I'm italian so there may be some grammatical errors.. basically my guitar sounds really "sharp" when I play the first two strings (E, B). By "sharp" I don't mean the tune of the guitar, the tune is perfect, it's just the sound that is really high pitchy like a screech ahah, I don't know how to explain.

When I play in the other strings the sound is well balanced overall but in the first and second string it's really unpleasant, I don't know if this can depend on something (maybe the action? the bridge?) or it's just the sound of the guitar.. Have you ever had a problem like this or do you know the possibile causes? Thanks!

I use a VOX VT40 amp, however the problem isn't the amplifier i'm sure, because with my Epiphone and the same settings this problem doesn't occur, only with my new Gibson.. I use a thin plectrum for fast shredding, an hard plectrum for rhythm and a normal when I have to do both, and I've never had a problem with my old Epiphone.

  • What amplifier do you use? It could be the amplifier settings. Are you using any effect pedals? Also what kind of plectrum do you use, or do you just play with your fingers? Jan 12, 2018 at 17:14
  • Thanks for the response, I use a VOX VT40, however the problem isn't the amplifier i'm sure, because with my Epiphone and the same settings this problem doesn't occur, only with my new gibson.. I use a thin plectrum for fast shredding, an hard plectrum for rhythm and a normal when I have to do both and I've never had a problem with my old epiphone.. Jan 12, 2018 at 17:23
  • What about pickup height and pole piece height? Do you have the problem no matter what pickups you have selected? Is there a difference when you use distortion versus no distortion (clean)? Jan 12, 2018 at 17:26
  • This is probably where the problem is. I tried myself changing the pickup height long time ago but nothing really changed to my ears, so I don't think it's that, however I might try again.. the pole piece height, this could be the problem, in fact when I first bought the guitar it looked like it hadn't be adjusted, it had some serious action/truss rod/bridge problems and it took me a long time to fix fret buzzing.. so I'd say the problem could be either the pole piece height or maybe the bridge (I don't know if the 6 small screws in the bridge can affect the guitar tone somehow ..) Jan 12, 2018 at 17:39
  • oh and no, the problem can be heard even without distortion, no matter which pickup is selected, but it's more noticeable with the bridge pickup Jan 12, 2018 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


I would try lowering the treble side of the bridge pickup and also try slightly lowering the B and E string pole pieces and see if that helps at all. If it does, then adjust to taste and do the same with the neck pickup. If it doesn't change then it must be something else.

Even though you don't hear any problems without the amp, it still could be string buzz that is too subtle to hear until the pickup grabs it and amplifies it. That could be caused by the nut, the bridge, or the frets. Depending on your knowledge of setup and so on, you could double check those areas and/or bring the setup back to factory spec. If you don't have much experience with that, your best bet is probably to either take it to a tech or luthier or contact the store or person you bought it from and see if there's any support for you.

There is a chance that you're just not used to the difference in tone between the Epiphone and the real thing. I would expect the real Les Paul to sound a lot richer, woodier, and maybe brighter than the Epiphone, but I would also expect you to notice that on all the strings. I don't think this is what's happening, but you might take a break for a little while and listen again with fresh ears to make sure it's not something particular about what you're used to.

  • Thank you really much, you really understood the problem and could easily be everything you just said. Also, before making those changes I will try and test the sound with a different amp, maybe the Epiphone is more balanced, has been adjusted better or just sounds better with this amp and the pickups of my Gibson are too aggressive.. Thank you! Jan 12, 2018 at 18:02

I think that Todd Wilcox' answer has to key to your problem and the best thing would be to bring it to a luthier.

However, one simple thing that has not been mentionned is to make sure that the tuning pegs are tight enough; there should be one screw underneath and a bolt/washer on top. I had a similar issue with a Les Paul that was caused by the washer being loose: on the B and high E strings I wouldn't get buzzing, but it sounded like a very faint feedback sound and it was only on those 2 strings. With the strings on it it did not seem loose, probably because of the added tension from the strings. I removed the strings, tightened everything and the problem was fixed.


If the pickup height is correct, and there are no other issues with intonation or string depth on the nut (which would probably result in the strings rattling anyway) then you may well end up adjusting the gauge of the two bottom strings.

I myself favor 9's thru 42's, but you might just try going either thicker (or more fine) on your bottom two strings. It can't hurt to try.

I had one guitar that always seemed to ring more 'loudly' on the G string. I ended up having to go heavier on just that string, and it seemed to help.

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