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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, hoping someone here more knowledgeable about guitar setups can help me out. I just got a Pia and it just seems to have very strange issues. Let me start by saying that I've owned Jems for years and have several of them, so I pretty much know what to expect out of this style of guitar, though of course this is my first Pia.

1. Action must be significantly higher than my Jems: First order of business when I got the guitar was to lower the action. I typically like my action very low, pretty much as low as I can get it before having issues. Now how low it will go depends on the guitar of course, how good of a fret job was done, straightness of the neck, etc. However after having owned so many Jem style guitars I pretty much know the range I can expect to get out of my action. I started by getting the neck nearly flat with the truss rod (I measured using a fretboard ruler). It's not completely flat because the ruler shows some daylight all across the fretboard, but it's very close to flat.
Next I brought the pickups down a bit to compensate for having lowered the strings.
Anyway I got some buzzing. Ok no problem, raise the strings some, still buzzing but noticeably better. Raise the strings some more. Ok now I think it's good, buzz is pretty much gone. Disappointingly the action at this point is higher than any of my other Jems, but not so much so that it's a deal breaker.

2. Bending notes (G string 14th fret area) frets out. Fret 12 and 13 seem to be fine, fret 14 frets out on a whole step bend. Ok, I guess it needs to be higher. So raise the action again, still frets out. Anyway long story short I now have the action at what I would consider a medium height and still no good. Instead of raising it even more, which even if it works would make me not even like playing the guitar anyway. I come to the forums for help!

3. Last thing I tried, I took a fret balance straight edge and checked to make sure there were no uneven fret heights in that area, far as I can tell the frets are perfectly level and the straight edge wont rock over any one fret.

Is it worth a try putting more bow in the neck and then seeing if the action can come back down some? I'm not against neck bow, though I typically think guitars this expensive should be able to function with a straight or slight bow pretty well. Perhaps I'm wrong about that and have just gotten very lucky in the past?

4. On an unrelated note, the trem was sitting at too much of a high angle requiring the springs to be tightened. Opened the back to see the trem screws were already completely screwed in to the max from the factory and it wasn't enough. Not a great sign. Could add a 4th spring, but again, no Jem has ever required something like this, so red flags are going up.

Anything else worth trying? Is it time to send this guitar back? :(
 

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For the money you spent, that guitar should not have needed any kind of serious set up.

A Jcraft is supposed to be butter out the box.

If there's anything other then a slight adjustment due to acclimating to your environment then they didn't give you the quality they charged you for.

Email a rep or the store you got it from.
It should be addressed with in the first few days of owning it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Kenny! In principle I totally agree with you, I guess I'm trying to see if there is more to try before giving up because I got a Gold Pia and I don't know if they're going to be able to give me another one... Limited edition and all that. But I'd rather not have a gold pia than have one that isn't any good
 

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Even if it's limited, maybe tell them you want them to reinspect if and do a second quality check and send it back on their dime and you will be happy to keep it instead of a refund.

They will spend maybe 300 on return repair reship compared to what is it 5k to refund?
 

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Would like to hear Rich's take on this, but to me this seems resolvable as long as the neck's not wonky. Maybe nut shims? Sucks about the springs being screwed in all the way too, not a hard fix but it shouldn't pass QC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
About 3k I got a really good deal, but yeah point taken. I'll contact them and send it back for at least a repair if nothing else
 

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I don't know why anybody thinks buying a guitar from a dealer online is going to be setup "out of the box" unless it's supposed to be included when you buy it. I don't anywhere on MF, AMS, ZZ, show me a warehouse other than Sweetwater that claims anything, I can guarantee you nothing is setup coming out of the distributor. I don't are if it's $3000 or $5000.

It needs a fret level, anything you have choking on a big bend in one spot the frets are the issue. I can't speak to your buzz, JEM or PIA, or ng else cannot change physics. Low action buzzes when fretting notes because the oscillation of the string is greater than the action left after fretting. The guitar should always have little relief although many players love a dead straight neck too.
 

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Maxed out means the claw is flush against the wood, which I doubt it is. but you can prove me wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok so that being the case it's probably not maxed out. The screws are in all the way to where they threads are not visible and tightening them you can hear it digging into the wood and like it's gone past any threading that was originally drilled into it. Maybe that's totally fine, I've just never had to put the screws in that far... Like I said, came here for advice because there is much I don't know about this stuff
 

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Your JEMs should have been the same. Most of them will leave the claw about 3/8" from the wood with 9's and the threads are already fully inside. Because you're breaking new ground in the wood is typical, it's never been properly setup, just assembled.
 

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Every Jem (and guitar) I have owned except my 777LNG 30th have needed: 1) Neck shim; 2) Fret level; 3) lowering the nut; with this three steps they’re unbeatable players. The 777LNG 30th needed a fret level right out of the box to compete in playability with the other Jems but as it has just a slight buzz and I don’t play her very often (hate the 58 mm heel) is a task that remains pendent in my list.

The only guitars with low action that didn’t need fret levelling were my 2013 Gibsons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So it will be going back to sweetwater for a fret level and hopefully that will be all it needs, they have a plek machine so that should do the trick
 

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There’s really no such thing as standard “set up” other than setting up the guitar to be playable. Almost everything is personal preference, but remember many things are interrelated. Change one thing, it affects something else.
I’d be surprised if a Pia needs a Plek out of the box. I think I’d be asking for a replacement guitar first!
Good luck.
 

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You might have some frets popping up, I had similar issue and had to tap a few frets down. use a straight edge with the neck totally flat if not obviously popping up to find the culprits.
 

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Nobody should be surprised any guitar needs a fret level out of the box. Nothing is immune, it's wood.

Tapping frets down MOST of the time just creates another low spot you can chase all over the neck. Spot level with 400 grit wrapped on any straight flat anything. I use a radius block but a straight 8" piece of 1x4 is just as good.
 

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Just receive my preorder sun dew pia and played it..... done setting up the guitar, tighten truss rod and lower the action abit and now the guitar plays good... and some picture of my collection
 

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