Factory setup R8

bruce s

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I just purchased a 2016 R8. The instrument is a complete disappointment. Due to illness I am not able to drive or walk. This makes getting the instrument to a luthier close to impossible. Out of necessity I have learned with reasonable success to set up a Les Paul. The finish (VOS) is marvelous as is the build quality but this instrument is very close to going up in flames. Thanks for listening. From now on it's Ernie Ball and Fender.
 

alnico59

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This is a real sore spot with me, probably more on "principle" than practicality* and precludes the stacked board fiasco as far as I'm concerned. Here is the issue, predating the 2012 stacked boards that seem so popular:

2011 R7 (new) Frets Jescar FW45100 (.045 tall in raw form)
Actual measurement ranges for height off the board - .039 to .045 after PLEK new from factory/Wildwood Guitars.

Frets were indeed level. That means that the fretboard was not.

Two luthier/refret specialists, both of who do Historic LP refrets and use PLEKS have told me that Gibson affixes the frets to the RW boards BEFORE the boards are affixed to the neck. This makes it easier to install the neck binding and nibs, but it makes it impossible to perfectly level the board before laying down the frets. Bad engineering, if true, which I believe it to be but am certainly open to correction as my information is second hand.

What I can tell you is that Michael Tuttle (luthier #3) measured my R7 frets and I saw the variance from .045 to .039. He loved my guitar, but as a builder and player had to shrug about this.

I did have him resolve the problem...he said as is typical he had to do significant board leveling in order to create a flat level surface on which to lay new frets, which are now the same height off the board. By contrast, he did not have to do very much board prep at all with 4 PRS guitars that he's worked on for me.

I mentioned that this bothered me on principle. In practicality, I love SS frets, Michael had a rare open slot for me last December, so I took it. I could not really feel the fret height differential, but it bothered me that some of the frets had over 10% shaved off out of the gate needlessly.

Regardless, if they would begin with a level board things could only be better, PLEK or no PLEK.

Look Ma! No nibs!



Mentioned this on here before. But with this old thread revived it made me re-live it again.

This exactly the route I went with my 2014 R8 which was bought at a huge discount new w/o a warranty. The frets right out of the gate were way too low for me. Upon the re-fret the Luthier had to level the fret board which tells me the PLEK is an excuse not to do the proper board prep. To me that's like not sanding a door before you paint it, relying on the new paint to cover up everything. So, for Gibson -- the PLEK -- IMO -- is a time/money saving process. Also, that pre fab board stuff is scary stuff. Even though I heard that before I prefer not to go there again.

So some say, well if the PLEK fixes it why does it matter? It matters because frets wear and when they do the sins of the past reveal themselves. Plus like the OP I agree with the 'on principle'.

Anyway, I understand Gibson is a huge company and to keep the boat afloat some corners have to be cut whenever possible. But I don't feel the high end CS guitars should get any form of secondary treatment. What happened to, you get what you paid for?

With all that said it's still worth it for me to grab nice LP's and put the necessary work into them. But I buy used or shop deals so I can justify it. New? Never.

Btw, I'm also not a fan of the nibs.
 

StubbyJ

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My R8 was perfect when it came from Eddie's Guitars.. The only guitar I have not had professionally setup and it still the best..
Same here. I had a lemon R8 receive from Eddies that was an outstanding axe in every possible way with action/playability being second to none. I don't know if Gibby accomplished this or the good folks at Eddies.
 

freebyrd 69

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I just purchased a 2016 R8. The instrument is a complete disappointment. Due to illness I am not able to drive or walk. This makes getting the instrument to a luthier close to impossible. Out of necessity I have learned with reasonable success to set up a Les Paul. The finish (VOS) is marvelous as is the build quality but this instrument is very close to going up in flames. Thanks for listening. From now on it's Ernie Ball and Fender.
First off, welcome to the forum, and sorry to hear about your illness. That being said, I'll never understand people on this one. How the hell is Gibson supposed to know how you want your guitar set up? Second, how long was it sitting at the dealer? How many people played it? What kind of climate changes happened during shipping from Gibson to the dealer? From the dealer to you? All of that can drastically affect a set up.

If you are picky or like your set ups a certain way, and it's hard for you to get around, why didn't you ask the dealer to set it up with the action you wanted before shipping it? Why didn't you have them check the action?

I look at it like this. It would be like buying a new car from the dealership and saying the car is sh!t because the drivers seat, head rest, and mirrors weren't adjusted specifically for you when you got in it to drive it home.

Whenever I buy a new or used guitar, I always assume I am going to need a good set up on it right out of the gate. I should mention, I like my action higher than most too, so, I can't assume Gibson knows that.

Mentioned this on here before. But with this old thread revived it made me re-live it again.

This exactly the route I went with my 2014 R8 which was bought at a huge discount new w/o a warranty. The frets right out of the gate were way too low for me. Upon the re-fret the Luthier had to level the fret board which tells me the PLEK is an excuse not to do the proper board prep. To me that's like not sanding a door before you paint it, relying on the new paint to cover up everything. So, for Gibson -- the PLEK -- IMO -- is a time/money saving process. Also, that pre fab board stuff is scary stuff. Even though I heard that before I prefer not to go there again.

So some say, well if the PLEK fixes it why does it matter? It matters because frets wear and when they do the sins of the past reveal themselves. Plus like the OP I agree with the 'on principle'.

Anyway, I understand Gibson is a huge company and to keep the boat afloat some corners have to be cut whenever possible. But I don't feel the high end CS guitars should get any form of secondary treatment. What happened to, you get what you paid for?

With all that said it's still worth it for me to grab nice LP's and put the necessary work into them. But I buy used or shop deals so I can justify it. New? Never.

Btw, I'm also not a fan of the nibs.
Why would you buy a guitar if the frets were too low for you? Is that the characteristic of the guitar? If so, that's not a quality issue at all, it's just your preference.

I used to race a ton of motocross. A TON of time, effort, and money went into setting that several thousand dollar motorcycle up right out of the crate. So was the bike a poor quality POS? Nope.
 
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alnico59

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Why would you buy a guitar if the frets were too low for you? Is that the characteristic of the guitar? If so, that's not a quality issue at all.
Sight unseen over the web. Plus it was only my second rodeo and I was still green with the whole historic thing. Learned a ton on here since. The story went...I bought an R9 first and over time disliked the gloss. Then I saw the VOS R8 and had to have it. What I didn't know was that the board was uneven so the Plek machine removed even more fret material to compensate. But hey, now the board is right and it's been re-fretted and it's a killer guitar.
 

tdarian

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First off, welcome to the forum, and sorry to hear about your illness. That being said, I'll never understand people on this one. How the hell is Gibson supposed to know how you want your guitar set up? Second, how long was it sitting at the dealer? How many people played it? What kind of climate changes happened during shipping from Gibson to the dealer? From the dealer to you? All of that can drastically affect a set up.

If you are picky or like your set ups a certain way, and it's hard for you to get around, why didn't you ask the dealer to set it up with the action you wanted before shipping it? Why didn't you have them check the action?

I look at it like this. It would be like buying a new car from the dealership and saying the car is sh!t because the drivers seat, head rest, and mirrors weren't adjusted specifically for you when you got in it to drive it home.

Whenever I buy a new or used guitar, I always assume I am going to need a good set up on it right out of the gate. I should mention, I like my action higher than most too, so, I can't assume Gibson knows that.



Why would you buy a guitar if the frets were too low for you? Is that the characteristic of the guitar? If so, that's not a quality issue at all, it's just your preference.

I used to race a ton of motocross. A TON of time, effort, and money went into setting that several thousand dollar motorcycle up right out of the crate. So was the bike a poor quality POS? Nope.
regarding the second part of your post I respectfully disagree. You I hope expect the wheels on your bike to be round and true. I expect the board on a new Custom Shop guitar to be flat (even thickness) throughout. That is something Gibson can and should addess assuming they are still in the guitar business. Many of us buy guitars online and only notice stuff that is off after we've received the guitar. At these prices nothing should be off the mark.

I agree with you on set-up particulars since that is more of a personal preference and one should assume that things can drift out of spec due to weather and seasonal effects.
 

freebyrd 69

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regarding the second part of your post I respectfully disagree. You I hope expect the wheels on your bike to be round and true. I expect the board on a new Custom Shop guitar to be flat (even thickness) throughout. That is something Gibson can and should addess assuming they are still in the guitar business. Many of us buy guitars online and only notice stuff that is off after we've received the guitar. At these prices nothing should be off the mark.

I agree with you on set-up particulars since that is more of a personal preference and one should assume that things can drift out of spec due to weather and seasonal effects.
I guess I am extremely fortunate then, because out of the 200 (give or take) that I have owned, I have never had one with any playability issues once properly set up.
 

mfolet

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The last one I got.Got right off the truck and three hours later did a 4 hour gig with it .It was perfect right from the factory.

However they had one guy 2011 to 2015 that could not set up the guitars he finished to save his life (either he is gone now or finally learned). Remember the bent adjustment screws and bent bridge mounting screws. They were a great setup if you played slide. Yep that guy.

Here is one he did in 2012 . Put all the parts on and adjusted with only a hammer.

Oh yeah that two piece fretboard too. ugggh.

 
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BSeneca

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I think I got lucky. My R9 (2011) was spot on, very low action and no buzzing. It's possible the shop I bought it from had had a go at it but they didn't say so. I know the shop assistant was very sad to see it go and I presumed he'd been playing it so it's possible he did a setup for his own benefit as much as any prospective customer's.
I dont know about nowadays, but when I sold Gibson in the late 90's-mid 2000's we went around ALL of the guitars on regular basis and checked them for neck relief and old strings, intonation etc etc. It needs to be done. Ill never forget secret shopping a GC after they opened in our area. Firstly, when I asked what kind of pickups a particular R9 had (already knowing, just checking his knowledge) he told me it "came with a case". When he handed it to me the strings were so high it was unplayable. I just handed it back and said no thanks. When you are spending this kind of money it should be right.
 

BSeneca

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First off, welcome to the forum, and sorry to hear about your illness. That being said, I'll never understand people on this one. How the hell is Gibson supposed to know how you want your guitar set up? Second, how long was it sitting at the dealer? How many people played it? What kind of climate changes happened during shipping from Gibson to the dealer? From the dealer to you? All of that can drastically affect a set up.

If you are picky or like your set ups a certain way, and it's hard for you to get around, why didn't you ask the dealer to set it up with the action you wanted before shipping it? Why didn't you have them check the action?

I look at it like this. It would be like buying a new car from the dealership and saying the car is sh!t because the drivers seat, head rest, and mirrors weren't adjusted specifically for you when you got in it to drive it home.

Whenever I buy a new or used guitar, I always assume I am going to need a good set up on it right out of the gate. I should mention, I like my action higher than most too, so, I can't assume Gibson knows that.



Why would you buy a guitar if the frets were too low for you? Is that the characteristic of the guitar? If so, that's not a quality issue at all, it's just your preference.

I used to race a ton of motocross. A TON of time, effort, and money went into setting that several thousand dollar motorcycle up right out of the crate. So was the bike a poor quality POS? Nope.
All of this AND if the guitar is shipped to you especially in the climate most of the east is facing now, wait for a couple hours BEFORE taking it out of the case to acclimate to the new temperature. Too soon can wreak havoc on the setup. The neck will likely shift making action different than maybe it was shipped.
 

freebyrd 69

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regarding the second part of your post I respectfully disagree. You I hope expect the wheels on your bike to be round and true. I expect the board on a new Custom Shop guitar to be flat (even thickness) throughout. That is something Gibson can and should addess assuming they are still in the guitar business. Many of us buy guitars online and only notice stuff that is off after we've received the guitar. At these prices nothing should be off the mark.

I agree with you on set-up particulars since that is more of a personal preference and one should assume that things can drift out of spec due to weather and seasonal effects.
I just wonder who’s diagnosis it was that the board wasn’t flat?
 

PierM

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I'm one of those that as soon as I've my guitar at home do these, in this order;

1) Pictures of the instrument to be used as reference for any further check/status of the guitar
2) Couple of strums to check if there is room for a setup, and/or any major flaw or showstopper. If I've any major, return, if not, let's move to 3).
3) Setup; Fine tune the nut slots and saddles, if needed. Change strings. Setup my action and neck relief. Balance everything else on this (nut, TP, touch of final relief etc)
4) If frets are fine for my actions, it's done. If not, a fine dress for the final setup and it's done.

Extremely rare that a guitar has been setup as you want (if you really have your own reference). you have so many variables involved, and so many possible setups, that is just a plain nonsense to ask.

I can agree that stock setup must be playable and clean, but that’s it.
 

tdarian

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I just wonder who’s diagnosis it was that the board wasn’t flat?
In my case it was luthier Michael Tuttle. (www.bestfrets.com) He did a refret and the R7 required quite a bit of board leveling. He also did a couple of PRS guitars that did not need much board prep.

I played the R7 for a couple of years with no issues but did notice the board “ high spots” as the frets wore a bit.
 

Subterfuge

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This is a real sore spot with me, probably more on "principle" than practicality* and precludes the stacked board fiasco as far as I'm concerned. Here is the issue, predating the 2012 stacked boards that seem so popular:

2011 R7 (new) Frets Jescar FW45100 (.045 tall in raw form)
Actual measurement ranges for height off the board - .039 to .045 after PLEK new from factory/Wildwood Guitars.

Frets were indeed level. That means that the fretboard was not.

Two luthier/refret specialists, both of who do Historic LP refrets and use PLEKS have told me that Gibson affixes the frets to the RW boards BEFORE the boards are affixed to the neck. This makes it easier to install the neck binding and nibs, but it makes it impossible to perfectly level the board before laying down the frets. Bad engineering, if true, which I believe it to be but am certainly open to correction as my information is second hand.

What I can tell you is that Michael Tuttle (luthier #3) measured my R7 frets and I saw the variance from .045 to .039. He loved my guitar, but as a builder and player had to shrug about this.

I did have him resolve the problem...he said as is typical he had to do significant board leveling in order to create a flat level surface on which to lay new frets, which are now the same height off the board. By contrast, he did not have to do very much board prep at all with 4 PRS guitars that he's worked on for me.

I mentioned that this bothered me on principle. In practicality, I love SS frets, Michael had a rare open slot for me last December, so I took it. I could not really feel the fret height differential, but it bothered me that some of the frets had over 10% shaved off out of the gate needlessly.

Regardless, if they would begin with a level board things could only be better, PLEK or no PLEK.

Look Ma! No nibs!



I'm sure the human finger can feel a six thou. difference, but in the context of actual playing I would think that small a difference in fret height would not be noticeable ?? I'm only guessing here ... however .. I DO agree with you in Principle, it should not have happened ..
 

jruano

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No way a setup is gonna withstand travel and storage, but, anyone has the setup specs they use at the custom shop? They got to have a baseline for relief, string height, pickups height, etc. What is it?
 


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