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

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by AkiraSpectrum, Jul 13, 2018 at 12:07 PM.

  1. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    569
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    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

    Messages:
    27,965
    Likes Received:
    5,796
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    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.
     
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  3. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    569
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    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

    Messages:
    27,965
    Likes Received:
    5,796
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    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?
     
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  5. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    569
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    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

    Messages:
    27,965
    Likes Received:
    5,796
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    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.
     
    cwhitey2 and AkiraSpectrum like this.
  7. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    569
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    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 at 2:12 PM
  8. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    569
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    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

    Messages:
    4,156
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    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.
     
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  10. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    569
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    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

    Messages:
    4,156
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    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.).
     
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  12. elkoki

    elkoki SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    84
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2017
    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
     
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.

Share This Page