SG to tech for neck work - questions to ask?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by alex1fly, Jun 3, 2021.

  1. alex1fly

    alex1fly Member

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    Hey all, I'm thinking about taking my SG in to a tech to give the neck some love, and thought I'd post here to see if anyone has suggestions on how to talk with and work with the tech to get optimal results. I haven't had this kind of work done before. The SG in question is a 2013 Future Tribute, and I dig the heck out of it (in no small part due to this forum helping me wrap my brain around it after 20 years as a Strat player).

    Some time last year I took a crowning file to the frets to knock them down a bit and give them some shape. That seems to have been a good move. As was doing a light sanding on the back of the neck - it was pretty sticky. It's still sticky, but not nearly as much. Here's what I'm thinking about next, to improve playability.

    Roll the fingerboard edges
    Polish the frets
    Potentially re-fret

    Any thoughts are welcome!
     
  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Find the nearest PLEK station. Talk to the tech so he knows how you play and what you desire.
     
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  3. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    And don't roll the edges. All that does is lose valuable playing area.
     
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  4. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Even worse when you do it ti a Strat.
     
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  5. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    A PLEK job might be a really good option if you have somebody with the machine near by. I have never had it done myself, but after watching several videos of the process I am impressed enough that I would give it a try if the opportunity arises. I have a Strat that needs some fret work on the original neck so I can put it back on. I've been rocking an AllParts replacement neck for quite a while since I knew somebody who had a spare laying around and wanted to sell it cheap. The original needs a refret and full setup.

    When interviewing a potential luthier, one of the most informative questions I ask is "Can you show me something you are especially proud of at the moment?" If their work is good, that question is sure to give me the best idea of what sort of work they do. Pictures are not what I am looking for, but an actual instrument I can check out and touch the work in person. Most luthiers will have a personal instrument they have set up to their liking and will be happy to let me play it for a few minutes. That is the best resume I can imagine and is worth more than any words can ever be in a short time.
     
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  6. MR D

    MR D Active Member

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    Get the neck Dead Straight, sand frets it w/Radius block till low spot is new high spot, blue up the frets, crown 'em, polish em...off you go ! Refret can cost $300, doin what I just mentioned will cost about $8.......sandpaper price is up a bit.
     
  7. alex1fly

    alex1fly Member

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    The rolled edges I've experienced are barely visible and feel great. I suppose there are probably variations in how much wood gets removed/shaped, and you're right, you wouldn't want much wood removed. Just enough to soften the hard right angle. Am I missing something?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  8. Westernrider

    Westernrider Well-Known Member

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    Random Friday Nite Observations.

    Ask the repairman what he does for a guitar set up and what he normally charges.

    Since you are concerned about your SG, here is an unorganized checklist of stuff I want done / checked during a set for one of my SG's:

    Discuss: This is controversial, and it is always a consideration for me - Should this guitar be top wrapped! I'm ADHD / OCD and hate having strings touch the back of the bridge !!!!!!!


    New strings
    neck adjust
    intonation
    fret leveling as needed

    - Seriously, Gibsons take some time and a lot of playing to need a full refret.

    Note: I'm having a LPC refretted which I bought used in about 1988.

    Depending on how you play, I can see a few frets needing replacement. Ask the repair man for your options. If you do a full refret, Nibs over binding is the way to go.


    Lastly, I would ask the repair man to check the nut. Sometimes it can be refiled a bit to clean and smooth it up.

    A new nut, being old fashioned, the bone nut is the way to go, can be one way to really improve the guitar's action. This is totally worth the price - I just had a PRS Santana Se get a full set up and new bone nut and the bill came in at just over $90. And if I was playing out rather than in my garage, I would take this guitar as either the main or backup guitar.


    A pro-level setup makes the guitar feel like it really belongs to me and makes it really worth playing.
     
  9. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    What do you feel is wrong with the guitar as it is then and what are the problems you have?
     
  10. alex1fly

    alex1fly Member

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    It could probably benefit from a pro setup. I've got it pretty close, but would love for it to play as well as possible which I've found comes from getting it in the hands of someone that's better at it than I am. Additionally, I've honed in recently on what makes a great playing guitar (for me), and I'd love to throw that at my tech to see if he thinks those things can be translated across guitars or if it's merely a special combination on my #1.

    For this SG, intonation is great below the 12th fret, and cruddy above it.

    The edge of the neck is sharp - like a hard right angle. Fret ends are a bit poky. Frets could be smoother - I've filed crowns, but they're still a bit rough. And avoiding the fret ends requires constant vigilance. Really, just want to maximize the playing experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  11. [RGMW]largie

    [RGMW]largie New Member

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    I also have a 2013 future tribute and Love it to bits.
    When I got it local guitar tech did setup, recut the nut and tidied all the fret ends as they were slightly proud and that was all it needed :-).
    Let us know how it turns out !
    Dave
     
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  12. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    This is actually the definition of intonation being off FYI.

    A properly intonated guitar will be in tune all the way up. When the bridge is not properly adjusted, you can tune the open strings just fine, and the first 3 or 4 frets will almost always be close enough that the ear will miss the fault. A very badly intonated guitar will begin to show up by fret 5 and be abysmal by 12. The closer to properly adjusted the intonation is, the farther up the neck you can go before notes begin to ring sharp or flat.
     
  13. MR D

    MR D Active Member

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    if you have a properly cut Nut, you should be able to hit an Open 'D', 'A' and 'E' in the 2nd octave and have it RING dead-on. I have found on GIBSON's w/ 12" Radius FB that the LOW 'E' @ .023" across to High 'E' @ .14" (with graduated A-D-G-B) +/-.002" will get that done every time. You can go lower ,sometimes, but then the guitar may fail the 3RD Fret 'Tap-Test', which some people do not care about, but that is a biggie for me.A bigger dealio than strings hitting the back of the bridge, again, some people couldn't care less, but for me: the LOW 'E' and HIGH 'E' can touch, slightly, as the bridge is not arching as the radius yet, but A,D,G,B just can not touch the back of the bridge, NO.
     
  14. Neil from Ottawa Canada

    Neil from Ottawa Canada Member

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    Just wondering if a clip-on tuner is accurate for checking intonation. Play an open string, then play at 12th fret to see if you get the same result ?
     
  15. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    Yes, a clip on tuner should be fine for adjusting intonation. I usually check open, 12th fret, and 12th fret harmonic. Get them all to match with a clip on (or most any other reasonably accurate tuner) and you are usually going to have very good results. Is it possible to get it better with a more expensive tuner and more points of reference? Maybe, but not a lot. Like any high end gear, you can reach a point of diminishing returns pretty quickly. Even the cheapest modern tuners are very good.

    Once I have done the basic adjustment, I will often check more notes, and they are usually pretty darn close. If I see a trend sharp or flat (especially above 12) I might fine tune things a tad more, but it usually doesn't take much further adjustment at that point. Remember that every adjustment for any individual note will effect everything else, so sometimes it comes down to minimizing the problems across all notes, rather than getting full scale perfection all the way up the neck which may not even be possible on many instruments.
     
  16. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

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    You could try the direct route and just ask the person if they're any good because you don't have the time or money to waste. Plug in words like "relief", "intonation" and things like that. If the person has a blank look on their face, it's on to the next one.
     
  17. alex1fly

    alex1fly Member

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    Oh yeah. The guy I'm taking to to knows his stuff and I've been pleased with a couple other setups. I don't think he does refrets and I'm not sure about rolling the fingerboard. Those areas are somewhat mysterious for me as well beyond reading stuff online.
     
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