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proceedeth

Problems with the Lee Malia Artisan series - seeking other's experiences

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I spent a few weeks deliberating a purchase of the Lee Malia RD Artisan and eventually made the purchase. It's one I've come to regret somewhat; I've had two returns of the guitar. Has anyone had a positive experience or opinions they can share on the Les Paul, Explorer, or RD models?

 

The first RD came with barely functional tuners but the primary concern was a very high hum neck p90. The guitar is advertised as having a dummy coil so I felt sort of slighted when it was noisier than any of my other guitars when I A/B'd with the same amp settings. Epiphone directed me for a warranty repair to a local respect luthier; the luthier directed me to return the guitar in agreement the dummy coil was non-functional. Other issues were very scratchy frets and a pretty bad route job of the pickguard under the neck pickup with jagged edges and shards remaining from the cut. This guitar was returned and replacement sent. I don't feel I was too picky - I could of worked with the minor flaws but didn't want to attempt my own troubleshooting of the non-functional dummy coil and void the warranty.

 

The replacement guitar came with a tuner snapped in half (plastic shaft) and the same high hum situation. I've referenced another post on the forum and some had advised it came with a functional hum killing dummy coil or of further repairs that made it work. I'll be sending this one back in but now I'm nervous about receiving a 3rd and it's sort of killing the vibe and not sure I'm looking forward to the guitar anymore.

 

Can anyone chime in on the Artisan series and the dummy coil? I know the Les Paul is without but maybe other issues were experienced.

 

I also want to say this is my first import guitar and I really came to the conclusion to purchase with an open mind. I still have it but just getting bummed out, really (was) looking forward to rocking with this one.

 

Thanks!

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I'd like to update that I received a Lee Malia RD that I'm happy with but the issue still stands; it appears the dummy coil is non-functional. Can anyone chime in about their experiences or possible solutions? I do have a soldering iron and wouldn't mind trying a DIY fix! Thank you!

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There was a les Paul on the local Craigslist and that was the first I heard of the guy.

 

I had considered the explorer, because it was the same price as the regular epiphone.

 

My only hesitation is the fake p90 in the neck.

 

Dummy coils don't appeal to me, but a non functioning one sounds worse.

 

I have never had a qc problem with epiphone and if hate to start now.

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I'd like to update that I received a Lee Malia RD that I'm happy with but the issue still stands; it appears the dummy coil is non-functional. Can anyone chime in about their experiences or possible solutions? I do have a soldering iron and wouldn't mind trying a DIY fix! Thank you!

 

The Lee Malia RD and Explorer use the same electronics with Gibson USA P-94 and 84T-LM humbucker with coil-splitting, so you may also want to note what the "Lee Malia Explorer" owners are saying.. There have been reports of wiring mistakes which caused problems, usually in the form of noise.

 

I have 2 Blueshawks, one Gibson and one Epi, which are where the Dummy Coil was first introduced. The function of the Dummy Coil is to reduce hum when you are in single pickup mode, so when you have your neck P94 selected you should not hear a lot of noise because of hum canceling. The coil produces a field opposite the P94 effectively turning it into a really large humbucker, while still getting a P90 style sound and wide range of usable tone..

 

If you are getting a lot of noise when the neck P94 is selected, that would indicate that the dummy coil may not be wired in correctly..

Edited by mihcmac

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The Lee Malia RD and Explorer use the same electronics with Gibson USA P-94 and 84T-LM humbucker with coil-splitting, so you may also want to note what the "Lee Malia Explorer" owners are saying.. There have been reports of wiring mistakes which caused problems, usually in the form of noise.

 

I have 2 Blueshawks, one Gibson and one Epi, which are where the Dummy Coil was first introduced. The function of the Dummy Coil is to reduce hum when you are in single pickup mode, so when you have your neck P94 selected you should not hear a lot of noise because of hum canceling. The coil produces a field opposite the P94 effectively turning it into a really large humbucker, while still getting a P90 style sound and wide range of usable tone..

 

If you are getting a lot of noise when the neck P94 is selected, that would indicate that the dummy coil may not be wired in correctly..

 

I have a feeling there is a wiring issue. I wish I could find a schematic or reference pictures for how to double check! The hum goes from silent with the bridge pickup, to hum city in the middle position, to chernobyl melt down with the neck p90. I'd like to add that I typically like to play high gain amplifiers and the P90 hum is going to be amplified; I get it.... it's part of the package for having a P90. When turning the gain down to a clean sound the hum is still present and amplified partially in the middle and highly in the p90 position. Love this guitar so going to troubleshoot it all the way through!

Edited by proceedeth

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I have a feeling there is a wiring issue. I wish I could find a schematic or reference pictures for how to double check! The hum goes from silent with the bridge pickup, to hum city in the middle position, to chernobyl melt down with the neck p90. I'd like to add that I typically like to play high gain amplifiers and the P90 hum is going to be amplified; I get it.... it's part of the package for having a P90. When turning the gain down to a clean sound the hum is still present and amplified partially in the middle and highly in the p90 position. Love this guitar so going to troubleshoot it all the way through!

 

Annother thread on the Lee Malia Explorer.... Lee Malia dummy coil problems?

 

Megafrog also had issues at first with his Lee Malia RD, he may be able to help.....

 

 

Edited by mihcmac

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Thanks man. I messaged the OP for information or possible control cavity picture. Appears he and Megafrog have been inactive for quite a bit however. I'm determined to figure this one out!

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Did some messing around and I believe I found a fix or at least a drastic improvement.

 

Turning the dummy coil around, as in making what was facing towards the front/string side face towards the rear/control cavity sound, really decreased the hum.

 

For reference, the dummy coil is located in a cavity in the rear side of the guitar and is positioned in similar mounting and direction as the P90. Could someone who is more experienced than myself advise if this could be a potential fix or perhaps the theory behind how this worked? Thanks!

Edited by proceedeth

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Back to the drawing board.... I was using a Line 6 Helix on a few different settings and concluded it was fixed in my previous post (turning dummy coil around) but it's not the case!

 

I played the RD just now through some hi gain settings on a Sunn Beta Lead and an OR15. The hum of the P90 neck is audible to the same extent of the bridge humbucker when coil split; there's almost no difference between the two. Using anytype of OD with the humbucker is fine but using the p90 neck is the exact same unusable hum as the humbucker split.

 

Any advice on troubleshooting would be appreciated! Also, if anyone is familiar with this guitar or the Explorer, did the dummy coil cause hum cancellation for the bridge when split? thank you.

Edited by proceedeth

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Hi there. I had a similar problem with a new ESP LTD Viper 256p. The neck P90 was supposed to be hum cancelling but it hummed to my ears worse than a standard P90.

 

I read somewhere on the Internet, was actually a cached Musicians Friend page for my model with reviews. One of the reviews mentioned the hum and they swapped a couple of wires in the control cavity. I reversed two wires and the hum was gone.

 

I cannot access that MF page as I am in the UK and MF has blocked access to my country due to trading restrictions. I will look inside my Viper tomorrow to try remember which wires I swapped. This was a mistake in the wiring at the factory so there were more than a few guitars affected.

 

The noiseless P90s have two coils in series like a humbucker. There should be 4 wires plus maybe a bare screen. One wire goes to hot terminal on the volume pot or sometimes the switch, one wire goes to earth usually on the pot casing together with the bare wire if present and the other two wires are soldered together to make the series connection. It was one of these wires which were joined together that I swapped with the hot wire.

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FYI..... The Artisan series uses a 2 wire Gibson USA P-94™ Single Coil in the neck position with a separate Dummy coil for hum cancelling mounted in the back of the guitar between the pickups.. There have been reports of Dummy coil or P94 wiring problems on both the RD and Explorer models..... The P94 and the Dummy coil both use 2 wires, if either ones wires get reversed it will cause problems..

 

LEERD5.jpg

Edited by mihcmac

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Sorry, I was confusing my ESP pickups which are stacked P90s like Gibson P100. Now I understand the Lee Malia wiring.

 

It must be the dummy coil is wired in series and should be out of phase. In that case the problem could be the dummy coil is in phase so not cancelling out the hum. Could be worth a try to reverse the connections on the dummy coil and see if it improves the signal.

Edited by mirrorboy

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Still having an issue after having a few techs look into it. The dummy coil and p90 hot wires (white) are wired together, the dummy coil ground is soldered to the volume pot, and the p90 ground is soldered to volume pot lug #3. 

I'm thinking about rewiring it myself but I don't want to get in over my head and screw it up. I've built a few guitar pedals but haven't worked on guitar wiring before.

iQrfR1k.jpg

 

I did come across two examples of why I feel this may be a defect in the factory wiring; I have a similar thread posted to TheGearPage and a user posted a tech advised the fix included wiring the P90 hot to the Dummy Coil ground: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/28531187/

 

I've found a post on Seymour Duncan forums involving wiring a dummy coil with a P90: https://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?291812-Pickup-Wiring-quot-Gods-quot-need-your-help-re-Wiring-a-P90-Dummy-Coil-in-Series (Pat 1) https://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?292335-PART-2-gt-Pickup-Wiring-quot-Gods-quot-gt-help-please-re-Wiring-a-2P-DPDT-for-P90-Dummy-Coil (Part 2). The OP posted a diagram in Part 2 with the black to white connection. 

 

Do yall think Epiphone would release a wiring diagram or schematic if I asked?


 

 

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On 5/21/2019 at 4:47 PM, mirrorboy said:

It must be the dummy coil is wired in series and should be out of phase. In that case the problem could be the dummy coil is in phase so not cancelling out the hum. Could be worth a try to reverse the connections on the dummy coil and see if it improves the signal.

 

On 5/25/2019 at 9:10 AM, proceedeth said:

Still having an issue after having a few techs look into it. The dummy coil and p90 hot wires (white) are wired together, the dummy coil ground is soldered to the volume pot, and the p90 ground is soldered to volume pot lug #3. 

I'm thinking about rewiring it myself but I don't want to get in over my head and screw it up. I've built a few guitar pedals but haven't worked on guitar wiring before.

iQrfR1k.jpg


I did come across  a user posted a tech advised the fix included wiring the P90 hot to the Dummy Coil ground

I've found a post on Seymour Duncan forums.... The OP posted a diagram in Part 2 with the black to white connection. 

 

 

Hey there Pro,

 

you've found the fix, the appears to have been a colour coding issue with the Dummy coil, just follow the advice you found/were provided. Just swap the connections on the dummy coil and problem solved. Piece of cake.

Have a good one.

 

Johnny 
 

 

 

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Johnny, thanks for update! I did so many swaps I lost track! but I do have good news:

Gibson provided the schematic! Epiphone Lee Malia RD Custom Wiring Diagram

I wired my guitar back to the factory spec (white to white leads)  and can summarize my wiring issue now to this:

  • non-functional dummy coil with 60 cycle hum- connecting the Neck PU shield wire to ground introduces hum into the signal equivalent to the bridge humbucker in coil split (typical 60 hz hum)
  • functional dummy coil with grounding issue - disconnecting the Neck PU shield wire from ground drastically lowers the audio signal (in between humbucker quiet and single coil noise) but creates the grounding hiss issue resolved by touching strings/bridge


The functional dummy coil wiring is much much prefered and it sound great when playing - but the grounding issue is creating another type of noise issue to work on. Any suggestions on the grounding for this?

Johnny - whats your take on the white to white sounding good but with the Neck PU shield grounding/hum issue?

DIA-LEE MALIA RD CUSTOM-r3_compressed (1).pdf

Edited by proceedeth

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Hi there Proceedeth (and other contributors),

Any updates on this topic? I just bought a Lee Malia Explorer and I am really happy about it... except the dummy-coil-hum situation (which is comparable with the above).

Currently using a noise gate but would rather not... is the 'official wiring' still the recommended option to have the most workable solution hum/soundwise? 

Thx in advance,

R

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After having my RD in the shop for a set-up and a month of going over the dummy coil problem,  I happened on a Duncan APH-1 with a Gold cover and put a push-pull pot with it. Nice and Quiet! I think the 84T matches up well with it, so problem solved.  We had a new dummy sent in from Gibson that helped almost none.

The good thing I suppose is the guitar was $499 at American Musical and even though it was all new and unopened there must be a reason for the huge drop in price.

Edited by Magneezo

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I have had the  epiphone lee maila explorer for a year now.  I have  renamed it the epiphone explorer jr Due to the fact the dummy coil doesn't work, so I don't bother with the p94 pickup.  In fact all my single coil guitars don't have a  hum like the p94 does. I  had to accept only the humbucker is of any use.  Other than that the epiphone lee maila explorer jr. plays really well. 

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Ok so I  figured out the problem.  I removed the back cover and the  dummy coil. There is a gray wire going to the dummy coil and a  bare wire that is supposed to go into a hole to the p94 pickup. The bare wire wasn't even connected and you can see where the solder  was on the p94 and on the end of the wire. 

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So I think I've solved this issue and even further, I found a great way to increase the clarity of the neck pickup and still have the noise canceling of the dummy coil.

Part 1- Diagnosis

Plugging in my lee Malia RD for the first time I found the Gibson P94 muddy noisy and poopy sounding. I've had guitars with Gibson P94s in the past but this one seemed off so I popped off the back to see if messing with the dummy coil would work. Here is what I found.

First issue the Dummy coil was wired in series with the P94. That's a bad idea but maybe since this is technically a "metal" guitar they wanted to boost the output a bit. To me it muddifies the p94 severely. If that's the sound they were looking for they should have just put in the old cheapo Epiphone pickups from the 90s.  I disconnected the dummy coil entirely-Immediately the P94 pickup came alive. I still wanted the option of the dummy coil so I tried to wire it in parallel this time. Boom-clarity increased even more but output was definitely reduced.

Second issue- the dummy coil was not properly shielded. So yes it got rid of the 60 cycle hum but introduced load of interference noise.

Part 2- Solution

First- The dummy coil bare wire doesn't need to go to the p94 exactly. It's just a ground wire already attached to the ground part of the circuit. I shielded the dummy coil cavity with copper tape and when I went to reinstall the dummy coil I checked with a circuit tester to make sure the bare wire was attaching to the copper shielding. Boom interference noise canceled!

Second- I decided I wanted the option of switching the dummy coil off and on. I could have put in a mini toggle switch but that would have messed with looks of this beautiful guitar. So, I decided to try and hijack the bridge coil split push pull pot. Only half of the switch was being used anyway.  I'll do my best to describe what I did

  1. The white wires from the p94 and the dummy coil went to ground.
  2. The black wire went to the middle lug of the unused side of the push pull pot switch
  3.  A third wire from the bottom lug of the unused side of the switch went to the left lug (input) of the neck volume pot.

So, now when the push pull pot is in humbucker mode, the p94 is in full output no dummy coil awesomeness. Pulling up the push pull pot now engages the dummy coil in parallel for increased clarity and noise cancelation but with slightly reduced output. Fitting as a sort of coil tap for the p94 I think.

I hope this all makes sense. 

   

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Hello all, I am having a similar problem with my Lee Malia RD. It is a great guitar in every other way except for the hum. I appear to having the grounding issue style hum that goes away when I touch the strings or bridge. I've put up with it until now, but I'd really like to get rid of it. My question -- has anyone just disconnected the dummy coil? What was your experience like? I have other P90-equipped guitars and I can deal with that. 

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1 hour ago, semicullen said:

Hello all, I am having a similar problem with my Lee Malia RD. It is a great guitar in every other way except for the hum. I appear to having the grounding issue style hum that goes away when I touch the strings or bridge. I've put up with it until now, but I'd really like to get rid of it. My question -- has anyone just disconnected the dummy coil? What was your experience like? I have other P90-equipped guitars and I can deal with that. 

OK, I went ahead and did this and it was worthless. No less noise and, in fact, the entire tonal characteristics of the P94 changed. Became far less aggressive. 

Also, reading comprehension fail as I obviously didn't read the post directly above mine. I'm going to shield the dummy cavity and hope for similar results. 

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