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Gibson Thunderbird setup problem!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AkaGoal, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. AkaGoal


    May 27, 2015
    Hi there!

    So here's a little backstory. About 4 years ago I got a brand new Gibson Thunderbird in ebony. Right out of the box the bird's setup was awful. But I got it to where I'd like to have it. Everything was fine but somehow for the better part of two years it was left in the case and was barely ever played. So last week I saw a video on Youtube which had a very mean sounding Thunderbird in it so I started to plug it in. To my surprise the setup was still good, strings sounded a little dull of course. Everything seemed fine UNTIL:

    I tried to tune the D string. It was buzzing so hard that there was barely any sound other than the string buzz itself. I couldn't even tune it because the tuner wouldn't get a straight signal. But just the open string. Every other note on the D string sounds perfect and every other string sounds good when plucked open. So as the setup was ok (neck relief was good, bridge height was good, string height was good) I figured it has to be the nut that somehow isn't working as it should be anymore.

    If anyone has any tips I'd be very glad to hear them.

  2. If the open D is the only note that buzzes, that would indicate the nut slot is too low. But why would it change?

    It seems to me that the neck may have moved just a bit. Is there any relief? If not, try loosening the truss rod a little bit at a time.
    MCF, Gaolee, Miles_ONeal and 2 others like this.
  3. AkaGoal


    May 27, 2015
    Yes there is some relief. A little less than recommended from Gibson but surely enough to let the string swing freely.

    I will try to loosen it a bit.

    Do you think that there are alternatives to installing a new nut?
    Gaolee likes this.
  4. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    I would welcome changing the nut on any guitar. I’d like to swap mine out for a brass nut sometime soon.
    hintz and TN WOODMAN like this.
  5. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Yes. You can put a drop of superglue in the slot. That's a quick and dirty way to put a bit of thickness back where it was filed too deep. Once it's cured, you can check string height and then re-file if necessary to get it to where you want it to be.
  6. I would shim the nut with a piece of business card or something similar. Some people use glue to build up the bottom of the nut slot, but if you do that make sure use a glue that will take the pressure.
    MoeTown1986, GBassNorth and Mr_Moo like this.
  7. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    That works but a new nut will make vast improvements on the tone. What kind of nut does an Epiphone come with? Plastic probably....

    Look up Paul reed smiths rant on the 20 rules of tone specifically nut materials. If you can admit to the difference in quality and character between materials you’ll quickly forget about the idea of super glue as a partial nut material.... quick fix yes... look at it as an opportunity to do what Epiphone should have done from day one....a bone nut for my les Paul was like 7 dollars Canadian.... bass will be a bit more.... for the effect it has on the sound and feel... it’s a stupid place for a company to save money.
    Moosehead1966, rohi and byoung93888 like this.
  8. I’ve never done that. What type of superglue?
    GBassNorth likes this.
  9. I said this the other day in Tbird club: Corian samples are a good material source for nuts. And they come in different colours.
    GBassNorth and Gaolee like this.
  10. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    The kind you have in a drawer somewhere in your shop. I don't think it matters that much. You could use epoxy or JB Weld, but that's overkill.
    packhowitzer and GBassNorth like this.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Paulabass, 96tbird, hopwheels and 2 others like this.
  12. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018

    That the beginning of one 3 part video

    But the very first rant I heard from him was this...

    In his interviews he sometimes refers to the idea of tone as “Subtractive” or to guitars a subtractive instruments. In theory there is a perfectly ideal tone, 100 percent resonance.... everything you don’t do for the instrument takes away from that absolute potential... haven’t seen it in a while. Very cool.
  13. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    Which part?
  14. Side and back profile pics of the bridge please.
    GBassNorth likes this.
  15. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    This is very simple....if everything plays but the open string it’s the nut slot...
  16. Thought it said tuned down tuned to D... making the E string the culprit.

    But the bridge could be making it worse
  17. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    That’s not what I’m getting from his post he keeps calling it the d string and not mentioning down tuning just tuning
  18. I know, I misread it
  19. I have a few different colours of corian countertop samples that I use to make nuts. Somebody else said you can get those samples at Home Depot for free or cheap.
    Markamb1 and Klondike like this.
  20. That’s true. But he said it was ok before he stored it, so unless somebody filed the slot, the only other reason I can think of is the slot was a little low, but there was enough relief in the neck that the open D didn’t buzz. Now the neck has moved back a little and the string hits the first fret.
    If it was mine, I would try loosening the truss rod a little before shimming or replacing the nut.
    I’ve never tried the crazy glue and baking soda trick, but if Dan Erlwine says it works...
    Spidey2112 and GBassNorth like this.

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