Pickup Imbalance After Setup

Classicplayer

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I own an ‘18 Traditional with BB 1,2 pickups and I do my own setups, but also rely on my expert tech for fret dressing, fret re-crowning and polishing and playing action adjustments. I am also a tweaker of pickups heights to ensure they are maximized to the type of amp I most often play through at the moment; that now is an Orange Dark Terror.

My guess [which agrees with a comment (above)] is that the OP's tech's neck adjustments may have resulted in the neck pup being too high and throwing it out of balance with the bridge. If the guitar plays well and the action seems comfortable, I would lower the neck pickup even with the ring and adjust to get the tone and string balance for the neck..first.

Once set for your desired neck pup tone, then re-adjust the bridge to balance it's tone for the way you prefer...by itself. I would then move to the middle position and if it sounds not quite the way you want it, than make micro tweaks to adjust to your liking. It took me many screwdriver tweaks to reach my goal and even so, my middle position tone is always a bit of a “compromise” and not exactly perfection, but workable. As ling as the neck and bridge sound good on their own, I'm a happy Les Paul owner.

Classicplayer
 

Daniel.S

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Especially if you're a fussy [email protected] like me! :laugh2:

I've never been happy with factory setups, and even my most loved local guitar shop (who can do an awesome job by most standards) I find come up short to my liking.

And it's not just a string height thing but that's part of it. I carry a wrench with me and all my guitars have the lower TR cover screw removed for easy on the fly access.

Pickup and even pole screw balance are a thing to my ears. Not as often of course! ;)

And as others in here know, and I found out , A 'short scale' LP type guitar is a particular headache to get intoned perfectly.

Better off pursuing a unicorn than trying to get a LP to intonate perfectly! :rofl:
You just need a better tuner. ;)
Like this one for example :D
68B6CFED-00DC-4EAB-BE9A-569290B52F0E.jpeg
 

moreles

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As some have said, a setup is frequently a two step process. Most good repair people used to deliver the set up guitar saying "let it settle, and bring it back if it needs another tweak." Most wise players and good repairt people will play it before taking it home because verbal instrunctions about desired action are never accurate enough except for ballparking. With a wood neck and fretboard and a truss rod, there's no way a signficant adjustment will have full and final effect right away. As for the output differences, it's pickup height and it happens all the time. We're talking about small differences in proximity within what is, after all, a small range of adjustment in two units relative both to the string path and each other.
 

Bobby Mahogany

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As some have said, a setup is frequently a two step process. Most good repair people used to deliver the set up guitar saying "let it settle, and bring it back if it needs another tweak." Most wise players and good repairt people will play it before taking it home because verbal instrunctions about desired action are never accurate enough except for ballparking. With a wood neck and fretboard and a truss rod, there's no way a signficant adjustment will have full and final effect right away. As for the output differences, it's pickup height and it happens all the time. We're talking about small differences in proximity within what is, after all, a small range of adjustment in two units relative both to the string path and each other.
Actually a luthier asked me to play my guitar when I dropped it at his shop.
I was a little surprised but I have to say that when I picked it up it was perfect!
:dunno:
 

mbm1972

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A final update to this thread ... In the end, I decided not to bring it back to the original tech who had done the initial setup.

Instead, I brought it to my local Guitar Center as I had heard there was a good tech working there. That turned out to be a good choice. Not only did he get it dialed back in to playable perfection - he did it while I was standing there. Re-adjusted the truss rod, corrected the intonation, which the prior tech had also mangled, eliminated all the fret buzzing, which had gotten much worse, even since my original post, and rebalanced the pickups. I really appreciate a skilled professional.

What a difference a good setup can make - it feels and sounds wonderful again - just like it always had :)

The tech also reassured me that the neck on my LP was rock solid and perfect (he was practically gushing over it), and that as long as I continue to take care of it, likely would not go wrong (it's approaching its 40th birthday after all!). That reassurance was priceless.
 

Classicplayer

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A final update to this thread ... In the end, I decided not to bring it back to the original tech who had done the initial setup.

Instead, I brought it to my local Guitar Center as I had heard there was a good tech working there. That turned out to be a good choice. Not only did he get it dialed back in to playable perfection - he did it while I was standing there. Re-adjusted the truss rod, corrected the intonation, which the prior tech had also mangled, eliminated all the fret buzzing, which had gotten much worse, even since my original post, and rebalanced the pickups. I really appreciate a skilled professional.

What a difference a good setup can make - it feels and sounds wonderful again - just like it always had :)

The tech also reassured me that the neck on my LP was rock solid and perfect (he was practically gushing over it), and that as long as I continue to take care of it, likely would not go wrong (it's approaching its 40th birthday after all!). That reassurance was priceless.
Two good results for your guitar and you finding the right man. Ask him for a contact # so if he leaves GC you can still get good work done.

Classicplayer
 

mbm1972

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Two good results for your guitar and you finding the right man. Ask him for a contact # so if he leaves GC you can still get good work done.

Classicplayer
That's a really good idea - I will definitely do that!
 

rjwilson37

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Very nice Custom for sure! Glad you got it sorted out, I have had a couple of bad setups here and there over the years and of course I never go back there again.
 

Joe A

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I love those Silver Sky Customs! I hope everything works out for you with it.
 

mbm1972

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I love those Silver Sky Customs! I hope everything works out for you with it.
It's funny, but I remember not liking the color all that much when I first got it (I was 16). Pretty quickly it grew on me, though.

The other odd thing with these all-silver models is the variety of names I've heard them called - Silver Sky, Silver Bullet, and a few others I can't remember. The guys at the shop (Manny's, in NYC) told me it was a limited edition Silver Bullet. But I've never been able to validate that claim. I read that Gibson's official name for the color-way is "pewter", but again, who knows. I don't think there are a lot of them floating around, though. I see silver bursts on the market regularly, but these all silver models - not so much. Once every couple years maybe. But I don't look all that often so I could be missing them.

In any case, barring theft, fire, or some self-inflicted catastrophe, I think it's proven to be a reliable example - I feel lucky to have landed such a good model as I recall the QC being a bit dodgy for a spell there.
 

Joe A

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I think I remember it being referred to as Silver Sky & also Silver Streak by Gibson back then... I can't be sure though. They did make 25 silver Customs with "25th Anniversary" on the tailpiece around 1977-78. I think it's the same silver color from that run . Gibson may have even called it different names throughout the years it was produced. Whatever it's officially called I like it. :)

I ordered a M2M Custom in 2018.. I had a hard time deciding to go with the silver or something Gibson hadn't done before & ended up going with a black to white burst. It looks like a silverburst from a distance but the base color is Alpine White. If I do another M2M it's probably going to be silver.
 

mbm1972

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I think I remember it being referred to as Silver Sky & also Silver Streak by Gibson back then... I can't be sure though. They did make 25 silver Customs with "25th Anniversary" on the tailpiece around 1977-78. I think it's the same silver color from that run . Gibson may have even called it different names throughout the years it was produced. Whatever it's officially called I like it. :)

I ordered a M2M Custom in 2018.. I had a hard time deciding to go with the silver or something Gibson hadn't done before & ended up going with a black to white burst. It looks like a silverburst from a distance but the base color is Alpine White. If I do another M2M it's probably going to be silver.
Sounds pretty awesome - would love to see a pic if you have one posted someplace
 

Thundergod

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That's one hell of a custom. It might be the best looking custom I've ever seen.
 

Musha Ring

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OP, I assume you've since had this issue resolved, but I just wanted to let you know that should this happen again, I suppose I could do you a favour and take that lemon off your hands... :fingersx:
 

mbm1972

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OP, I assume you've since had this issue resolved, but I just wanted to let you know that should this happen again, I suppose I could do you a favour and take that lemon off your hands... :fingersx:
It has been, but I feel better now knowing you've provided me with a backup plan ;-)
 

rfrizz

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Hey Everyone,

I also now have a bit of buzzing in the strings, which is irritating, but I assume a separate issue of the setup.

[snip]

Anyone have any thoughts on causes? Remedies? I'd just like to hear some opinions before I, possibly unjustly, ream out the guitar tech who did the work.
I'm not one to ream someone out for a shitty job. That's just me. However, this was a shitty job.

A guitar tech who fixes one problem only to add a different problem has done an incomplete and piss-poor job. The buzzing is reason enough to make them redo the work. Didn't s/he check the work? Checking every note on a guitar is the the last step before wiping and returning it to the case.

Checking all (6 x 22 = ) 132 notes is tedious work, but it has to be done. I can do a good setup, but I'm not a tech, and I have never charged someone for a setup. But if I ever setup a guitar for someone, and it wasn't right, I would be mortified. (My OCD tendencies explain why it takes me over an hour to setup a new guitar.)
 


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