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Old 12-21-2012, 05:06 PM   #1
retroguy02
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Shrill, tinny B string on first fret

Hey guys, UG newbie here..

Ok so I'm a beginner with an Epiphone Les Paul Special II (yeah, I know, *scoff* ) and I have a problem with the B string (2nd string) sounding very tinny on the first fret. Like it has an audible, shrill 'zinnnggg' when you fret it and it only improves if you fret it down really, really hard.

It also sounds kinda tinny on the first few frets but I can noticeably hear it through an amp only on the first fret. I've looked up the net and think it might have to do something with improper filing of the fret or nut slot. I've tried adjusting the truss rod and action but there's not much of an improvement.

Unfortunately where I live I don't know of any reputable guitar techs nearby so I'm looking for a fix that I can do myself. Will using a heavier gauge string fix it (for the sake of playability, I've stuck with 9-42s up until now but I have thought about upgrading since my finger strength is developing)

Another unrelated question about playability: is it normal for electric guitars to have higher action on the upper frets (beyond 12th fret) as compared to the lower ones? Is there any way to 'even out' the action all across the fretboard without causing fret buzz?

Thanks and please help me out guys ..
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:00 PM   #2
W4RP1G
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Sounds like a high or low fret, almost to the point of fretting out. Take a credit card and on edge across the first 3 frets(where the B string would be). Test to see if if rocks back and and forth. If it does, you have a high fret. If not, move up one fret and do the same.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
retroguy02
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^ well it's the very first fret so I couldn't get a very accurate idea using that method. btw would upgrading to a higher string gauge improve it?

and also answer this: is it normal for electric guitars to have higher action on the upper frets (beyond 12th fret) as compared to the lower ones? Is there any way to 'even out' the action all across the fretboard without causing fret buzz?

Thanks again
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:05 PM   #4
W4RP1G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retroguy02
^ well it's the very first fret so I couldn't get a very accurate idea using that method. btw would upgrading to a higher string gauge improve it?

Sure you can. Just run the edge of the card of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fret and see if it rocks back and forth a little.
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroguy02
and also answer this: is it normal for electric guitars to have higher action on the upper frets (beyond 12th fret) as compared to the lower ones? Is there any way to 'even out' the action all across the fretboard without causing fret buzz?

Usually the action is at it's lowest on the lower frets, and then it gradually raises as you approach the twelfth fret. On my guitars, is seems like the action isn't too different from the middle of the neck region(9th-ish fret) to the end, but it's just depends on how it's setup and how he neck is bowed(using the truss rod).

Typically, you would adjust the truss rod so the back bow is just enough to not cause buzzing on the low frets, and then set your action to where you want it at the 14th fret. Some people go by the 12th fret, I've gone by the 18th fret. It really doesn't matter.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:13 AM   #5
retroguy02
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i gave the truss rod a bit of slack and deepened the string's nut slot with a small flathead screwdriver (i know, shouldn't be done by a non-pro but it's an Epiphone Les Paul Special so i thought what the heck), and now it's a lot better, at least the fret isn't dead. thanks a lot anyway
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:12 AM   #6
ConcertShooter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retroguy02
Hey guys, UG newbie here..

Ok so I'm a beginner with an Epiphone Les Paul Special II (yeah, I know, *scoff* ) and I have a problem with the B string (2nd string) sounding very tinny on the first fret. Like it has an audible, shrill 'zinnnggg' when you fret it and it only improves if you fret it down really, really hard.


I'm glad you started this thread. My Les Paul Classic '60 RI and my Epi 339 Pro both have an odd sound when I'm not playing through an amp on the B string playing a C#, D, D#. I'm sure this is the same sound you are hearing on your instrument. I thought a fret problem too, but no dead frets here.

To the best of my hearing and knowledge, I don't hear this when playing either instrument through an amplifier. I thought this might be something peculiar to Gibson and Epi guitars but maybe not. I took it to the luthier that set the Epi up and he further adjusted the intonation on the B string. Still have that "ping" sound though when not plugged into amp. Expensive Les Paul Classic does too.

I will be following this thread a little closer as I am still within the return period on the Epi 339 Pro. Traded for the Les Paul Classic so no return there.

I will also try and record the sound I'm hearing and post it so that the OP can listen and determine if it's the same one he hears on his. I can't imagine that a 1999 Les Paul Classic and a 2012 Epi 339 Pro would have the same exact "ping" sound in the same exact spot and it be a fret problem. The odds are too high. I thought it might be something inherent in Gibson\Epi instruments.

If it was a violin it might be considered a "wolf note," but again I only hear it (as best I can tell) when it's not plugged into an amp.

Last edited by ConcertShooter : 01-17-2013 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
retroguy02
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could it have something to do with the tune-o-matic or 24.75" neck scale? on an expensive guitar i wouldn't mess around with it myself, just get it checked out again by a luthier i guess (but from my experience with tinkering around, usually it's either the fret wire, nut, truss rod or bridge)..

Although the dead fret is fixed for now, I have realized that on some frets past the 12th fret the string rings when you fret it (sounds like hammering on from an open string into the fret you're playing). the action is just fine and this doesn't happen on other frets. any idea how to fix this?
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