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What is your ultimate Les Paul setup?

Kmaz

Member
Messages
9,001
I'm talkin' relief at the 7th fret, string height at the 12th, pickup height top wrapping or no top wrapping, TP height, etc....

I want to learn more about setting up Les Pauls. Thanks!
 

Sean French

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,224
My preference is .008" relief, 6 6/4" at the 12th for the low E, 5 6/4" for the high E, TP tight on the deck.
If the string touch the bridge then I will top wrap. If not, I won't.
 

ZepFuzz05

Member
Messages
1,497
When I played a Les Paul, it was the following:

String Gauge: D'Addario XL 12-54

Truss Rod/Relief: I did it more based on sight than anything else, but I would have the neck straight enough that there was barely visible space between the string at fret at the 7th.

String Height/Action: 4/64 on the bass side, 3/64 on the treble side

Tailpiece: Top-wrapped and all the way down on the body.

Pickup Height: With the strings depressed at the last fret, I would set the bridge pickup so that the polepieces nearly (but not quite) touched the strings when plucked. The neck pickup was then set so that the volume and EQ response was comparable to the bridge.

So, in a nutshell, it was big strings, low action, and vintage-style pickups as high as they can possibly go.
 

Fireball XL5

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,012
I'm talkin' relief at the 7th fret, string height at the 12th, pickup height top wrapping or no top wrapping, TP height, etc....

I want to learn more about setting up Les Pauls. Thanks!
Here's what I typically shoot for...

Keep in mind that every guitar will setup a bit differently depending upon the condition of the frets and the idiosyncrasies of the neck, so it's not set in stone and relief & string height may have to be modified accordingly. I consider this a low action setup...

I use 10-46 gauge strings and shoot for .005" - .006" of relief at the 7th fret and a string height of 3/64" treble and 4/64" bass measured at the 12th fret.

To measure/set relief I hold the guitar in playing position and with a Stew Mac precision ground straightedge resting down the center of the neck (between the D & G strings) & extending from the 1st fret to the 15th fret, I measure the gap with feeler gauges at the 7th fret. String height is measured from the bottom of the strings to the top of the frets at the 12th fret.

I don't top wrap the strings, but I do raise the tailpiece up off the body so as to reduce the string break angle over the back of the bridge. I like the feel & tone better as well with the stoptail raised up a bit. Every LP will vary a bit here depending upon it's neck/body geometry, but the stoptail on my LP's are raised approx. 6/32" up off the body of the guitar.

Pickups are set so that with the E strings fretted at the last fret the distance between the bottom of the string & the top of the outer poles measures 2/32". I also like to raise the poles higher under the middle strings so that they follow the radius of the fingerboard.

This setup generally gets me spot on or VERY close to what I like. Once set I'll play the guitar and make any subtle adjustments needed.
 
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Kmaz

Member
Messages
9,001
Great info guys, and I'm glad others are interested as well.

Btw, are these string height measurements with capo on or off? Also, for the straight neck guys, what does this do for LP playability?
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,151
Kmaz, I generally put a tight .009 at the 7th fret.
I depress the low E at the 12th fret to check it without a capo.
This is the Gibson recommendation for checking.

I set the relief how I like it and then measure afterwards to see where I am at for reference and it's almost always right at the measurement I quoted above.

My height is slightly over 4/64ths on the Low E and just about 4/64ths on the High E.
I will vary from this to best suit the guitar being adjusted.
I put my stop tail up and on most Gibson the bottom of the tailpiece is close to the bottom of the thumbwheels of the bridge posts.

Each individual guitar will show it's sweetest spot if you fool around with the adjustments.
 
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ozeshin

Member
Messages
156

TP is just slightly lower than the bridge...top wrap and the bridge is level with the top of the posts.
 

Kmaz

Member
Messages
9,001
Kmaz, I generally put a tight .009 at the 7th fret.
I depress the low E at the 12th fret to check it without a capo.
This is the Gibson recommendation for checking.

I set the relief how I like it and then measure afterwards to see where I am at for reference and it's almost always right at the measurement I quoted above.

My height is slightly over 4/32s on the Low E and just about 4/32s on the High E.
I will vary from this to best suit the guitar being adjusted.
I put my stop tail up and on most Gibson the bottom of the tailpiece is close to the bottom of the thumbwheels of the bridge posts.

Each individual guitar will show it's sweetest spot if you fool around with the adjustments.
Thanks, I'd never heard of the 12th fret recommendation on relief from Gibson.
 
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FAT TIME

Member
Messages
217
I like this thread however for a novice like me as a dumb guitar setup apprentice...
:worthless

Thank you!!! and please keep up enlightening ME!!!!
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,151
bluesjuke, that sounds like a fairly high action. Thanks, I'd never heard of the 12th fret recommendation on relief from Gibson.


Oops, I typed 32nds instead of 64ths.
The depressing the string at the 12th fret is recommended in the literature Gibson provides with new guitars.
 

ozeshin

Member
Messages
156
oz, thanks for the pic. What a different look those pickups give to the guitar.
It makes it look a little meaner eh?
I originally took the nickle covers off and found a set of Zebra's under there....and eventually swapped those out for a set of EMG-HZa Alnicos...never looked back :)
 

Agramal

Member
Messages
1,199
Swapped the saddles on my LP Custom out for GraphTech String Savers. Mine's strung with D'Addario 13s. Drop-C tuning.
 

Fireball XL5

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,012
Great info guys, and I'm glad others are interested as well.

Btw, are these string height measurements with capo on or off? Also, for the straight neck guys, what does this do for LP playability?
No capo for my string height measurements. Regarding neck straightness and how it effects playability:

The straighter the neck is set, the faster the feel & playability, and the straightest you can adjust the neck without creating an obnoxious amount of buzzing is a good target.

No set rules here and how much neck relief or straightness you can get away with will depend upon things like the condition of the frets & neck as well as your individual playing style (how hard or soft you play), and your tolerance for fret buzz.

That said, I'm personally not a fan of a perfectly arrow straight neck setup (even with perfect frets & neck) because I find that in order to avoid/minimize the strings from buzzing too much when playing on the lower frets, I have to run the string height higher than necessary at the bridge - which in turn makes the action feel stiffer.

On a guitar with good frets & neck, I shoot for minimal relief (about .005" - .006") as this still yields a very fast & even feeling neck with enough room for the strings to oscillate without excessive buzz when running low action.
 
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MrGibson

Member
Messages
1,144
Set up parameters for my Les Paul Standard:

String gauge: 10-46
Relief: 0.10 mm (at 9th fret, fretted at 1st and 22nd)
Action High E: 1,0 mm (at 12 th fret, unfretted)
Action Low E: 1,35 mm (at 12th fret, unfretted)
String through TP raised about 3 mm from body top (TP base in line with thumb wheels)
Pick ups: individually adjusted pole pieces. Neck PU flush with PU ring, Bridge PU height adjusted for output balance
 




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