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Thread: Ngd: Al hh pdn

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    NGD: Albert Lee HH PDN

    First thing first, Pete Dubaldo was great to deal with and supplied cool goodies in the case. Thanks Pete, much appreciated

    Guitar arrived safe and sound, though I am baffled that the case was packed without any sort of protective material in the box from MusicMan.

    Second; this guitar's original ETA was December 9th. But only arrived at the dealer a week ago i.e. more than two months late.
    This is quite frustrating given that many retailers received unclaimed guitars, all the while pre-orders remained unfulfilled. To make this experience more customer-centric, I wish MusicMan would consider prioritizing spoken-for demand.

    But it's here now...

    I have a Valentine PDN. It's now for sale locally, due to the lack of forearm contour, but it's a GREAT guitar and the PDN finish is stunning.
    On this guitar it's quite different... The burst is more pronounced, and she's more blue than grey. Perfect: this is EXACTLY as I wanted it As you all know it's hard to show properly, so here are pics with and without flash (there is no sunlight where I am... that's Seattle for ya :P):



    The neck is really nice; not as flamey as my AL SSS or Valentine, but definitely eye-catching in a chaotic kind of way. I like it!


    It's a fairly light guitar, and in fact weighs pretty much the same as my AL HH with the tremolo. I don't have a way of checking this down to the gram but they feel remarkably similar in that respect. All good.

    So, physically at least she is everything I could have hoped for! Now for getting in the depth of things...

    The tone: she sounds great.
    She's a little brighter than my tremolo AL HH with the full-Rosewood neck. Maybe a tiny bit clearer too, due to that extra treble. There's no lack of bass; it's just a slightly different feel to the overall tone.
    I don't think she's any louder than the other AL: in fact, apart from the brighter tone, these two are rather similar in aural feel, plugged or unplugged.

    So, again, just fine. I will maybe put some slightly warmer pickups in there, I was thinking a set of Black Dogs... anyway... the 'maybe' in that sentence is due to two specific problems with that axe...

    I picked her up to play a few things and immediately things were... off. She plays, sounds, and sustains ok... but the strings feel a little out of place. It's hard to explain. So I went looking for what was up and lo, I found it at the usual suspect.

    The nut slots are WAY. TOO. HIGH.
    Really. Just way too high. I don't know how else to describe just how high they are, so here are pictures in lieu of thousands of words (first one is when depressing the third fret, second is open string):



    Now normally, I'd pop-out the nut, deepen the slots a little et voila, Bob est votre oncle.
    But. The nut appears very well integrated to the fingerboard. Again, pictures will make it easier to describe:




    So to remove this baby I'd have to score the side of the fingerboard, try to loosen it as much as possible before sliding it out, and HOPE I don't take out anything in the process.

    Why?
    If the nut was perfect, then ok, it wouldn't be an issue. But it's not, far, far from it.

    While I'm an adept tech, I rarely use actual measurements when setting up guitars. Here I feel it'd help illustrate my point, so I've noted down below some metrics for low E strings on a few Balls:
    * AL PDN, 3rd fret depressed: 2mm
    * AL PDN, open: 2.5mm
    * AL HH, 3rd fret depressed: 1mm
    * AL HH, open: 1.5mm
    * Valentine PDN, 3rd fret depressed: 1mm
    * Valentine PDN, open: 1.5mm (very consistent with the AL HH)

    This is truly disappointing... My other MusicMan have nuts that are maybe not as low as they could be, but are a satisfactory height nonetheless and one I never felt the need to adjust.

    But here, this really throws the guitar off.

    I was expecting another NGD today, an Aristides 070. That one got stuck, but I did get an AL (my favorite stock guitar) with what I consider a wholly unavoidable and yet somehow not easily fixed issue due to the quirks of this guitar. I'm a little sad.

    I'll play her a little more over the weekend, but I'm still debating what to do.
    Last edited by Pott; 02-25-2017 at 12:47 PM.

  2. #2
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    You don't need to remove the nut to file the slots a little lower.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrickGlass View Post
    You don't need to remove the nut to file the slots a little lower.
    This. I've never removed a nut to file the slots. Ever. Makes no sense.
    Greg

    2010 HH AL
    2001 MM90 AL

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  4. #4
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    In all honesty if the slots are just too high, take it to a good repair guy with the right size of files and have him file the slots down. It is a quick job.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    You'll do too much damage removing that nut looking at those picks. As others have said, let someone file it down without removal. It does look very high.

  6. #6
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    +1 more. Deepening the slots is done nut on the guitar. I used to take the nut off years ago when I'd sand the bottom of the nut instead of buying nut files, but it's a much longer job and carries the risks of nut removal. If you're not comfortable with nut files, take it to someone who is.

    Also, talk to Pete and or CS. That is higher than Music Man would normally let out the door. Maybe it's something that can be fixed for you, you are under warranty after all.
    An Irishman in Paris...
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  7. #7
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    I do my own nuts whenever needed (well... used to!), but I find it much, much easier to do outside of the guitar. I take good care when removing the nut and never had an accident but it's, as it's been called out, never an easy or re-assuring task. Neither is the risk of a stray file movement with the nut on the guitar mind.

    I think I'm spoiled by what I found when I wanted to widen the slots on my Vigier's nut (actually a string-guide since it has a 0 fret). It's not glued to the guitar, but fits perfectly in the slot with the help of a locating pin. I can switch it out based on the string gauge I use without the need for any tools! It's a brilliant idea.

    Good call DrKev, I'll give them a ring. I'd absolutely hate to have to send this back since it's everything I wanted it to be outside of this issue, and on top of it it's an incredible pain for me to ship guitars... But like you said, this should just not happen. And indeed it's the first MusicMan I have with such an issue or any issue at all, out of 10!
    Last edited by Pott; 02-25-2017 at 01:56 AM.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2017
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    Just find a good tech and have it adjusted. It's a 20 minute job in my shop.
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  9. #9
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    I'll do it myself if it comes to this, unless MusicMan accepts to have it covered.

    The point isn't WHO should do it. The point is WHAT should be done:
    * Adjust the nut
    * Return the guitar

    We won't find anything until Monday, so I'm not touching it until then. It sucks, but as my compatriots never say, c'est la vie.

  10. #10
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    Just looking at your measurements in the 1st post - the fretted note measurements take the nut out of the equation, so if you have 2 mm on the new PDN with string depressed at 3rd fret but 1 mm on the others, then you must have 1 mm extra height that has nothing to do with the nut, which suggests truss rod and/or saddles need adjusting too.

    So, do a good setup and then adjust the nut.

    Measure all guitars with capo on 1st fret (which removes the nut's contribution to the string height) [neck relief (use feeler gauges), string height]. Then set up the new one with capo on 1st fret, adjusting saddles and truss rod to match the other guitars. (This is why owning two capos is a great idea.) Once that is done, when you take the capos off the difference in string height is mostly due to the nut. When the nut slots are done you're good to go.
    An Irishman in Paris...
    2005 LE Buttercream Silhouette Special

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info
    Required reading - Forum Decorum

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrKev View Post
    Just looking at your measurements in the 1st post - the fretted note measurements take the nut out of the equation, so if you have 2 mm on the new PDN with string depressed at 3rd fret but 1 mm on the others, then you must have 1 mm extra height that has nothing to do with the nut, which suggests truss rod and/or saddles need adjusting too.

    So, do a good setup and then adjust the nut.

    Measure all guitars with capo on 1st fret (which removes the nut's contribution to the string height) [neck relief (use feeler gauges), string height]. Then set up the new one with capo on 1st fret, adjusting saddles and truss rod to match the other guitars. (This is why owning two capos is a great idea.) Once that is done, when you take the capos off the difference in string height is mostly due to the nut. When the nut slots are done you're good to go.
    The problem is from the 3rd fret to the nut. Not sure how the trust rod will make a difference here. Maybe I'm not understanding it quite right.

  12. #12
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    Ah. He didn't make it clear what he's measuring and I assumed he measured the string height at the 12th fret with string open and fretted at 3rd fret (in which case what I wrote should make sense now?)

    Pott, what are those measurements?
    An Irishman in Paris...
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    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info
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  13. #13
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    Congratulations on the new guitar, beautiful finish!!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrKev View Post
    Ah. He didn't make it clear what he's measuring and I assumed he measured the string height at the 12th fret with string open and fretted at 3rd fret (in which case what I wrote should make sense now?)

    Pott, what are those measurements?
    3rd fret depressed, and then open string. It says so before the pictures on the measurements:
    * AL PDN, 3rd fret depressed: 2mm
    * AL PDN, open: 2.5mm
    * AL HH, 3rd fret depressed: 1mm
    * AL HH, open: 1.5mm
    * Valentine PDN, 3rd fret depressed: 1mm
    * Valentine PDN, open: 1.5mm (very consistent with the AL HH)

    Neck relief and other setup components are fine. If I capo her on the first fret she plays ok, this is all part of the standard evaluation I always do on guitars.

    Sorry if I sound arrogant; but I've gone through this guitar in every detail imaginable and I know what's wrong with it; everything else is perfect. Sounds great, got a gorgeous ebony board, lightweight, and the stunning is stunning.
    Last edited by Pott; 02-26-2017 at 02:08 PM.

  15. #15
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    Your unhappy, it's under warranty, just send it back. Contact and talk to CS first, to ensure there are no issues.

    Good luck, great looking guitar. Glenn |B)
    1. Silhouette Special in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    2. Silhouette Special in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/02] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    3. Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/01]
    4. Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/11] BFR

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