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89f Setup Problems


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#1 marcwormjim

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 01:28 PM

Hi - I'm wondering if anyone else has encountered problems with lowering the action on the 89F.

 

I recently purchased an 89F, and had to have it replaced due to problems with the battery charger-cradle and USB interface.  My replacement 89F appeared to have no issues, until I tried setting it up to my preferences. Though the fretwork is mostly great, the neck requires substantially-more relief than other RG-copies I've played to eliminate buzzing in the first five frets. This was the case with both guitars. That's a small gripe, though - The real problem shows itself when I lower the action. I can get the strings quite low, but the lowest the bridge humbucker sits in its route is higher than the graphtech floyd can be lowered - I don't know if this is exclusive to my guitar; as the stock pickup-mounting rings are different heights, in this case for the sake of cosmetically-hiding this issue.

 

The result is that, for the guitar to be playable, the action has to be high-enough up off the neck to clear the bridge pickup's polepieces. The only choices seem to be either replacing the bridge humbucker with a shorter one, modifying the stock pickup's mounts, or shimming the neck.

 

Now, I don't doubt that there's some variation among the production batches - Perhaps the neck pocket is deeper on some than others. But considering that the stock pickup rings are height-staggered, I'm curious to know if anyone else has had to deal with this.

 

Also, does anyone know why the routing for the trem prevents the owner from being able to adjust the bar tension? Was Line 6 really that paranoid that someone would stick an allen wrench up there and rip out the piezo leads?


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#2 ice9mike

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:04 AM

I would need some pictures to truly understand, but my JTV89F allows me to lower the bridge far enough that every string will buzz unacceptably. Which is to say that it would be far too low (at least for my tastes).

 

You could check out this direct mounting system from FU Tone. It would allow you to lower the pickup height and eliminate the mounting rings.

 

http://www.fu-tone.c...products_id=261

 

It's not cheap at $50 a pickup, but it might work for you.


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#3 marcwormjim

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:27 AM

Thanks for the reply. The mounting rings aren't the issue, though - The 89 bridge pickup itself is too "tall" - It could just be a matter of the cavity-routing for some 89F bodies being too shallow. Regardless of the cause, in this case, the taller mounting-ring was used to disguise it. I'm just trying to get a sense of how common this is, due to both of the 89Fs I've received having this quirk. I've shimmed the neck to compensate for it - But I still have 56 days to return the guitar for a refund, and I'm hoping to see if any others who've experienced this will come out of the woodwork.


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#4 ice9mike

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:34 PM

Looking at my 89F, I see the difference in mounting ring heights. This is not to cover up the shallow routing on the bridge pickup. It is to keep the pickup in line with the frets. If you notice, the neck is slightly angled in it's pocket. At least it should be. This is similar to a Les Paul which also has an angled neck to body geometry. So I would say it's completely normal to have to shim it to your preference. In the end your fingers will tell you if it feels correct.

 

I am wondering if maybe your guitar initially came setup without any angle. That might explain your initial fret buzzing on the upper frets. If all else fails you can return it or seek out a professional luthier to set it up just like you want it.

 

Good luck.


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#5 cruisinon2

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 05:25 AM

I've played exactly one guitar in my life that didn't need any set-up work right out of the box...and that's because that one didn't come in a box, as it was hand delivered by the guy who built it.

 

Any assembly line guitar (and I have many), no matter how much you pay for it, is likely to need set-up work from the get-go. In my music store jockey days, I unboxed numerous comically expensive axes from big name manufacturers that were almost unplayable...action you could drive a car under, poorly dressed frets, etc. etc. Hard to imagine that some of them were played at all before they left the factory. It was really embarrassing to be hanging two and three thousand dollar price tags on some of these things. Now that's not to say that those instruments wouldn't be perfectly acceptable with the right attention...it's just that at those price points,some of them should not have needed the amount of work that they did.  Point is, this has been an unfortunate norm for many years. Was it always this way? Who knows...

 

I'd take it to a luthier you trust, and let him have a whack at it. Unless there's a glaring defect(s)...warped neck, etc, it probably just needs a good once-over from somebody who really knows what they're doing.


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#6 marcwormjim

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'm getting the idea that I just happened to get two bad guitars in a row.

 

I am wondering if maybe your guitar initially came setup without any angle. That might explain your initial fret buzzing on the upper frets.

 

My initial buzzing was on the low frets, due to the relief problems. I should mention that I own a regular 89 hardtail that's had no problems.

 

Being as I've been told to just take it to a luthier, I'll mention that I AM a luthier. On this particular guitar, I had to resort to shimming the neck to get it in playable condition. I've never had to do that with a brand-new, $1000+ guitar, and it ideally shouldn't be an option a luthier gives - I'd tell them to go get refunded for the crappy guitar.

 

I understand that the difference in mounting-ring heights is to compensate for the incline of the neck - However, in my case, I'm claiming that this feature was used at the factory to cheat a defect with my particular guitar. I've never seen a guitar that had a bridge pickup seated at the bottom of the route, and still be an inch-and-a-half taller than the bridge saddles. Hence, raising the neck was my only non-invasive fix. I've revised my original post to communicate more-clearly that I don't think this is a widespread problem.

 

I made this thread to see how common this problem actually is - Looks like it's just me, so far. Thanks to everyone who tried to help. I'll take the hint of getting two lemon JTV-89F packages in a row, and buy a different guitar. Does anyone here recommend the Suhr Modern?

 

it probably just needs a good once-over from somebody who really knows what they're doing.

 

That somebody is needed at the factory.


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#7 Aavitsland

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 04:34 PM

I just got the regular 89 yesterday. A good guitar imho. Got a lot of guitars so i don't need it, but it's fun to use this thing. And i was suprised with the stock pickup. Good. Different than my other axes and that's a good thing. The setup was fine. Had some communication problems with Workbench HD, but i got it to work. It extremly cool to "build" guitars i must say.

I also got a couple of Suhr guitars. A classic ash HSS strat and a Modern GG type with Aldrich pup. I can easily recommend the Modern (or any other model from Suhr) Top notch quality.
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