Dead-spot/fret-out on ESP-EII Mystique--Please help.

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by AkiraSpectrum, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Hi,

    Just bought a used guitar (2014 ESP EII) with a Gotoh TOM bridge. I have noticed that the 14 and 15th fret on the B and e strings aren't ringing out very well in comparison to the frets before and after. These frets are producing a tingy/plucky sound rather than a full/thicker/bassy note (if this makes sense) in comparison to the surrounding notes/frets.

    I raised the height at the bridge on the treble side to a more than reasonable height and its hardly better at all. What could be the issue?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Try two things:

    1) Add some mass to the guitar. A big heavy pair of vice grips or a metal c-clamp on the headstock works great. Of course place a thin cleaning cloth between the tools and the finish.

    If there's no change:

    2) Tune differently and see if that shifts the dead spot around.

    If neither did anything, check your frets with a fret rocker. If raising the action doesn't help it's likely a fret too low, opposed to too high.
     
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  3. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I don't have any tools for #1 but I can try #2 out sometime today.
    -If the dead spot moves around what would that mean?
    -If it is a low fret how can that be fixed? Is it expensive?
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    You can tape something heavy as well. Really anything. As long as it makes solid contact.

    If the dead spot moves around you can add (or remove, though that's usually more complicated and permanent) mass to move it somewhere less bothersome.

    If it's a down fret, you can either get that single fret replaced, or get whole board re-leveled, crowned and dressed. Neither is especially cheap, but a pro can give you some options depending on the severity. If that's even the issue.

    Also, besides this problem, is the guitar properly setup with a new set of strings? Is this issue both unplugged and through the amp?
     
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  5. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    The guitar supposedly hasn't been played hardly at all since the original owner purchased it in 2014, so yes, old strings, hasn't been set up. Issue is both unplugged and through an amp, yes.
     
  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    A bad dead spot would certainly keep a guitar from being hardly played.

    But, before we go any further, set it up properly with brand new strings. Let’s start with a blank slate. Four or more year old strings can cause plenty of issues on thier own.
     
  7. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I found some appropriately sized pieces of machine-cut metal to use like a fret-rocker and there is indeed some movement (tapping-noise) on frets 14 and 15. Checking some of my other guitars, they too have some movement on some of their frets, although not as much. Is some movement not an issue?

    Since i bought this second-hand from a guy on a local classifieds section for $1000 USD ($1300 CAD), should I try and get my money back, or should I take it to a tech and see if a pro set up will fix the issue (and they can also diagnose if fretwork is necessary)?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  8. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Is this issue something that could develop over-time or is it likely an issue with the build at the factory?
     
  9. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    To check if it’s a resonance based deadspot: just firmly plant the headstock against something heavy and immobile like a desk or door jam. Then play the note. If it rings out with the neck completely damped (unable to resonate because it’s jammed against something else) but not when the neck is free to resonate: it’s a resonance based deadspot and there is nothing that can be done except just move it around.

    But to me is sounds more like a fret issues. It could be something as simple as the 16th fret has lifted out of its slot on the treble side, causing it to be too high and making problems for the 14th and 15th fret. I’ve seem this happen, and the fix is easy (just reset the fret). You probably could visually see the fret lifting and feel it move if you push on it.

    It also could just be uneven fretwork. I had a Standard Series ESP that generally played very well but did have a spot that needed some fretwork.
     
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  10. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I tried the dampening of the headstock earlier (similarly to what Maxofmetal suggested) and issue still occurs. After using a tool as a fret rocker it does appear to be an issue with fret height.

    Going to take it to a tech to fix the issue. Hopefully it won’t be too pricey. I did get the guitar for a good deal though (at least I’d consider it a good deal), so that helps make the cost of this repair not sting too much. Otherwise the guitar itself plays, feels and sounds great.
     
  11. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    I’d expect a fret level to run somewhere around $100.

    Really, it’s worth it. It’s incredible that nearly any guitar can be made into a serious player for just $100 or so (as long as the neck is not warped etc.).
     
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  12. elkoki

    elkoki SS.org Regular

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    Taking it to a pro is probably your best option if you don't want to mess something up. Just thought i'd mention a kit I found online though, i've seen lots of great reviews on it, but i've also seen tons of people hate on it. It's a super basic fret leveling kit designed for situations like this where you only have 1 or 2 high frets. It comes with 3 different size metal dowels that you lay across 3 frets at a time and if it rocks you have a high fret (well that's the idea of the kit) , then you level it with some sandpaper and a little wooden block that has a fret shape in it. I have a beater 7 string Ibanez that was fretting out when I bent the 17th fret of the high e, and I just went for it and it worked. It's a cheap $100 guitar anyway so I don't really care. There's Youtube videos on how to use the kit too

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003WRG9SK/?tag=sevenstringorg-20
     
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  13. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    UPDATE:

    The tech I took it to said there is a hump in the fretboard and he was able to level the frets and fix the dead-spots. He charged me for the standard fee of a setup, so the work he had to do to fix the problem obviously wasn't major.

    Having just purchased the guitar used, is it advisable to keep it since it developed a hump? Will I be likely to see more issues like this in the future, or now that the frets have been leveled everything should be fine? I just want to be sure that I don't bond with a guitar that will be prone to problems, and would rather sell it than deal with a problem-prone guitar.

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
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  14. Alex79

    Alex79 SS.org Regular

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    With all respect, these kind of problems are part of the risk that you run if you buy guitar off the internet without playing them first. Your tech should be able to advise you if things could get worse or not.
    Be honest, if you decide to sell it on, you're not going to mention those issues now, are you? :)
     
  15. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    If I decide to sell I would inform seller that there was a small hump and some minimal fretwork was required.
     
  16. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Edit: I would inform the buyer
     
  17. elkoki

    elkoki SS.org Regular

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    Guitars can only be so perfect. I don't know if humps are more common in set necks or not, but it's definitely not the first i've heard of it . In fact when I first read your post, I instantly thought it's likely a hump..I had an Epiphone with the same problem. Guitars can only be so perfect. Sucks but it might not be a big deal
     
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  18. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for your reply, it would appear that ultimately it's not a big deal--which is a relief.

    UPDATE:

    After speaking with the tech he said the hump was very minimal and he just had to level some frets to solve the issue. He said it shouldn't be more likely than other guitars to develop problems in the future. Suggested making sure that it is stored in a room with a decent humidity level during the winter.

    The tech actually commented on how much he liked the looks, sound, and build-quality of the guitar and said that getting it for basically 50% the price of new (without taxes) was an awesome deal.

    After getting to play the guitar after the repair I can say that it plays great. Now that this is over I am happy to say that I'm really enjoying this guitar.
     
  19. elkoki

    elkoki SS.org Regular

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    Enjoy that beauty! Glad it all turned out well for you, plus it was a bit of a learning experience too right?

    Maybe the guy sold it to you cheap because he thought it would always play that way? Never know. I've bought a few guitars very cheaply,usually they had really minor issues. Like once I bought a Yamaha acoustic for $20 because the nut became loose and wasn't sitting properly in the slot. All I had to do was glue it back in place. It retailed for about $200 so that was nice. Another time I bought an Ibanez RG loaded with an EMG 81/85 set for $70 because the seller thought it didn't function right. All it needed was a battery LOL. Happy playing !
     
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