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Blue Dot rebuild/upgrade with pix


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Blue Dot, my Epiphone Dot Deluxe was built in October, 2000 at the Saein Musical Instrument Co. in Incheon, Korea. Limited edition blue, flame maple top, gold hardware. You either love a blue guitar or you don't; from the first picture I saw I had to buy one. I was already trying out Dot models in local music stores, found this one on eBay in 2003. The construction and finish of the guitar are flawless, the neck is straight and comfortable, almost no wear.


But... I just didn't love the sound. There was an unpleasant twangy overtone on the upper strings, and enthusiastic playing brought a high-pitched squeally overtone from the pickups. I couldn't get the right combo of bridge adjustment and string height for "10s" strings, so I tried "9s," with a thinner tone. After neglecting the guitar for six years (I have others to play), I decided to see what I could do to fix it. Researched the forums and guitar tech sites, then I removed everything from the guitar, gave it a good clean and polish, and set to work. I learned a lot along the way, if you're curious about some detail, ask away!


I decided to stay with gold hardware, even though the original had mostly faded away. Found a deal on a set of gold Gibson pickups from a dealer who removed them from a new Les Paul Custom for a customer. 490R neck and 498T bridge. Strangely, the neck pickup was stamped T on the back, but it has neck pole spacing. The 498T only says Gibson USA. I checked resistance with an ohmmeter just to confirm.


Bought an ES-335 wiring harness from BCS Guitars, beautifully made with heavy braided shield, cloth-insulated wire, "Mojo" CTS pots, Switchcraft switch and jack, and deluxe capacitors. I replaced the jack and switch with gold. Installation is exactly as challenging as I had heard, someone online describes it as "building a ship in a bottle." Everything did fit through the f-hole and into place, the included pictorial instructions are great.


I had a set of Grover Mini-Rotomatic tuners that fit exactly. (Grovers now standard on the Dot Deluxe, good move, Epiphone!) I replaced the mini buttons with a set of full-sized ebony, nice feel and no fingerprints. Added a black Tusq nut and a TonePros bridge with Graph Tech saddles. To set off the dark finish I put on white speed knobs, white pickup rings, and white pearl pickguard and truss rod cover, inspired by the pearl guard on the Sheraton Boogie Man special. The only thing I kept was the tailpiece, which still looked good and felt right.


Did it improve the sound? Oooh Yeah! The Tusq nut and saddles tamed the twang, I got the action low enough to play "10s" strings. The tone controls are a huge improvement. Now it sounds better than my Gibson 335, which I've never found lacking.



Pickups, TonePros bridge & pickguard



Black Tusq nut & Grover lockers



Grovers with ebony knobs



Blue Dot in the easy Chair



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Very nice job and great looking guitar.

The Ebony tuner buttons, pearl pickguard & TRC and tusq nut are a nice touch.

I think that's the nicest Dot I've ever seen, didn't know they even came in blue.

If I ever see one come up again, I'll have to give it some serious thought...

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Why thank you! Yeah, it's a 2003 Classic I got out of Musician's Friend's catalog that I'd been pining for for about 2 years, it's a great guitar, and I hot rodded the doggy poop out of it too, some stuff it needed like pickups, selector switch, bridge, the other stuff I did to personalize it. I dig it, it was made at the same plant your Dot was made at too.

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Thanks, all! I should note that the blue is darker than it shows in the pictures, subtle until the light hits it (or a camera flash) and the flame pops out. Darker than Gibson's Beale Street Blue. I think they only did one run in 2000, and none since, I don't know why.


For that matter, I've seen pix of some really nice Deluxes in natural, but they didn't seem to make many of those either.

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I made a blue pearl pickguard for a guy with a blue epi..

hard to say which I like better yours or his.. I kinda lean toward blue..

but that guitar really looks sharp.

about the only thing I'd maybe change.. tusq saddles in the bridge .. better tone. and a neat look esp on that baby!


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