String action on a Firebird T

Discussion in 'Other Gibsons' started by Mitchey75, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Mitchey75

    Mitchey75 Senior Member

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    Hi. I am really experienced with the adjustment of string actions etc on several guitars but my 2017 Firebird T is giving me some headache...eventually you can help me..

    I am using 010-046 strings, prefer to have the neck in a slight negative shape, a low height of the strings and the tailpiece ideally sitting flat on the body to have a bit more pressure on the strings.

    Although the neck is bent in a slight negative position, I have to set the bridge very high to avoid any buzzing of the strings. Therefore the string action is very high. Additionally I have to set the tailpiece very high to avoid the contact of the strings with the edge of the bridge. This causes very wobbling strings.

    I already tried to adjust bridge and tailpiece in several positions, the neck in a different way (more negative, less negative, straight) and I always gave the neck 4-5 days of time after the truss rod adjustment but somehow his guy makes me crazy...

    Do you (FB owners) have any recommendation, tips, hints for me?

    Eventually this has something to do with the new angled pick up - positions (thanks to the user jimmer_5 who posted this pic in another thread). As I can see the bridge needs to be set very high to avoid any contact of the strings with the PUs what causes a much higher action like on the former models.

    I don't mind having some buzzing strings here and there and I know that a neck-through type of guitar can be tricky and different to a set on-neck but somehow it must be possible to play a 2017 Gibson with a deeper string action and without buzzing on several frets...

    What do you think?

    IMG_8957.jpg
     
  2. filtersweep

    filtersweep Senior Member

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    Why negative relief? I have only heard that desired by those who actually want some buzz, like for some flamenco guitars.
     
  3. Mitchey75

    Mitchey75 Senior Member

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    IMG_8961.PNG

    I meant I want to have the neck in a slight negative direction as shown on the
    lowest model!?!?
     
  4. Mitchey75

    Mitchey75 Senior Member

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    In general I want to set up the guitar properly with a low action...
     
  5. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Senior Member

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    Interesting comparison of old pup mounts and new.

    If you run out of ideas, you might just set the guitar up per' Gibson spec's and see where that takes you.

    Me, I typically set the neck relief per' Gibby spec's in the owners manual, set the action by feel (comfortable bending full steps at higher frets) and adjust the stop bar so the string break angle is close as possible to the bridge without touching it. Once that's all done I adjust the pups to taste.
     
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  6. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    The above pics you have attached don't really work for a Gibson, as you cannot shim the neck like a bolton.

    You either have concave....where there is more gap in the centre fret area (say 5-15), or convex where there is an upward hump in the same area.
    And the individual guitar is as much to do with bridge and tailpiece height. There is a variation in neck angle from guitar to guitar - even a neckthrough like a FB. And small changes in the interface area between neck and body make big differences when it gets to the bridge.

    You will need to do a holistic setup.....looking at the frets, checking the neck with a straightedge as well as checking nut slots and then setting up.
     
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  7. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Senior Member

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    As I can see the bridge needs to be set very high to avoid any contact of the strings with the PUs what causes a much higher action like on the former models. ?????

    If this is the case, lower the pups.
     
  8. Mitchey75

    Mitchey75 Senior Member

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    I meant that the height of the 2017 PUs is bigger than on the former models because of the PU frames. Therfore the Bridge has to be higher, too. Of course I will set the PUs low but I still need a specific height of the bridge becaause of the PUs...

    Nevertheless, thank you all for your answers! I will sit down with my bird on the Weekend and will have a look and try as recommended!
     
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  9. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    I have never come across a gibson where the pickup rings supplied with it were anywhere close to making contact with the strings. So the pickup can to my knowledge be set at any height needed to make the height work with whatever the guitar and setup requires.

    And the bridge height above the body is not a setup criteria in any way....strings over the frets are.
     
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  10. lung plunger

    lung plunger Senior Member

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    Also just thinking out loud...

    Would it be possible to shave the base of the pup ring down?
     
  11. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    This was my thought as well - if necessary, you could block sand the underside of the angled plastic pickup ring.
     
  12. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Senior Member

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    Switching to the flat rings might also be an option if the new type rings are giving the OP' some trouble.
     
  13. 74JMP

    74JMP Senior Member

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    What frets buzz, the rod only works in certain regions. So PLek or not you might need a dress. Check your saddles, one string seated too low can cause a buzz at a fret while the strings next to it are fine. Bought a 91 FB in 2000 that had pretty much been a closet queen. Took a few setups and a fret dress to get it right. Birds can be very finicky and might be worth it to have a pro do it. Once they are right they re very stable my vintage bird and my 91 never need much TLC.
     
  14. 74JMP

    74JMP Senior Member

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    What frets buzz, the rod only works in certain regions. So PLek or not you might need a dress. Check your saddles, one string seated too low can cause a buzz at a fret while the strings next to it are fine. Bought a 91 FB in 2000 that had pretty much been a closet queen. Took a few setups and a fret dress to get it right. Birds can be very finicky and might be worth it to have a pro do it. Once they are right they re very stable my vintage bird and my 91 never need much TLC.
     
  15. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Senior Member

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    How are the new rings made? Checking them up close at the Sweetwater site it looks like they just added a spacer/ second ring and put the typical flat Bird' metal rings right on top of it. Are they two piece?
     
  16. Marln864

    Marln864 Junior Member

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    My 2017 is 2 pieces. I had to do a lot of back & forth to get mine set up with minimum buzz.
     
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  17. DrSte31n

    DrSte31n Senior Member

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    Mine came setup with ridiculously high action (for my taste at least) straight from Gibson. Lowering the bridge causes really bad fret buzz toward the middle/upper section of the neck, and some at the lower section as well. I adjusted neck relief (it was pretty much straight, per factory settings) with basically no changes in terms of buzzing. I spent about 4 hours on it last Sunday, tweaking different things and different combinations, and the only way I could get rid of the buzzing is by having a crazy high action. I guess the last option I haven’t tried is replacing the tektoid nut, in case the original is cut too low?

    I have several other guitars, and I do maintenance/setup on them just fine. So, I’m kind of glad (but not really) I found another 2017 Firebird T owner that is having similar issues. It’s not just me anymore :p

    Any other ideas, especially from people that had to deal with this issue on 2017 Gibson Firebird T guitars?

    Thank you!
     
  18. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Too low nut causes buzzing on first few frets. A straight neck means the frets have to be perfect. But typically a little relief should help. A straightedge is a good tool to have, as well as something like a creditcard to check individual frets by seeing if the card rocks on one fret or more.

    It is not unusual for the odd guitar to leave without a good setup......I got a 60's trib like that. The store set it up for free initially then did a check on it later - all for free.

    But the OP seemed to be more concerned with the pickup rings being too high.....which seemed odd.
     
  19. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Senior Member

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    You might set it up to Gibby spec's per owners manual and see what results you get.
     
  20. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Senior Member

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    Every Gibson I've ever seen with a tune-o-matic has string contact in the rear when the tailpiece is screwed down.
    I've never broken a string there.
    If you don't like it, try top-wrapping.
    As for buzzing on the frets...if you can't achieve a satisfactory string height in line with other guitars you've set up (or to factory spec), you have to check for uneven frets.
    I've set dozens of truss rods without measuring (feeler gauges) because I have a good eye for these things from being a mechanic.
    There isn't much experimenting to be done.
    Set it at about .012-.015" (I'm guessing)...about the thickness of a pick...then start thinking about nut, frets and bridge height.
    It ain't rocket science.
    The string is supported on 2 ends and crosses a buncha frets.
    If there's buzzing at reasonable action, something is going on in between the nut and bridge.
     

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