Got a professional setup on myJ-45. Totally worth it!

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by 985plowboy, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I bought a brand new 2017 Gibson J-45 Standard in August of ‘17.
    I love the look. The fit and finish is outstanding. It has good tone, but something just wasn’t right.

    The strings (12’s or 13’s) bound in the nut, no matter how much chapstick, graphite etc.. I applied. Very difficult to tune and almost impossible to get it to stay in tune for any length of time.
    There was an odd clunky extraneous vibration when the B string was played open through the 7-8 fret. And the action was pretty dang high.

    I am lucky enough to live near the folks who make Manuel and Patterson guitars. Phil Patterson worked on my ‘86 J-100E right after I bought it and he is the real deal. I was at the end of my rope with the J-45 and considering selling it. I called Phil and he agreed to take a look at it.

    He replaced the graphtec nut with bone, made a new tusq bridge that didn’t have such a drastic radius and leveled shaped and crowned the frets. I know it was pleked at the factory, but I’m not sure how impressed I am image.jpg image.jpg with that process. Regardless, I had worn a few grooves in the first 4-5 frets.

    It has never played so well! Action is much lower but the rattle is gone. Plays like butter and is way louder. I’m so pleased with the results. I was truly considering passing this one along. I was so disappointed to have bought what, for me, is a very very expensive guitar from a world renown American company and not have it meet basic expectations.

    Im not here to bash Gibson. I own three. J-45, J-100E and a Junior. But I will say that in my own personal experience my guitar could have definitely benefited from a better setup before leaving Bozeman.

    You hear lots about “play a Gibson before you buy” and “Gibson quality is hit or miss” and “ hold out for a good one” and so on ad nauseum. I wonder if some of that can be attributed to poor setup on otherwise outstanding guitars?

    Anyhow, I brought mine in and paid for a professional setup and I’m so glad I did.
     
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  2. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Another testament that mass crank out companies do minimal setup and, a PLEK is only as good as the setup person afterwards.

    Glad it turned out well!

    Eric
     
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  3. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    That's a success story.

    Did he work on the bridge too?

     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I do a moderate number of setups for local musicians. Its a shame that you have to almost sell your guitar before you find out that it simply needs what should have been done at the factory and checked by the seller. My personal experience with Gibsons of the last four or five years is that their QC stinks. I keep hoping that with the changes that will change too, I guess that jury is still out.

    Yes, a Plek is only as good as the operator (and I hear too many stories of marginal results) - most setup techs will do a little dressing after the Plek.

    So, glad you got it working right, too bad you had to go thru the effort and expense.
     
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Excellent!

    A pro setup is the absolute best money you can spend to improve your sound and your relationship with a guitar.

    Better than an amp, a pedal, or the latest oxygen-free copper magictone snay-coil cable.
     
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  6. CaptainCrunch

    CaptainCrunch TDPRI Member

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    A good electric setup is a science, with steps you can follow, and can usually go back to zero and start over if you goober it. I’m pretty alright at those.

    Good acoustic setup has enough of a dark art to it that beyond polishing frets and truss rod tweaks, imma pay somebody with a beard and smells like sawdust to handle it.

    Nice looking guitar, gotta say.
     
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  7. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I’m not sure . He didn’t mention it specifically , but when I dropped it off I gave him carte blanche to do as he saw fit, no need to check with me. I trust this man.
     
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  8. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Yep, a good setup can turn a perceived slouch into quite a stunner, not just in the tone but playability and feel. I do saddles & set relief myself but leave the other stuff to guys I trust.

    I have an Epiphone AJ-18 that’s been my “cottage guitar” for at least fifteen years. It sounded pretty good but I finally had a guy rough me out a new bone saddle and I finished the height & radius shaping myself. Man, what a difference from the old plastic saddle. I like Tusq saddles but the Epi wore some cheaper plastic.

    I love J-45s and have had some variation of one around for about 35 years. The ‘52 J-45 here has been around here for many years and while it sounded great I finally ran outta saddle. The guy I took it to convinced me to let him replace the fretboard when he had the neck off. The original fretboard had been sanded very thin, like <1/8”, and very flat before I got it and that flat radius was the only thing I didn’t like about the old guitar. So I gave him the green light.

    Now a neck reset and new fretboard is is a lot more than just a setup and when I first got the guitar back it seemed to be somewhat “muted” and my old arthritic hand complained about the now thicker neck. That was temporary: the tone bounced back to be better than ever within a week & my hand now loves the neck. It’s the guitar I grab nearly every night. 3D360ED9-52D3-4D98-8692-F721DF4209B0.jpeg
     
  9. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    That’s beautiful Stubee!
     
  10. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    A professional guitar deserves a professional setup.
     
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