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Where is quality control at Gibson/Epiphone?


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Yesterday Fedex brought me an Epiphone Byrdland; the box was undamaged, but I was again angered when I opened the case. The pick guard was held on by only one screw ( I think as many as 4 are usual). Also, it appears that the bridge is misaligned making the strings run something other than parallel to the neck. I am taking the instrument to The Guitar Factory, after talking to Gibsiphone, and I hope they will be able to tell me how this could have escaped QC.

About ten months ago, I bought an ES 339, and when I plugged it in, I got white noise from the pick guard when one of my fingers made contact with it. The Gibson tech was not surprised when I called and calmly recommended that I try putting a static cling towel inside the guitar.


I am deeply saddened at the lack of care and concern Gibson shows when they ship these potentially fine instruments in such a pathetic state.


I know that my experience with the 339 cost Gibson at least one 3500.00 sale, as I am VP of MENSA NW FL, and reported my experience in our monthly rag sheet. I broke down and bought the "Byrd", hearing that they were being discontinued (and I have always loved the solid top).


Has anyone experienced similar problems? Please share them with me!


Ray H. Puckett Jr., PsyD

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Although Gibson is not perfect and I can't speak for the pickguard problem. The Byrdland has what is called a "floating" bridge. It is not attached to the body and held in place only by the tention of the strings. With the way both FedEx and UPS handles packages, not to mention quick changes in temperature and air pressure (if flown) during shipment. It is not uncommon for these bridges to slip. I've had this happen to me before. Hopefully the slip didn't scratch the finish as mine did.


The ES 399 sound like a bad ground somewhere in your set up. Maybe a bad solder joint in the guitar or it may not even be in the guitar. It could be in the cable, amp or an outside interference, such as being close to floresent light, a TV, or a Stereo. They don't even have to be turned on to cause interference. If your TV, surround sound system, or stereo has a standby mode, that will do it.


I have one cable that works fine with my SG but I get a humm when it's plugged into my Strat or Flying V.

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I bought an Epiphone LP Special II at Guitar Center, brought it home and found it to be in great shape. I had to adjust the bridge, but otherwise the guitar was stellar. Perhaps QC dept missed one. It's called human error, and I'm sure Gibson appreciates feedback from it's customers when things are not quite right so they can correct them quickly. I think they appreciate that feedback as much or more than the positive feedback, since it keeps them on their toes and keeps their products at the top. Les Paul said that he wanted to be associated with the best, that's why he didn't do business with Leo Fender in the 40's, Gibson/Epiphone are top of the line in my opinion, including the less expensive models.

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which is oftern why they are shipped with asmall

Yesterday Fedex brought me an Epiphone Byrdland; the box was undamaged' date=' but I was again angered when I opened the case. The pick guard was held on by only one screw ( I think as many as 4 are usual). Has anyone experienced similar problems? Please share them with me!


Ray H. Puckett Jr., PsyD[/quote']




A Byrdland has one pickguard screw located near the neck. The pickguard is then held off the body by the bracket near the F hole. The pickguard is attached to the bracket by means of a small plastic block that is threaded on the arm of the bracket, and then glued to the underside of the pickguard. It is quite common for these to come loose in shipping. A small pad of doublesided foam tape will fix it, no problem.


The other screw locations you thought you might have seen are cut outs that allow the pickguard to fit around the pickup height adjusting screws, so they can be accessed without removing the pickguard. Honestly, I can't think of a good archtop that had a pickguard held to the body by more than one screw; you want that nice solid top to be free to vibrate. In the absence of the block assembly, some pickguards will be held to their bracket with a screw that goes through the guard, like on a Les Paul, or Epiphone Casino.


Gibson archtops almost always use the block assembly. While your Byrdland says Epiphone Elitist on it, it is an accurate version of the Gibson, pickguard bracket and block assemby, and all. This system allows the user to adjust the elevation of the pickguard by changing the position of the block relative to the underside of the pickguard. It can be repositioned closer or further from the edge of the pickguard (thus raising or lowering the height of the guard) by adjusting the block's position on the shaft it is threaded into. Because the pickguard position can be adjusted this way, and because some guitarists adjust the height of thier pickguard so they can rest their hand on it, this pickguard and bracket system is often called a finger rest.


You already got a great answer about the floating bridge. Perhaps as first time archtop owner you see this as a quality control issue, but it's not. As only string tension holds it in place, the bridge will slide when the guitar is shipped. Some manufacturers ship them with a small foam pad underneath them, to avoid this. While you are at the store you are taking the Byrdland to, you should have the tech explain how to position and adjust the bridge on the top for the best intonation. You will have to know, because it may move again if you are not careful when you change strings (changing them one at a time will help).


Red 333

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