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New ES 330 '50's reissue rattles and buzzes

#1 User is offline   AlanC 

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:07 PM

I recently bought an ES 330 '50's reissue. Great guitar, great sound. Really love it. But.......

Got it set up, took it home and then it started to buzz as though something was loose. The buzz got worse so I took it back to the tech and he fixed it. Had it home for 10 days and the buzz is back albeit not as bad. So its now back with the tech for round 2.

I then went to the store where I bought it and they have another one for sale. Guess what it also has a bad buzz.

Is there something wrong with Gibson's quality control? It would seem so. Anyone else have the same problem?

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#2 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:22 PM

I've had a number of Gibson archtops and thinlines over the years that had phantom buzzes and rattles. It can be maddening, but there are so many things that can cause this. I don't think it's all that unusual or rare. Did your tech mention what he did for the first fix, or where the problem was?
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#3 User is offline   AlanC 

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:29 PM

View PostJimR56, on 18 August 2012 - 10:22 PM, said:

I've had a number of Gibson archtops and thinlines over the years that had phantom buzzes and rattles. It can be maddening, but there are so many things that can cause this. I don't think it's all that unusual or rare. Did your tech mention what he did for the first fix, or where the problem was?



He said that he did three adjustments and couldn't tell me which one might have made the difference. The one problem that he did fix was that the rear (bridge) pickup was so high that strings sometimes hit it. Any way he's having another go as its still not right.


AlanC.


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#4 User is offline   endpin 

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:17 PM

On my original 1965 ES-330TD the P-90 pickup mounts often rattle. They use a mickey-mouse arrangement where the same screw is supposed to secure both the upper pickup cover and the pickup itself below. Felt pad "shims" are supposed to keep this claptrap in tension when the screws are tightened, but sometime when the cover is screwed down, the mounting "ears" on the pickup are still loose and rattling around underneath the cover.
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#5 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:31 AM

I had a similar problem last week...

Got my ES 330 out after not playing it for a while

More buzz than before...hunting around for the source...pick-up selector switch, pickguard...

Still not sure which it was but decided to ignore it...I think warm humid weather was a factor

Every archtop I've had has suffered at one time or another

It is annoying...but IMO any mix of wood, metal, screws, temperature change, musical vibrations etc will buzz at random...

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#6 User is offline   cdntac 

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:33 AM

My Byrdland had a few rattles too --- though they can't be heard when playing through an amp.

I believe that the main rattle I was hearing was caused by the bridge pickup. The pickup wasn't tight against the pickup ring and it seems to me that the pickup itself would vibrate a tiny bit when playing certain notes. Perhaps it was the springs vibrating...I dunno for sure.

To solve it I put a few very small pieces of black 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper between the pickup and ring (about the length of the pickup and folded over three or four times).

The 1500 grit wet/dry stuff barely has a grit but just enough to stay grabbing against the pickup and ring and applies enough pressure between the two that the pickup doesn't move now.

That stopped 95% of the vibration noise.

I like the suggestion of felt pads.

Occasionally the other noises I'll hear are wires below vibrating either against each other, the pot shields or perhaps the wood. Again, only heard when not playing through an amp.

I also think that vibrations can come from the bridge saddles too. If they move a tiny bit as opposed to being firmly pushed back against the threads when changing strings (sometimes the saddles can have a tiny bit of play in them) that will cause a vibration. I'm guessing that this may be due to the lower tension on the bridge caused by the higher trapeze tailpiece. If you had a fixed bridge like on LPs or some 335s there would be more tension behind the bridge (due to the string angle) and the saddles would be held a little tighter by the string.
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#7 User is offline   AlanC 

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:26 AM

Really interesting and helpful replies guys. Much appreciated. I can say that fortunately my archtops (L5CES, Johnny Smith, L4CES, ES175, Tal Farlow) have never really rattled or buzzed. But the buzz on the ES330 was amazingly loud. I couldn't play it like that. It was too off putting.

Your suggestions to solve the problem are very helpful. Thank you

Btw I have another ES 330 which is not a '50's reissue but a 2011 release and it does not buzz.

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#8 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:34 AM

Some very pertinent comments here. Several of the potential trouble spots that I vaguely referred to above have been mentioned specifically. I have long been suspicious of tune-o-matic bridge saddles (and their adjustment screws), as well as internal wires and pot shields. I've also been suspicious about the tailpiece area, where the ball ends of strings may not always be firmly in place.
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#9 User is offline   AlanC 

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:45 PM

View PostJimR56, on 19 August 2012 - 09:34 AM, said:

Some very pertinent comments here. Several of the potential trouble spots that I vaguely referred to above have been mentioned specifically. I have long been suspicious of tune-o-matic bridge saddles (and their adjustment screws), as well as internal wires and pot shields. I've also been suspicious about the tailpiece area, where the ball ends of strings may not always be firmly in place.



Yeah I agree with you Jim and I think that this is where the quality control needs to be at a higher level than was the case here.

The aspects you mention should be examined as part of the QA before the guitar is released to the market and not have to be rectified on a brand new guitar straight out of the store..


AlanC.


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#10 User is offline   dougg330 

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:46 PM

I don't have any experience with the reissue, but I've owned half a dozen vintage 330's over the years. Here are some of the buzz sources I've encountered:
1. Pickguard can move slightly and rub against pickup cover
2. Mounting bracket on Pickguard can just be a little loose
3. Bridge saddle or saddles can be loose. Make sure they're properly intonated, then lock them into place with a drop of clear nail polish
4. Check the nuts at the top of the trapeze tailpiece. If they're loose, they'll rattle.
5. A loose fret can rattle, too - see if one popped up.

Hope this helps
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#11 User is offline   Ob Com 

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 01:54 AM

in my experience its quite common on the es 330 and nothing is amis.

I had two 330s and they both had it. Often it was the washer on the bridge poles not being tight down against the top.

Sometimes it is the internal wiring vibrating against the top.
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#12 User is offline   cdntac 

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:14 PM

I forgot to mention to check the knobs to ensure the are tight on the pot shaft.

They can vibrate a bit as well sometimes.
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#13 User is offline   AlanC 

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:16 AM

View Postdougg330, on 19 August 2012 - 07:46 PM, said:

I don't have any experience with the reissue, but I've owned half a dozen vintage 330's over the years. Here are some of the buzz sources I've encountered:
1. Pickguard can move slightly and rub against pickup cover
2. Mounting bracket on Pickguard can just be a little loose
3. Bridge saddle or saddles can be loose. Make sure they're properly intonated, then lock them into place with a drop of clear nail polish
4. Check the nuts at the top of the trapeze tailpiece. If they're loose, they'll rattle.
5. A loose fret can rattle, too - see if one popped up.

Hope this helps


In this case the tech found that the toggle switch had become loose. Thanks for all of your great advice guys. Much appreciated
AlanC.


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#14 User is offline   sheraton 

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 09:04 PM

Check the tuning machines. They "Shake, Rattle and Hum". ](*,)
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#15 User is offline   Vinlander 

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 05:14 AM

If Gibson QC let some Custom Shop instruments that can't play beyond fret #10 because of a tail raise they try to fix by overplekking it, pass, I am afraid buzzing is probably not a priority...

1996 Gibson Tal Farlow Viceroy Brown
1992 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2016 Warmoth parts caster solid full mahogany Telecaster
1995 Epiphone Emperor II Joe Pass converted 1 pickup Vintage Vibe Charlie Christian in Humbucker form
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#16 User is offline   dnr 

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 10:06 AM

View PostAlanC, on 19 August 2012 - 07:26 AM, said:

Really interesting and helpful replies guys. Much appreciated. I can say that fortunately my archtops (L5CES, Johnny Smith, L4CES, ES175, Tal Farlow) have never really rattled or buzzed. But the buzz on the ES330 was amazingly loud. I couldn't play it like that. It was too off putting.

Your suggestions to solve the problem are very helpful. Thank you

Btw I have another ES 330 which is not a '50's reissue but a 2011 release and it does not buzz.

Posted Image



My 330L does buzz slightly., However as I am not hearing it through an amp I'm not too bothered. My 335 has a buzz, as does my 1951 175 and my L4. Interestingly my Ibanez PM 100 doesn't. None of them get in the way of playing.

I have to say that I am loving the 330L. It seems to be much more expressive than the 335 with a tone to die for. I used to have a 1959 330 in the late 70's early 80's. Like an idiot I sold it to get a guitar synth. I know, what was I thinking! the single biggest regret I have my guitar buying and selling experience.
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#17 User is offline   bacham 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:07 AM

My ES-330 2012 custom shop VOS has the exact same issue - it seems to come from under the pickup switch and i've sent it in a few times and every time it comes back 'fixed' but then starts rattling again after a few days. I've gotten used to it and it comes and goes in phases.
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#18 User is offline   bacham 

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 04:27 PM

After I posted in this thread I decided to really try to find the culprit of the rattling on my ES330.

I found that the rattling (at least on my guitar) comes from the pickup selector, but only when it is in the middle position. The switch wobbles around and rattles and vibrates in the middle position but not in either neck or bridge position. It doesnt look broken and there is nothing to tighten, it just seems to be faulty design or production as the switch rattles within its nest. It;s quite annoying to have it rattling around. I might buy a new switch and see if it fixes the problem.

Perhaps your rattling is also coming from your pickup selector?
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#19 User is offline   Blazorge 

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 12:02 PM

View Postbacham, on 22 January 2017 - 04:27 PM, said:

After I posted in this thread I decided to really try to find the culprit of the rattling on my ES330.

I found that the rattling (at least on my guitar) comes from the pickup selector, but only when it is in the middle position. The switch wobbles around and rattles and vibrates in the middle position but not in either neck or bridge position. It doesnt look broken and there is nothing to tighten, it just seems to be faulty design or production as the switch rattles within its nest. It;s quite annoying to have it rattling around. I might buy a new switch and see if it fixes the problem.

Perhaps your rattling is also coming from your pickup selector?


You can absolutely fix that! Not a defective switch at all. Look inside the guitar at the selector switch. You'll see a pair of metal strips on either side of a post underside of the switch itself. When you move the switch to one side or the other, the post causes one of the pairs of metal strips to separate thus breaking the circuit that runs through that pickup. One side separated for the bridge and the other for the neck. When the switch is in the middle, then both pairs of metal strips are together and both pickups are in the circuit.

Now, if there is some play with the switch back and forth while in the middle position then you can reach in (you don't have to remove the switch or anything) and with a finger, gently bend both pairs of metal strips towards each other (closer to the post) and thus eliminate the rattle and vibration.

Go gentle and take your time but it's totally easy to do.
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