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Lefty Bill

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About Lefty Bill

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    western PA USA
  1. A similar situation of confusion/mistake over the purchase of a new guitar model and the expectation of having ProBucker pickups installed, has been presented here before. The ProBucker pickups (announced in 2010) are described in some detail here: ProBucker Pickup Announcement link In an unrelated thread, a while ago (at least several months ago, IIRC) a customer support forum member explained that a name change was applied to an earlier model of p-up, and the new name would be Alnico Classic (instead of the previous Classic 57 name, IIRC). I don't know that I've seen the name *Alnico Classic Pro* before.. are there some special characteristics which would make these more desirable, or just a marketing aspect? Bill
  2. Very nice job on the side-by-side comparison pics, Truetone.. it'd be great if there were more comparison images posted. The overall appearance looks very close between them. Best of all, it's good that you like it! Bill
  3. Presenting a small picture isn't the issue, since it turns up as a zoom/blow-up when clicked (for me anyway) but it's not clear. It looks as though a circle was drawn (using a photo editor) around the end of the truss rod, so what's showing isn't very clear. It almost appears as though there is a tube around the end of the truss rod, but that effect could be from something else. Using a toothpick, wire/straightened end of a paper clip etc, check the depth of the hole on the threaded end of the nut.. it should be about 1/2" or 13mm deep. This will check that the end of the truss rod isn't broken off in the nut. Estimate the length of the exposed thread at the end of the truss rod.. it should be about 1/4" or 6mm long.. this will check that the end of the truss rod hasn't broken off and gotten lost. Note: there should be a small washer present on the threaded end of the truss rod, which could fall out if one is unaware of it's presence. That would make the threaded end of the truss rod longer than 1/4". The washer is clearly shown in the image I posted earlier. If the end of the truss rod isn't broken off (and no other obstruction is present inside the nut's threaded hole) the truss rod should operate properly as a single-action truss rod. The nut turns 5 full turns (after just starting to engage the threads) until it stops, on the Les Paul single-action truss rod (bolt-on neck) that I have in front of me. If you have back bow in the neck, a single action truss rod won't provide the tension needed to attain more neck relief, IMO. You may need to put some heavy/thick strings on the guitar to cautiously coax the neck to pull up over time (maybe weeks).. but it would most likely be worthwhile to have an experienced luthier correct the problem. Attempting to straighten the neck without experience can cause the neck to twist, break or create other problems. No one can actually see the problem, except you. You didn't fill in the country you're located in in your personal information, so it's not clear where you are.. and location affects the length of the Epiphone warranty, if you are the original owner of the guitar and it was purchased from an authorized dealer. If the guitar was used when you bought it, it's very likely that you have no warranty. Bill
  4. Hi JB, welcome to the forum.. your picture isn't clear enough to determine what your parts are, also, you should mention more details about the age and model of your guitar. Here are some pics for comparison: My Flickr Truss Rod Set link Bill
  5. I agree with your earlier comments regarding Epiphone/Gibson's reluctance to make certain technical details more readily available to instrument owners.. and one might conclude that this forum might be the most useful place to make the details available, however, many/most questions regarding such details seem to be essentially ignored by customer support folks, and generally only get answered by other owners who are forum members not connected to customer support. I suppose that the manufacturers would not want to promote amateurs from doing adjustments which they don't fully understand, so maybe that's part of the truss rod adjustment "silence" issue. Improper adjustment of a truss rod could potentially damage an instrument, so there's that perspective. Supporting the authorized dealers' "after the sale" profits may be another aspect, where dealer techs should be knowledgeable and experienced concerning TR adjustments.. hopefully less likely to cause any damage than an inexperienced owner. First, it should be understood that the truss rod doesn't just flex the neck into the desired relief position.. tension of the strings does that, and it generally doesn't occur instantly, the response of the wood may take time to change to the adjustment (overnight, or a day or two). In the forum DIY section (and elsewhere) the method most recommended is to loosen the tension of the strings before attempting TR adjustments, then re-tune the strings to their normal tension, wait to see the results of the adjustment (relief measurement), and repeat if necessary. So the actual function of the TR is to oppose the tension of the strings, and gently oppose/affect the straightness/bow of the neck/fretboard wood. I recently removed the fretboard from a 2011 model, and have presented what I discovered.. Dual action truss rod link My Flickr Dual Action Truss Rod Set link Bill
  6. I think that in general, there are obvious differences in fakes of actual Epiphone models. Replies from several others seem to indicate that they believe it's very likely a genuine Epiphone, but there's no way to be certain from a distance, based upon some pictures, even though your pics are very good. If the dimensions are the same as a 8-9 year old genuine model, then I believe it should be conclusive that yours is authentic. On numerous fakes that have been presented here, the positions of the pots, switch and jack have been different, and sometimes the overall shape/size of the headstock, also, more often the internal outline of the controls cavity is visibly different. If one could analyze the wood used in the body and neck, it still might not be conclusive. The dealer's comment about the original purchase made about 8 years old would put the purchase about 2004, and the serial number would indicate that it was made in Oct 2003, so that's reasonable. It's possible that the original owner made the story match the serial date, but it may just be true. I vaguely remember something about a serial number prefix of 030 or something similar being used at some point on factory second or reconditioned Epiphone models, but I don't recall the details.. I'm fairly sure RTH and other more knowledgeable members are aware of the circumstances and the actual numbers since the scenario has been discussed here before. The customer support folks are likely trying to be helpful, but I doubt that they have any real historical documentation of any actual features used at any location half way around the planet. This is another aspect of the manufacturing-by-remote-control process.. no one other than the workers on the factory floor actually know what was done at any particular location or date. Substitutions and improvisations often take place in manufacturing, so in the event that the serial numbering machine was broken that day, I doubt that production would just stop. A *plan B* could've taken place as a temporary measure. Almost every product produced for (at least) the last few decades has included a disclaimer of "specifications subject to change without notice" or a similar phrase. If you enjoy the guitar, that's what's important. Regards, Bill
  7. The present methods being used by Epiphone are kinda weird, IMO.. and are very likely contributing to many very disappointed potential Epiphone long term customers. Another factor may be the aspect of manufacturing-by-remote-control, whereas marketing departments are far-removed from the actual factory floor. It's definitely a weird process, not commonly practiced in any other consumer product production, as far as I'm aware. Aircraft and high end hand-built cars are commonly produced this way, but not consumer goods. I would guesstimate that Epiphone is losing many customers with these production methods.. consumers aren't necessarily patient creatures, IME, and are constantly exposed to many other company's products. From what I've read here, it's not just that a delivery date is "predicted", but that many potential buyers often discover that the delivery date cannot be met, and they must then wait several more months for a future predicted delivery date. I really doubt that any real or imagined cost savings will be realized after disappointed and/or impatient buyers buy products from other manufacturers.. but then, I'm no MBA. Bill
  8. Hi Al, some non-expert observations regarding recent/newer Sheraton II models.. the Natural finish models usually have the 5-piece necks, as far as I've seen (looking at online dealer ads and auction pictures). I got a 2011 from China model recently with the VS Vintage Sunburst finish which has the neck painted black. The guitar had faults which were known about when I purchased it, and the fretboard needed to be removed.. which revealed that the neck is one piece (actually 3-piece counting the likelihood of wings added to the headstock, or 4-piece if the small block added to the thickness of the heel is counted), and doesn't have a scarf joint. The headstock inlay includes a green abalone "blossom", which none of the older Sheraton II models seem to have. The vine-type inlay looks like alternating leaves, blossom, leaves, blossom etc.. and the first blossom on the 2011 model is green. The vine features of previous models were all MOP/pearl with no green, as far as I know. The 2011 and 2012 models that I've seen have all had a green blossom (not sure about the Natural finish models), although it's uncertain that the green blossom indicates models made in China. The serial number doesn't appear on the back of the headstock, only on the Epiphone light-brown/tan paper label inside the f-hole. The serial numbering sequence is YYMMFFnnnnn. I believe that a U or S prefix of the serial, or the FF 21 factory code number, would indicate that the guitar was made in Korea. BTW.. the 2011 Sheraton II tailpiece studs are closer than the more common Epiphone spacing (80mm instead of the more common 82mm). Bill
  9. After listening to the sound sample, it seems that the trouble *may* be on the guitar's internal USB circuit board (or associated wiring), but it's not entirely clear. I don't recall you stating if the USB output had previously operated correctly. If your guitar is still within it's warranty period Epiphone may fix the problem, or replace the guitar. A replacement guitar may have other issues , as you may be aware.. since the new Ultra models have been distributed with several serious problems. Warranty periods are likely different in various countries. I think it's unlikely that the circuit board is available to consumers as a replacement part, more likely that it's only available to authorized service centers, if at all. I'm not sure what the period is for the guitar's internal USB adapter circuit board, as the electrical/electronic components' warranty is typically not very long. Any owner internal components/wiring modifications will most like likely void any warranty for electronics issues. I'd be reluctant to return the guitar for replacement based upon the many problems presented here and elsewhere online regarding the numerous problems with these new models. I would want some assurance that the same guitar would be returned to me after being repaired. If the guitar plays well and the analog output signal is clean, ignoring the USB output capability may be an option, although not an easy choice, until a (better) solution is found/offered by Epiphone or other Ultra owners. Troubleshooting the internal USB adapter wouldn't be particularly easy for anyone not already experienced/familiar with repairing this particular type of equipment. Low grade components are commonly used in manufacturing consumer grade electronic devices.. when combined with fast production methods, RoHS compliant lead-free solder and practically non-existent quality control, overall reliability is fairly low. If I were faced with this problem, I'd likely closely inspect all of the internal connections, starting with the guitar's USB jack, and then start making lots of notes while checking various individual components and voltage/resistance measurements (with a DMM, capacitor ESR meter and other instruments). A close visual inspection on recent surface mount component boards requires very good lighting and a quality magnifier which will allow the user to clearly determine if each solder connection is secure. Customer Support referring you to two outside contacts sounds like extremely poor support.. any required logistics should be handled by one of the authorized service centers. Regards, Bill
  10. The basic problem is that guitar output signals aren't compatible with computers and (ACK!) software like they are with analog recording equipment, IMO. A decent battery-operated recorder with real tape will most likely isolate/indicate where the noises are originating. Plugging a cable into a computer jack is adding numerous unnecessary layers of complications, or possible compound issues. An alternative would be an expensive pro recorder that stores the input information on a removable memory device that can be plugged into the computer, to possibly determine where in the computer the noises may be originating.. a definite maybe. I fully agree that everyone should fill in the "location" area of the user info, especially when asking for sources of parts or other items.. otherwise, someone will always need to ask the poster's location, instead of offering a completely useful reply. Without knowing a location, the only useful answers may be eBay or Google. Bill
  11. I would suggest having the dealer do a proper setup as a condition of the sale, for any model.. and maybe particularly for the Chinese Sheraton II models. If a guitar can't be set up to a reasonable/comfortable playing condition, there isn't much point in buying the guitar, IMO. I wouldn't want to have to return a guitar after finding that it can't be set up properly (at my expense/time), that's the responsibility of the manufacturer. The 2011 I bought recently had serious manufacturing defects (disclosed by the seller so that was understood), but that same seller has sold 6 or more Sheraton II models with serious neck issues within the last 2 months. Unless this seller has exclusive purchasing rights for models that are too messed up to be refurbished, there may have been some bad assembly procedures implemented in a batch of Sheratons from China. I'm not suffering any remorse over my purchase, or trying to raise undo concern.. just making an observation. Back bowed necks and/or broken truss rods are serious defects, not just a minor cosmetic flaw. Since the above mentioned models are marked USED, I assume that they had been sold to buyers, then returned. The one I bought as a project is still on "the rack" (a beam being used to clamp the neck into a more suitable shape), more info to follow. The F-holes in the newer models are large enough to pass full-sized pots through, for those players who routinely replace the factory controls and wiring. The neck on the 2011 Chinese model with a black finish isn't 3-piece construction, doesn't have a scarf joint and appears to be mahogany, not maple. 2011 Shearaton II Neck Pics link Bill
  12. Hi.. yep, the recent Sheraton II models have been made in China. I bought a 2011 bare body recently which is made in China. I believe the new ones all have a green abalone first blossom in the headstock vine, at least all the new ones I've looked at have it. Maybe someone else can add more info about the Korea models.. they may have a letter prefix in the serial number (the China versions just start with YYMM year/month numbers), and sellers are typically asking for higher prices for the Korean models (and the Japan models, too). Here's a history/timeline for all Sheraton models, the dedicated effort of a couple of forum members.. Epiphone wiki Sheraton link Bill
  13. Nice job on the filler ring/escutcheon plate for the pickup. Fabricating skills can turn ordinary materials into very useful parts which may not be available from parts vendors. Even when uncommon parts may be available, it can be excessively time consuming to find uncommon parts. It's also very worthwhile to be able to perform your own wiring modifications, such as the push-pull switched pots for splitting humbuckers. Bill
  14. One consideration is the screw hole/tab location on the tuner body.. on the full-size tuners, the screw hole is centered below the peg hole. The mid and mini tuners have the screw holes off to the side. It may not be important to some folks, but not needing to make more holes is a "plus" to me. Other factors are the tuner body sizes and button sizes.. they get smaller going from full-size to minis. There are different wind ratios for different models, some are 14:1, others are 18:1. Many of the sealed die-cast tuners (with threaded bushings installed from the front), require headstock holes to be nearly 10mm diameter. The headstock holes don't need to be 10mm all the way thru, only about 10mm or 3/8" depth from the back side needs to be about 10mm diameter (the threaded bushings don't actually require a 10mm hole diameter). BTW, the Wilkinson brand tuners are available with the same body types and button sizes as the Grovers.. I saw new Wilkinson full-size with Deco buttons (and 18:1 ratio) on eBay for half the price of the S-M price. Bill
  15. I dunno any details about the epsilon E marker, but you can go to post #7 in this thread and edit the links for the remote pics (I've had to do it, too). At the top of the Epiphone Electrics list there is a Pinned topic - The Information Thread, which contains info on posting pics.. see the Do-It-Yourself section, it's right at the top. When you're signed in and have a new message box showing (or choose Edit for an existing post), there are some tool icons above the message box (to the right of the smiley face). The Insert Image tool will pop up a little box for pasting the Image Info of the picture into (make sure there is only one http:// at the beginning of the link). Regards, Bill
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