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Ultimate Epiphone Sheraton upgrades?

#1 User is offline   riviere 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:45 AM

First of all, hello to all fellow Gibson and Epiphone fans. I've always been a Fender/G&L guy, until I fell in love with Epiphone Sheraton II. I had rough experiences with Dots and LP's, and never ever thought Epiphone could sound like this sweet Sherry. Very comfortable to play, great wood resonance.

That's why I want to push it to the edge and do a complete rehaul, while retaining the good spirit of this axe. What are essential upgrades would you advise? I've only had experience in Fender-area upgrades, so any help with parts' manufactures brands would be appreciated.

Let's see.

1) I want to put Gibson Classic '57 in it, I also want to try P-94. Has anyone tried P-94 in it? Saw video on youtube with this upgrade, sounded marvellous;
2) What pots should I use? Dimarzio? CTS? I want to have 250k's, my sound is not too dense;
3) What would be the best wires/capacitors?
4) I want to change all the hardware. I want to stay on stop-tail way, but Iíve heard that korean Epiphone Sheraton has metric measurements, and original Gibson tune-o-matic bridge and stop-tail wonít fit it. Is it true? If yes, what other bridge should I use? TonePros? Gotoh?
5) Same question about tuners. What tuners would fit, and what would be the best to use?
6) Iíll probably ask luthier to do all the work, but as far as Iím concerned Sheraton/ES-335 is a major pain to upgrade? How would one feed pots through f-holes? Isnít it impossible?
7) Are there any other advises in Sheraton upgrading? What were your upgrades?

Thanks and have a great time, guys.

#2 User is offline   SNick 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:40 AM

"First of all, hello to all fellow Gibson and Epiphone fans. I've always been a Fender/G&L guy, until I fell in love with Epiphone Sheraton II. I had rough experiences with Dots and LP's, and never ever thought Epiphone could sound like this sweet Sherry. Very comfortable to play, great wood resonance."


And you want to change all that !!!!!!! [scared]

Welcome to the Forum. I just need a bit to soak it all in. I only mod when I know I can improve what I have. Never use a silk purse to make a sows ear.
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#3 User is offline   riviere 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:44 AM

View PostSNick, on 12 February 2012 - 06:40 AM, said:

"First of all, hello to all fellow Gibson and Epiphone fans. I've always been a Fender/G&L guy, until I fell in love with Epiphone Sheraton II. I had rough experiences with Dots and LP's, and never ever thought Epiphone could sound like this sweet Sherry. Very comfortable to play, great wood resonance."


And you want to change all that !!!!!!! [scared]

Welcome to the Forum. I just need a bit to soak it all in. I only mod when I know I can improve what I have. Never use a silk purse to make a sows ear.


Ha, I got what you mean. That's a great premise. I love what this guitar already has - very good wood, very nice fretwork, comfortable concept. Unfortunately, I feel that stock pickups leave a bit to be desired (maybe too waxed or unbalanced), and I also want to try P-94. I also have a personal dislike for gold hardware (although a lot of my friends love the idea of it). So those two reasons are why I want to mod this guitar. And if I'm going to mod it - why not get the best I can. :) Cheers.

#4 User is offline   Whitmore Willy 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:20 AM

View Postriviere, on 12 February 2012 - 04:45 AM, said:

my sound is not too dense

My wife says just the opposite about me!
Welcome to the forum and congrats on your Sheraton. How about some pics?

I'm just a little curious as to why you would put Gibson 57s in your guitar and then darken them up with 250k pots.
Putting the Gibson pups in will give you a clearer more defined sound. Why muddy them up?
Although 300k are sometimes used for volumes, by far, the norm is to use 500k (vol and tone) with humbuckers....Same for P-94s.

250k pots are primarily used on Fender type single coils to add some warmth to an otherwise extremely bright pickup.

Anyway, congrats again on the Sheraton.

Willy

#5 User is offline   Jon S. 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:17 PM

I put a set of BB Pro's in mine with CTS 500K pots and it sounds absolutely killer!! I'd recommend having the electronics changed out by a tech though. It was a bit of a pain.

#6 User is offline   Vinlander 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:53 AM

I have a 2004 I upgraded with classic 57/57+ and a BCS vintage 335 wiring harness last christmas.
In my case it was a very successful and entertaining experience.
Some people do struggle with the electronics if they have the smaller F holes version however.
It will not make a poor instrument sounds great; it will only open or emphases its caracteristics.
If you bound with it and don't expect to get back money invested then do it [thumbup]
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#7 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 05:59 AM

Although it can vary from year to year, Sheratons have an access hole through the bridge pickup rout so you can fish pots, jack and wire through there. The was an extensive discussion with pics on the known upgrade methodologies a few years back, I'll see if I cant dig it up.

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BTW, welcome to the forum and congrats on your new Sherry.
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#8 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:43 PM

View PostVinlander, on 13 February 2012 - 04:53 AM, said:

I have a 2004 I upgraded with classic 57/57+ and a BCS vintage 335 wiring harness last christmas.
In my case it was a very successful and entertaining experience.
Some people do struggle with the electronics if they have the smaller F holes version however.
It will not make a poor instrument sounds great; it will only open or emphases its caracteristics.
If you bound with it and don't expect to get back money invested then do it


- If you want Gibson PU's, BB's are much beter than '57's. Even better are Duncan Seth's.
- I've swapped PU's and pots in dozens of F hole guitars, it's not hard or time-consuming. I've even put the 4 push-pull Jimmy Page system in 335's (like my Sheraton). I've posted instructions several times on the Duncan site. Check it out and do a thread search. Anyone who says it's difficult either has never done it or had no idea what they were doing when they tried it. Just takes common sense.
- The biggest improvement in your tone comes from upgrading the PU's, more than everything else combined. That's where to put your money. I don't replace any of the wiring harness until something's shorting out, which is uncommon.
- Keep the old stock PU's to put back in if you decide to sell the guitar later. Then you don't lose money.

#9 User is offline   SNick 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:52 PM

I completely replaced everything in a DOT once. Took me about 90 min. start to finish the first time around. Looks harder that it really is. I pre-wired the whole harness from parts to start with, makes it quicker to install and you can use a meter to check your work before insertion. You'll do well. Just take your time.
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#10 User is offline   Hungrycat 

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:35 AM

View PostBlueman335, on 13 February 2012 - 12:43 PM, said:

- The biggest improvement in your tone comes from upgrading the PU's, more than everything else combined. That's where to put your money. I don't replace any of the wiring harness until something's shorting out, which is uncommon.


I disagree. I've found that high quality components can make "meh" quality pickups sound extraordinary. Replace the wiring first and if you still don't like it then do the pickups.
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#11 User is offline   SNick 

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:23 AM

I have also seen improvements in sound with just a wire change. I have a 335 type where the pickups' quick connect was a bit corroded and cleaning the contacts made a big difference.
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#12 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:49 AM

Welcome, to the forum!

Before you do anything, to your Sheraton, go out and play various semi-hollow body Gibson's,
with different pickups (stock), and see which ones YOU prefer. That way, at least, you'll
have a decent idea, what they sound like Prior to installation. Our opinions, are just that!
We can't possibly tell you, what YOU'LL like....only what WE like, and as you've already seen,
here...that varies! [biggrin] The P-94's come stock, in the Epiphone Riviera "Nick Valensi."
There have been some, here, that install them, or one of them, in the neck position, especially.
Other's, like Burst Buckers, or (like me) "Classic 57 (neck) and '57+, in the bridge position.
But, I would certainly try some guitars, with all of those pickups, (and other's, if you can
find them), prior to spending money, and time/hassle, to change what's there, until you know
exactly what you like the sound of. Granted, there's no guarantee, any pickup you listen to,
will sound exactly the same, in your Sheraton...but, you'll have a much better idea, to begin
with, what they do sound like, one from another, in another semi-hollow body. The same pickups
can sound completely different, in LP's or SG type guitars, than what they do, in Semi's.

Good Luck, on your quest! [thumbup]

CB

#13 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:13 AM

View PostHungrycat, on 15 February 2012 - 05:35 AM, said:

I disagree. I've found that high quality components can make "meh" quality pickups sound extraordinary. Replace the wiring first and if you still don't like it then do the pickups.


I've probably got more Epi's than just about anybody here. If you're serious about tone, the stock PU's gotta go. I've done it to every one my of Epi's. There's no point in keeping them and screwing with other things that have a small impact. You will not, and cannot, get the level of clarity, depth, and definition that, for example, Seymour Duncan's have. Stock Epi PU's are serviceable at best; they transfer sound. A manufacturer of high quality PU's (and there are many besides Duncan) goes far beyond that. They strive for tone quality.

Example: I bought a used Epi Korina '58 V last year. Plugged it in to check the elctronics and couldn't believe how good it sounded. Very clear and articulate like no Epi I've ever heard. I've played dozens and dozens of Epi's over the years, and this blew them all away. No comparison. When I changed the strings, I was curious and flipped over the PU's...they were both DiMarzios. The seller forgot to mention that.

Now, if you use a lot of distortion and effects and play thru a solid state practice amp, then you won't hear a lot of difference when you upgrade PU's. But the better your amp, and the cleaner you play, the more obvious the difference. It's worth it.

#14 User is offline   TWANG 

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:08 AM

View Postriviere, on 12 February 2012 - 04:45 AM, said:

First of all, hello to all fellow Gibson and Epiphone fans. I've always been a Fender/G&L guy, until I fell in love with Epiphone Sheraton II. I had rough experiences with Dots and LP's, and never ever thought Epiphone could sound like this sweet Sherry. Very comfortable to play, great wood resonance.

That's why I want to push it to the edge and do a complete rehaul, while retaining the good spirit of this axe. What are essential upgrades would you advise? I've only had experience in Fender-area upgrades, so any help with parts' manufactures brands would be appreciated.

Let's see.

1) I want to put Gibson Classic '57 in it, I also want to try P-94. Has anyone tried P-94 in it? Saw video on youtube with this upgrade, sounded marvellous;

-------I have had several sets of pickups in my sheri.. right now retrotrons from gfs and I like 'em. but 57 classic, 57 classis plus would be really nice!

2) What pots should I use? Dimarzio? CTS? I want to have 250k's, my sound is not too dense;

------small f holes. cts minis but make sure your knobs will fit.. usa and metric pot shafts are different.. 500K and Mallory 150 tone caps.

3) What would be the best wires/capacitors?

----I use copper core silver plated teflon coated amp wire. *S* Mallory 150s, 0.022uF, very nice!

4) I want to change all the hardware. I want to stay on stop-tail way, but Iíve heard that korean Epiphone Sheraton has metric measurements, and original Gibson tune-o-matic bridge and stop-tail wonít fit it. Is it true? If yes, what other bridge should I use? TonePros? Gotoh?

----I fear this question. *L* I have fit another brand to my sheri.. another guy tried what I did, and his wouldn't work. (I think it was him, but I build guitars and amps, so..) You do have to be careful. Look at specs for your epi .. the koreans like mine are NOT the same and they don't make a replacement!
I've forgotten the part number!

5) Same question about tuners. What tuners would fit, and what would be the best to use?

-----I use gold grover Imperials.. high ratio.. the buttons look great on the headstock.. and they tuners work perfectly for years.


6) Iíll probably ask luthier to do all the work, but as far as Iím concerned Sheraton/ES-335 is a major pain to upgrade? How would one feed pots through f-holes? Isnít it impossible?

----no you just pull a lot of your hair out.

7) Are there any other advises in Sheraton upgrading? What were your upgrades?

----pickups five times, electronics twice, bridge, tailpiece, knobs--I use gold dome knobs with set screw, tuners, nut--changed to tusq, and added dunlop straplocks.


Thanks and have a great time, guys.


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#15 User is offline   Hungrycat 

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:15 AM

View PostBlueman335, on 15 February 2012 - 10:13 AM, said:

I've probably got more Epi's than just about anybody here. If you're serious about tone, the stock PU's gotta go. I've done it to every one my of Epi's. There's no point in keeping them and screwing with other things that have a small impact. You will not, and cannot, get the level of clarity, depth, and definition that, for example, Seymour Duncan's have. Stock Epi PU's are serviceable at best; they transfer sound. A manufacturer of high quality PU's (and there are many besides Duncan) goes far beyond that. They strive for tone quality.
Now, if you use a lot of distortion and effects and play thru a solid state practice amp, then you won't hear a lot of difference when you upgrade PU's. But the better your amp, and the cleaner you play, the more obvious the difference. It's worth it.


Kind of condescending, but whatever. I'm just saying that some pickups become acceptable or even good with better components. And why would you even think about running your $300 Lollars, or what have you, through sh*tty Alpha mini pots?!? Doesn't make any sense to me. Quality components are easier and cheaper than pickups, new pickups are a next step. And this is coming from someone who has had 6 different sets of pickups in one of my instruments.
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#16 User is offline   matthewk 

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:06 PM

My Sheraton has been a little neglected lately, but I have similar Fendery sound preferences to you. I swapped my Sheraton's mudbuckers for a couple of GFS Surf 90s, they have hugely improved the clarity of the sound and retained the thick woody tone I liked. But now I can use the tone controls instead of jamming them on full. Rewiring the pots is a pain in the rear and I would only recommend it if there are actual problems - otherwise you can clip the leads from the existing pickups and attach the new ones, although you lose some shielding that way because the GFS ones have braided shields and the stock ones don't (I think).
The Sheraton pickups went into an old junk Strat and I wired them with 1M pots - it massively improved their sound as well. But I highly recommend the Surf 90s, they sound great clean and they get very dirty indeed when you want. This is into a Twin Reverb with a Tube Screamer clone pedal.
Hope that helps. For a cheap experiment you could just replace the pots with a 1M setup but you'd have to swap them back if you went to a brighter pickup. Tuners - not worth replacing since stability problems are 99% nut problems, get a good nut done and see where you are then.

#17 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

View PostHungrycat, on 16 February 2012 - 06:15 AM, said:

I'm just saying that some pickups become acceptable or even good with better components. And why would you even think about running your $300 Lollars, or what have you, through sh*tty Alpha mini pots?!? Doesn't make any sense to me. Quality components are easier and cheaper than pickups, new pickups are a next step. And this is coming from someone who has had 6 different sets of pickups in one of my instruments.


Well, I don't want to settle for 'acceptable' PU's. I replace all mini-pots (most Epi's have full-size ones anymore). Hey, my approach is to look for used American-made PU's online, for about half price. I get more more improvement in tone doing that than replacing anything else. A stock Epi PU is never going to have the tone quality of a good Duncan or DiMarzio. Rather than get side-tracked, I focus on PU's.

If you've had 6 sets of PU's in one guitar, you need to learn about swapping magnets and pots/resisitors. You'll be able to get the tones you want with one, maybe two sets of PU's. It'll never take six. There's about 10 different alnicos available from Addiction FX, and each one has a different EQ. We don't know what a HB or P-90 has to offer until we try a couple of magnets in it. Sometimes using 250K pots or 470K resistors will do it. All of this stuff is much cheaper than PU's.

#18 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:22 PM

View PostHungrycat, on 16 February 2012 - 06:15 AM, said:

Kind of condescending, but whatever.


Not really. Have you tried Seth's, Pearly Gates, '59's, or Bustbuckers? There is no stock Asian HB that comes comes anywhere close to that level of tone quality. They're not nearly as expensive if you buy them used. You're much better off buying a used Epi for half price, and using the rest of the money (that you would have spent on a new guitar) on upgrading PU's instead. Geez, I just got a nice used Epi Lp Std+ with hard case and a pair of Duncan '59's for $250. Good deals are out there.

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