New Epi owner from Seattle! and need set up advice

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Mike Recinto, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    Greetings,

    I am excited to talk to other owners! I am coming from playing a Strat. I found I probably was playing the wrong type of guitar compared to the music I listen to and want to play. I had my eye on a SG-400 Pro, but thought before I step into the different style of guitar, I should buy a less expensive one first. I ended up picking up the Les Paul Special with P90's.
    I wanted to get some experience setting up one of these and learning to work the volume and tone.
    Wow, when I plugged it in for the first time I was so happy I got one. I'm loving the tones coming from it.
    However, I have some questions on setup with the wraparound tailpiece . I am having the hardest time with intonation. I set the truss rod, retune to pitch. The open and 12th fret notes are the same. However all notes are off and sharp on fret 2 (but ok if I press real light) I put on Ernie Ball Slinky' 10's.
    If they were .10s from the factory, what do you suggest I work next? I've done the 'tap test' and feel the strings are still to close when tapping the 7th fret. The low E at fret 12 is buzzing more than I would like. At this point I don't care if the answer is to set the action high, I just want the notes to be accurate! I thought maybe the nut needed to be replaced, but I figured I get close with what's on there now then upgrade later. I have NOT raised the tailpiece, I figure just truss rod adjustments for now because I can always set that back. I confirmed that 10s gauge strings were on the guitar from factory so it's not an issue of heavier gauge. i don't want to keep adjusting the truss rod, but it seems that I need more relief. It was suggested I post pictures of the action height. I will try to post that next.

    Thanks!
    Mike
     
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  2. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Before trying to do intonation, you have to find the neck adjustment sweet spot for the best strings action.

    First, get the neck straight. You turn the truss rod ¼ turn at a time, then check relief. If the neck is too concave, turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex, turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise.

    Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

    Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

    When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

    Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

    This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.
     
  3. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Before you go turning your axe into a bow and arrow trying to use the Force to setup your guitar. Perhaps you'd like some actual Gibby factory measurements?

    Neck relief .012" Capo the 1st fret, and hold the string at the body joint. Measure at #7 If you don't have a feeler gauge you can get one cheap at Harbor Freight / Canuckistan Tire or similar.

    String height at 12th fret: Low E factory: 5/64", High E factory: 3/64". You can get a ruler in 64ths where you get the feeler gauge.

    Start with this, and adjust to taste after you make sure there are no high frets or other issues that might be concealed by other methods.

    Dave's World of Fun Stuff on YouTube is a good no B.S. resource.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
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  4. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    Happy Holidays and Thanks all!

    I think my mistake was after I changed strings, I wanted to raise the 'action' for better slide playing and adjusted the truss rod a bit. I didn't think about the two flathead screw posts on the tailpiece. I knew if I kept giving more relief, it wouldn't be good. I tightened it back up with little increments. It seemed to get better. The other question is if I need to adjust the small intonation screws out a little first and start over. The one for the high E side is screwed in all the way. It was like that out of the box. So it only has one way to adjust if the 12th fret notes are a tad sharp.
    If I want to raise the strings to help play slide, do I do this with the tailpiece too? I read that will help with tension for string bending.
     
  5. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Can we see a photo of that problematic bridge ?

    This is where mine stands, it can't be that much difference.

    2019-01-10 Casa kit.jpg
     
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't have said it much better myself... :cool:
     
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  7. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Yes of course, that method was a courtesy of our friend Biddlin, should give him credit for it.
     
  8. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    I'd go with that.

    Why not give credit to Joe Walsh? I mean he's got old YouTube videos of him doing it. (As well as actual guitar techs who actually measure things after he's done to make sure they go back the way he likes it)

    I seriously doubt either of them actually invented it.
    My money is on this little feller:
    191121-baby-yoda-cs-959a_ed40d38efa3cde7ab92df2d5492a81a5.fit-760w.jpg

    If nothing else, measurements give you a starting point that you can return to if you do something wrong.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  9. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    4B3DD36B-68A8-4559-8A68-0EDC90F86040.jpeg Thanks all! I think I got it sounding good. I know that it can’t be really perfect. It’s been a great learning experience. I took the advice of one posting and got the neck straightened where the strings were flat. Then turned the truss rod and did the tap test.
    So many trial and errors. I have no tools yet. So I did the .10 string test and a nickel when approximating string height. I am not touching this until I get tools and better tuner hardware. I don’t want to drill new holes. Any suggestions for ones that use the existing holes?
    I have to power chord an open A. That 3rd string is not sounding right. I heard I should use a wound third string.

    16A263A4-6F41-4462-8DDA-D33C59292D65.jpeg
     
  10. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    93FB07B9-0739-43DB-A90A-00F8FCA97852.jpeg
     
  11. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Your bridge has the intonation screws loose, bridge right on the posts and you need to go further in ? That is strange.

    This is what it should look like once intonated. Probably not exactly the same, but I have never seen a lightning bridge adjusted without any grub screw tension.

    MojoAxe 60s Wraparound 009a.jpg
    https://hazeguitars.com/blog/setting-intonation-on-a-wrapover-or-stop-tailpiece-bridge-including-prs

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
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  12. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Hipshot has universal mounting plates.
    Hipshot-2.jpg
    I went with the open gear locking tuners, (I tie enough strings to know I don't enjoy it) but they also have enclosed models without the locking feature should that float your boat.
     
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  13. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    I found that picture online too! It really helped. I had the screws out because it was shipped in similar fashion. I figure it was relative based on your string gauge and action? I screwed them in. I made them a bit tighter, the tone is good and I can play slide better. It's a good starting point again. The second fret notes are all sharp, so I will make small adustments. I might get a new bridge as some suggested, but it's been fun to try to work on this tailpiece/bridge with no individual adjustments.
     
  14. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what intonation is and how to make it work ?

    Second fret notes sharp is a sign of a nut that has its slots cut too high. That's another thing to be looked after. Or it could be a death grip on your part, meaning you push the strings down so much that you stretch them and make them sound sharp. Happens a lot when you're learning the ropes.

    Give yourself a break and have a pro do a seup on your guitar. Ask if you can stay there when he does it, you'll learn a lot.
     
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  15. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Clarification: They have open and enclosed models with and without the locking function. Made in upstate New York if that's something you're into.
     
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  16. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    Yeah I understand the intonation and the math behind it. I just have never done it when I had to move the angle of the bridge and can’t adjust individual string saddles. I think it could be the ‘death grip’. I play acoustic more and I’m used to pressing down hard for the open A chord. it’s really the Open A and D chords that sound a bit off. I’m also wondering if the bridge on the high string side is too high. I ordered a feeler gauge and height measurement tool. I’ve been eyeballing it or using non-tool methods. I had it so close where even most of the notes past the 12th were in tune. Then I muck it all up again trying to get it perfect. I did realize if I didn’t press so hard on the open A and D, it sounded better. I’m taking a break and will try setting it up with the tools and start with the recommended measurements.
    Thanks!
     
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  17. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Then I'd say go back to the setting up method I described above and only then do the intonation. You have to take your time doing intonation with a wraparound. If you get both E strings 100% true, the 4 other will follow. Always loosening strings between each adjustment and retuning the 6 of them, start with low E. Get it 100%, check high E. If high E needs to be adjusted, loosen strings, move bridge on that end, retune. Check high E again, if OK, go to low E again. Do this until you get both E's to be perfectly intonated on the whole neck.

    Again, take the time it needs and you'll get it right.
     
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  18. Paruwi

    Paruwi Kraut-Rocker

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    Hi @Mike Recinto


    a belated Welcome here @ €piTalk
    :wave:

    somehow I've missed this thread
     
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  19. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    I want to thank everyone for their responses.

    Update: a while back I got my feeler gauge and string height measurement tool. I got a set of radius gauges. This really helped. I was very close but after I flattened the neck and set it up with the measurements, it plays really well.
    The hardest part was the wraparound bridge. I think I had done it so many times over and over, I just knew how much to adjust (very, very small changes and let it set overnight). I love this Epiphone and will be getting my SG 400 PRO soon! I will upgrade the LP Special P90 with some new tuners and nut (which will be another learning experience)

    Thanks!
     
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  20. Mike Recinto

    Mike Recinto New Member

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    Thanks, this was great advice!
     
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