High Notes Cut Short on Brand New Guitar
First post from a newbie here so please excuse my unfamiliarity with the forums - I've tried searching for this topic but couldn't find anything similar.
I recently had a custom guitar built for me - almost an exact replica of a Gibson SG but with custom woods (e.g. Spalted Beech top) that I couldn't find on any on the market. The dimensions, bridge setup etc are all as they would be on a standard Gibson SG.
The problem stems from the high notes on the neck - anything past the 12th fret really. They aren't sounding correctly or as easily as I would like. The action is similar to that on my old Epi SG and I have no such problems with that one. I wouldn't say there's any buzz as such, the notes just aren't as clear as I would like and seem to require more force to sound - particularly when tapping. I didn't expect that - the pickups on my new axe are far more powerful than my old ones (Bare Knuckles vs standard Epi pickups) so I would have expected if anything such notes to be easier to produce. Similarly, bends high up the neck seem prone to cutting out.
I've checked the tuning and intonation (i.e. 12th fret harmonics vs open strings) and all seems in good order...which is about the limit of my knowledge. My luthier lives too far away for me to be able to just take it back to him, but he is relatively successful and runs a guitar building course so I'm confident he knows his stuff. He says the guitar, being brand new, may take some time to "play in".
Does anyone have any thoughts which might help? Any tips or insight would be gratefully appreciated.
I didn't expect that - the pickups on my new axe are far more powerful than my old ones (Bare Knuckles vs standard Epi pickups) so I would have expected if anything such notes to be easier to produce. Similarly, bends high up the neck seem prone to cutting out.
Lower the neck pickup about 1/4 inch and see if the problems go away. Having your pickups too close to the strings can effect sustain and intonation.
Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.
Thanks for that but I probably should have mentioned that the problems occur when unplugged also. I searched the net thoroughly but this just doesn't seem to be a common problem
If it's the pickup too close, the problem is the magnetism from the pickup affecting the movement of the string.
That'll happen plugged in or not.
I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep
Thanks guys, much appreciated.
I'll give that a try and let you know how I get on.
Play it in for a while- it'll be fun, whether it helps or not. :-) (By the way- your guitar sounds gorgeous- we like pictures!)
About why notes cut out- string getting to close to the magnet may be the most likely culprit, if there is NO buzz.)
If the same string sounds easily and clear on lower notes, but not further up the neck, it's got to be getting too close to, or hitting, something. YOu may just want to fret a note somewhere around the "problem zone" and then squint at the remaining travel of the string- look at every bit. Is it near, or almost on, higher frets? (COmmon) Is fretting that high up the neck, where action is highest, causing any change in seating on the bridge saddle? (less common, in my experience, but possible) How close to the pickup is it?
I do apologise, where are my manners? Some pics:
It's a lovely guitar and absolutely what I was hoping for. I've always loved the SG but could never find one with the look and/or features I wanted. I think that just makes these little niggles even more frustrating.
The neck pickup (should I be adjusting the bridge also? it's much closer than the neck, but still not overly close in my opinion) doesn't seem too close to the strings - its certainly the same, if not further away, distance from my strings as the setup on my old Epiphone SG, but presumably the pickups on my new axe are more powerful and more likely to cause this? I have Bare Knuckles - a Warpig in the bridge and a custom Nailbomb in the neck.
I'll follow your diagnostic tips and see if I can't get to the bottom of the problem. I'm also going to give it a fresh set of strings and a solid playing and post back any unusual finding.
Thanks for all your help guys - much appreciated!
A thought on pickup height- I don't know how the specs on your old SG compare to this one, with regard to the strenght of magnetism rolling off the pickups.
What I tend to do is move the pickups WAY high- too high. You'll know they're too high, as the interference in the strings sustain will get noticeable. Then lower, and play, and lower, and play... bit by bit, until all the interference stops.
(Alternatively, you could set them too low, then raise up until they get troublesome, lower back a little.)
I find the result is a little different on every guitar I've owned...