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> Advice Please, Repair or put $ to new guitar
Blister
post Feb 24 2013, 05:19 AM
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I apologize that this is so long but felt details are needed.

I have an Aria LP copy that my mom bought me in the 70's. It sat in its case for many years & still looks like new. I never had it set up. I took it about a month ago to Guitar Center (I researched the tech & found he had a good reputation). He did the setup in front of me & he didn't mind me asking my stupid questions. Sadly my skills are only beginner to intermediate. But while he was setting it up, he was hesitant to do any mods to it since it was "vintage" (his word). I believe he did a good job on the set up. But lately while playing I noticed fret buzz on the A & D strings at the 6th fret. I took it back to him today to look at & he said the 6th fret is lower than the other frets. If it were higher, it would be an easier fix just to file it down. But being lower, the other frets need to be lowered to its level. When he played it, he seemed to feel it was fine. When I played it, I got the buzz. I do worry I press too hard & am trying to work on using a lighter touch. Anyways, the repair will cost about $80. Yes this is a "copy" & not a "real" Les Paul. I have no intentions of ever selling it due to sentimental reasons.

After setting up the Aria, I left an Ibanez RG370 that I bought last year off Craigslist for him to set up & finally had time to go pick it up today (it's almost 2 hours drive away). So I have another guitar to play & Todd's video chat today gave it a pretty good workout & noticed no issues wink.gif . I did leave the Aria after picking up the RG & he said it will take a few days.

I am now having doubts on getting it repaired. I am now thinking rather than put $80 into the Aria, it might be better to just get another guitar. If... I mean... when I eventually gig with it, I'm sure something bad might happen to it. It's inevitable, right? It is still playable. I also have an interest in jazz fusion & would really love to get a hollow or semi hollow body. While at GC, I saw a Sunset Red Ibanez & fell in love with its beauty (but no I didn't try it). I know a guitar is like a girl, you can't just love how it looks cause you are going to "have" to listen it for a long time so you better love how it plays as well. biggrin.gif

Now that I have written all this, I guess I have already made up my mind. But I am curious if any of you have any thoughts.

Thank you for taking time to read this. smile.gif

Gary


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DeGroot
post Feb 24 2013, 06:30 AM
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Hey Gary,

Was there fret buzz before the set up? If so, maybe you should consider having the frets leveled if you are going to play it regularly. Having such sentimental history with the guitar it might be worth semi-retiring, if you are concerned about its safety. Nothing wrong with getting another guitar for daily playing and gigging. smile.gif Since you're already interested in getting a guitar that is different from your LP, like a hollow body, it might be worth exploring a new guitar and putting the repair on hold until your are more certain.


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mroberts70
post Feb 24 2013, 08:03 AM
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QUOTE (DeGroot @ Feb 24 2013, 12:30 AM) *
Hey Gary,

Was there fret buzz before the set up? If so, maybe you should consider having the frets leveled if you are going to play it regularly. Having such sentimental history with the guitar it might be worth semi-retiring, if you are concerned about its safety. Nothing wrong with getting another guitar for daily playing and gigging. smile.gif Since you're already interested in getting a guitar that is different from your LP, like a hollow body, it might be worth exploring a new guitar and putting the repair on hold until your are more certain.


Hey Gary, I had a whole other reply that I decided to change after giving it more thought.

Here is something for you to consider. I would get another opinion on your guitar and here's why...

First off, no offense to anyone but I wouldn't have full confidence in what a Guitar Center tech told you. Now, that doesn't mean I think all GC Luthiers are incompetent, but how do you know for a fact that his guy is legit?

Secondly, if you have only one fret lower, then which one is really the problem, that one fret or the 20 some other frets?

It may be that the sixth fret is truly the issue, and maybe that guy doesn't have the ability to repair a fret as it would more likely need pulled and replaced??? I'm no expert, but when I take my car to the shop for a a new tire, that doesn't mean give me 3 other flat tires to match the one offender. Maybe someone else here with more knowledge on the subject may see that what this guy is telling is the best, but for me I would find someone to fix the actual bad fret instead of putting a file to all 20 some other frets.

You may not have the best guy for the job if he can't even hear the buzz but you can. Again, I'm no expert...but I've only heard it being an issue pushing down on the strings too hard if its on a scalloped neck.... And that is just that you may change the pitch of the note when you do....not cause a fret buzz.

I just wanted to give you something to consider before giving anyone 80 bucks to file down all of your presumed good frets on a guitar that does have sentimental value. Those guys at Guitar center are there to make money, and I'd hate to see you walk away with worse issues with your guitar.

Take care Gary,

Mark

This post has been edited by mroberts70: Feb 24 2013, 08:58 AM


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sammetal92
post Feb 24 2013, 12:06 PM
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+1 to Mark's opinion, I thought of exactly the same things as I read your post, Gary.


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DeGroot
post Feb 24 2013, 04:07 PM
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Good advice from mroberts.

Something else I was going to mention the first time. How is the action on your guitar? Raising the action in some cases will take care of the fret buzz. I have somewhat high action on my own LP or I'll have some fret buzz around 13the fret (Low E and A). Of course if you have to raise the action uncomfortably high, then I would just put it back to the original height. The good thing is LPs are easy to raise/ lower action.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 24 2013, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE (DeGroot @ Feb 24 2013, 03:07 PM) *
Good advice from mroberts.

Something else I was going to mention the first time. How is the action on your guitar? Raising the action in some cases will take care of the fret buzz. I have somewhat high action on my own LP or I'll have some fret buzz around 13the fret (Low E and A). Of course if you have to raise the action uncomfortably high, then I would just put it back to the original height. The good thing is LPs are easy to raise/ lower action.


I agree with the advices from the guys and I would first try what DG suggested here! Secondly, if you try the hollowbody and you like it, take it tongue.gif


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GregH
post Feb 24 2013, 11:37 PM
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If I trusted the technician, and the low fret is not too low, then I would not be afraid to have the frets leveled. It’s a pretty standard procedure. If they have to remove a lot of material, then it really should have all the frets replaced. Replacing one fret (in my experience) is not too common. Most of the technicians that I have talked to don’t like to mix new frets with old.
However, raising the action will also get rid of the buzz. If you are not planning to use the guitar a lot any more, then raising the action is probably not too objectionable.
It bugs me to have equipment with known problems so I would probably go with fixing it but I don’t think there is a wrong answer here.
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jstcrsn
post Feb 25 2013, 01:02 AM
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look down the neck to see if it is straight, sometimes minor truss rod adjustments along with the bridge adjustments others talked about can find some middle ground without major work
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Blister
post Feb 25 2013, 03:00 AM
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Thanks so much guys! I can tell you put a lot of thought into this. smile.gif

QUOTE (DeGroot @ Feb 24 2013, 12:30 AM) *
Hey Gary,

Was there fret buzz before the set up? If so, maybe you should consider having the frets leveled if you are going to play it regularly. Having such sentimental history with the guitar it might be worth semi-retiring, if you are concerned about its safety. Nothing wrong with getting another guitar for daily playing and gigging. smile.gif Since you're already interested in getting a guitar that is different from your LP, like a hollow body, it might be worth exploring a new guitar and putting the repair on hold until your are more certain.


I really didn't notice the fret buzz before. When he did the set up, he took the bridge & stop tailpiece completely off to clean it. So I can only assume he set the action lower than I had it but not sure compared to where I had it set (& I did set it low myself originally but didn't do a good job setting the intonation).

QUOTE (mroberts70 @ Feb 24 2013, 02:03 AM) *
Hey Gary, I had a whole other reply that I decided to change after giving it more thought.

Here is something for you to consider. I would get another opinion on your guitar and here's why...

First off, no offense to anyone but I wouldn't have full confidence in what a Guitar Center tech told you. Now, that doesn't mean I think all GC Luthiers are incompetent, but how do you know for a fact that his guy is legit?

Secondly, if you have only one fret lower, then which one is really the problem, that one fret or the 20 some other frets?

It may be that the sixth fret is truly the issue, and maybe that guy doesn't have the ability to repair a fret as it would more likely need pulled and replaced??? I'm no expert, but when I take my car to the shop for a a new tire, that doesn't mean give me 3 other flat tires to match the one offender. Maybe someone else here with more knowledge on the subject may see that what this guy is telling is the best, but for me I would find someone to fix the actual bad fret instead of putting a file to all 20 some other frets.

You may not have the best guy for the job if he can't even hear the buzz but you can. Again, I'm no expert...but I've only heard it being an issue pushing down on the strings too hard if its on a scalloped neck.... And that is just that you may change the pitch of the note when you do....not cause a fret buzz.

I just wanted to give you something to consider before giving anyone 80 bucks to file down all of your presumed good frets on a guitar that does have sentimental value. Those guys at Guitar center are there to make money, and I'd hate to see you walk away with worse issues with your guitar.

Take care Gary,

Mark


Great advice Mark! I would definitely go to another Doctor for a second opinion if it were my own health. I can't believe I didn't think of that. I think I was caught up in the emotion of the moment. Like I said, this guitar isn't just an instrument to me, so in my mind, I just wanted it "right".

QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Feb 24 2013, 06:06 AM) *
+1 to Mark's opinion, I thought of exactly the same things as I read your post, Gary.


Thanks Sam.

QUOTE (DeGroot @ Feb 24 2013, 10:07 AM) *
Good advice from mroberts.

Something else I was going to mention the first time. How is the action on your guitar? Raising the action in some cases will take care of the fret buzz. I have somewhat high action on my own LP or I'll have some fret buzz around 13the fret (Low E and A). Of course if you have to raise the action uncomfortably high, then I would just put it back to the original height. The good thing is LPs are easy to raise/ lower action.


Thanks DG. I didn't think to ask him that in the moment. I think this is a good recommendation to try.

QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Feb 24 2013, 11:13 AM) *
I agree with the advices from the guys and I would first try what DG suggested here! Secondly, if you try the hollowbody and you like it, take it tongue.gif


Thanks Cosmin. I'm not sure if he'll charge me to try raising the action on it but will certainly ask. I feel like I've put enough money in upkeep for the moment & if I'm to put any more out, I kind of like the idea of putting it towards investigating the hollowbody. I try not to make quick judgments when spending money although my quick decision above regarding making it "right" could argue that point. wink.gif

QUOTE (GregH @ Feb 24 2013, 05:37 PM) *
If I trusted the technician, and the low fret is not too low, then I would not be afraid to have the frets leveled. It’s a pretty standard procedure. If they have to remove a lot of material, then it really should have all the frets replaced. Replacing one fret (in my experience) is not too common. Most of the technicians that I have talked to don’t like to mix new frets with old.
However, raising the action will also get rid of the buzz. If you are not planning to use the guitar a lot any more, then raising the action is probably not too objectionable.
It bugs me to have equipment with known problems so I would probably go with fixing it but I don’t think there is a wrong answer here.


I agree. I do want it to be "right". It doesn't necessarily have to be right now. I am new to the term "fret dress" but I saw this comment, "... but requesting a setup on a guitar that has had no fret dress is a waste of time. It's just part of doing it right.-- Ron Kirn" (this comment is from another forum so I hope quoting it here does not violate any GMC policy).


QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Feb 24 2013, 07:02 PM) *
look down the neck to see if it is straight, sometimes minor truss rod adjustments along with the bridge adjustments others talked about can find some middle ground without major work

Hey Cursin'. Yes, the tech did try adjusting the truss rod for me but that didn't satisfy me. The neck (as I remember; it is in the shop right now) did appear to be straight. He used a metal level that looked the size of a credit card & showed me how the fret was lower than adjacent frets.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Feb 25 2013, 02:47 PM
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Mate, when I feel like something I own needs more attention than simply buying a new device, it means I will definitely save both time and money (meaning that I will invest them in something with a prolongued lifespan and thus better quality and results) plus, if it's a slightly different thing, it may inspire me in discovering things I never knew I had in me smile.gif In the good way of course. Then again, this is how I see things wink.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 26 2013, 06:10 PM
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Some great advice here to be sure smile.gif I had a similar experience with my Minarik Lotus. I had the Kerry King EMG set put in and then had a guy to another full setup after which the guitar would not stay in tune. I got so frustrated with it that I just traded it in on another guitar which I later sold. The minarik had always been a tad twitchy on tuning, but after the setup it seemed wrecked. I was a bit too quick to get rid of it looking back. I would say don't be too hasty to ditch an instrument. As folks are saying get a second oppinion. Also, it's possible to play and adore an axe that has a few issues. My brand new 8 string has one fret (first on low cool.gif that buzzes and I can't seem to get rid of it without creating other issues. But I'll keep working with it and eventually I'm guessing it will work out smile.gif

If the LP has history, I'd say treat it like an old family pet. It's worth saving. It has very little value on the market, but has value to it's owner. I sold one of my first guitars a while back (an old kramer Focus 1000) and I find myself visiting it in the guitar shop and considering repurchasing it despite the fact it's yellowed with age and doesn't play that well anymore. It's quite possible to develop an emotional connection to instruments that mean something to us a players even though they are old, beat up, need more to repair than they are worth etc. smile.gif

Todd


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mroberts70
post Feb 26 2013, 06:24 PM
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Regardless I would get more than one opinion then you can compare and try to make the best call possible. I've seen two different scenarios with a single fret buzz. For my own experience, it ended up being that the neck was warped and nothing could be done with the instrument, but this was with a new instrument so the choice to return and replace was easy.... not so much with an instrument that first off you've owned for several years and secondly not an option at all if it bears any sentimental value.

The second scenario, a close friend had a single fret buzz where all of the adjustments named above did not fix the issue and he is still having the buzz which is driving him in sane. He is looking at getting some sort of fret work done... again I'm no expert on this so I'm not sure what it will be, but definately all of the easier items have not fixed this for him and he is kinda sorry that he went with the first guys opinion which didn't hurt the guitar to make the adjustments, but it cost him every time to have something "tried" to see if it would fix it. Unfortunately he is also limited on where he has to take it to have it worked on as well.... so unless you are comfortable with doing the work yourself then you are kinda over a barrel.

Sooo, I would at least get a second opinion before putting much money into any one option just to (hopefully) make "sure" you are doing the right thing ahead of time just to save you some time, money and heartburn.

If you can happen to find someone really reputable, then I'd probably go with what they had to say, if you go with another place with just a staff guitar tech then maybe even a third opinion if his idea is way off from the other guy. Also, don't tell him you've had it else where, just go in and describe the problem and see what he says.

That's about all I can offer up.

Take care and good luck! smile.gif

This post has been edited by mroberts70: Feb 26 2013, 06:27 PM


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