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jddc_115

Is there a build quality/pickup problem with my 50th anniversary sheraton?

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Hi Everyone,

 

As I previously stated in a thread or two I recently bought the 50th Anniversay Shearton. Because there seems to be so many stories about problems with quality control on this model I decided to give mine another thorough inspection. Aside from the washer on the tone pot starting to come loose and the output jack now spinning there were no problems until I noticed what may be a problem with the pickups, but do not have enough experience with electrics guitars to say. What I’ve noticed is that the strings run nearly dead center over the poles of the bridge pickup; however, on the neck pick up, the high E string overlaps the corresponding pole but as you move through the strings they transition more and more to the right of their corresponding pole, until the low E string is seen not even slightly overlapping its pole piece from a dead on view (please scroll down to see pictures).

 

I tried searching the web for pictures but it's very difficult to get a dead on view of strung guitar with mini-humbuckers.

 

Is this expected with mini-humbuckers? Or is my guitar another example of poor quality control? If there is a problem, is there an easy solution you might be able to suggest or would you recommend returning it for a new one?

 

I have included some photos to help show what I am talking about, but because I do not currently have access to a decent camera, and had to use the camera on my cell, I must apologize for the poor image quality. Also I should mention that I still have the protective plastic on the pickups which is clearly visible in the pictures.

 

(PLEASE CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Bridge pickup with strings overlapping pickup poles from a dead on view

post-40524-081155700 1356145405_thumb.jpg

 

Neck pickup without strings overlapping pickup poles from a dead view

post-40524-024537400 1356144037_thumb.jpg

 

post-40524-050141900 1356143899_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks so much for all your help,

 

J.

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I don't have experience with the 50th anniversary Sheraton or seen any in person, but based on the picture found on the web, the neck pickup seems a bit offset too...

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Is this expected with mini-humbuckers? Or is my guitar another example of poor quality control? If there is a problem, is there an easy solution you might be able to suggest or would you recommend returning it for a new one?

Unfortunately, your pictures demonstrate another example of poor build quality on this model.

 

The position of the neck pickup is absolutely not correct in relation to the neck, as it is clearly mounted too far to the left (the pickguard is cut and mounted to match the improper positioning). Website dealer pics appear to have it mounted this way as well, indicating a manufacturing issue which is not a simple fix.

 

The problem is so obvious in your photos, I find it to be rather pathetic that this was not caught and corrected at the factory.

Or was it caught and ignored due to cost factors?

 

Personally, I would not consider the instrument to be acceptable and would return it.

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Luckily it's not the same on every 50th anniv. Sheraton - pickups on mine are perfectly positionned. Had some problems with the guitar's awfull stock setup (and when I say "awfull", I mean it) but now it's just fine. About yours, I would return it, it's a shame.

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Hi Evereyone,

 

Thanks Doc Loco,Gunner, bobouz and Vinlander for commenting. I am only an acoustic player with very limited electric experience and it looked that way to me but thought I must be crazy. I have included three new photos to help accurately show the alignment. I would really appreciate anyone willing to take the time to look at them.

 

If the neck pickup is not properly aligned does this mean that an easy was of checking to see if the pickups are aligned is to see if the poles are directly under the strings?

 

At the risk of being greedy any photos would be especially helpful in my understanding of what a properly aligned set of minibuckers looks like in relation to the strings, neck etc.

 

post-40524-064999100 1356184129_thumb.jpg

 

post-40524-079879000 1356178718_thumb.jpg

 

post-40524-012170500 1356183921_thumb.jpg

 

post-40524-035118900 1356182699_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks again guys, I couldn't get this much epiphone knowledge anywhere else, as I live in a small town without anyone that has experience with a 50th anniversary sheraton. And please let me know if more photos would help, I would gladly take them if it would help.

 

J.

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I've had a lust slowly building for one of these guitars for a while now. But after seeing jddc_115's pictures, that lust is on hold. Although it's heartening to hear that some of the guitars came out right, too many haven't. That the pickguard appears to be cut to fit to the wrong placement of the neck pickup really says it all, someone was asleep at QC. Or it's an intentional "band-aid" fix. It would take a lot of monkeying around with remounting the pickup and reshaping the pickguard before I could have it sitting with the rest of my guitars (but then, that could be a mental issue, too). Could these problems be the reason that so many of these are showing up as "refurbished" already? I'll have to start looking at the pictures a little close.

 

Too bad. Such a desirable guitar.

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such a beautiful guitar.....

if that's the ONLY real issue, i'd probably keep it because the replacement may have a worse defect yet.

if it sounds great i'd definitely keep it !!

I really doubt that neck p'ups issue will affect the sound any, and surely not the tone.

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That pup placement is really off.

 

Soundwise, it may or may not make a difference, but the difference may be an improvement. It could go either way. Sometimes, with pups, the further the magnet is away from the string, the more "clear" the tone. Also, the thing to thing about is down the road if you decide to swap pups...the new pups might not sound the way they should.

 

The placement is so off center that it looks to me like if it WAS centered, the mounting holes would show. I would think that perhaps some "re-centering" would be possible.

 

I would definitely say, this is a manufactering defect. But it doesn't mean it isn't a good guitar.

 

The thing to do in these cases, is offer to keep it, but with a SUBSTANTIAL discount to make it worth both your while's.

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J.,

 

The string spacing is a little narrower at the neck pickup than at the bridge, so each string will not be exactly over each pole piece at the neck. However, the pickup as a whole should be centered in relation to the strings and neck, which yours clearly is not. The E strings should both be equally off, but still generally over the inside edge of the poles.

 

If you like everything else about the guitar and are handy, you might be able to move the pickup to the right a little and still cover up the existing screw holes as stein mentioned. Some have mentioned that the pick guard is cut to fit the current pickup location, but I can't tell from the pictures and would expect all pick guards to be cut the same. Again, if you are handy, you could fix this too if necessary. All this would be totally unacceptable on a $2,000 guitar, but unfortunately it seems to be all too common on the $800 Epi's made in China. I have an Epi 355 myself from China that has a few QC defects I chose to live with because it plays so well.

 

Alternatively, you could leave it as is if it sounds good and doesn't bother you, but it sounds like it does.

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My Humble Opinion...for what that's worth, is...A defect, is a defect...regardless of price point.

And, personally, I don't, and won't, put up with that! There are plenty of less expensive guitars,

that are of outstanding build, and finish quality, out there. If we, as consumers, don't keep these

people "honest," about their build quality, then WE become/are part of the problem! Again...just

my 2-cent's worth.

 

I'd definitely send it back, and either get your money refunded, or get a new guitar, with NO defects!

 

Good Luck, to you... [biggrin]

 

CB

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Hi everyone,

 

Thanks for the help, it’s very kind of you guys to put the time into helping out a stranger, and I can now stop freaking out as to what the correct next step is. I will be returning the guitar and most likely doing a straight exchange for a new one. I will post pictures of whatever comes back to me and keep you updated on any interesting defects that may (but hopefully won’t) arise.

 

J.,

 

The string spacing is a little narrower at the neck pickup than at the bridge, so each string will not be exactly over each pole piece at the neck. However, the pickup as a whole should be centered in relation to the strings and neck, which yours clearly is not. The E strings should both be equally off, but still generally over the inside edge of the poles.

 

If you like everything else about the guitar and are handy, you might be able to move the pickup to the right a little and still cover up the existing screw holes as stein mentioned. Some have mentioned that the pick guard is cut to fit the current pickup location, but I can't tell from the pictures and would expect all pick guards to be cut the same. Again, if you are handy, you could fix this too if necessary. All this would be totally unacceptable on a $2,000 guitar, but unfortunately it seems to be all too common on the $800 Epi's made in China. I have an Epi 355 myself from China that has a few QC defects I chose to live with because it plays so well.

 

Alternatively, you could leave it as is if it sounds good and doesn't bother you, but it sounds like it does.

 

Thanks for clarifying proper string and pole alignement, thats exactly the information I was looking for, but does it apply to all types of pickups? I just wasn't sure if because the mini-humbuckers are a smaller pickup if the same rule applies to them and P-90s that does to full size humbuckers.

 

My Humble Opinion...for what that's worth, is...A defect, is a defect...regardless of price point.

And, personally, I don't, and won't, put up with that! There are plenty of less expensive guitars,

that are of outstanding build, and finish quality, out there. If we, as consumers, don't keep these

people "honest," about their build quality, then WE become/are part of the problem! Again...just

my 2-cent's worth.

 

I'd definitely send it back, and either get your money refunded, or get a new guitar, with NO defects!

 

Good Luck, to you... [biggrin]

 

CB

 

 

I just had one last follow up question for you CB. I have been admiring your AIUSA Sheraton for a while now and tried to use it as a way of seeing how far off my pickups are, it’s so difficult to find good resources on mini-humbucker equipped guitars. But couldn’t answer my question through your photographs. My question is do all your strings overlap the pole pieces on your AIUSA sheraton and how close are the strings to the center of the pole pieces from a straight on view? What Gunner discussed makes complete sense to me, I just was sure if the rule also applies to mini-humuckers? I’m just trying to find a way of determining if the next one I get has a properly placed neck pickup. And while I’ve got you here the photographs of your Sheraton are absolutely amazing, beautiful guitar.

 

Thanks again to everyone for giving me some great and (because of my lack of guitar knowledge) desperately needed guitar advice. It has been tremendously helpful and valuable to my decision making process.

 

J.

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Thanks for clarifying proper string and pole alignement, thats exactly the information I was looking for, but does it apply to all types of pickups? I just wasn't sure if because the mini-humbuckers are a smaller pickup if the same rule applies to them and P-90s that does to full size humbuckers.

 

J.

 

I would say it applies to most pickups, but not all. It depends on whether the pole spacing is the same on both the bridge and neck pickups. I don't have a guitar with mini-humbuckers so I will let someone else confirm, but on all the Gibson/Epiphone humbuckers and P-90s I have seen the pole spacing is the same on both pickups. I would expect the same on the mini-humbuckers. I have a Gretsch with TV Jones Classics and those have a different pole spacing for the neck and bridge such that the pole pieces and strings line up exactly on both pickups.

 

Best of luck with the exchange.

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I've had a lust slowly building for one of these guitars for a while now. But after seeing jddc_115's pictures, that lust is on hold. Although it's heartening to hear that some of the guitars came out right, too many haven't. That the pickguard appears to be cut to fit to the wrong placement of the neck pickup really says it all, someone was asleep at QC. Or it's an intentional "band-aid" fix. It would take a lot of monkeying around with remounting the pickup and reshaping the pickguard before I could have it sitting with the rest of my guitars (but then, that could be a mental issue, too). Could these problems be the reason that so many of these are showing up as "refurbished" already? I'll have to start looking at the pictures a little close.

 

Too bad. Such a desirable guitar.

Don't lose your wood for that guitar mine is dead nuts on. Its one beautiful guitar mine played great right out of the box . send it back they are not all like that . Hey it took me three times to get a P93 right . I find if you buy on line if its not right send it back as for my Riviera 3 times .

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I just had one last follow up question for you CB. I have been admiring your AIUSA Sheraton for a while now and tried to use it as a way of seeing how far off my pickups are, it’s so difficult to find good resources on mini-humbucker equipped guitars. But couldn’t answer my question through your photographs. My question is do all your strings overlap the pole pieces on your AIUSA sheraton and how close are the strings to the center of the pole pieces from a straight on view?

FWIW, on my AIUSA Sheraton w/Frequensator, the pole piece spacing is the same on both pickups. The original specs show the pickups as being identical, so this makes sense. The pole piece spacing on the bridge pickup is centered directly over all six strings. On the neck pickup, the center two strings are directly over the pole pieces, while 2 & 5 are slightly off center, and 1 & 6 are equally further off center (resting over the inner edge of the pole piece screw). CB's will most likely be quite similar.

 

Note that on standard humbucker equipped Gibsons (such as 490/498 or '57s), the pickups and their corresponding pole spacing is different to accomodate their location on the body. P90s are generally identical in spacing for the bridge & neck, but some variations may occur. P94 single coils, which are designed to replace humbuckers, are not spaced differently even though the pickups are individually designed for bridge and neck placement. Other variations may occur with different brands of pickups.

 

The bottom line in this is simply that during construction the installed pickups, regardless of pole spacing, should be properly centered in relation to the neck and bridge of the guitar (and of course the neck and bridge need to be properly aligned).

 

Best of luck with your replacement guitar!

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Note that on standard humbucker equipped Gibsons (such as 490/498 or '57s), the pickups and their corresponding pole spacing is different to accomodate their location on the body.

Hmmm.....My Gibsons have the exact same pole spacing on the bridge and neck.

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Hmmm.....My Gibsons have the exact same pole spacing on the bridge and neck.

Gunner - Just curious, what model Gibsons, year & pickups do you have? There will indeed be some humbucker equipped Gibsons out there with the same pickup spacing, but these days you're likely to encounter different spacing on many models. Gibson sells two replacement covers for humbuckers: PRPC-015 for bridge, and PRPC-10 for neck, and the neck cover has tighter spacing. The difference is rather minimal, but it's obvious when you put them right next to each other, and the two covers cannot be swapped.

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Sorry, I was off the forum, for awhile. The strings, on my AIUSA Sheraton, are directly over the center,

of the pole pieces, on the Bridge pickup. They are directly over the center, of the Neck pickup, for the

low E, through the G string. The B and high E string are NOT centered over their respective pole pieces,

but toward the left, of those pole piece screws...with the High E, being the most "left," of center.

The Nut is cut correctly (same sting spacing, and distance from the edge of the fingerboard, on both the

High and Low E strings, and between each string, as near as I can tell, without a ruler, or calipers.

 

I have 3 Gibson's with "Soapbar" P-90's, (same size as the mini-humbuckers) with exactly the same string

to pole piece spacing characteristics. So, it's not a "defect" in the Sheraton, IMHO. Just a small, and

"normal" compromise, due to the spec's of the pickups. Has NOT effected tone, or volume, at all...to my

(old) ears, anyway. My Newest Gibson ('61 SG Standard (Satin finish), has Gibson '57's, in it..and the

strings on it, are (pretty much) centered over ALL pole piece screws, on both pickups.

 

I've (now) checked all my Gibson/Epiphone guitars, and they are all either centered, or nearly so, from

my Vintage 1966 Epi Casino, through my Latest Gibson SG (mentioned above). When they do vary, it's minimal,

and seems in no particular pattern. Some are exact, over the neck pickup, with slight variance, with 1,

maybe 2 stings (usually the high E, and B strings), on the bridge pickup. With other's the the other way

around...the bridge is more exact on string/pole piece centering, and the Neck might be slightly "off."

BUT, as stated before, I've never noticed any adverse effects on tone, or volume, from any of my guitars,

that way. Pickup height, or pole piece adjustment height, has a more profound effect on tone, and volume

than string centering...IMHO.

 

So, maybe "MY" definition of "defect," is different than yours??? Don't know...but a slight pole piece screw,

to string centering issue, is NOT a "defect," to me...unless it's WAY off, and the pickups are obviously askew.

None of my guitars have that, I can assure you.

 

CB

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Either way, the proper placement of the neck pup would be centered with the fingerboard, not off to the side of it.

 

Agreed! [thumbup]

 

However, that will not guarantee the stings will be dead center, over the pole pieces,

for both pickups. Both the nut slots, and the bridge saddle slots will help determine

exact position, of the strings over the pickup poles, as does the spacing of those pole

pieces, on each pickup.

 

The Cost, or country of origin, of the guitar (usually) isn't a factor, or...at least, shouldn't be!

I've seen CS Gibson's, with poorly cut nuts, and even mis-aligned bridges! So, there are lots,

of possibilities.

 

Good Luck...hope it all gets resolved, with a minimum of hassle!

 

CB

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Agreed! [thumbup]

 

However, that will not guarantee the stings will be dead center, over the pole pieces,

for both pickups. Both the nut slots, and the bridge saddle slots will help determine

exact position, of the strings over the pickup poles, as does the spacing of those pole

pieces, on each pickup.

 

The Cost, or country of origin, of the guitar (usually) isn't a factor, or...at least, shouldn't be!

I've seen CS Gibson's, with poorly cut nuts, and even mis-aligned bridges! So, there are lots,

of possibilities.

 

Good Luck...hope it all gets resolved, with a minimum of hassle!

 

CB

Yea, that's why I kind of mentioned it.

 

String position, really, can be anywhere you want them. The nut and saddles could be cut to allow more room on the treble side, for example.

 

I think it's pretty common that sometimes the strings do not EXACTLY center over the poles, and it matters little. Just as for some models, bridge and neck pups may or may not have the same spacing.

 

I mean, for reference, I wouldn't want to see a dealer try and explain this away by using string spacing as a reference. The pickup is clearly way off from center, almost flush with one side of the fingerboard and extending out on the other.

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