret





It should be possible to diagnose the problem from that.

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I don't see any really high frets. They all seem to be set to the same level when sighting down the neck.


As for which frets buzz, I'll have to set the action back to the factory standard of 6/64ths and see which ones it was again. I raised it so I could play a little with less buzzing, but as you can imagine, the higher frets are really hard to play on with it set so high.


When I first got it, it was buzzing all up and down the fret board, with a nice low action set by Sweetwater. I think Epiphone needs a plek system or something for setting the frets, because it's just insane that it's this bad.


I'll reset it to their Epiphone standards as per the manual, and then show what the buzzing is like as requested.

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First, I'd carefully set neck relief to 0.3mm or 0.4mm (using feeler guages - see here). The final "ideal" relief for you might be a little different but right now you just need to check you've got a reasonably sane value so we can rule that out as a cause.


Next, adjust the bridge so at "most" of the frets are OK. Forget about the factory standard for the moment. If everything is buzzing, you won't be able to tell where the problem is.


If it just got a lot better, relief was the problem (or part of it).

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I just bought a brand new Les Paul Tribute Plus,

.....set by Sweetwater.


Some of the best guitars I have (and I have a few) are Epiphones.

As you are dealing with Sweetwater, I am presuming you are in the U.S.


That being the case, your setup neck deflection should be around .010" measured as Mcgruff suggests.

(with feeler gauges, capo on first fret and pressing string at 12th)

Some prefer to press at 17th... other where the neck joins the body.



Next, did you put new strings on the guitar? May not solve the problem but, can't hurt.


Also, as you are dealing with Sweetwater, give them a call.

They are a very good company and can be very helpful.


Otherwise, send it back for an exchange! If it is brand new and unplayable after a good setup...You don't want it.



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I just noticed that no one spoke about the nut. No, not the one playing the guitar, the one at the end of the neck. [biggrin]


A quick, easy check to see if the nut has been cut too low is to place a capo in between the 3rd, and 4th frets.

Tap the strings at the 1st fret, or try to slide a card under the strings at the 1st.

If the strings are tight on the fret, the nut has been cut too low. There should be a few thousandths room.

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Also the nut slots could be too high. Pretty common that the nut is too high at the factory. I don't think they cut the slots, just popped one in out of a pile at the factory and never adjusted from there before shipping. Cut the wound E and A a little lower and voila!

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Yeah, this guitar has a problem that can't be cured by setup. I've tried everything from .010" to much .3 or .4 mm as suggested in this thread, and even higher. Then raising the action to 7 or 8/64th of an inch as well as every setting in between. I did put a brand new set of EB regular slinky on there as soon as I got it. I don't bother with the factory strings, but those were buzzing up and down the entire neck with Sweetwater's setup too. I don't know how they passed it through their quality control, let alone Epiphone.


The buzz is on the "A" string mostly, sometimes the "E" and a little on the "D". It buzzes from about the 5th fret till it clears a little at the 8th and 9th, then buzzes all the way up the rest of the neck. This is REGARDLESS of any kind of relief, or bridge height, until it's at a point that it's not even playable. Really, anything beyond 6/64ths is not a playable action for me. It's just way too high at that setting when you start trying to play at the 15th fret and above for solos.


I think I'm just going to send it back and try again. It seems the buzz problem is to be found on a lot of Epiphones. I'm really disappointed.


Going by the big buzz list, it seems to be a problem with uneven frets, which is what I thought to begin with, or an improperly set neck, or even a combination of both. I shouldn't be looking to pay for a fret leveling on a brand new guitar, that's just absurd, but I think it's the only thing that would fix it. I have spent hours and hours, for days and days trying every combination of relief and bridge height, and it seems incurable.

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I think I'm just going to send it back and try again. It seems the buzz problem is to be found on a lot of Epiphones. I'm really disappointed.


I've owned many Epiphones over the years, old and recent models, and never had a problem with fret buzz. And yes, send it back, what are you waiting for?

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No need to send it back. Took it to an authorized Gibson repair center today, and I must admit my mistake, because he fixed it. He did a number of adjustments, and got it playing very nice, with a nice low action, and it started with the nut.


I honestly didn't realize that the changes he made with the nut would make this much difference. It still has some buzz, but not enough to matter, and it's a whole new world. Man was I stupid, but I have the guts to admit it. [blush]


That said, he did have an Epiphone ES-335 in there JUST THIS MORNING that he could NOT fix. On that one, he did the whole routine AND dressed the frets, and just couldn't fix it. He said he was dumbfounded, because he couldn't get it right.


This guy has done work for a number of big names, and knows his stuff. He fixed the action, and a few other minor details that needed repaired inside of 30 mins.


So, I was wrong. It was fixable. ](*,)


That said, he did tell me my setup was good, but I know now I would have never got to where he did without his knowledge. I was close, but didn't have nut files or some of the other tools he had to make it right.

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