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How To Setup A Gibson Les Paul [Part 9]

The final instalment in our Authentic Guitar Setup Video Series: How To Setup A Gibson Les Paul Part 9: String Stretch, Tweak, Tune & Test Drive

How To Setup A Gibson Les Paul Part 9

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How To Setup A Gibson Les Paul Part 9: String Stretch, Tweak & Cleanup

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What’s Covered:

  • Stretching the strings

  • Dealing with a sticky nut slot

  • A quick test drive

  • Final cleanup

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Stretching the Strings

All the strings have been intonated according to the process I just described, but it’s not necessarily in tune, and we still have a little bit of housekeeping to do.

First order is stretching those strings again. You want to get all the stretch out of those strings. I can tell if there’s any issue with the nut again, I can feel it make a little knock down here like something giving. Things might be moving into position or settling down. Once more, I’ll give the strings a good stretch again.

A little trick here, use a tuning fork, strike the 5th fret harmonic at the 5th fret, 5th string. Exactly the same pitch as the A440 tuning fork. How do you like that?

Back to the nut, heard a little “tink” on that 4th string. I’m going to deal with that. I have my amp set up so it’s a little bit gainy. It’s the way I like it. When I stretched the string. I could feel that 4th string is just sticking.

Okay, so that was essentially our last stretch, but this is a bonus for anybody watching.

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Les Paul Setup Video Tutorial Part 9

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Dealing with a Sticky Nut Slot

So we found a little kink going on there with the 4th string. It’s not quite doing what it’s supposed to do, so I’m going to smooth that out. I’m not trying to carve it down or anything, I’m just smoothing that out. I think I know what it is.

The winding is probably catching the back wall on this side face – very common. So we have our groove going this way, and the string is canted that way and is catching the back wall there.

If you hear that “tink” that’s what that is. It’s typically on three and three type tuners. You’re hearing the winding’s catching the back wall of the nut slot.

There, done. Cool. Just like that.

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Back to the String Stretch

All righty. Stretching it. I’m tuning and tuning and tuning. I want to do it efficiently. Well that sounds just dandy.

I had the relief set at a nominal point before I got the strings up to pressure and all this. This is a wonderful example of what I’m talking about. I got the strings up to pressure to stretch out. The neck actually tipped just a hair.

The relief is in a sweet spot, it’s just in a wonderful position. I’m checking the high frets here. No fretting out. It’s not sky high or anything. Very, very, very comfortable.

Bass side is nice. There’s a nice little bit of air because bass strings need a little bit more height to do their work.

I’m going to give these another stretch. Just arbitrarily around the neck. Man, you can’t stretch the strings enough when you’re fresh. And then the next day, they’ll be perfect.

You can get them to settle down within a short time period if need be, but the next day, they’ll be really in good shape. That’s good. Beautiful.

I’m going to have to play it for a little bit to get everything to settle down to where it’s supposed to be. That bridge pickup, the controls nice and clean. Everything seems to be doing what it’s supposed to do.

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A Quick Test Drive Video:

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Final Cleanup

The final part of this whole setup procedure will be taking some paper towels and a little bit of the polish and just going around it doing the back of the neck and the back of the body, the sides and everything really picking, cleaning house as it were. We don’t need to bore you with all of that.

Anyway, last thing, we put the truss rod cover back on. Tidy up house. Clean up after yourself. It’s all good. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that.

Guitar Niche -bar les paul

My name is Steve from GuitarNiche. Of course, we’re going to put that back on, all the necessary bits and call it a day. I hope you enjoyed that. It’s been a pleasure.

I hope you get something out of that, some tips and whatnot. Please stay tuned, there are tons of other videos that will explain in depth things like neck relief, how to cut a nut, and more in depth stuff like how to intonate in very, very fine detail and things like that.

Some real finesse stuff that we’re going to address are the most common problems, that we as guitar players face, string breakage, going out of tune, why does D sound great and G sound like crap. I’ll answer those questions. Anyway, thank you very much, and we’ll talk soon. Take care.

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Follow Steve Blundon:
Steve Blundon is a business owner, published author, former music teacher and active master guitar tech who's been servicing instruments for over thirty years. Visit Author's Page.

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