The Gibson Les Paul Handbook: How To Buy, Maintain, Set Up, Troubleshoot, and Modify Your Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul by Paul BalmerThis is the first ever hands-on how-to manual devoted to the famous Gibson Les Paul, in production since 1952. This guidebook shows owners and dreamers the basics of selecting and buying a Les Paul; maintenance and repairs such as tuning, setting intonation, tremolo alignment, fret repairs, bridge and nut adjustments, electrics troubleshooting; spur-of-the-moment stageside fixes; basic performance enhancements; and more. With tips and techniques specific to each of the numerous Les Paul models, this book is the guitarist’s ticket to electrifying success.
Along with the Fender Stratocaster, the Gibson Les Paul is without doubt the most iconic electric guitar ever made--beloved and sought after by guitarists everywhere. It’s the signature sound for musicians as distinguished and different as Jimmy Page, Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Mudy Waters, and Frank Zappa.
Gibson Tune-O-Matic Proper Alignment to Factory Specs
How to Set Electric Guitar Intonation
Last week, I covered a few of my favourite ways to clean and set up a Gibson Les Paul guitar. Truss rod adjustment! Why do it? The truss rod is used to set the amount of bend, or relief, of the neck. This is a matter of personal taste. Some players like a gap of a couple of millimetres between strings and frets at the 12th fret so they can play faster. Others prefer a higher string as it is easier to bend with, for example.
OK, on this one, we're assuming you have a Tun-O-Matic bridge. This is what's generally installed across a huge swath of the Gibson range and it's almost certainly what's installed on your Les Paul, SG, Firebird, Explorer, , etc. There are a couple of styles of tun-o-matic but the basic operation is the same. If you've got a wraparound-style tailpiece bridge, check out that article. The adjustment screws can be a bit fiddly to access so be careful. Try not to damage your strings, your guitar top or the screw itself.
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You may have noticed as you play your guitar higher on the fretboard or scale the guitar starts to sound out of tune. You may be able tune your guitar to make an open G chord sound in tune, but the G chord at the 10th fret sounds out of tune. You may have also noticed that the higher you play on the fretboard the more sharp or flat the notes become. Another symptom of a poorly intonated guitar is that the individual strings may be tuned independently with a tuner so all the strings are in tune. Once the strings are strummed together in a chord, they no longer sound in tune with each other. If these symptoms describe your electric guitar, your intonation is out or not set up properly.
Today we are going to go through the process of setting up a Les Paul style guitar with a tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece. We will cover all the steps needed to make your guitar play better than it ever did from the factory and some tips and tricks along the way. The first step in any setting up of an instrument is the initial evaluation. This is the best time to plug in the instrument and check out all of your pots, pickups, jack, and switches to make sure everything is working properly. This will allow you to take care of any electronic issues now that will save you time in the long run. For example, a lot of grounding issues arise with guitars with a tune-o-matic bridge. These wires lose contact or become loose quite often.