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Mike H

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  1. @QuestionMark, Hard to tell the position of the volume control, as there's no detent as there is with the tone. Nevertheless, I've found the only way I can play amplified, either through the PA at Church or through my Boss Acoustic Singer Live is to turn the tone control all the way down on the guitar and the volume somewhere below half, then increase the head amp gain on the mixer to a 'normal' volume, fine tuning it at the guitar as needed. That mixer channel is assigned to me, as it's way too hot for the other guitars in the ensemble. With the Boss amp, I need to turn off the tweeter, set the treble to 9:00, mid-range at 12:00, bass at about 2:00. I've used other acoustics with a piezo undersaddle pickup through the same PA and amp everything sounded great. This problem is definitely unique to this guitar. I still haven't upgraded the electronics, as it's manageable, given the limited use. The best tone I've gotten, by far, was through a mic a few months ago. But that has its own set of problems, not the least of which being a lack of mobility.
  2. I bought my Vintage Sunburst "Epiphone by Gibson" Sheraton new at Guitar Center, I believe it was 1989. Swapped out the tuners for Gotoh (large buttons - look much like the originals), and a pair of Pearly Gates pickups - one with a gold cover, the other zebra. Shaller strap locks and a Nearvana nut. I'll pull it out of the case in a couple of days and post some photos. Not sure which stickers remain. Just curious -- what's the count so far?
  3. @PaulSA bit over a year into it and I still love the guitar. After lots of experimenting with my channel on the Church's PA, I found I can quiet down the shrillness and the excruciating string squeal if I crank up the head amp gain on the PA to not quite maximum (other guitar channels are at about 50%) and keep the volume on the guitar's internal preamp at about 50%. Tone control on the guitar is all the way down. Plugged into my Boss Acoustic Singer Live, if I kill the tweeter and set the treble at about 25%, it sounds very nice - again, the volume on the guitar is at 50% and the tone control is turned all the way down. High E string is still very quiet. I'm considering installing an LR Baggs Element Active System VTC. I hear lots of good things about it, notably its lack of quack (I tend to obsess over the specific issue I'm having when looking for a replacement/upgrade for pretty much anything). As a bonus, it looks like I can use the existing battery holder/jack mount so it'll be a pretty invisible upgrade (plus I won't have to mess with the battery bag). It also has a soundhole mounted volume/tone control, so it'll be a functional equivalent of the original design. We'll see. That said, there are a few other issues with the guitar that are disappointing, but not game enders. Cosmetically, the fingerboard binding is a mess! Tool marks all over the place. I had to sand down a few spots, not because they were painful, but simply because they became distracting (and maddening!). Also, I had a problem with the case that Epiphone recommends for this guitar. It wasn't deep enough at the bridge. The constant downward pressure caused the bridge to slowly lose height which required me to raise it numerous times to get rid of the constantly returning fret buzz. It's now near the limit of its travel. A taller bridge saddle is my next step. Once I figured out what was going on, I returned the second case to the dealer and started carrying it around in a Fender gig bag. The problem went away. A shame, really, as I really liked the look of the Epiphone 'Century' branded case. Gibson's Customer Service pretty much scratched their heads and said they'd never heard of that problem before, and have a nice day. Shopping for aftermarket cases can be a drag, given the hideously limited inventory at local guitar stores. Yes, this is definitely a keeper, despite its flaws.
  4. I'm not sure exactly what you're describing, but it sounds like something you shouldn't need to do ...ever! This is the first guitar I've owned (and I've owned some real crap over the past 50+ years) that required any kind of adjustment on the tuners unless they were soon to be replaced. I recently installed a set of Cleartone 12-53, the same strings that are supposedly installed at the factory and the same strings that were used when it was Plek'd. I plan to replace those with Elixir Nanoweb Light soon, which are the same gauge as the Cleartones (Cleartone just doesn't have the same Wow! factor as the Elixirs, IMO). Maybe I wasn't clear. Tuning stability is not the issue. Unless I bring it outside and the temperature and/or humidity is drastically different, it's rock solid. The problem is on those occasions when I have to tweak it, even just a smidge. Or when I change strings. It's very difficult to tune due to the slop.
  5. Love the guitar, but as has been reported by pretty much anybody who owns one, the tuners leave something to be desired. Great looks, and 18:1 is a nice ratio. But they're sloppy as all get up! It takes a quarter turn to get a perceptible increase in pitch, then, if you overshoot it by just a bit, it takes maybe a half turn in the opposite direction to even begin to correct it. I guess I kind of got used to it, but I pulled out my DR-212 12 string the other day (about 1/5 the price of the Zenith) and the tuners were instantly responsive. It was almost a joy to tune! (yeah, I know, that sounds weird). A few posts I've read suggested tightening the screws securing the buttons. They were pretty slack, so I tightened them a full 2 turns(!!!), after which they were impossible to turn, so I backed off a full turn. They work much better, but nowhere near as well as they should, IMO (the quarter turn I mentioned above is after I tightened the screws). This suggests that maybe the buttons are at fault and simply replacing the buttons will fix the problem. Which begs the question how 'standard' are tuner buttons? That said, I'm prepared to replace the tuners with something else. Ideally, I'm looking for drop in replacements - no holes to drill or ream. There are lots of visually appealing "vintage" tuners out there, with old looking, yellowed plastic buttons and aged nickel, though I'd miss the stylized Epiphone "E" on the back of the originals. I was hoping maybe somebody has already been through this exercise and could offer some recommendations or advice. FWIW, emails to Epiphone's customer Service have gone unanswered (surprise!)
  6. It seems Customer Service either doesn't read the emails sent via Talk 2 Us or just doesn't care enough to reply. Are there any forums that maybe Customer Service monitors that maybe we could use to ask questions? Any other way to get in touch about issues with our instruments? FWIW, my questions are directed to Epiphone (maybe that explains it? )
  7. If it's just the button (I probably would have called it a knob), you should be able to get a replacement pretty cheap. Worst case, if you can't get an exact replacement, you can replace all 6, maybe even upgrading the look of your guitar in the process.
  8. When I say I've raised the bridge several times, I mean multiple turns on the thumbwheels, cumulatively. These are not minor tweaks. The length of the exposed posts is now about 3/16" or half the thickness of the base of the bridge (for lack of a better term), so I assume there's still a bit of room before it tops out. When it was new, it was about half that on the bass side, nearly fully hidden on the treble side, with virtually zero fret buzz. Regarding string gauge, it was equipped from the factory with Cleartone Light (12-53). Those are the strings that were used when it was PLEK'd, so that's what I've been using. I'm thinking of upping that to 12.5 or 13 next string change, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. That said, that's more likely to require an adjustment to the truss rod rather than the bridge. Humidity is a factor I hadn't considered. It's a brand, spanking new guitar (well, 5 months old) which, as I understand it, and I could be wrong, means it's more susceptible to variations in humidity, so you may be on to something. My home is not humidified and neither is the guitar. Looks like another excuse to go the guitar store! This may have nothing at all to do with the case. But, at this point, it certainly seems plausible.
  9. I raised the issue with the dealer. He said they'll happily send me a third case, but I'm not confident that will fix the problem. Instead, I asked if maybe the would have any better luck reaching out to Gibson/Epiphone on this issue, as Customer Service seems to be ignoring my emails. I've got an old Fender gig bag that I may use. I've got to retire this case for now due to the damage it appears to be doing to the guitar - the bridge posts are nearing the limit of travel. This may turn into a much bigger problem than simply a defective or poorly designed case. This case has the bulge to accommodate the raised bridge, but I'm beginning to fear that may be simply decorative.
  10. This is the case that Epiphone specifically recommends for this guitar. Even the model number (ZENCS) suggests it's a Zenith case. It's not just the depth that's wrong. There's tons of room at the head, more consistent with the big-*** pegheads typical of an Epiphone. That doesn't bother me because it gives me a handy place to store my 2.5" 9oz leather strap.
  11. I wish I had done more research before I dropped a hundred and a half on the ZENCS case for my Century Zenith Archtop based on looks alone - and the gross assumption that it would be a perfect fit. As numerous others have observed in various forums and reviews, this case was clearly not designed for this guitar. It's far too small. The top presses hard on the bridge, eventually deforming the case so that the latch side no longer lines up, making it very difficult to close and, when I manage to close it, there's a gaping hole at the bottom. The dealer graciously replaced the case once, but now, barely a month later, the replacement is doing the same thing. I'm almost embarrassed to raise this issue with the dealer again, since it's not his fault (and he's been paying the shipping both ways). I'm now wondering if the constant downward force on the bridge is the cause of the ever increasing upper fret buzz in an otherwise delightful guitar. I've had this guitar for about six months and I've had to raise the bridge multiple times to stop the buzz. It's now coming back, yet again, inspiring me to post this. Is there any way to modify the case without hurting its appearance? Maybe take out some of the padding and reglue the lining? What about a suitably sized alternative? (it doesn't have to have an 'Epiphone' logo) Is anyone from Epiphone/Gibson listening? Suggestions?
  12. I absolutely love the Century Zenith Archtop I got a month or so ago. It's insanely easy playing, it sounds like nothing I've heard before, and it's damn pretty! It's hard to put it down. That said, the electronics are probably the worst I've ever heard in an acoustic/electric guitar. Either the Shadow Nanoflex HD undersaddle pickup is a piece of cr*p or it just doesn't play well with the eSonic HD preamp (preamps are easy, so I'm leaning toward the pickup as the weak link). Either way, it's hard to believe that Epiphone let this beast out of the door the way it is (I'm assuming they're all like this). It's important to note that this is the second unit I've had in the past month with the same problem, leading me to believe that this is 'normal'. The first was sent back to the dealer with other issues, also related to the electronics - flaky volume control, uneven output across the strings, and very low output level. After waiting three weeks with no ETA for replacement parts from Gibson/Epiphone, the dealer agreed to replace the guitar with a new unit (actually, he offered to replace it immediately but, since I had the original PLEK'd, I was willing to wait for that one to be repaired. After three weeks, he offered to PLEK the replacement, so we're good on that point). The replacement is in much better shape, electronics-wise, but the output level is still very low. I can deal with that. The piezo quack, on the other hand, is the most hideous I've ever heard! It's shrill, trebly, and, dare I say, painful! Even with the tone control turned all the way down, the string noise from incidental sliding overwhelms everything else. And it hurts my ears! It's simply not usable without a pedal to squelch the incessant screech, and, even then, is nothing to get excited about. I'm not inclined to pay upwards of 30% of the price of the guitar for upgraded electronics, but I'm not sure what other option I have. Can anyone recommend a suitable replacement for the Nanoflex pickup and/or the eSonic preamp? Perhaps a microphonic pickup of some sort? Any suggestions would be appreciated. As I said, I love this guitar, so I'm not letting it go. I just want it to sound more like it does in the promotional videos Epiphone shamelessly put on YouTube.
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