#1
I'm not very aware about electrics in general and I've just picked up a Mitchell guitar from MF for $199 and I noticed two things:

1. That the fretboard didn't sit flush (see below).

2. That the bridge pickup was tilted forward (see below).

Do these issues actually matter? The guitar seems to play well, have a decent setup and intonation, etc. I just don't know if these two issues are cosmetic, or if they actually mean something about the guitar.

Anyone?
Last edited by donbarron691 at Feb 17, 2017,
#2
The gap under the end of the fretboard wouldn't bother me, but I would like the bridge and pickups a bit lower than that. The neck angle is fairly steep, so it might be shimmed. If it is, I would try removing the shim, and if it isn't I would shim the front of the neck pocket to lower the neck angle.
#3
The neck being attached to the body at an angle like that is perfectly normal for a guitar with a Tune-O-Matic bridge. It needs that angle because TOM's by design sit quite high off the guitar's top compared to other styles of bridges. So to compensate, the neck is installed on the body at an angle to ensure that the guitar's action can still be set nice and low without the studs which mount the bridge running out of adjustment room. Gibsons with TOM bridges have their necks glued in at an angle relative to the body to achieve the same thing. If there's nothing wrong with the way that guitar plays, then leave it alone. If you don't like how it looks for some reason, you can take the neck off and reduce the height of the shim, but I wouldn't bother. Its not doing any harm the way it is.

You might be able to stop the pickup from leaning forwards like that by taking the pickup out and flipping over the springs which tension the pickups against the mounting rings. But if you ask me, that pickup looks like it should be lowered. It's almost touching the strings.
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#4
T00DEEPBLUE

With that string-through design, and a high string break angle over the saddles, apparently combined with no inserts for the bridge height screws, I would be worried about the bridge being forced into a forward lean. - Especially as the timber isn't likely to be the best quality. I would rather play safe, and see about half that much height screw showing, or less. - Both my ToMs (a Gibson and a Burny) only have about 2 to 3 mm between the guitar top and the knurling on the screw.
#5
Tony Done
This isn't an ABR-1 bridge.

It isn't readily apparent in the pictures, but the bushings are indeed there if you look closely enough.
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#6
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T00DEEPBLUE

With that string-through design, and a high string break angle over the saddles, apparently combined with no inserts for the bridge height screws, I would be worried about the bridge being forced into a forward lean. - Especially as the timber isn't likely to be the best quality. I would rather play safe, and see about half that much height screw showing, or less. - Both my ToMs (a Gibson and a Burny) only have about 2 to 3 mm between the guitar top and the knurling on the screw.


I agree -- a lot of manufacturers use the same generic hardware, but the guitars just aren't very well designed.

Fretboards on bolt-neck guitars often do not sit flush, and a lot of necks are built with a cantilevered fretboard (to offer 22 and 24 frets on guitars originally designed for 21). This allows the body to have a bit more "meat" between the rout for the pickup and the neck pocket. This isn't a thing on set neck guitars, but can become important on bolt-neck guitars.

I really don't have an issue with the tilted pickup; that's easily remedied with some foam under the pickup itself. A lot of more modern guitars (since the early '70's "modern") have pickups with three or even four mounting screws, and that allows you to adjust the angle of the pickup. A single screw on each side of the pickup is, of course, more common and traditional, but there IS superior thinking available and no reason not to use it.
Last edited by dspellman at May 5, 2017,
#7
Yeah that's not an issue, just how the guitar was designed, my charvel has the exact same two features as you listed.
#8
The pickup is not just tilted forward in fact it is nearly parallel with the mounting ring which is angled to compensate for the neck angle you will see these angled mounting rings on Gibsons or guitars in general with TOM bridges, if it really bothers you replace it with one that is not angled although sonically it's unlikely that you will be able to hear a difference. You can just adjust the pickup heigth as it does appear to be a bit on the hich side.
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Last edited by Evilnine at May 4, 2017,
#9
The neck is meant to be that way.  Technically the bridge pickup should be parallel with the top of the mounting ring but due to how pickups are mounted they will always shift around a little.  Today it's leaning forward but in a week it could be leaning the other way.   This isn't a problem with your guitar, it's a problem with all guitars that use mounting rings.
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#10
Quote by CorduroyEW
The neck is meant to be that way.  Technically the bridge pickup should be parallel with the top of the mounting ring but due to how pickups are mounted they will always shift around a little.  Today it's leaning forward but in a week it could be leaning the other way.   This isn't a problem with your guitar, it's a problem with all guitars that use mounting rings.

It's not really a problem with all guitars that use mounting rings, and the pickup should not be parallel with the top of the mounting ring, but with the strings themselves.

Most pickup manufacturers are lazy and have a single height adjustment screw on either side of the pickup. Some pickup manufacturers have at least two holes on one side (some have two on *each* side) so that you can adjust the angle of the pickup. You may want to swap out the pickup ring and pickup. Another possibility is to put some foam under the pickup to adjust it to match the strings. 




#11
I admit that I overgeneralized and shouldn't have said "all pickups with mounting rings."  What I should have said is "most pickups with mounting rings."  You are correct that generally the top of a pickup should be parallel to the strings but the mounting rings are contoured on the bottom so that the top of the ends of the mounting ring should also be parallel with the strings so on that point I feel like we are both right.  I disagree with your reasoning for why we generally use a 2 pole system to mount pickups.  It has nothing to do with makers being lazy.  2 poles is easier for the customer to adjust, it works well enough for most people, and customers want things to be simple both simple and familiar.  Yes 4 screws is a better system but it's also more complicated for the consumer.  It is actually just as quick and easy to have the bassplate punched with 3, 4, or even 6 holes (to accommodate everybody) but most people want it to be simple and most companies try to make a product that will appeal to the most people.   Seymour Duncan has a somewhat cynical blog post about how to adjust pickups http://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/the-tone-garage/fine-tuning-the-adjustment-of-passive-humbuckers where he states his oppinions about the average customer's level of knowledge on pickup adjustment and I think that does a pretty good job describing why 2 screws are used by most of the bigger companies even if he never addresses the number of hight adjustment screws in the blog post.   The smaller companies follow the lead of the big companies because it is what fits in most guitars and it is what most of our customers are familiar with.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at May 4, 2017,
#12
Quote by CorduroyEW
 The smaller companies follow the lead of the big companies because it is what fits in most guitars and it is what most of our customers are familiar with.


This pretty much describes "consensus" and "mediocrity," two things that traditionalism has given us that sort of stultify innovation in guitar. 

Look to the smaller companies (and not the "brand name" smaller companies owned by the larger companies) for anything interesting or new. You're unlikely to find 7, 8, 9 or 10-string guitars from Gibson or Fender, more unlikely to find fan-fret (multi-scale guitars), even less likely to find headless guitars. It's nearly impossible to find something as simple as a Floyd-equipped LP from Gibson (I haven't seen a Studio Shred or Trad Pro recently, and finding an Axcess hanging on a wall at GC is like finding a winning lottery ticket), but smaller manufacturers have them. 

About the trendiest thing you'll find from large companies is likely to be flat black paint. 

It's worth noting that one of the fastest-disappearing things in popular music is the guitar band. 
#14
dspellman You're right that if you want to get a guitar that's a bit quirky, go for other brands. But I would be careful to not imply that Fender or Gibson themselves are to blame for not being innovative enough. Because they aren't. They don't produce many guitars with Floyds because that's just not what the consumers who buy Gibsons want.
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#15
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dspellman You're right that if you want to get a guitar that's a bit quirky, go for other brands. But I would be careful to not imply that Fender or Gibson themselves are to blame for not being innovative enough. Because they aren't. They don't produce many guitars with Floyds because that's just not what the consumers who buy Gibsons want.


I guess that's the age-old egg-chicken question. Is Gibson not innovating because its customers don't want it, or do Gibson customers not want what Gibson is offering? Gibson has tossed some "innovations" out there in the past, but they've been seriously lame efforts, and Henry has responded by calling his customers "Luddites."  At the same time folks like Rondo Music and Carvin have led the way with different configurations of the basic guitar and have been pretty successful with it. 

Gibson currently (or at least recently) offers three guitars with Floyds: the top of the line Axcess, the Traditional Pro and the Studio Shred. You really can't find any of the three in most Guitar Denters; if they exist, they're not in the stores. Only the Axcess has the smooth neck heel and tummy cut that should  probably be on half the Gibson LPs built; the other two models have clunky neck heels. All three have 12" radius, medium frets, 22 frets and crappy upper fret access. The Studio "shred" has a baseball bat neck. And you simply can't get stainless frets or even the EVO frets on Gibsons. Of the four Agiles I have that sport Floyds, all have 14" radius, jumbo frets and modified neck heels. Two have 24-fret necks and great upper fret access, and all have thinner necks than the Shred (one has a wide/thin neck with a 1 3/4" nut width). Three of my Floyd-equipped guitars have Sustainers. 

Here's an interesting tidbit. Gibson produced, around 10 years ago, the Neal Schon sig model. It had a smooth neck heel (they stole it for the Axcess), Floyd, Sustainer, rearranged controls. It MSRP'd for 10K, street price was about $6500. They made 35 (according to Gibson) and those guitars sold out literally in minutes. Pretty much impossible to get their owners to let one go. Gibson will not build you another, Custom shop or no, at any price. At any price.  

Gibson won't build you a guitar with jumbo frets, stainless frets, 16" or compound radius, their own M-III pickup setup and more.  They won't give you the sculpted neck heel and tummy cut on  non-Axcess guitars (oh, they sorta did on the "modern something or other." Try to find one). Customers have asked for all of this, trust me. But it's not a gibson thing. OTOH, they'll insist that you buy their automatic tuning thing and their brass nut, etc. How many seven string Gibsons have you seen that were not 24.75" scale? 
#16
dspellman Again, people who want stainless steel frets and a highly ergonomic body tend to go for other brands. The vast majority simply don't assign the Gibson brand to such products. Gibson have made superstrat guitars before. They flopped. Not because they were bad guitars, but because that's not what the average Gibson customer wants.

For all we know, the Neal Schon guitars could've been ghost built, hence why there were only 35 sold, and why Gibson Custom refuses to make another guitar to such specs. Or the people who were skilled in making such guitars were only on a temporary contract with Gibson, and have since moved on. Sure it's a guitar that attracts a niche market that has money in their pockets, but restructuring Gibson Custom to be a lot more flexible with different custom options doesn't seem nearly as profitable than to appeal to the much larger baby boomer market that also has more money than sense, with a factory that is perfectly tooled up and trained to produce guitars for such a market.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the Baby Boomers that want another reissue of Eric's Beano guitar is the larger cash cow.
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#17
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dspellman Again, people who want stainless steel frets and a highly ergonomic body tend to go for other brands. The vast majority simply don't assign the Gibson brand to such products. Gibson have made superstrat guitars before. They flopped. Not because they were bad guitars, but because that's not what the average Gibson customer wants.

For all we know, the Neal Schon guitars could've been ghost built, hence why there were only 35 sold, and why Gibson Custom refuses to make another guitar to such specs. Or the people who were skilled in making such guitars were only on a temporary contract with Gibson, and have since moved on. Sure it's a guitar that attracts a niche market that has money in their pockets, but restructuring Gibson Custom to be a lot more flexible with different custom options doesn't seem nearly as profitable than to appeal to the much larger baby boomer market that also has more money than sense, with a factory that is perfectly tooled up and trained to produce guitars for such a market.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the Baby Boomers that want another reissue of Eric's Beano guitar is the larger cash cow.

I think "was" may be the operative answer here. Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age at the rate of 12,000 *per day.* Over the next 11 years or so, I think we're going to see a lot of guitar collections coming onto the market as the rock and roll guitar hero image fades in place of other activities and expenses.  We know this and Gibson knows this. Gibson, for the last ten to fifteen years, has struggled to define its market, and Gibson management for the most part has been clueless. Their efforts to compete in the under-$1000 market have mostly resulted in cannibalization of sales of their more expensive guitars, as folks who have always wanted Gibson-logoed products but couldn't afford them now buy cheap models instead of waiting for the more expensive ones. They've been unsuccessful in gaining a portion of NEW customers among entry-level guitarists as imports have presented better quality and prices. Worse, Gibson's branding doesn't resonate among entry level customers as it did with those who grew up with a shared soundtrack of LPs and Marshalls.  They may not have any idea what "Eric's Beano Guitar" even means. That's now over half a century back!

I know exactly where the Neal Schon guitars came from. The guitars themselves were Neal's spec (based on other guitars Neal already had), the sound bits come from his long-standing relationship with Gary Brawer, a San Francisco tech with a shop on Lafayette, just south of Market. I have two guitars, one based on a custom Agile, one based on an Axcess Custom, that are near duplicates of Neal's guitars. I've played a couple of Neal's guitars in his shop and backstage. The reason that Gibson won't build more is that shortly after the initial pilot program was completed, a spat between Neal and Gibson resulted in Neal leaving Gibson, eventually ending up with PRS again (Gary builds those guitars' innards for Neal, too). In between, Gary configured Yamahas, Tom Andersons and some other guitars that were under consideration. There would be nothing keeping Gibson from building the guitars; the major change in wood structure from the Axcess is that the body thickness on Neal's is full thickness (Axcess' are thinner) and the control cavity is elongated (to accommodate a different control "quad" positioning), with the corresponding pot holes in a different spot. The inlays on the guitar are all Gibson's own, from other guitars. Gibson could still easily build the guitars; they'd be violating no contract, and/or they could sell them through Gary. The "won't" has everything to do with the snit. 

Gibson's "superstrats" were simply very late to the party. Most were done in the early '90's. There were a couple, with the M-III the most obvious. By then the market was saturated and the guitars were too "Fenderish" and confused the customer. Even now, however, they're good guitars. A few things done slightly differently *at the time* would still have salvaged them, but one gets the impression that Henry did them to prove to some eager lower management types that their ideas were crap. In fact, my sources tell me that's exactly what happened. A decent '90's M-III will still fetch $1K (there are two on the current LA Craigs for $900 and $1100), and there's a very ratty Les Paul Studio Lite M-III Les Paul on eBay right now with a BIN of around $800, which is likely more than what it sold for. 
Last edited by dspellman at May 5, 2017,
#18
It's perfectly normal. I just got one of those guitars too. Same thing. My Les Paul does it too. So did my B.C. Rich. That one had a huge angle going. As already stated its for the bridge type. Pick ups are angles too to be level with the strings.

I personally like how it makes the guitar somewhat wrap around me.
Last edited by Liaztraht at May 6, 2017,