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Ephiphone Electronics n ES 355


MaadDaawg

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I bought an Epi ES 355 right before Epiphone discontinued the model. It's a physically beautiful guitar and plays very nicely after I had it setup. Problem is the pickups, muddy as all get out :( I figure it'll cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 to buy a set of Classic 57 (after a discount I have on hold). I've read this makes a HUGE difference in the guitars sound, will it also improve the resale price?

 

I'm also thinking about gutting all the Epiphone pots and wiring and replacing the entire electronics suite with real Gibson hardware. Pots are about $12 bucks each so that's not biggy. If I can't do the job myself, which I probably can, I'm told that it would be somewhere between $150 and #200 bucks in labor.

 

Are these upgrades worth the cost? I have a Gibson SG and the sound between the two isn't even close, so I know the p/us will get rid of that muddy sound, but is it worth it, or should I send the guitar back?

 

If I change the pickups, do I change everything?

 

any input would be appreciated!

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Labor should run no more than $100...anything over that is robbery.

 

So how much of a difference did it make to the sound? The labor I quoted was for changing he the pickups/pots etc.

 

My main concern is will it improve the sound enough to be worthwhile keeping rather than sending the guitar back?

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If your initial investment in the guitar was reasonable and it feels and plays well in your hands then it is definatly worth doing the upgrades. Hell if the pots are working decent I would do the pup swap and replace the tone caps and if you do that yourself the cost will be lower and the return will be great.

 

I just did this with a Studio Dot I just acquired and I may replace the pots and switch later but just upgrading the pups and tone caps was a huge difference!

 

We want to see pics!

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Sound is subjective. So it's really hard for someone to give you the objective opinion you seem to be looking for.

 

Yeah, it will probably sound better with a pup change. Will it make a "huge difference"? That's impossible to answer.

Only YOU can answer that one. But chances are, it will improve the tone.

Will it make a difference it resale value. Maybe a little. But not much. Not near as much a what you will pay for.

 

Changing the electronics is not a bad idea either. Epi doesn't use top notch electronics.

 

Are the upgrades worth the cost? Again, that is really up to you if it is worth it or not.

It probably would be, because it would probably sound better. But cost is relative.

 

Why not try some pups from GFS or some maker that doesn't cost and arm and a leg. That way it won't cost you a fortune to find out the answers to some of your questions. There are some fine pickups out there being made by independent manufacturers.

 

Hope I helped. [biggrin]

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So how much of a difference did it make to the sound? The labor I quoted was for changing he the pickups/pots etc.

 

My main concern is will it improve the sound enough to be worthwhile keeping rather than sending the guitar back?

 

Next to impossible to know...My personal POV - do whatever makes you happy. its your hobby. If you feel that a complete upgrade is going to make you feel great it is worth a couple of bucks.

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I upgraded every single Epis I bought because I already bound to them; they are definitely keepers.

Value wise on the market, it will always be what is on the headstock no matter how much money invested in it.

 

Yeah, I'd never expect a $700 Epi to go for the same price as a $4,000 Gibson, but it would seem that adding the better electronics should increase the resale value somewhat, not that I'm planning on selling. This guitar will be something I pass down to the kids when I'm gone (along with the others).

 

doing some research it doesn't seem to make sense to replace the tone caps and not the pots, since it appears the assembly will need to be removed from the guitar anyway. Now my concern would be drilling to fit the CTS pots (I found a site that sells them "pre-wired" with the caps). Would I need to drill with Gibson USA pots? There was a blurb about imports so I'm thinking it's a metric vs a std measurement type of thing that I'd probably run into buying the pots direct from Gibson.

www.martinsixstringcustoms.com/store/prewired-guitar-electronics-harnesses/prewired-es-335a-wiring-harness/prod_22.html

 

Now I need to worry about Russian vs Luxe Black Beauty caps ???? NOT going to shell out $133 bucks for a pair of Gibson vintage BumbleBees... maybe can't would be a better word?

 

I'm trying to keep my purchase of the pups to MF as I have a 20% discount they owe me for a delivery issue (one item over $199 - which kind of ties me to the matched set of scratch and dent hot vintage Gibson pups. They only come with nickle plated covers, so I'11 have to replace those with gold to match the guitar, but that doesn't look like a very big problem (I hope those are not famous last words). Total I think I'm looking at about $400 bucks in parts at which point I'd probably do the install myself to save the labor, I'v a very handy type of guy lol

 

So that will put my $700 guitar up to an approximately $1100 guitar that will hopefully sound closer to a $4,000 guitar.. closer being the key word.

 

If my thought process is screwy please let me know, I've never done this sort of thing before and may be way off base :P

 

I'll post a pic tomorrow. I got the Ebony w/ gold and Bibsby, so it's a beautiful axe :)

 

Thanks for all the feedback!

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In any case your guitar will benefit from these upgrades as the electronic is truly the weakest part in these cheap epis. I would do it in a heartbeat.

If I may suggest also another option for your wiring update:

The VESK-1 335 harness from BCS Guitars with Mojotone Vitamine T caps:

 

VESK-1

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In any case your guitar will benefit from these upgrades as the electronic is truly the weakest part in these cheap epis. I would do it in a heartbeat.

If I may suggest also another option for your wiring update:

The VESK-1 335 harness from BCS Guitars with Mojotone Vitamine T caps:

 

VESK-1

 

Read up on them and they sound good on paper. Would save me a few bucks too so that's always good :) They don't mention whether or not the caps are rolled paper, only that they are oil filled? Have you used these with good success?

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In my experience, Epi PUs are absolutely useless (unless you're only playing it a home through a small practice amp and never record anything). Upgrading the PUs will definitely make a HUGE difference. I don't know if I would bother about the pots though...

 

Seems like the caps are of more import than the pots, but, since you have to remove the pots to change the caps, only makes sense to me to swap them all out at once ??

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Read up on them and they sound good on paper. Would save me a few bucks too so that's always good :) They don't mention whether or not the caps are rolled paper, only that they are oil filled? Have you used these with good success?

They are referred to as PIO (Paper in Oil) rolled or not I can't tell.

I upgraded my Epi Sheraton II with a VESK-1 and all I can say is that combined with Gibson classic 57/57+ brought my Guitar alive !!!

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Seems like the caps are of more import than the pots, but, since you have to remove the pots to change the caps, only makes sense to me to swap them all out at once ??

I would never go through the hassle of just upgrading the caps on a semi accoustic.

If you upgrade the pots with USA Bourn or CTS you might need to make the holes a bit bigger as the imported guitars have smaller metric pots' posts

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Check out "Jonseyblues.com" for harnesses.....57s are good; for the price of them new, there are MUCH better pickups out there......

 

yeah, I knew about the holes. Needs to be brought up to 3/8 for the pot shafts and 1/2 for the switch. Doesn't seem too scary.

 

What other pickups should I be looking at?

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yeah, I knew about the holes. Needs to be brought up to 3/8 for the pot shafts and 1/2 for the switch. Doesn't seem too scary.

 

What other pickups should I be looking at?

 

Electric City, Sheptone, Shed, Skatterbranes, Wolftone, Zhangbucker, Fuelie, Rewind.......Of these, I own some Wolftone, Sheptones.....

 

Most of these guys run specials and sales....One just has to spend time watching for them....These PUs can be found used as well..........

 

Gibby 57s run around $100.00 - $120.00 a set used....Pre 2006 are "better" than post 2006......Some of the above pickups ARE expensive,

 

but, like I said, contact them, or keep tabs on them, and you'll find their "specials".....Just a thought......( Some of these guys make affordable

 

pickups as well.).......

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Electric City, Sheptone, Shed, Skatterbranes, Wolftone, Zhangbucker, Fuelie, Rewind.......Of these, I own some Wolftone, Sheptones.....

 

Most of these guys run specials and sales....One just has to spend time watching for them....These PUs can be found used as well..........

 

Gibby 57s run around $100.00 - $120.00 a set used....Pre 2006 are "better" than post 2006......Some of the above pickups ARE expensive,

 

but, like I said, contact them, or keep tabs on them, and you'll find their "specials".....Just a thought......( Some of these guys make affordable

 

pickups as well.).......

 

I looked at some of these but I'm thinking I'm going to go with one of the matched set of Gibson Vintage pups. The matched sets use Alnico III magnets instead of Alnico II. And like I said, I want to keep it to MF so I can use my 20% discount... which I can't use anywhere else. I'll have to swap out the covers to keep the theme of the guitar ebony/gold but that shouldn't be an issue. I've written to two companies that sell pre-wired pots/caps cause they both say they offer gold but don't list it as an option to buy online. Online for me = Paypal were I already have some money parked :P

 

Took some pics, but 2 out of 3 were too big, have to shrink them down. Will look better hanging on the wall too once I get the hanger up

 

PS. Liked the sound of the Sheptone Blue Sky, but the price was too high (and no discount lol)

post-45577-086519700 1344043246_thumb.jpg

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Hey MadDog, sure, makes sense.....57s and SOME other Gibby PUs are good........

 

Keep us updated on your project.....[thumbup] [thumbup] [thumbup] ....Sheptones are great PUs......[smile] .....

 

The Sheptones sounded really nice. Only website I looked at that actually let you listen to the sound of the different pups [thumbup]

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I bought an Epi ES 355 right before Epiphone discontinued the model.

 

What they discontinued the 355? Already?

 

I put a couple used Gibson 57s in mine ($120 off the Bay) and it made a huge difference. I also have a Custom Shop Gibson 355 to compare and the Epi is now very close sound wise.

 

You can change the pots if you like and are pulling the electronics anyway, but it won't chane the sound or function. The stock pots are full size and work great.

 

I would recommend replacing the switch with Switchcraft to eliminate the intermittence that is typical with the Epis if you don't use them enough. I believe if you use the small body switch that uses a flat nut on top you won't have to enlarge the hole. If you use the Les Paul style with the deep bushing on top you will have to enlarge the hole. If you do enlarge the hole I would use a round file or sandpaper rather than a drill, to avoid chipping the paint.

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The Sheptones sounded really nice. Only website I looked at that actually let you listen to the sound of the different pups [thumbup]

 

Has anyone tried mounting a Babicz FCH roller bridge to an Epi ES? There's a You Tube video of it being mounted to a Les Paul with no need replace the mounts in the guitar, it just screws right in. Uses M8 and M5 screws to mount and is supposed to fit either Gibson or Epiphone. They do not specifically say it'll work on the ES type body though. Pricey, but supposed to increase sustain dramatically through it's direct contact to the guitar

 

http://www.babiczguitars.com/full-contact-hardware.htm

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