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Steve112

My 339 is down.

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Hi all, have a bad issue with my ES339 Pro.

Strummed it acoustically while tuning on Friday and a severe rattling vibration was coming from the guitar. At first I thought it might be the exterior but no, nothing was loose on the outside. It took a minute or so to reliably reproduce it by the angle at which I was holding it. I then tapped lightly on the back of the neck near the headstock, this produced a pronounced clunking, return knock type of sound.

Long story short, the truss rod has come loose and after a quick look and re-tightening by the tech, it would not hold tension and came loose almost immediately. The original rattling sounded as though it started at the heel and I`m thinking this might be a fatal breakdown.

I`ll be talking to my tech on Monday and should have a diagnosis but it`s not looking good. This is a shame as the 339 was setup very well with a fret level that made it one of the nicest playing necks I`ve EVER played and now that is completely wiped out as the neck bow, relief etc. and all the other parameters are totally lost (I checked, it was ugly)!

Anyway, I`ll let you all know the outcome when I have it.

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If you bought it new from an authorized dealer, it should be covered under the limited lifetime warranty.

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If you bought it new from an authorized dealer, it should be covered under the limited lifetime warranty.

Yes, I bought it new, Parabar. I`m not worried about repair or replacement, just hate losing a great playing neck - it was significantly better than very many higher end guitars I`ve owned.

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With the attention of the right luthier, there is no such thing as a fatal breakdown.

Thanks for the cheer up, ErickC but I`m afraid there certainly is that possibility if disassembly of parts of a guitar of Epiphone value is considered. It will take very little time for the luthier`s costs to exceed the replacement cost (below wholesale) to Epiphone.

Incidentally, I`ve never had this issue on any guitar since I began playing in 1959 then professionally beginning mid `60s.

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The 339 trussrod assembly is not fixed at the heel of the neck. In fact, adjusting it into a neutral position will allow it to be slid out from the channel under the fingerboard.

 

The 339 double acting trussrod keeps in place via friction. Some 339 owners have been freaked out when the truss rod has slid out.

 

If your trussrod is defective, I'm sure that Epiphone would issue a replacement.

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The 339 trussrod assembly is not fixed at the heel of the neck. In fact, adjusting it into a neutral position will allow it to be slid out from the channel under the fingerboard.

 

The 339 double acting trussrod keeps in place via friction. Some 339 owners have been freaked out when the truss rod has slid out.

 

If your trussrod is defective, I'm sure that Epiphone would issue a replacement.

Thank you, mirrorboy. I did not know that the 339 has a bi-flex or dual action trussrod. May I ask where you acquired this info?

The product page for the 339 merely says "adjustable" implying a single action trussrod.

 

However, having talked with Gibson/Epiphone customer service, they said that the type of trussrod has no relevance to the problem.

They further stated that it was not economically feasible to repair and that a replacement guitar was the only realistic option. It was made clear that the heavy vibration and rattling noise should never happen and that this is a serious and unrepairable problem.

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The 339 is history. Ive been playing good guitars for 50+ years. The 339 was one of them, had a really good neck on it thanks to a fret level and setup by a good tech I know.

Defective trussrod installation killed it. To all who insist that this is in any way "normal", think about it for a moment.

The guitar was professionally setup with the trussrod under tension, my tech and I are both guitarists so every other parameter was meticulously adjusted as well. That was the key to that super 339 neck. So..........When the trussrod let go, poof, goodby to all those meticulous adjustments. We checked these on first look at the tech's, they were gone...No bow, it was buzzing all over the fretboard. And don't forget that the rod was previously UNDER TENSION WHEN IT FAILED!

Len the long suffering tech gave the trussrod nut a turn and it did tighten and appeared to function but on a quick play it immediately lost tension again.

This was the moment that I realized that I could no longer have faith in the guitar's reliability. Len said it could no longer be guaranteed to maintain tension and thus THE SETUP! (not to mention the horrible rattling vibration and the neck clunking).

The setup is essential, and that is lost right away. You DO NOT HAVE A SETUP when for ANY reason your trussrod is no longer in any kind of containment and tension when tuned properly. To believe that a trussrod that for ANY reason, (even a crappy design) falls out of the guitar is normal, is absurd.

Anywhoo,

Regardless of past reports of them coming right out, the word from the Customer Rep is that this issue was not a factor. One of their sales reps without directly saying anything obvious, implied unmistakably that even if that had been an issue a while back, it wasn't possible!??! any longer.

Losing the trussrod adjustment and your whole setup is NOT NORMAL in any sense, THAT is the result when a trussrod for any reason is loose.

The setup is essential for the Epiphone to perform well alongside my Am Std Strat and MIM Strat (great guitar been gigging it over three years). As well, Gibson/Epiphone Customer Rep stated unequivocally that this was abnormal, economically unfeasible to repair and to seek a replacement. Just as well, bearing in mind that after playing many hundreds of guitars and not once encountering this, my confidence in this particular 339 was gone anyway.

 

I'm now demoing a nice VS Dot, not sure about the size yet but nice tone. I previously owned a 1964 Gibson ES335 and '72 ES330 so I have a reference point. It's now being gone over, got some buzzing and possible high fret or two, should have it tomorrow.

I'm thinking I might just be Sheraton bait as well!!! [biggrin]

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Good luck with the new guitar!

 

Thanks mirrorboy, I'll be fortunate if the new Dot can be dialed in to the same degree as the now departed 339.

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Must be a hit or miss thing. Couple years ago I ordered new epi 339 pro and it had a truss rod issue. I sent it in and it was replaced with a new one and that one had no issues. If you get one with no issues they are nice guitars. Just check it over thoroughly when you get it.

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To recap, truss rod breakage is a rare thing indeed, but is devastating to the instrument in question. Very sad news when a "perfectly set up" guitar instantly transforms into a pile of auctionable hardware parts.

 

Don't want to sound like a broken record but if you like the 339 body size you might try out the Casino Coupe. It's not really the same sound, but it's light and shimmery, and mine has a perfectly flat neck and plays like a dream. It's also a great value for the price... Ken

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To recap, truss rod breakage is a rare thing indeed, but is devastating to the instrument in question. Very sad news when a "perfectly set up" guitar instantly transforms into a pile of auctionable hardware parts.

 

Don't want to sound like a broken record but if you like the 339 body size you might try out the Casino Coupe. It's not really the same sound, but it's light and shimmery, and mine has a perfectly flat neck and plays like a dream. It's also a great value for the price... Ken

Thanks Ken, I gigged the Dot last night and was extremely pleased with the tone. It is far and away superior to the 339 in roundness, sparkle, depth and complexity. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the Alnico Classic and Classic Plus in the Dot vs the Alnico Classic Pros in the 339. Also, the larger body has more resonance, more pronounced and smoothly balanced lower frequency response than the smaller 339.

I'm definitely sticking with the full size Dot and may at some future time go with the Sheraton with ProBuckers. I must say though, the Alnico Classics for some reason sound far more like their Gibson relatives than the Classic Pros do, to my ears at least!

I've got to give a big thumbs up to Long & McQuade, Abbotsford, for making this guitar disaster as painless as it could be. [thumbup]

Sorry to lose such a great neck with the 339 but pleased that it led me to the Dot with its great tone!

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