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Old 05-18-2009, 09:43 AM
jzucker jzucker is offline
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Default Loose frets and other Composite Acoustics guitar issues?

Anyone else have this problem: A bunch of frets are loose on the guitar. My luthier says he's seen this before on composite guitars as the graphite is very slippery and often times the glue doesn't always hold. I guess this is the archilles heel with this technology... So, I ended up taking the guitar in for a fret re-seat/re-glue and a fret level. He was very impressed with the quality of the instrument though in terms of neck angle, fingerboard leveling, etc...

On an unrelated note, has anyone with a CA Xi guitar tried lighter tuners to help balance the instrument? The neck-heavy thing is killing me.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:47 AM
Tsckey Tsckey is offline
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I can't generalize, of course, since CA guitars are still relatively rare and I haven't talked to any other owners, but after two years of playing virtually everyday, indoors and outdoors, hot and cold, my frets are still tight.

TC
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:24 AM
jzucker jzucker is offline
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Originally Posted by Tsckey View Post
I can't generalize, of course, since CA guitars are still relatively rare and I haven't talked to any other owners, but after two years of playing virtually everyday, indoors and outdoors, hot and cold, my frets are still tight.

TC
i wonder what happened on mine then? Maybe extreme temperature changes? (I was the 2nd owner and it wasn't me...)
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:14 PM
Steve Christens Steve Christens is offline
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The ninth fret on my GX was high on the bass side, but not loose. Almost as if it popped back up while the glue was drying. So I asked my tech to file down the fret - problem solved.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:16 PM
jzucker jzucker is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve Christens View Post
The ninth fret on my GX was high on the bass side, but not loose. Almost as if it popped back up while the glue was drying. So I asked my tech to file down the fret - problem solved.
filing it down is the wrong way to go on that. You should have had him re-seat it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:34 PM
Ken C Ken C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
Anyone else have this problem: A bunch of frets are loose on the guitar. My luthier says he's seen this before on composite guitars as the graphite is very slippery and often times the glue doesn't always hold. I guess this is the archilles heel with this technology... So, I ended up taking the guitar in for a fret re-seat/re-glue and a fret level. He was very impressed with the quality of the instrument though in terms of neck angle, fingerboard leveling, etc...

On an unrelated note, has anyone with a CA Xi guitar tried lighter tuners to help balance the instrument? The neck-heavy thing is killing me.
I have seen this myself but not on composite guitars...but on a new fret job that I, myself, had done. It took me awhile but I finally got the fret to let the string ring true.

To me, this was a real bad deal and took me a while to fix it. I could almost swear off fret jobs after that one. Building fret boards were no problem but the re-fretting was.

Ken C.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:54 PM
biggs2 biggs2 is offline
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The frets on both CA Cargo and CA 7M-CE (GX) are perfectly seated and tight. I just wish I had medium stainless steel frets on all my guitars. I'm not a luthier but, from everything I've read about their durability, they far surpass their wooden cousins. I bet you can find a half a dozen discussions or more on this forum alone where these guitars have been dropped, banged around and left in car trunks in both fridgid and hot conditions with no affect whatsoever on their structure. Under these abusive conditions, I'm sure that if carbon fiber wasn't a good medium for glues and epoxies, we would have already seen more problems. Unless your guitar has been extraordinarily abused, it sounds like it may have missed a production and quality control step or two.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:22 AM
jzucker jzucker is offline
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Originally Posted by biggs2 View Post
The frets on both CA Cargo and CA 7M-CE (GX) are perfectly seated and tight. I just wish I had medium stainless steel frets on all my guitars. I'm not a luthier but, from everything I've read about their durability, they far surpass their wooden cousins. I bet you can find a half a dozen discussions or more on this forum alone where these guitars have been dropped, banged around and left in car trunks in both fridgid and hot conditions with no affect whatsoever on their structure. Under these abusive conditions, I'm sure that if carbon fiber wasn't a good medium for glues and epoxies, we would have already seen more problems. Unless your guitar has been extraordinarily abused, it sounds like it may have missed a production and quality control step or two.
I think it's pretty common knowledge that graphite is a lubricant. The zillions of parker guitars with finish problems and the fact that graphite nuts are billed as lubricants is a testament to that. I have talked to several people with CA guitars that have frets that have come up. Granted, this can happen on a wooden guitar too but my point is that we all talk about how durable the CA guitars are and that they are indestructable. I was just pointing out that anywhere there is a glue joint, this is not necessarily true. And in fact, a standard wood guitar with frets that have tangs on it will be more durable than a non tanged fret glued into a lubricated graphite/polymer material.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:42 AM
robkreole robkreole is offline
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Default need help - contact CA

I'd urge you to contact CA in Lafayette, LA (337.233.4119) and relay this story to them. Ask them for some advice. They are good folks, and it seems like that would want to hear this kind of info. from someone playing a CA guitar.

Rob K.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:44 AM
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I've had it on wooden guitars. It's kinda testimony to the fact that your guitar was a product mass production - not coddled and loved into existence with copious amounts of personal attention. It is set up at the factory and then the frets come loose and ruin the setup. Yup.

Actually, it added $35 to the cost of a setup on a small-shop guitar once for me. But I just about always get my guitars set up as soon as I buy 'em and add the cost of the setup into my purchase price. So it goes...

Bob
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:56 AM
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I live in an environment where temperature ranges from -30 to 90 and the RH ranges from 20-75%. Granted, my CA Cargo and GXi are indoors almost all the time and therefore the extremes are not as profound, both guitars have no problems whatsoever.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:43 AM
mulausk mulausk is offline
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I have had no problems with the frets on my CA.

But +1 on the 'neck-heavy' aspect. Drives me crazy, so much so that I avoid using a strap whenever I can. (And yes, I've tried tying it just past the nut, but the strap/string tends to get in the way of my thumb/fretting hand every once in awhile. I know... bad habits/technique... but it's the only technique I have at the moment. )
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:18 AM
jzucker jzucker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robkreole View Post
I'd urge you to contact CA in Lafayette, LA (337.233.4119) and relay this story to them. Ask them for some advice. They are good folks, and it seems like that would want to hear this kind of info. from someone playing a CA guitar.

Rob K.
I did. Their position is that since I'm not the original owner, they have no way to know if the instrument's been tampered with or abused. Anyway, my repairman knows how to fix it. Basically, re-glue every fret and do a fret level. I could have him just glue the ones with obvious problems but there are probably others which are "waiting" to come up.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:53 AM
Steve Christens Steve Christens is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
I think it's pretty common knowledge that graphite is a lubricant. The zillions of parker guitars with finish problems and the fact that graphite nuts are billed as lubricants is a testament to that. I have talked to several people with CA guitars that have frets that have come up. Granted, this can happen on a wooden guitar too but my point is that we all talk about how durable the CA guitars are and that they are indestructible. I was just pointing out that anywhere there is a glue joint, this is not necessarily true. And in fact, a standard wood guitar with frets that have tangs on it will be more durable than a non tanged fret glued into a lubricated graphite/polymer material.

This is a pretty specious argument. Graphite may be a lubricant, and therefore difficult to glue. But the graphite fiber that is used to make composite structures is NOT the same material as graphite lubricant. The problem with your frets was one of quality or process control, and not a materials of construction issue suggesting one can't reliably glue anything to a carbon graphite composite structure.

Also, your one experience does not prove your assertion that "a standard wood guitar with frets that have tangs on it will be more durable than a non tanged fret glued into a lubricated graphite/polymer material".

CA guitars are not indestructible, and there have been some quality control issues - possibly due to their quick growth. But I don't think CA owners need to worry about all of their frets falling out just because a few of yours were loose.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:54 PM
jzucker jzucker is offline
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You're missing something key here. The mechanical connection of the barbs on a standard fret digging into the wood (and also typically superglued) are an additional force on the wood instruments that is missing on the carbon fiber fingerboards. Therefore, when the carbon fiber expands and contracts at a different rate than the superglue and the fret, it's going to have a tendency to dislodge easier. It's simple physics. Not saying that it's going to happen to every instrument...My point is that this is one area where the wooden instruments are inherently superior from a mechanical point of view. Of course, the wooden instruments have a wider range of movement due to temperature than carbon/fiber so maybe it's a wash.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Christens View Post
This is a pretty specious argument. Graphite may be a lubricant, and therefore difficult to glue. But the graphite fiber that is used to make composite structures is NOT the same material as graphite lubricant. The problem with your frets was one of quality or process control, and not a materials of construction issue suggesting one can't reliably glue anything to a carbon graphite composite structure.

Also, your one experience does not prove your assertion that "a standard wood guitar with frets that have tangs on it will be more durable than a non tanged fret glued into a lubricated graphite/polymer material".

CA guitars are not indestructible, and there have been some quality control issues - possibly due to their quick growth. But I don't think CA owners need to worry about all of their frets falling out just because a few of yours were loose.
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