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Author Topic: Problems with LP sustain on higher frets  (Read 6264 times)

_tom_

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« on: March 15, 2008, 05:05:10 PM »
I'm having problems with my Pearl LPs upper frets not having much sustain, most noticeable when I bend past about the 15th-17th frets theres hardly any sustain at all, less than my Epiphone which doesnt exactly have loads either, and the strings just sound dead. Any ideas? I tried raising the action loads but it didnt help too much, maybe the truss rod needs loosening slightly?

hunter

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Re: Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2008, 05:54:25 PM »
Quote from: _tom_
I'm having problems with my Pearl LPs upper frets not having much sustain, most noticeable when I bend past about the 15th-17th frets theres hardly any sustain at all, less than my Epiphone which doesnt exactly have loads either, and the strings just sound dead. Any ideas? I tried raising the action loads but it didnt help too much, maybe the truss rod needs loosening slightly?


Hmm possible reasons I could think of:

Pickups too close?
Not enough/too much neck relief?
Too much pressure on left hand?
Another thing you could play with is wrapping the strings on top of the tailpiece a la Zakk Wylde, this could have an impact, too?

But yeah, sometimes this happens, I know the issue very well, and I can't get rid of it either. Just gotta vibrate them a lot to keep them tones alive.
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Scotty477

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2008, 02:14:59 AM »
I had the same issue with my LP last year. Bends in the upper frets just started choking on me.

In my case it turned out that I needed an adjustment to the neck relief.

kellar

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2008, 09:52:40 AM »
I have the exact same problem with my LP. Around the 15th fret it starts to get flat and flabby sounding. No strings buzzing, it just doesn't sustain. I have tried everything except adjusting the neck. Might have to give that a go.
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Alex

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2008, 10:00:54 AM »
Logically truss rod adjustment will not affect frets above the actual neck joint anymore. It usually means the frets after 15 are very close to the neck. Bridge adjustment might help, so try that. If that doesn't help, it is probably a guitar problem you cannot help. I heard this lack of sustain actually does happen on cheaper build guitars, but I don't know if that is really true.
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_tom_

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2008, 11:36:11 AM »
The neck relief is pretty straight, very slight curve. I could try loosening the truss rod just slightly? I just remembered I had this problem on my Epiphone and I think that helped a little bit. Raising the action didnt really do much :(

edit - hunter, I have my pickups pretty low so I doubt its any magnetic stuff going on there.

Scotty477

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2008, 11:52:29 AM »
Quote from: Alex
Logically truss rod adjustment will not affect frets above the actual neck joint anymore. It usually means the frets after 15 are very close to the neck. Bridge adjustment might help, so try that. If that doesn't help, it is probably a guitar problem you cannot help. I heard this lack of sustain actually does happen on cheaper build guitars, but I don't know if that is really true.


I can only say again that the chokes I had above the neck join on my Gibson LP were cured by an adjustment to the neck relief. I'm not a tech but I'm pretty sure that the amount of neck relief will have a marked effect on the entire fretboard.

Perhaps one or more of our resident luthiers can clear this one up?

WezV

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2008, 12:19:22 PM »
firstly, truss rods do have less effect at both ends compared to the middle because of the way the metal rod will curve as the bar is tightened.  secondly, there is a hell of a lot more mass at the heel end and truss rod cant move that much wood, especially on a set neck design where its becomes part of the body as well  and finally truss rods rarely travel to the end of the fretboard

so logically it may be correct to say you cannot use a truss rod to adjust relief that far up the neck..... but the truss rod will affect everything else relative to those higher frets so a truss rod adjustment may work.. especially on a very straight neck thats choking

i would set it up with a slight relief rather than dead straight and i would add a slight drop off to the frets over the body - helps a lot on LP's.  then i would play about with stop bar height.  all this would be done with the neck pickup lowered out the way and the bridge quite low as well.  Then finally when i was happy it wasnt choking i would set the pickups to an appropriate height - checking again that its not choking.

Its quite a subtle and involved job

_tom_

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2008, 12:22:44 PM »
Thanks Wez. I'll give it a go but I wont play around with the truss rod too much as I know it can screw up a guitar if done wrong - if I cant get it sorted by myself I'll have to take it to a pro to try and set up. What effect does the stop tail height have on things? At the minute its right down on the body.

I guess adding the slight drop off on the frets you talk about requires some kind of skill and tools, so I'd have to take it somewhere else to do that, so that'll be the last resort really.

WezV

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2008, 12:26:30 PM »
the effect of the stopbar is highly debateable, personally i aim for the strings to be at a similar angle over the nut and the bridge - seems logical to me

its all about the tension when bending and stuff, but lots of people will probably disagree with me on that

lets just say it could have an effect and its easy to adjust so well worth having a play with

FELINEGUITARS

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2008, 02:58:28 PM »
Above the 16th fret on a set neck LP the truss rod wont have too much effect.
You may find that raising the action a bit will increase the sustain.
I will usually set the truss rod as near to straight as I can get away with and raise the action a bit - this will keep most of the neck's action as low as i can get away with as well as giving clearance at the top end.

Sometimes a neck in need of fret dressing will exhibit these problems, and during a dress adding some "fall away" on the top frets will assist in this matter.

A few times I have resorted to refretting a guitar and fitting nice jumbo frets to assist with making bending & vibrato easier  as well as increasing the mass of each fret and thereby increasing chances of sustain.
I always glue my frets in as well as pressing them home(and ensuring a good fret slot /fret tang match) and I feel this helps with transfer of resonance.

I have solved problems on guitars where certain frets were dead because they weren't as tightly seated as they should have been by bleeding runny superglue in under the fret (don't try this at home unless you are sure of what you are doing)
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_tom_

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2008, 06:35:36 PM »
Cheers, I've tried loosening the truss rod slightly so will see how that works out. Raised the tailpiece a bit as well but didnt really seem to affect much from what I can see.

I've just been comparing my Pearl and Epiphone - though they're both 24.75" scale (I think), the Pearl is much easier to play in terms of string tension. However it sounds muddier/isnt as clear. Reckon 11s would tighten the sound up a bit or is it just one of those things I have to accept with it being a fully mahogany guitar? It does have a Rebel Yell in it which I would've guessed would cut through the mahogany ok, but I remember Tim saying that mahogany guitars need either high output or low output, no middle which is what the RY is... I'll try disconnecting the tone pot.

kellar

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2008, 06:41:17 PM »
Tom,

Let us know if loosening the truss rod helped. I have had the same problem with my LP and am eager to see what your results were.
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_tom_

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2008, 08:32:39 PM »
I think it helped a little bit, but the sustain still isnt amazing. I cant be arsed to sort it out yet but some time I'll get it set up professionally.

Philly Q

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Problems with LP sustain on higher frets
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2008, 11:27:53 PM »
Guys, don't you find guitars generally have less sustain on the upper frets?  :?

I always thought it was a combination of the frets being close together, and hard to get to, so it's hard to apply even pressure like you can further down the neck; plus the fact that the vibrating string length is very short so it doesn't have much mass/energy.
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