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Mike H

Epiphone Masterbilt Century Zenith case doesn't fit the guitar

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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?

Edited by Mike H

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I don’t believe Epiphone customer service monitors this board. You might try calling Gibson’s customer service In Bozeman, Montana and see if they can steer you to Epiphone customer service. Or, see if there is s listing for Epiphone in Nashville to call that number.

 

I suggest calling who you bought the case from again and letting them know the problem. And, that if Epiphone won’t help you, you might want to return it to the dealership, again.

 

I own an Epiphone Masterbuilt Olympic archtop. I skipped buying the case and just bought a gig bag for it. No complaints by me, although as with any gig bag I keep in mind it doesn’t protect as much as a hard shell case. But, it’s going on almost three years now with its gigbag, and it’s working out fine. Much lighter with a gig bag, too. Works fine!

 

I might add that in addition to my newer reissued Olympic, I also have an original Epiphone Zenith from 1936. Great to see they are being reissued! On my 1936 Epiphone Zenith, I have its original black wooden case. The original case from 1936 definitely was designed to have an expanded bulged out area on its top to compensate for the saddle extending up from the guitar. I suspect the modern case does not have such detail.

 

Let us know the outcome.

 

Hope this helps.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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my only epi with out the right case is a Sheraton Pro II. I had to find an alternate as the place I bought from, had no Sheraton cases available.

 

so I tried a gator 335 case. the gator case works and it's built like a tank, but the problem for me is it's a bit too big.. I had to get some padding for the bottom and back edge.

 

If I were you I'd try to sell that existing case, then find somewhere with the right Epi case. Some times that is is the only way to go. if I had to do it all over again, I'd have just waited out getting the right case.

Edited by kidblast

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If I were you I'd try to sell that existing case, then find somewhere with the right Epi case. Some times that is is the only way to go. if I had to do it all over again, I'd have just waited out getting the right case.

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.

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I suggest calling who you bought the case from again and letting them know the problem. And, that if Epiphone won’t help you, you might want to return it to the dealership, again.

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 own an Epiphone Masterbuilt Olympic archtop. I skipped buying the case and just bought a gig bag for it. No complaints by me, although as with any gig bag I keep in mind it doesn’t protect as much as a hard shell case. But, it’s going on almost three years now with its gigbag, and it’s working out fine. Much lighter with a gig bag, too. Works fine!

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.

I might add that in addition to my newer reissued Olympic, I also have an original Epiphone Zenith from 1936. Great to see they are being reissued! On my 1936 Epiphone Zenith, I have its original black wooden case. The original case from 1936 definitely was designed to have an expanded bulged out area on its top to compensate for the saddle extending up from the guitar. I suspect the modern case does not have such detail.

This case has the bulge to accommodate the raised bridge, but I'm beginning to fear that may be simply decorative.

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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.

 

 

 

When you say you’ve had to raise the bridge several times, are you meaning giving the screws just a slight turn. Or is the bridge all the way extended up with the multiple adjustments it’s needed. Or, is the bridge only slightly adjusted up with the multiple adjustments? Are you using at least 12s on the guitar or 12.5s or even 13s? Too light of strings 11s or less may not be giving the bridge enough tension. The other thing to consider is humidity. If a home or guitar is not adequately humidified, in winter, a solid guitar top will very slightly sink, causing the bridge to have to be raised a bit to compensate. Dry furnace heat can cause low humidity. On the other hand, Summer humidity can cause the top to slightly raise, causing higher action and bridge adjustment down. The biggest fear with an archtop is the to just permanently sinking in from the pressure of the strings on the bridge on the top. However, that is very unlikely unless the guitar sits by a heater or if a brace is loose. Or, if it’s well cared for, but just defective. A sunken top of this nature will look sunken, though and you’d know.

 

Have you tried measuring the humidity in your home where the guitar sits? Or, humidifying the guitar a bit? Just a thought.

 

Is any of this possibly relevant?

 

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

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When you say you’ve had to raise the bridge several times, are you meaning giving the screws just a slight turn. Or is the bridge all the way extended up with the multiple adjustments it’s needed. Or, is the bridge only slightly adjusted up with the multiple adjustments? Are you using at least 12s on the guitar or 12.5s or even 13s? Too light of strings 11s or less may not be giving the bridge enough tension. The other thing to consider is humidity. If a home or guitar is not adequately humidified, in winter, a solid guitar top will very slightly sink, causing the bridge to have to be raised a bit to compensate. Dry furnace heat can cause low humidity. On the other hand, Summer humidity can cause the top to slightly raise, causing higher action and bridge adjustment down. The biggest fear with an archtop is the to just permanently sinking in from the pressure of the strings on the bridge on the top. However, that is very unlikely unless the guitar sits by a heater or if a brace is loose. Or, if it’s well cared for, but just defective. A sunken top of this nature will look sunken, though and you’d know.

 

Have you tried measuring the humidity in your home where the guitar sits? Or, humidifying the guitar a bit? Just a thought.

 

Is any of this possibly relevant?

 

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

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.

Edited by Mike H

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