Bad setup choking tone

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Marshall Boogie, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. Marshall Boogie

    Marshall Boogie Active Member

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    I bought a used Les Paul a few months ago and have come across an issue that surprised me. It is a Wine Red Gibson Les Paul studio 1993 with ebony fretboard and built out of custom shop woods (you know, one piece mahogany body, 2 piece maple cap bookmatched, really nice guitar). It came with a few issues, it had crap tuners (Gibson Deluxe really do not hold up) that fell out of tune after a couple of minutes playing, or frankly just setting it down required re-tuning) and seemed choked for some reason (middle registers really hard to hear). The guy that sold it to me swore it had a professional setup (the bridge was cocked with the high e strings being lower than the low e....I can only assume the tech lowered the action to where the strings would buzz then backed off and that caused the tilt in the bridge).....This tilt didn't look right...so I did what I always do....messed with the setup. I leveled the bridge with the low e strings (as they will buzz first I always base my setup on getting them to stop buzzing and level off)....let me state here that all my other guitars are easier, cause they are either fixed bridge (tele) or whammy type bridges (Jackson and Strat)....the only actual adjustable bridge I have is the LP. It turns out that leveling the bridge helped immensely as it got rid of that choked feeling (it was more a feel thing as it didn't seem to artificially choke the notes), it totally opened up the tone and feel of the guitar and now (with the installation of some revolution series locking tuners from Kluson) that Les Paul is one of my best playing guitars(I think it and the Strat are on the same level). My suspicion is that the out of level bridge caused the soundwaves to bounce away from the strings making them sound choked, and leveling the bridge pushed the soundwaves back into the strings and opened up the tone, allowing the strings to resonate properly, has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? (the Les Paul really seems to work on bouncing the sound off of the maple cap....I have also noticed that this is the reason maple necks seem brighter and rosewood (which seems to absorb sound) sounds more resonant(boomier). BTW, Ebony fretboards sound ALOT like maple.
     
  2. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    String action is has a huge affect on the way a guitar responds. Even if the strings are not buzzing an action that is too low will cause the choked sound you are referring to because it "chokes" the strings natural arc when picked, reducing volume and sustain and note clarity.

    Glad you got it sorted.
     
  3. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    The bridge has to make good contact with the body to resonant . Is it a bolt on neck you may have to reset things
     
  4. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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  5. Marshall Boogie

    Marshall Boogie Active Member

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    Les Paul, one piece neck/body, (tenon joint, not neck through). The bridge mounts on posts on these(more like screw posts), and I have listened to the whole wrap around bridge (so it can be pushed to the guitar body, but that part is really just the string stop, so I really never bought into the theory that wrapping your strings helps, but who knows, Bonamassa swears by it). Like the previous poster said, I actually have it sorted at this point, really sounds amazing (I picked up a Strat this year cheap because the guy had a terrible set-up on it and didn't know what it was worth), have a feeling it was like that with this guitar, (if he had known what he had he would not have sold it, but this guy got a premium for it anyway, he knew what the woods and construction were worth).
     
    Mitchell Pearrow likes this.

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