SG standard with weak resonance at the 12th, 13th, and 14th Fret of the E string

Neezduts89

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Hey all. Has anyone else had this issue with their SG? My action, neck tension, and everything else is adjusted to factory settings (or very close) and as far as I know, everything is correct. I check the neck tension most times before I play and it always stays the same and is within tolerance. I’ve noticed that when playing acoustically, or at low volumes on my amp, that the 12th and 14th frets seem to be dead. Not completely, but they have a noticeably lower volume than all of the other frets. This isn’t a huge issue, as I can just crank the volume up on my amp, but I do tend to notice little flaws like that. Anyone else have this issue, or suggest a fix for it?
 

donepearce

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As a quick diagnostic. Can you rest the end of the headstock gently against a solid wall and tell us if those frets are still weak? This is sounding very much like a neck/body resonance, which this test will reveal.
 

Go Nigel Go

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That was my thought as well... O.P. mentions everything is at "factory settings", could be it just needs a good professional setup and adjustment to get everything adjusted to be it's best self. Most new instruments are set up "close enough to be playable" but with some room for set up to a player's individual specs. I've hardly ever seen a new instrument from any manufacturer that couldn't use a bit of adjustment here and there to be as good as it could be. Remember, different players like different things, and the factory must make allowances for the adjustments their customer most likely will want to make..
 

Neezduts89

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That was my thought as well... O.P. mentions everything is at "factory settings", could be it just needs a good professional setup and adjustment to get everything adjusted to be it's best self. Most new instruments are set up "close enough to be playable" but with some room for set up to a player's individual specs. I've hardly ever seen a new instrument from any manufacturer that couldn't use a bit of adjustment here and there to be as good as it could be. Remember, different players like different things, and the factory must make allowances for the adjustments their customer most likely will want to make..

I don’t have the option of taking it to get setup. There are no luthiers around me that can do it, and I’m not shipping the guitar out to have it done. I’ve been doing setups on guitars for years, at least for the past decade now. I think that I am more than competent enough to do it, and have done it multiple times with my SG. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say as far as taking it to a “professional”, but I would imagine if the setup is within tolerances close to the factory spec, then it may be another issue. That’s the question I’m asking here
 

Go Nigel Go

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I don’t have the option of taking it to get setup. There are no luthiers around me that can do it, and I’m not shipping the guitar out to have it done. I’ve been doing setups on guitars for years, at least for the past decade now. I think that I am more than competent enough to do it, and have done it multiple times with my SG. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say as far as taking it to a “professional”, but I would imagine if the setup is within tolerances close to the factory spec, then it may be another issue. That’s the question I’m asking here

Don't take any of that personally, no offense meant. If you are capable of doing a proper setup (and that isn't out of the question for the the player who has learned how and has the tools to do it at home), then good for you. My point was mainly that "factory settings" are often not the best ones, and are meant to be a good starting place, not necessarily the best results right out of the box. I have seen many new (even expensive) guitars the needed a fair bit of work on day one, but it transformed them into something far better than they left the factory.

If you have a Capo, place it at one of the positions where you have deadening, then check clearances the rest of the way down the neck. I say use a Capo if you have one because it frees up both hands and lets you move the guitar around where you can see everything well while you search for places that may be touching the string as it tries to vibrate. Without a Capo you will just need to hold the note by hand, which is doable, just a little more difficult to get a good look sometimes.

Whether new or used I plan on going through the process of a full set up. No need to adjust things that satisfactory, but I check everything in proper order when I get a new (to me) instrument just the same.
 

DrBGood

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When you fret the 12th and 14th, is there string clearance over the 13th and 15th frets, respectively? I'm thinking you just need a little leveling.
Or maybe badly seated frets. He could try tapping them down. I do it with a with a small hard wood dowel and hammer. No harm in trynig that first. Most of my guitars had them one time or another.
 

PermissionToLand

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Don't take any of that personally, no offense meant. If you are capable of doing a proper setup (and that isn't out of the question for the the player who has learned how and has the tools to do it at home), then good for you. My point was mainly that "factory settings" are often not the best ones, and are meant to be a good starting place, not necessarily the best results right out of the box. I have seen many new (even expensive) guitars the needed a fair bit of work on day one, but it transformed them into something far better than they left the factory.

If you have a Capo, place it at one of the positions where you have deadening, then check clearances the rest of the way down the neck. I say use a Capo if you have one because it frees up both hands and lets you move the guitar around where you can see everything well while you search for places that may be touching the string as it tries to vibrate. Without a Capo you will just need to hold the note by hand, which is doable, just a little more difficult to get a good look sometimes.

Whether new or used I plan on going through the process of a full set up. No need to adjust things that satisfactory, but I check everything in proper order when I get a new (to me) instrument just the same.

I would only avoid using a capo because it would be a greater pressure than your finger exerts behind a fret and might make the string have greater clearance than it would otherwise. Unless you have one with adjustable tension, of course. I try to place mine on top of the fret itself as much as possible, but things still tend to go sharp.
 

Neezduts89

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Don't take any of that personally, no offense meant. If you are capable of doing a proper setup (and that isn't out of the question for the the player who has learned how and has the tools to do it at home), then good for you. My point was mainly that "factory settings" are often not the best ones, and are meant to be a good starting place, not necessarily the best results right out of the box. I have seen many new (even expensive) guitars the needed a fair bit of work on day one, but it transformed them into something far better than they left the factory.

If you have a Capo, place it at one of the positions where you have deadening, then check clearances the rest of the way down the neck. I say use a Capo if you have one because it frees up both hands and lets you move the guitar around where you can see everything well while you search for places that may be touching the string as it tries to vibrate. Without a Capo you will just need to hold the note by hand, which is doable, just a little more difficult to get a good look sometimes.

Whether new or used I plan on going through the process of a full set up. No need to adjust things that satisfactory, but I check everything in proper order when I get a new (to me) instrument just the same.

none taken. I do have the tools at home to do it and I definitely prefer to do it myself. I started experimenting with guitar adjustments long ago and learned how to do it pretty well. Like I was saying too, I don’t have a luthier anywhere in my area, and even if I did, I don’t know if I would trust anyone to touch guitar. I treat my SG like gold and want it to to have a nice long life, and that’s one of the reasons I try and stick close to the factory specs, at least for the neck tension. I do have a capo at home and will give that a try too. I already have seen a few suggestions and I’m sure one of them will solve the issue. Thanks for the info
 

DrBGood

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none taken. I do have the tools at home to do it and I definitely prefer to do it myself. I started experimenting with guitar adjustments long ago and learned how to do it pretty well. Like I was saying too, I don’t have a luthier anywhere in my area, and even if I did, I don’t know if I would trust anyone to touch guitar. I treat my SG like gold and want it to to have a nice long life, and that’s one of the reasons I try and stick close to the factory specs, at least for the neck tension. I do have a capo at home and will give that a try too. I already have seen a few suggestions and I’m sure one of them will solve the issue. Thanks for the info
If you really want to get the best out of it, maybe try this method.

First, get the neck straight.


Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.
 

Neezduts89

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If you really want to get the best out of it, maybe try this method.

First, get the neck straight.


Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.

Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.

Once you have acceptable relief, (i.e. no buzz) and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements; hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 16 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.

I am going to give your approach a try as I would like to see if I can get a better setup out of my guitar than I can with doing it the old fashioned way. The neck on my SG as it is now is straight. That is the number one thing I pay attention to. I’ve heard too many horror stories of neck tension going out of wack and guitars getting destroyed because of it. I’ve done all the research and have checked to make sure that the neck on my guitar is straight as can be. I usually check it one time before playing (which is almost daily) and it consistently stays the same each time. After work tonight I am going to give your approach a try and hopefully the troubled frets I’m having will return to normal! Thanks again for all the info
 

Col Mustard

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When in doubt, change your strings. Try a new brand.
If the problem persists

there is one more turd in the salad...
Dead spots are a feature of many instruments not just Gibbies.

Most musicians simply remember where they are and play around them.
For example: The Fender basses are notorious for having a dead spot
at the G string 7th fret. Fender knows about it, but no one can do anything
about it. Gibson SGs have been reported with dead spots at the Xll fret G String
many times here. I don't know if Les Pauls are plagued by this, but I wouldn't
be surprised. Some musicians never even notice. Turn it up.... turn it up more...

All the ideas spoken here might help. If you put the headstock against a wall gently
and then play, and the dead spot goes away, then it's definitely a resonance thing
in the wood. The fix might be a Phat Phinger which clamps on your headstock and
helps with the resonance. You can google that and learn about it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with your guitar. To me it's just a factor of
an organic instrument made of wood, including hand work by human beings.
*shrugs

I don't know if it helps to know you aren't the only one, and that other guitars by
other makers have dead spots.
 

Neezduts89

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When in doubt, change your strings. Try a new brand.
If the problem persists

there is one more turd in the salad...
Dead spots are a feature of many instruments not just Gibbies.

Most musicians simply remember where they are and play around them.
For example: The Fender basses are notorious for having a dead spot
at the G string 7th fret. Fender knows about it, but no one can do anything
about it. Gibson SGs have been reported with dead spots at the Xll fret G String
many times here. I don't know if Les Pauls are plagued by this, but I wouldn't
be surprised. Some musicians never even notice. Turn it up.... turn it up more...

All the ideas spoken here might help. If you put the headstock against a wall gently
and then play, and the dead spot goes away, then it's definitely a resonance thing
in the wood. The fix might be a Phat Phinger which clamps on your headstock and
helps with the resonance. You can google that and learn about it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with your guitar. To me it's just a factor of
an organic instrument made of wood, including hand work by human beings.
*shrugs

I don't know if it helps to know you aren't the only one, and that other guitars by
other makers have dead spots.


I hope it’s not my strings they’re pretty new and the same brand I’ve been using since I was a teen, 10-46 D’addarios. Luckily with some considerable overdrive, the dead spots seem to go away almost completely. The only time I really notice it is when I’m playing on my amps clean channel, or when the guitar is unplugged. I will try some of the suggestions here and see if that helps. The 12th fret of the E string is a big one for me as a lot of my favorite songs to play revolve around that fret, and unfortunately it just doesn’t sound the same when I try to play around that specific fret, so hopefully I can get this issue resolved. Otherwise, I’ll just have to deal with it and learn to let it be. I’ve become way too accustomed to this guitar to give up on it now!
 


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