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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 10:03 pm 
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Koa
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Hello,

I had a neighbor bring over a new Epiphone LP he picked up at Guitar Center.

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone/L ... -Guitar.gc

He was complaining about buzzing on the G and D when fretted from 11-14. I checked the action and it seemed fine at the 12th and the bridge height looked good. The nut slots were really high so I helped out there (not to fix the buzz but just because ;)).

What I noticed was with the fret rocker I could see that the 13th - 15th were all high in spots. It was worse in the middle of the board which I guess makes sense why the G and D were worst.

Should a brand new guitar need a fret level like that? Is this the “ski ramp” issue perhaps? I have very little experience with electrics in general.

Also, the relief seemed fine as well. The only problem I found was the high frets.

Brad


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 10:09 pm 
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I'd suggest you check first for badly seated frets. I fixed a lot of those this past winter as it was unusually long and harsh. And a brand new lower-tier guitar usually has a few of them anyway...


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These users thanked the author Smylight for the post: bcombs510 (Tue May 07, 2019 10:10 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 11:41 pm 
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It is not uncommon for new Gibsons and Fenders to need fret levels...

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: bcombs510 (Wed May 08, 2019 12:17 am)
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 5:33 am 
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Most new guitars under $1000 have the frets just pressed in and that's it, they are not leveled and dressed at the factory at these prices..... Cheaper guitars are cheaper for a reason and this is one. See this all to often.

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post (total 2): Smylight (Wed May 08, 2019 8:34 am) • bcombs510 (Wed May 08, 2019 5:55 am)
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 6:28 pm 
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I’m going to check the seating and then level this guitar over the upcoming weekend.

Is this process the same as acoustic? Take the tension out of the truss rod, level and dress?

I have never worked on an electric.


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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 11:57 am 
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Brad, I am anal about fretwork whatever the guitar. I want the frets to be perfect. Because most electric players use more of the fretboard it is probably more critical that the entire board be leveled - absolutely no humps or fall off or ski jump all the way to the end. With their lower tension typically the strings on an electric won't pull as much relief, and because the neck is longer, the relief will be longer. One thing to watch for on screw on necks (not your Epi) is that if the screws are at all loose tension will pull that joint open a hair.

I use basically the same setup numbers on a fingerstyle acoustic and an electric, but pay special attention to that area of the neck where electric players do a lot of bending. Make sure that you can do full bends without fretting out. Otherwise I just do them the same.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: bcombs510 (Wed May 15, 2019 11:58 am)
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 3:02 pm 
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I go through the same process for both. Fret level, polish and fall away are done the same for acoustic or electric - I require the frets to be perfect when I do a setup. Differences are in the relief ( I generally mill in a bit more relief on the bass side for acoustics, especially bluegrass players) plus strings will have slightly more relief adjusted in on acoustics and the acoustic action is usually a bit higher. It's all variable depending on the style of the player, i.e. windmill rhythm vs jazz player on electrics or bluegrass rhythm vs fingerstyle on acoustics and so on.....

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: bcombs510 (Wed May 15, 2019 3:03 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 1:58 pm 
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I first tried resetting 10-16 and put the strings back on, same problem.

Next, I went through my normal process to level the frets. When I’m doing the extension I use the smaller leveling beam and put a few layers of tape on one end in order to mill in some fall away. I was focused on keeping the tape right on the 12th fret. Unfortunately when I looked down the last two frets were super low, so low I couldn’t even really crown them properly. They must have been humped up pretty high and I didn’t realize it. :(

I think I’ll have to pull and replace those two. Maybe it’s an opportunity to put better wire on the whole thing, but....

Does anyone have a good reference for what fret wire is commonly put on factory guitars? I use Jescar medium 43080 for the acoustics I build. It looks to be more narrow than what’s on this guitar.

Brad


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 7:17 pm 
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In my limited experience brand new epiphones (and many other brand new guitars as well) are exactly as Brian mentions, in definite need of fret work right out of the box.

This probably isn't news to you, but something else I've noticed with les paul style guitars (more so then bolt on guitars or acoustics) is that if there's too much relief you'll always be fighting against fret buzz in this region of the neck. Freeman Keller has a cool diagram that shows how too much relief can cause the strings to fret out right before the neck joint despite good, or even high action. The truss rod doesn't really affect the portion of fret board connected to the body, and so if there is too much relief the fret board effectively dives away from the body causing the frets over the body to behave as high frets and interfere with your strings when you're playing higher up the neck. I've found it a little counter-intuitive but sometimes removing relief can remedy fret buzz coming from that region.


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:06 pm 
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Koa
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This is helpful to understand the effects of relief on different parts of the neck.

http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/neck_relief_1.htm

I'll also add that while we have beat up Gibson for the quality control (or lack of) over the past couple of years, I've been more impressed with Epiphone than Gibson themselves. I recently had a pretty new Les Paul that had 25 thousands of relief from the factory. The truss rod nut had finish on it, it had never been turned. The guitar passed QC

Attachment:
IMG_3856.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_3858.JPG


I dressed the frets as routine matter. Its only a $3K guitar after all, what do you expect?


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:17 pm 
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Koa
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Is it common for the last two frets to have been so crazy high compared to the rest of the board?

What I did was take the truss rod out of tension so the neck would be flat. The straight edge I used didn’t quite reach to the end of the board (3 or 4 frets shy). I checked it was flat by trying to slide a 0.002 feeler gauge between the straight edge and the frets. I couldn’t get the gauge under any frets with the exception of 5,6 and 10. I took that to mean those were just lower , which was also what I experienced with the fret rocker.

I proceeded to level 1-14 with the long beam, no issues. I took just a little off the top in order to fully remove the marker I used to mark the tops. I then used a shorter beam to do the extension. I always put a couple layers of tape at one end of the short beam and let it ride on top of the 14th to put some fall away into the extension. Unfortunately I was focused on the area near the body joint and wasn’t realizing that 21-22 has like half the height gone.

Is that normal for the end of the extension to be humped up like that?

That’s for the link, I will read it.


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 9:23 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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I've never observed that but then I've only worked on a few LP's (plus my own). I have a vintage 335 right now, the last couple of frets fall away from the fret plane.

While I have never seen a need to use one, this might be a place where one of those notched straightedges that StewMac sells would be helpful. The idea is that you can see if the fretboard itself is level - I've never worried about it because I know mine are. However if the fretboard on yours kicks up then thats a whole new can of worms, particularly on a new guitar.

One of the things I do to find frets that aren't completely seated is run my thinnest feeler blade around the crown - if it goes in I know the fret isn't all the way down. And while I'll do some spot leveling or a portion of the board, I also have a full length beam and I do the entire thing.

Attachment:
IMG_4789.JPG


You can make a passable 24 inch leveler out of an inexpensive aluminum carpenters level and some sticky back sand paper. I like 120 grit on one side for wood and 400 for frets. The picture shows an expensive beam that someone gave me.


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These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: bcombs510 (Sun May 19, 2019 9:24 pm)
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