High Action after setup - Epiphone Les Paul Special I LE

Jaimac

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I have tried to set up the guitar few times but the action seems to remain high when I try to get rid of string buzz.
The neck is straight and frets seem to be in good shape. Any thing I should do to reduce the action? This guitar has a bolt on neck.
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LtDave32

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You are raising the strings to get rid of the buzz.

What you need to do is a fret level, re-crown and polish.

You can do it yourself with a few tools, or you can send it out to a competent Luthier (not a "techie" )

If you level those frets, you can count on the action being lower that it ever was, and the guitar will play like a dream.

Best bang for the buck you can get for your guitar is a fret leveling.
 

LtDave32

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You might have some excess relief in there too.

A proper truss rod adjustment will likely bring the strings down a bit, but there's that buzzing issue.

-Fret level and recrown / polish will fix that.
 

moreles

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Lt. Dave is right as usual. There are some excellent tutorials on the web covering fret levelling and setup; Frank Ford has loads of info on his Frets.com site. Doing things right, and in order, is critical to a great result. Most people who can't get their guitars to play well are just skipping steps, or making one adjustment, when the reality is that lots of features combine to create an excellent, super-playable instrument. I'd say either commit yourself and learn to do the whole thing right -- and wow is it worth it long-term -- or try to find a good tech, which is not a good bet, but possible.
 

EpiLP1985

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I’m almost always perplexed when people talk about fret buzz, as I’ve never experienced it. Then again, I play with relatively high action. I’m sure it would be an issue if I required low action without buzz.
 

LtDave32

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I’m almost always perplexed when people talk about fret buzz, as I’ve never experienced it. Then again, I play with relatively high action. I’m sure it would be an issue if I required low action without buzz.
Yep.

It's so very small, the area between the bottom of the string and the fret. On a low action, it's ridiculously small. If one prefers a low action, it's critical to get the frets all at the same level so the natural rise of the bridge keeps them from buzzing on the next fret(s) past the ones you have your finger behind.

On a relatively high action, the strings have much more room due to the height of the bridge.

But..

On a poorly leveled fret board, even with high action one can encounter buzz, because of where the string lies after you fret it. The very next fret is very close to the string due to your fretting the previous fret.
 

CB91710

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Does it buzz only on open strings, or when fretted as well?
If it's buzzing on open strings, but not when you barre at the 1st or 2nd, it's likely the nut is cut too low.
What is your string height at the 1st fret... both now, and when you drop the action to 4/64"?

But that overall picture does look like you have excessive bow.

Have a friend fret the strings at the 1st fret and 21st fret, and check the gap at the 8th fret... should be between the thickness of an E and B string... the E should barely pass over the frets, the B should not.
 

DrBGood

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WOAH ! Why not a refret once you're there ? Your guitar probably just needs a good setup.

First things first.
Do you know how to do a proper setup ? If you don't, get a good tech to do it and ask if you can stay and have him explain what he does and what you might have done wrong. Best investment ever on your Epiphone.

Second.
Those Epiphone often have a few frets that aren't perfectly seated. Take a credit card or something hard, short and straight, real straight. Now seat it across frets 1, 2 and 3. If it rocks the tiniest bit, your second fret is high. Take a hammer and something like a small piece of hard wood. Rest the piece of wood on the guilty fret and tap it once or twice with the hammer. Make sure the neck is well supported right under where you're tapping. Check for level. Do this the whole lenght of the neck, or specifically where you hear it buzz. Doing that prevented a fret job more than once.

High fret.jpg

Once that done, come back and tell me if it helped. If you want, I'll then show you how to perfectly adjust that neck without measuring.
 
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LtDave32

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WOAH ! Why not a refret once you're there ? Your guitar probably just needs a good setup.
Fret leveling and polishing is not a "re-fret" or even close to it. It's not that labor-intensive, and every guitar that is buzzing on the frets can benefit from it.

One does not have to remove a bunch of material to get it more level and playable.
 

ARandall

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^ +1 to this.

I've gone over a few older builds - even kit ones or ones with aftermarket necks to finetune the levelling and setup (its amazing how much you improve at this after 20 or so of these in a row). With just a little effort and work on a few frets every single one of my guitars is so much more playable and enjoyable. A really good bit of attention to the nut is essential too. But only once you've got your fretwork and relief under control.
 

DrBGood

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Fret leveling and polishing is not a "re-fret" or even close to it. It's not that labor-intensive, ...
It might not be to you, a seasonned guitar tinkerer, but OP seem to be on his first electric with that LP Special and attacking a levelling can look as daunting as a complete refret to the unitiated.

Before going that route, one should always look for badly seated frets. If you do a levelling without adressing that first, you're just looking for trouble.
 

Jaimac

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Thank you everyone for your inputs. I will hammer away the bad frets and check the truss road.
 


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