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I recently bought an Epiphone Nighthawk custom reissue from an online dealership. Buying online was always a gamble, I knew that. But for irrational reasons, I wanted this particular model and it was not available at a local store. It’s a lovely guitar, light weight, lots of options on the pickups, and well built and finished. The only tiny problem was that I could not stop the A string from buzzing. The action was too low, but no amount of minor adjustment of the bridge would help, and the nut was fine. So I took it into a local luthier (the builder of Vanquish guitars, incredibly beautiful guitars at around £2k to 3k each, but I digress) who carefully explained that they truss rod needed some adjustment, and that new strings wouldn’t hurt.
So, the specific tip is this. Buy locally if you can, and check the straightness of the neck. The easiest way to do this is to pluck each string separately and at different frets. Listen for the buzzing. If you hear it consistently, you can check the neck with a long straight edge. The best straight edge will be the string itself. Hold the buzzing string down at the first fret and the last fret at the same time, You now have a straight edge, and the string should touch every other fret in between. If there is a gap over a few frets, you have a neck problem and you may need to adjust the truss rod. Put the guitar back on the rack and find another one! This only works for a concave neck of course.
My guitar now plays like a dream. If only I did.
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