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Thread: Quick Gibson A set up question

  1. #1
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Quick Gibson A set up question

    Hi all,
    I'm making a decision today on whether to keep a 1925 Gibson jr that was sent to me. I like it a lot but presently the action is a bit high to me. 1/16 on the e, a shade under 2/16 on the G.

    Trying to decide whether to keep it and have it set up (non-adjustable bridge on it) or send it back. What's the action on your old Gibby?
    Cary Fagan

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    My action is less than that, but if you like the sound have the bridge lowered. It is not adjustable via a screw, but it is adjustable. Is the neck flat or does it have too much relief? I like less than 1/16" on the G and less on the E.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  3. #3
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Mine is lower as well. You may have just encountered the drawback of an A Jr. versus an A model (or higher), as an adjustable truss rod and bridge would make it easier to dial in the action to your preference.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Can you determine why the action is high?

    If the neck is straight, then the action can be lowered by having the top of the bridge shaved down. A $25 job for a competent repairman.
    If the neck is bowed, the you're looking at a minimum of having the frets pulled in the warped area, the fingerboard planed flat, and the frets replaced. At least a couple hundred bucks.

    Try and determine the cause of the problem, and decide how much money you are willing to spend to have it repaired. If you have a good repairman in area, have him look it over and give you an estimate.

  5. #5
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Can you determine why the action is high?
    Have you checked that string height at the nut, over the first fret, is the same as -or just a tad higher than- the string height over the fret just past any other fretted note? Think of the nut as a fret, and you'll see why adjusting the bridge first could be a mistake.

    If you're handy, lowering nut slots is easy enough; lots of YouTube instructions, such as:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn1z2R-w3i4
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  6. #6
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Yes, nuts can be cut too high. Had to lower the A string slots on my Kalamazoo. Noticeable difference.

    FWIW, I run my A Jr. with 1/16" on the G and slightly less on the E. But mine also has a slight hump above there. Any lower and it will fret out. OTOH, mine has an aftermarket adjustable bridge that was on there when I got it.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 2018 Eastman MDO-305
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  7. #7
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Thanks for the info and suggestions, all. It might well be an easy fix but I don't think I will risk accepting it. So alas it's heading back tomorrow.
    Cary Fagan

  8. #8
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post
    Thanks for the info and suggestions, all. It might well be an easy fix but I don't think I will risk accepting it. So alas it's heading back tomorrow.
    In case you want to take another swing at the fences, Bernunzio has one (and it’s closer to you this time):

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/149868#149868
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

  9. #9
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    Actually, I found one. I decided I'd prefer a paddlehead, had one from a dealer sent to me that looked good, and liked it but then realized it had a bow in the neck. Sent it back, too. Thought I was going to quit when another came up on the cafe, a 1919 Sheraton Brown A in great shape. Jim Jeans, who restores old Gibsons, had sanded the fretboard and put in new, big frets. Very reasonable price. I received it today and it plays like butter and sounds great. A keeper at last.

    I believe Jim has another in the classifieds. NFI but I recommend his instruments highly based on my experience.
    Cary Fagan

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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Quick Gibson A set up question

    I have a vintage A with a fairly high action and got a luthier to lower the nut slightly. In answer to my question on the forum, someone (Dave Cohen, would that be his name, it was a long time ago?), advised me to switch to light strings, as our contemporary medium gauge are equal to what would have been heavyish when the mandolin was made.

    Anyhow, my mandolin now plays beautifully and the tone is great.

    I had a Japanese Gibson peardrop model prior to this one. Very easy to play but the tone was dreadfully thin.

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