Les Paul choking on high frets

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Jim S, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Quick question I hope.... noob question

    A new Les Paul plays great from frets 1 to about 12. After that in the higher registers, the high B & E strings choke on the frets when I bend up a step or more.

    I think I should just adjust the thumbwheel on the treble side of the bridge/saddles to raise those strings. ...As opposed to adjusting the trussrod?

    Yes? No? Other?

    :hide
     
  2. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    The first thing to do is be sure the neck is straight with a little relief then if it's still happening check your string height.
     
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Right, then you can spin that thumb wheel a tiny bit - say 1/4 turn and see if that doesn't do it. You may have one high fret above the 12th fret too.

    Relief first, then action, then intonation. If it still chokes out, it's probably a high fret.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     
  4. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. You're saying I have to little (backbow/straight) or too much (front bow) relief?

    I think 1/4 turn on the trussrod and then wait a day, right? I read that it can time for trussrod adjustments to kick in.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  5. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Right Jim -

    Here's the procedure:

    1) the Two Handed Method: Fret the low "E" at the first fret with your LEFT INDEX finger, and fret the highest (or close to it) fret on the low "E" with your RIGHT PINKIE. The string is now a straight line between the lowest and highest fret. Now tap down on the string at around the 9th or 10th fret with your RIGHT INDEX finger and look at the gap between the string and the top of the frets. That gap should be generally no more than .010, the thickness of your high "E" string, and usually less. I personally like to get it damn close to flat, but still a very tiny gap showing.

    If there's no gap showing the truss rod is too tight - loosen it a little to see if that doesn't make a small gap appear.

    Repeat with the high "E" string, and another string or two in the middle of the neck. Sight carefully down the neck too - see if there is more than one curve visible in the neck.

    Now that you know the shape of the neck and the relief, adjust the truss rod to make it right. Then use the thumb wheels to adjust the action. Use small increments, check it again in a few days. Be gentle when turning the truss rod - don't force things.

    Also, after re-reading your orig post, I'll say that the truss rod usually doesn't affect much above the 12th fret. Still, it's ALWAYS the right procedure to check the relief first, then the action at the nut, then the bridge, then the intonation.

    Good Luck, Dana O.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    what he said.

    it sounds like the neck has too much upbow, causing high action, with the bridge too low in an attempt to compensate. this causes the neck profile to curve back up into the strings at the body end, creating choked and buzzing high frets.

    straightening the neck as dana o. so clearly outlined will likely make the strings lay down on the frets. at that point, raising the bridge enough to get clearance should fix the problem, providing enough room for the string to not choke out while still being easy to fret.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  7. AndrewSimon

    AndrewSimon Member

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    After everything else fails you take it to a good tech, he will pull all the frets, re-sand the neck to perfection, like they were suppose to do at the factory, install new frets, killer setup and you are good to go.
    Been there, done that.

    I hope you won't have to!

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks. I checked the relief and it seemed OK. So I raised the bridge and it seems to have cured all so far.

    Thanks again, TGers! :AOK
     
  9. scottpic

    scottpic Member

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    It is SO nice to read a well written post with accurate information!
    Well said. Thank you!
     

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