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Les Paul Neck Angle Question


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I have an Ephiphone LP and noticed on my favorite artist's guitar just how low his bridge pup is with the strings almost touching. Now I know I have the relief right and when I bring my strings the lowest without buzzing its still so much higher than his guitar. Its almost like my neck has so much of an angle that its impossible to get it any lower. So do people tend to take their neck off and shim it where the guitar is straighter? Hope someone can help with this.

Ken

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Guitars with a neck angle usually have a little higher action. USUALLY, I said. Not all the time. Tune-o-matic bridges like you have on your Epiphone, needs a neck angle. I've played 3000$ Les Paul with a bad action, due to a bad neck angle.. And I've played 300$ Epiphone with a good action.

Your problem is probably not the neck angle, but the bridge height. You can adjust it with a flat screwdriver. Lower it a little bit, until you get a good action without fret buzz.

Flattening the neck will be worst. If you can't get a low action even after adjusting the bridge, it's because you don't have enough neck angle to compensate for the bridge height. In that case, you can use a shim under the neck heel. Never remove wood on either the neck or body until you are 100% sure of what you're doing.

Read that post. Neck angle is carefully explained;

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=14036

Edited by MescaBug
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Guitars with a neck angle usually have a little higher action. USUALLY, I said. Not all the time. Tune-o-matic bridges like you have on your Epiphone, needs a neck angle. I've played 3000$ Les Paul with a bad action, due to a bad neck angle.. And I've played 300$ Epiphone with a good action.

Your problem is probably not the neck angle, but the bridge height. You can adjust it with a flat screwdriver. Lower it a little bit, until you get a good action without fret buzz.

Flattening the neck will be worst. If you can't get a low action even after adjusting the bridge, it's because you don't have enough neck angle to compensate for the bridge height. In that case, you can use a shim under the neck heel. Never remove wood on either the neck or body until you are 100% sure of what you're doing.

Read that post. Neck angle is carefully explained;

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=14036

Yea thats what I meant... shimming the neck so it doesn't have as much of an angle, but how do I remove a glued on neck without breaking it?

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I tought you had a bolt-on. You have no idea what you're getting into if you really want to remove a glued set-neck. You have to first, understand how your guitar is built;

You can't modify a Les Paul neck without major modifications to the body as well, because it uses a tenon. That means the fingerboard is actually glued to the body as well. Adding a shim will make the fingerboard floats over the body, and shimming the neck will make the neck floats in the neck cavity. And don't forget that you will have some exposed wood. And if your guitar has bindings, it will be out of alignment. If your LP has a carved top, then the carve must be re-carved to be flush with the fingerboard, because of the new neck angle.

But your main problem is getting a glued neck out of a body. That is a very serious task. And reglueing a neck can be tricky. The fingerboard being glued to the body, it will lift and crack the paint, so you'll have to refinish the entire guitar. Grain filler and primer, covers the glue lines by getting into the joint, and sealing it so it looks like a one-piece of wood. Judging by your knowledge, you have never done major guitar repairs. And I strongly suggest you don't start with un-glueing a Les Paul neck. Even skilled luthier are a little reluctant about getting a LP neck out. Personnaly, I would charge at least 300$ just to take a neck out. And I will honestly tell you that I might crack the wood or the fingerboard by doing it. There is no way to know how it looks in the glue joint and no way to predict how the wood will react. Some necks are sloppy, some won't move at all. Depends on what type of glue was used, and how good the glue joint is. Add 100$-150$ for the modifications, depending how long it takes and 400$-500$ to repaint the guitar. I don't know how much you paid for that guitar, but judge by yourself if it really worth it.

If you're are not comfortable with your Epiphone, take it to a skilled technician. He can adjust the neck tension, bridge height and level the frets to get the action as low as possible. If you are still not satisfied, go buy another one you feel comfortable with. Like I said, you have no idea how difficult a neck modification can be with a set-neck LP.

Here is some pictures of a Les Paul neck. That will give you an idea what's hidding under that paint.

5414_3.jpg

547b_3.jpg

538b_3.jpg

Edited by MescaBug
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Ok you got me Mescabug, sure sounds overkill with what I'm trying to solve. I do know how to set up and intonate a guitar and have it play well etc... but its this tone I'm getting out of my guitars that annoys me. I've changed out pups, strings, pots, all new wiring, amps, cabs, speakers, cables, worked with my voltage, grounded my home, and had it sheilded. I've been playing for quite a few years now and know what a good tone is so I figure its not a thing where I just can't play guitar and my fingers suck lol.

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Can be a lot of things... Can you be anymore specific about that noise?

A customer came once for a maintenance, and told me the exact same thing. He tried everything, and wasn't able to get a decent tone out of this guitar.. There was something. Honestly, I put a 4-5 hours of play on that guitar, and couldn't find what it was. And believe me, I tried everything.

But a notice a difference when I started to level the frets. They were so 'soft' to level... I told him; Here's what I propose. Let me do a complete refret, 50% off.

I had to find the problem with this sucker, even at my own expenses. The magic came after the refret. I noticed that the original frets were made of cheap metal, with less nickel % than the standard 18%. They were softer, and made the guitar sound sloppy, and muddy.

Short story long, a lot of subtle things can make a guitar sounds bad..

Edited by MescaBug
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Guitars with a neck angle usually have a little higher action. USUALLY, I said.

Sorry, I have to challenge that statement. The action on an angled neck can be set every bit as low as on a guitar with no angle, assuming all other things are equal. If anything, having an angled neck tends to make the action *lower* than on a guitar with no angle - that's the whole reason necks are angled.

Mich'Boy: Your post is unclear - you say that you lower your bridge as low as it can go without buzzing, and it's still high. This has *nothing* to do with neck angle, it has to do with how level your frets are, and how much relief you have in your neck. If (as you say) your relief isset right, and the nut height is good, then you need to level your frets to get lower action without buzzing.

If you're actually saying you lower your bridge *all the way till it touches the body* and the action is still high, then you may have a neck angle problem, but the problem would be not enough angle, not too much.

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I knew someone would hit me with that remark :D

You're absolutely right. But I always have a harder time getting a low action with angled neck. Some guitars have a bad neck angle/bridge/frets combinations. And I see that less often on flat neck guitars.

Edited by MescaBug
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I have an Ephiphone LP and noticed on my favorite artist's guitar just how low his bridge pup is with the strings almost touching. Now I know I have the relief right and when I bring my strings the lowest without buzzing its still so much higher than his guitar. Its almost like my neck has so much of an angle that its impossible to get it any lower. So do people tend to take their neck off and shim it where the guitar is straighter? Hope someone can help with this.

Ken

I second everything Setch is pointing out.

In reading your first post, I am a little confused. Is your whole question about trying to get the strings closer to the body and in doing so closer to the bridge pickup? If your goal is to get the strings closer to the pickup, raise the pickup, don't mess with the neck angle. The neck angle is set to accomodate the height of the bridge and still be able to achieve reasonably low action with the bridge lowered all the way.

Peace,Rich

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I have an Ephiphone LP and noticed on my favorite artist's guitar just how low his bridge pup is with the strings almost touching. Now I know I have the relief right and when I bring my strings the lowest without buzzing its still so much higher than his guitar. Its almost like my neck has so much of an angle that its impossible to get it any lower. So do people tend to take their neck off and shim it where the guitar is straighter? Hope someone can help with this.

Ken

I second everything Setch is pointing out.

In reading your first post, I am a little confused. Is your whole question about trying to get the strings closer to the body and in doing so closer to the bridge pickup? If your goal is to get the strings closer to the pickup, raise the pickup, don't mess with the neck angle. The neck angle is set to accomodate the height of the bridge and still be able to achieve reasonably low action with the bridge lowered all the way.

Peace,Rich

Yes Rich this is what I'm trying to achieve,

See, I'm sorry I'm confusing you guys. Its partly because whenever I explain just who my favorite guitar-artist is... people don't take me seriously. He's Buckethead and I watch him play his guitar alot . Now forget about me "trying to be buckethead" etc... I just feel that my guitar should behave like his. And when I viewed his Les Paul up close I noticed how close his strings are to his bridge pickup with it not raised high at all. This is what brought me to you guys. I also noticed how my strings on the upper frets (12 and up) don't sound as loud as the rest. I adjust my relief to be about .007 on the 7th fret.

Another complaint I have is how unclear each string tone is. Off the top of my head that about sums up my major malfunction... but am extending my listening powers to anything you suggest.

Thanks a bunch,

Ken

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Yes Rich this is what I'm trying to achieve,

See, I'm sorry I'm confusing you guys. Its partly because whenever I explain just who my favorite guitar-artist is... people don't take me seriously. He's Buckethead and I watch him play his guitar alot . Now forget about me "trying to be buckethead" etc... I just feel that my guitar should behave like his. And when I viewed his Les Paul up close I noticed how close his strings are to his bridge pickup with it not raised high at all. This is what brought me to you guys. I also noticed how my strings on the upper frets (12 and up) don't sound as loud as the rest. I adjust my relief to be about .007 on the 7th fret.

Another complaint I have is how unclear each string tone is. Off the top of my head that about sums up my major malfunction... but am extending my listening powers to anything you suggest.

Thanks a bunch,

Ken

The problem is, many things can be the cause of your high action regardless of Bucket Heads Axe. All the boys here can give you a long list of items to check and that may not be your problem. As Sketch said every instrument can have low working string height. The problem with answering your question generally involves hands on and it's impossible through a post like this one to say it's one item or another. You cant compaire another working instrument to yours and just say it's the same because its not. Each guitar is unique even from the factory.

I hate to recommend something but I suggest Dan Erlewines fretting and advanced fretting. There is a lot of information on making your neck playable as well as fretting basics. Sometimes books are not the answer, you have to see visually whats going on to understand what your issues may be.

Hopefully it is a minor issue, like a truss rod adjustment or a new nut.

Edited by Woodenspoke
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I think we went through most of this with another guitar of his (the Ed Roman Quicksilver).

Buckethead's Les Paul was custom-made for him by Gibson. It's not a typical Les Paul (has 24 frets for one thing) and from the photos it looks like the fretboard just barely clears the top of the body. So they must have recessed the TOM to make that work. And that's what brings the strings close to the pickup.

So you'll have to do some pretty extensive mods to your guitar to achieve the same.

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I think we went through most of this with another guitar of his (the Ed Roman Quicksilver).

Buckethead's Les Paul was custom-made for him by Gibson. It's not a typical Les Paul (has 24 frets for one thing) and from the photos it looks like the fretboard just barely clears the top of the body. So they must have recessed the TOM to make that work. And that's what brings the strings close to the pickup.

So you'll have to do some pretty extensive mods to your guitar to achieve the same.

Yes so far I feel I haven't landed that guitar that does it for me. But as you gain experience in what exactly you're looking for in a guitar then future purchases will be more rewarding... hope anways. But seems to me a guitar like his would play and sound so much better for me (strings close to the body that is). You know of any such brands of guitar that lean toward this? Probably Ibanez huh?

Thankyou,

Ken

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It seems to me that there's something wrong with your guitar, but I seriously doubt that the problem is the difference you see between your guitar and this "buckethead" guitar. Your guitar was designed with a different neck angle.

"I also noticed how my strings on the upper frets (12 and up) don't sound as loud as the rest. "

I suggest that you adjust the height of each pickup, the relative height between the pickups, and the height of each polepiece. Listen very carfully with each adjustment until you have what sounds like balanced output. Actually it sounds to me like you have too-high action; but you say you've lowered your bridge as far as it can go.

I really don't see how the output could be LOWER from the 12th fret up. Even with a low action, fretting high on the fingerboard is going to bring the strings down a little closer to the pickups. This effect will only increase if the guitar has a high action, as the strings will be dragged farther down to reach the high frets on the fingerboard. I say this with all respect, but I wonder if your conception of the differences between your guitar and Buckethead's guitar is clouding your perception of your guitar's sound?

"Another complaint I have is how unclear each string tone is. "

I hope you have new strings on it. There's nothing like dull old strings to make you hate the tone of your guitar. If new strings don't sound better, maybe you need different pickups. Perhaps humbuckers aren't the sound you're looking for, or perhaps you would prefer lower-output humbuckers. Or maybe you have a muddy-sounding amp. Maybe your speaker is damaged. There are so many possibilities.... I suggest trying the guitar in several amps. Use the shortest or newest cable you have. Plug straight into the amp (no pedals. Those suck the sound away even if they're turned off).

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