Seeking advice- 59 2020 LP

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Darkness, Apr 29, 2021.

  1. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    Hello, new guitar player here. Long story short, I've been learning on an acoustic and a friend let me play his Gibson LP, I couldn't get it out of my head. I decided to buy a new 59 Epiphone. It arrived last week and I have been playing it about an hour a day.

    It buzzez on D string in first through fourth frets consistently. It was buzzing consistently on G string first and second fret but seems to come and go now. It also buzzes occasionally on B string on the first four frets. The guitar is out of the box, stock strings and no adjustments other than me tuning it. I can hear the buzz come through my amp.

    My initial thought is to put a straight edge to it to check the neck. If that looks okay to my untrained eye, I would check frets for a high one. I'm also considering swapping the strings out.

    Am I on the right track here? I am hesitant to take it to a professional for a setup because the way that D buzzes no matter what and others buzz occasionally confuses me. Is this a possible defective guitar that I shouldn't keep?

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
     

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  2. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Common occurence, nothing major here. If you don't know how, it would be a good thing to have a tech or luthier look it up and do a set up. That way, you're pretty sure the guitar will be at its best.
     
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  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Visit a professional and get a proper setup. Play it when you pick it up and have any personal preferences and questions addressed.
     
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  4. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    Thank you both @Biddlin and @BGood I'm glad to hear that this is normal. I'm comfortable trying to make the adjustment myself, I have a cheap spare guitar I can practice on first. I'll give that a shot and if its more complicated than I thought, to a professional I'll go with my new guitar.
     
  5. BarnsleyBoy

    BarnsleyBoy New Member

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    Don't underestimate what a good guitar set-up can do! If you haven't been playing for very long, I'd stick to the basic adjustments (adjusting the bridge height, intonation, perhaps some very gentle and very small adjustments to the truss rod). Definitely change the strings, those strings have been on that guitar since it left the factory in china. They have most likely travelled across seas and oceans, experienced changes in temperature and humidity and tarnished or even rusted in some cases. The frets are most likely scratchy, so you could give them a polish - don't never, ever, ever use wire wool, those strands get everywhere and they love magnets! Lemon oil on the fretboard will nourish it where it has dried out.

    Fret dressing, lowering the nut height, fret crowning and the associated finishing I would recommend at this stage leaving to a professional. Go on recommendation from others if you can. On the face of it it always seems such a lot of money to pay on top of the instrument, but I promise you the difference will be like night and day. So many people start to learn the guitar on instruments that are so badly set up that they are almost impossible to play.

    That's a beautiful guitar. If that is your first electric you really can't go wrong - enjoy!!
     
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  6. Jeffytune

    Jeffytune Well-Known Member

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    Hey Darkness,

    Ask your guitar teacher who set up his LP, and have that person do the initial set up. This way they can adjust things like the nut height and spot level & crown a high fret.
    This takes special tools and skill to do right, and is far less costly then paying them to correct a mistake.
    After that, Gibson has set up video's on their you tube channel that can show you set up.
    Another good you tube channel is "Dave world of fun stuff". He is an old cranky Canadian who does guitar repairs, entertaining and fun to watch, as long as you not overly sensitive.
     
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  7. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    Thanks @BarnsleyBoy and @Jeffytune

    I'm planning to spend a bit of time tomorrow replacing the strings and making a few small adjustments. The guy who tuned my teacher's guitar is about an hours dive from me. He's a bit backed up as well but thats okay. I might go to him after this month is over, I have a busy month coming up.
     
  8. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Dave's World of Fun Stuff on YouTube is a great resource for learning how to setup a guitar.

    But before someone comes in here telling a complete n00b (no offense) to setup a guitar by using the Force or some method they ripped off from the lead guitarist of the James Gang I figured I'd give you some actual measurements to start with.

    Since it's a new guitar it shouldn't be miles out, probably a truss rod adjustment and some checks.

    Some tools you'll need.
    • 4mm Allen key (I like a long T handle model)
    • Phillips screwdriver
    • Capo (cheapo from Monoprice works fine)
    • Set of feeler gauges specifically a 0. 012" / .30mm
    • ruler capable of measuring in 64ths
    Most of this you can get at your local hardware store, in fact I know Harbor Freight / Northern Tool carries all of it in one form or another except the capo. Might not have the T handle though...

    Dave can explain it in video form better than I have time to do here, but here goes.
    The measurements below are in most cases stock measurements from the factory or at least numbers I've used with great success over the years of working on my guitars and for other people.

    Truss rod: Capo at the first fret hold the low E string at the body joint. Use your feeler gauges at the 7th fret. I like about 0.012" of relief. Go slowly. 1/8 of a turn at a time at most and measure often.

    String Height: Uncapoed
    Measured at the 12th fret Gibsonish stuff 5/64ths on the bass side 4/64ths on the treble. Fenderish stuff 4/64ths for everything. On Gibsonish products ensure that the strings don't hit the back of the bridge. If you can slip a piece of regular paper under them, you're good. The stop bar is adjustable by design. That's a whole other rant, but for now just trust me.

    Pickup height: Hold the E/e string at the last fret depending on which side you're doing. Bass side I like to start with 6/64ths or 3/32", and 4/64ths or 1/16th on the treble side. Detune if you need to raise the action. You can get away with lowering the action under tension, but it won't hurt anything to detune for that as well.

    Intonation *should* be spot on unless someone f'd with it.

    Just remember, go slowly don't force it. Watch Dave he's been doing this seemingly forever.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  9. Supersonic

    Supersonic Well-Known Member

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  10. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, Music Nomad's String Action gauge is pretty good, in fact I'd recommend it. That said, you can get the feeler gauges cheaper, and I have no idea why you'd need radius gauges to setup a Les Paul as you're not changing anything on that front.
     
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  11. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    I have a few good sets of feeler gauges. I'll have to check if I have the right ones but pretty confident I do. I've adjusted valves on lots of my cars over the years. I also have a good straight edge but I went ahead and ordered a string action gauge for $10. I don't think I will need radius for this, if I'm not mistaken that isn't adjustable on LP. I may pick up a set for my practice victim.

    I have an old, well I won't say the F word, guitar that I will practice on. I could see the neck needs adjustment on that guitar right away just by putting a capo on first fret and pinching the 12th and 14th frets. I got that guitar free from my wifes family so that gives me a care free thing to learn on.

    Thanks for the advice so far everyone, I'm an admitted noob so every bit helps.
     
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  12. Supersonic

    Supersonic Well-Known Member

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    About the radius of LPs, this dude used a radius gauge and filed the saddles a little so it matched perfectly. Never done it myself, just passing along the info.

     
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  13. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    I have a hard enough time trying to keep my sideburns even, I know where I would end up trying that hahaha. Nice to see its possible though.
     
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  14. Maekong

    Maekong New Member

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    Due to the slight possibility that the nut isn't cut right, I'd recommend a professional setup. Especially if you are in the US or UK. A good and reasonably-priced luthier is only a stone's throw away. I, on the other hand, am practically forced to build my guitars by hand, here in SE Asia. That's actually a joke. While, for a few years, I thought that was true, I hadn't yet discovered the wonders of off-brand Chinese manufacturing. Life is good.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  15. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    One thing I should mention, once you get it setup, the only thing you'll need to do is adjust the truss rod. Wood moves due to changes in humidity, especially when it's a straight unsupported piece, like a neck. The only way the other stuff moves is if the guitar gnomes come and start turning screws, or there's human f'ery going on.

    Check the truss rod at least every six months, but each season change is better. You want to make small tweaks over time not dramatic chiropractic adjustments.

    Again, slow and gentle. You shouldn't have to really reef on anything to get it to move.
     
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  16. R.G.Smith

    R.G.Smith New Member

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    I went to school with that guy and played guitar with him when he gad z band called the Measles! Just for the record, he does a very good setup! (Although I suspect he has people who do that for him these days!
     
  17. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    He does what he feels works for him based on what he likes having decades of experience. His techs, on the other hand, will measure every bit of a guitar he "sets up" so they can hand it to him so it feels the same in Toronto as it did in Albuquerque - that's what they get paid for. Every touring tech has notes and measurements about what their player likes.

    Telling a n00b to do that when he's only just learning is a sure fire way to gooch a guitar. It's always better to have a starting point that you can come back to than just wandering around blind.
     
  18. oldlefty

    oldlefty New Member

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    If it is a new guitar, I would be very pissed off if it was that much out of whack. I would probably confront the seller. I have no idea of your knowledge of guitar mechanics. I wold not mess with a new guitar myself; take it to a pro and get a setup. You will only screw it up, and you will regret it. A pro will notice things you will not, and it will just end better than if you mess with it yourself.
     
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  19. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    It would be nice if new guitars came perfectly set up but I understand that can't always be the case. It really isn't that bad, just has some buzz on the top frets, I think a slight neck adjustment for more relief might cure that.

    I appreciate all the warnings of what could go wrong, and without knowing me I understand concern of how I might make matters worse. I study up whenever I'm in new territory, I have solid mechanical skills from almost 25 years of working on my own cars (even rebuilt a motor). I don't see anything I could do that is irreversible here, so I will swap strings and try making some adjustments myself. If I'm not happy from there, I'll seek a professional.

    I did mess with that free telecaster today. I swapped strings and tuned it. I saw it was buzzing around fret 12, no buzz up by the head. A straight edge showed me pretty aggressive bow, so I turned the truss a little at a time until it was almost buzz free. Still has relief but not nearly as much. Next I raised the A and B string slightly, raised D and G slightly more. Tuned again and the buzz is only mildly present right on the 12th fret D string, really a good improvement. I then tried checking intonation, my ear isn't quite ready for that so I used a tuner. I got the D, G, B, E to match tone. Bigger E and A are very close, I still have room to adjust but decided to walk the dog. When I got back I plugged in to play it a bit. Action is lower than before and it really does sound better and play easier. I think some of what makes it harder to tune is that tremolo, I might need to snug that up as I see slight lift on it. I could probably improve it still tomorrow when I have time.

    All that said, the fixed nature of the LP seems less complicated than the telecaster. Based on results from that I don't think minor tweaking on this LP is anything to fear. Worst case if it turns out to need fret massaging I'll leave that to somebody with more experience.
     
  20. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a plan to me. I deal mainly in setups, mods, and electronics when it comes to guitar work, so I get what you're saying.
    We get *all* kinds in here, so I'm glad you've forgiven my / our concerns in that regard.
    Sounds a lot like me actually. Whenever I get into a hobby I deep dive into it and usually it cross-references with an existing skillset. Doing that always saves me money, and quite often makes me a few bucks on the side.
     
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