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TWANG

Quick Epi Dove assessment

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Fast shipping from Sweetwater.

Expressed my concerns to my salesguy Mike about the board.. guitar is fine.

 

 

Checking the inside.. no sloppy glue.. no splinters on any braces from sloppy saw work..

clean as a whistle.

 

Neck inlays.. nothing sloppt here, either. No filler around the edges. Nice work.

 

Fretboard itself.. well.. it needed some cleaning and there are some very slight tool marks..probably sanding marks, really.

Lemon oil hid 99% of that and there was very little.

 

Grover tuners worked fine, looked good.

Headstock well done. nice inlay.

 

Plastic nut will bite the dust soon.

 

Neck was straight, just the tiniest amount of relief.. action was high.

 

Plastic saddle and bridge pins.. slipped in a lower saddle of bone.. will replace bridge pins with ebony.

 

Action much better.. no string rattle. Plays as good as my Taylor did!

 

Back and sides stained pretty bright red.. looks very good though. Nice.

 

Top solid spruce.. not real loud, but hey.. it just went through shipping.

*note.. left in box for hour and a half.. then left in room, humidified for another hour and a half before messing with it.

I expect the tone and volume to be somewhat better in a matter of days*

 

Low notes a little weak.. but overall, it's very good for this sort of money, and not a bad sounding instrument at all.

 

Very thick rosewood bridge. I never noticed that before.

Nice dove inlays and cool shape though.

 

Lemon oil helped the board and the bridge look better.

 

I was wondering if I'd get one of those tops with dramitically different grain and color on each side, but this is very uniform and looks great.

 

Multi ply binding on the top all well done.

single ply binding on the body.. no dirt, no filler.

 

Cosmetically, it's a peach. Not a thing wrong with it except some very tiny fretboard stuff nobody would ever care the least about.

 

Fancy Schmancy pickguard.. a littel big for my taste.. but nothing I object to. Very thin.

 

Overall I'd say this is everything I hoped it would be. No neck problem, no slop, decent tone, very good action, and nice looking completely.

In short, I already know I'll be fine with this.

 

Great shakes? Not for three hundred.

But hey.. for three hundred, quite a bit of acoustic guitar.

Not as loud as a bluegrasser would want, I'm sure.

Not as big on the low end for that, either.

But still nice tone.. flat and fingers..

 

A few more incremental adjustments to nut, pins, and a little lower yet on the saddle.. and she'll be

mine complete.

 

Glad I bought it. Kudos to Sweetwater, Mike said they checked them before shipping, and judging by this example I can believe that.

 

Oh, nice sound hole work.. three rings of black white circles in various amounts and sizes.

 

Warranty card, manual, wrenches and poster.

Wish they'd change those posters more often, I've got two of each already, and a couple I haven't even unfolded yet.

 

But I haven't looked at this.. maybe it's an acoustic.

 

So.. good deal, I'm happy right now and I know this will get better.

I have confidence in everything I see about the Epiphone Dove.

 

TWANG

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No I haven't yet.

 

I have an addendum, too.

 

The nut is very narrow for me.

Can't even make an open B7 without hitting two strings.

I think I can get the spacing wider though.

And that plastic should go anyway.

 

Also, it does have a bit of fret noise.. so I guess I'll have to level them a bit, too.

That's a niggle though as the action is really hot right now.

 

Now that I've played it more.. I have to say, this is no boom box. It's not very loud at all fingerpicking.

All in all, I think there's a chance I'll send it back.

I'd be better off with a smaller body laminated acoustic with built in electrics because I'd be getting a more comfortable instrument,

and get around the low volume of this thing.

 

If it's going to be that soft in volume, I'd be using electronics for anything but banging around on it or practice.

And there's no reason to put up with a big body like this if it's got no punch.

 

So.. in the end, though it's nice, I may return it anyway..

Gotta figure in the cost and risk of getting another that's not sucky.

 

TWANG

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Very nice report and I would also concur in regards to the volume issue. I bought a used Hummingbird and even though having the nut and saddle replaced with tusq it's not gonna be a "banjo killer" volume wise. I am not so sure if the top is gonna "open up" over time and make a dramatic improvement in volume or tone. It plays very well, it does have a decent sound and it sure is purty. I am gonna give it chance but I must tell ya...My Taylor 114 is louder than this Humminbird.

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I have a Hummingbird (since June last year) I have played it a lot. It has played a lot of 2 hour gigs and a fair bit of home playing too. It now has a bone nut and a Tusq saddle and brass EZ-peg bridge pins. I've got to say that it really sings now and has a big/sweet sound. I'm loving it more each day! When I think how much it cost me I almost laugh. It was a steal. Oh and it's louder than the Taylor 315 (All solid jumbo) that I used to have.

 

Also, what strings you using? I've settled on Elixir Nanoweb 80/20s Lights (12s) Different strings work better/worse with different guitars.

Matt

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Twang; I have played some EJ-200s that I thought sounded fantastic. Maybe if you decide to send the Dove back you may want to consider the EJ.

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Get a Masertbilt. Save another $150 more for an AJ500M and you will be happy camper, and have a guitar that bring you a lifetime of satisfaction.

 

Red 333

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Well.. two things. or three.

 

 

First, my hands were so stiff from the shop, which I didn't realize at the time, that now that I've played it more, I get along pretty well with the string spacing. I am gonna put in a new bone nut, and bone because I can slot it slightly wider still and it'll work fine. that will help the tone, and it will give me a string spacing I'm a lot more comfortable with.

 

 

Second, already the tone has opened up a bit. I think shipping and swapping out the bridge saddle.. had to do it a couple of times to get it right..

kinda took the wind out of it's sails. It's already got a bit more lows, and a moreso increase in volume.

I think having it played, well kept, upgraded for a few things.. it'll get better for sure.

 

I tweaked the truss rod just a tiny tiny bit.. and all the string noise disappeard, with no effect on action at all.

 

So.. since there was so much good about this guitar to start with.. rather than be a baby about it, I'm just gonna go for the

ebony bridge pins, new nut, and eventually I may stick in a set of locking grovers.. to get a little more heft at the headstock which in my opinion

helps the tone/volume on any guitar.

 

It's pretty, it's light, it's fast, it's very stable and the details are all excellent.. if it's not huge tonally, well, it's good.. and it's three hundred bucks.

The warranty should cover it well.

so

it's mine.

 

I thought about brass pins, too. but they seemed to brighten my taylor and this is bright enough so ebony or maybe I'll make some bone pins.

I'll probably stick a piezo in there, too.

 

I'm happy that the finish wasn't cheesy, too. Sure it's glossy, but it's not ugly thick.. seems pretty thin, in fact.

I'm growing to like the red quite a bit.. and overall cosmetically it's pretty spiffy.. everyone likes its look.

 

I was being pretty demanding of it.. and I think too much so.

 

I'll post pics later.

 

TWANG

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eventually I may stick in a set of locking grovers.. to get a little more heft at the headstock which in my opinion helps the tone/volume on any guitar.

 

So you're saying the locking Grovers are heavier and the extra mass helps the tone/volume? Interesting. Never thought about that. Have you done it before?

 

Glad to hear the guitar is working out after all.

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So you're saying the locking Grovers are heavier and the extra mass helps the tone/volume? Interesting. Never thought about that. Have you done it before?

 

Glad to hear the guitar is working out after all.

 

Effects the tone is a better word choice. For instance, while many think that an acoustic with heavier tuners improves the sound, many others pay big bucks for lightweight aluminumn stop bars on a solidbody or semi hollow. Both will make a difference that is audible to some. Whether it's "better" is somewhat subjective, though many of us tend to agree about what we think sounds good.

 

A guitar is a wood and wire system for creating sound. By system, I mean all th parts work together to produce the sound. Small changes in the size and density of tuners and tailpieces, nuts and saddles, or the way these come in contact with the strings can change (and often "improve") the sound, just like changing strings can (though sometimes to a less dramitic degree). Brace and top thickness and stiffness, neck thickness, the type of wood, etc...all of these contribute to the sound, and changes to them change the sound.

 

Red 333

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I suppose you could say affects the tone, but that seems to indicate that there's no improvement.

In my experience the neck is important to the tone.

You get more tone out of a heavier neck, denser wood..

Sure, one can argue, for example, that the stock telecaster headstock, tiny as it is, is part of what makes the classic telecaster sound, and a person may desire that.

 

But we're talking about an acoustic guitar here, with as described less than optimal volume and tone.. and a mild lack in the lows.

 

There is no doubt that the locking tuners, adding mass to the headstock will improve this, not just change it.

 

The sound this guitar produces is already there in its component parts and design.

To follow reds logic, adding a bone nut or tusq, to replace the plastic one, would simply 'change' the tone, not improve it.

I know of noone who thinks they'd rather have plastic, or that the bone or tusq doesn't improve the sound.

 

I also know the guitar just got a tusq nut.. along with a bone saddle I made myself..

I know the sound improved with both, too.

 

Adding heavier tuners adds to the tone that's already there.. I find this time after time after time. And the basic character of that tone is

not affected in any way I could ever see a person objecting to, it's just bigger.

I know it's hard to use terminology that accurately says the same thing to everyone.. but I'll say this in clear and certain words.

More sustain. Thicker tone. More volume.

I hear this clearly on strats and teles.. less so on les pauls, and somewhat on dots.

 

It's not for nothing that Dirty Fingers find their way onto the headstocks of many guitars.

the headstock is a very important part of the sound of the guitar.. it's one end of the string path.. which, after the guitar is built, is the single most important thing about what sound it makes.

 

If you don't believe me.. get yourself a small metal C clamp.. say four inches long.. a couple of felt pads.. clamp that in a couple of places and listen.

a Junky old C clamp can make a difference you can hear.

A good set of heavy tuners, connected directly to the strings, adding mass, adding solidity, improves the string path and improves the sound.

 

By the way, I used Tusq nut no. PQ 6116-00, which is slightly wider than the stock epi nut.. and the strings are spaced slightly wider.

the result is the strings are perfectly in line up to the bridge saddle, don't slide off the edges, and the nut was cut just right for slot height as well..

all I had to do was take about 1/64" off each end of the nut.. which is normal with tusqs.. they make them slightly wider than needed to allow for variance in even the same model guitars.

And the improvement was clear.

 

Again, the denser, harder, heavier material, Tusq, improved the tone.. made it bigger and louder.

 

A tip: when you install a new nut, the outside edges facing the board are sharp.. so first take a small file and round those off.. so that when yo slide your hand up the nut it passes right over them smoothly.. it's easy, takes very little time.. just round the corners facing the board off.

 

I can now hit B7 open without a thought, where before I had to wiggle a bit to keep from touching strings and muting.

I'll post pics tomorrow so you can all see the strings are not pushed off the edge of the board at all.

 

That nut will work with any dove, and I beleive hummingbirds are to the same spec.

 

I'm going to slip a set of locking grovers on. but not right away as I want the never model and have to order a set.

 

I have hanging on the wall in front of me, a red strat. solid alder body. Fender Licensed product, wood from europe.

I've had at least four necks on this guitar.

but the one that really made it was the three piece maple and mahogany with the rosewood headstock overaly.

the wood itself on this neck is slighlty above fender spec. It's a bit wider. When you add that to the rosewood overal, adding mass and weight, with the mahogany strip, fairly thick, the sound just jumps out of this guitar.. otherwise set up the same as with the standard stock single pice maple necks.

 

I am utter convinced that the path from saddle to tuners is the meat of the guitar post production. It is what it is to start with, and after that

your best bet for improving the tone is along that path.

 

I can see why some les paul users, and others, but esp. paul users, like the aluminum. It's a bit lighter and it tends, in my ear, to clarify the sound.. being a toneless substance to start with--no bells are made of aluminum, and being on a fat sounding guitar, with humbucks to start with.. probably would please quite a few people.

 

But you put an aluminum bridge saddle on your acoustic, and I'll bet dollars to donuts you're not going to be happy with that.

The lighter material is not going to do much for the acoustic sound that people want, and I think it would tend to move in just the opposite direction.

 

Maybe ok for a dobro, eh? You see aluminum there quite a bit.

 

Small things are small things.

There have been articles written about setting up guitars and getting the most out of them, all of which have to be colored by personal taste.

I don't argue with personal taste.

If a guy like the vintage tele sound, I don't recommned heavy roller string trees... or heavy tuners.. they would move away from what he wants.

But most people are no longer looking for some, often mythical, pure vintage tone. They realize it's a ballpark thing to start with.

No two of the greatest les pauls, or martins, really sound identical.

 

But none of these guitars would suffer with decent components or improved components.

And when we're talking, as we are, about what would make the Epiphone Dove sound better.. I can assure you that Tusq or Bone in the saddle and bridge will be good. I can assure you that heavier tuners will affect the tone positively.

 

It wont turn it into something else.. for good or ill.. it will simply make it more of what it already is.

 

To explain what I'm talking about with my Dove.

Fingerpicking using my thumbnail.. I found the lows so soft that I immediately reached for my thumbpick..

I have different styles of fingerpicking, one is all nails, the other is with thumbpick and nails, and the third is holding a pick and using two fingers nails.

 

Since the installation of the nut.. especially... I no longer am disappointed with the nails only tunes..

sometimes I want to emphasize the lows. sometimes the high strings get a little more push.. before the lows were too soft..

but then with the thumbpick on.. too loud.

Now I can do it my usual way... and my low notes are pronounced enough that I don't have to go to the thumbpick.

That is certainly not a negative result.

 

tip:

my thumbpicks don't always fit. sometimes the med or large is too big.. or the med. and small are too small.

I like them fairly tight, but not so my thumb gets numb.

I put a bandaid around my thumb. Then I hold the thumbpick with a needle nose and hit it with the blow dryer.

the plastic heats up. don't melt it. you put it on over the bandaid and press around the thumb until it reshapes.

after you've done this a bit you'll get the hang of it. different plastics react differently to heat, so start slow until you know what you're using.

 

I just want to be clear here.. where you place a Dirty Fingers on your headstock will cause different things to happen.

You can boost lows or highs depending on the placement.. when you add heavier tuners it tends, to my ear, to be a full range change on each string, but low strings seem to get more out of them.

 

put your C clamp between the e and a strings..

play and listen..

then move it over to the opposite side.. between e and b

play and listen.

 

But, as I say. I'll report back and tell you what happens with mine, and what I think I'm hearing..

Everyone's different!

 

TWANG

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A little dark in the music room, but here's the new nut.

 

You can see the outer edges filed slightly in so you can't feel them sliding up to open chords.

 

 

and you can see the slots are nice. the strings are not buried in the slots..

esp. important for the wound strings, less so for the e and b which are more in the slot, but they rarely bind.

 

and if you have a Dove or Hummingbird, you can tell my strings are slightly wider apart, yet not in any problematical

way. Plenty of fret edge is left for fast chord changes at the lower end of the board.

 

 

 

DoveNut1.jpg

 

TWANG

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Patrick, if you do decide to return the Dove, I recommend that you check out

Godin's Art & Lutherie and Seagull brands. I was just today playing

some $300-ish A & L dreads at a local store, not for the first time. Absolutely

superior in every way to every similarly-priced Chinese acoustic I've tried.

Light as a feather and very loud. I'm quite probably going to get one in the

not-too-distant future.

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Ron. I will. For one thing they sometimes use Cedar tops and I'm very partial to that wood on acoustics.

It wears sooner, but boy, it jumps as far as my ears are concerned.

 

I will be getting another acoustic, so.. even though I'm gonna keep this one, I'll be looking.

I want one permanently detuned.. I hate having to compromise the set up on one guitar for both tunings.. So this is a real possiblity!

 

hey who carrys those online?

 

TWANG

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