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Tezza

Should I buy this Guitar?

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Posted (edited)

I have an opportunity to buy a second hand Epiphone Emperor ii Joe Pass in my local area and given that I've never had a full hollow archtop before am deciding whether to pounce.

It's got a bit of a consistent backward arch in the neck, so all the strings buzz but I think that is just truss rod adjustment, The frets and the neck seem straight and in good order the electrics seem fine. In general, a little pitting of the gold hardware and couple of little dings but nothing that you can see without a magnifying glass. The aging of the hardware just adds to the vibe. It comes with an excellent condition archtop hard case.

It also comes with all the usual thrills associated with buying a new guitar, more money will come my way, I will meet the partner of my dreams and all my wishes will immediately be fulfilled etc

Epiphone Emperor JP.jpg

 

Edited by Tezza
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Good looking guitar!  But, with all things Epiphone, definitely play it and check the electronics.  I've only had one, but it needed to have the electronics just about completely replaced...

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I'd make sure the neck can be straightened first.

It's beautiful.

BTW, if you play loud and near your amp, you might not like a full hollow body - feeeeeeedbaaaaaaack.

Insights and incites by Notes

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I wouldn't hesitate to grab that as long as the neck is good and can be adjusted. Checking for adjustability is the hard part though. You can't tell until you take strings off and actually try to adjust the rod. If it's stuck you're screwed.

I bought a used Sheraton II at G.C. about 10 years ago. I love it. $245 iirc with Epi logo'd hardshell case. Like new. Lefty.

Craig is right about the electronics. They were all loose and crackly. I dripped a tiny amount of denatured alcohol in the pots and switch and worked it in really good. I also took apart the jack and cleaned, sanded, tightened, and greased it. So far so good 10 years later.

I also recommend going to Epiphone's web site and downloading the setup instructions for it. It made an enormous difference and it felt like a completely different guitar afterwards.

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Posted (edited)

Looks pretty. It's surprising how many guitars are poorly set up.  Fixing a bad set up is easy and free. Usually intonation comes into line with the neck.

Get the best price you can and pounce. Used is often better than new. 😁 

If you aren't comfortable with setup, YouTube. 

Edited by Gswitz
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3 hours ago, 57Gregy said:

Yes, the answer is always yes.

 

38 minutes ago, SteveStrummerUK said:

What Greg said 👍

What Straummy said about what Greg said.👍👍

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10 minutes ago, Bapu said:
3 hours ago, 57Gregy said:

Yes, the answer is always yes.

 

49 minutes ago, SteveStrummerUK said:

What Greg said 👍

What Straummy said about what Greg said.👍👍

Bapsi Johnson is right to say that Straummy Johnson is right about what Greg Johnson said....

 

Ribbit.

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5 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

BTW, if you play loud and near your amp, you might not like a full hollow body - feeeeeeedbaaaaaaack.

Heh, Ted Nugent used to play a hollow body and, before a concert, he'd put X's on the stage in all the areas that had a lot of feedback so he could use 'em or avoid 'em as needed.

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20 hours ago, craigb said:

Good looking guitar!  But, with all things Epiphone, definitely play it and check the electronics.  I've only had one, but it needed to have the electronics just about completely replaced...

Definitely play it for both this and feedback tests. I replaced the bridge in a 335 Dot and working via the f-holes was a pain, but putting thread on the pots BEFORE pulling them makes reassembly easier. The Epiphone PUPs are not the best.

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So I got it. When I got it home, I adjusted the truss rod straight away and the neck backed off to straight. There's a very small hump which I expect will go down over the next few days, then I'll use a block of wood and a hammer to bash the frets in to make sure they are seated properly, sometimes they can rise with an arched bow for some time. The frets themselves are in great condition, just dirty, so I'll give the fretboard a wash down, scrub up the frets with some scotchguard and a sanding block. I won't even bother sanding them. Worst case scenario, I'll do a small sand and crown of about 4 frets but I don't think it will be necessary. It hasn't been used much at all just left and neglected.

The nut is set really well and slot depth is perfect, unusual, normally it's a bit high because I like it low and usually have to lower it on any guitar I buy unless it's had a set up. It's got grover tuners and it keeps tune really well. It's totally smooth tuning up and down, no jerkiness of the strings through the nut, a joy to tune actually, despite the fact that the strings are as rusty and old as strings can get. The bridge is a bit frightening, it looks as though someone may have glued it to the sound board, I hope not, it's supposed to be a free floating bridge, I won't know for sure until I strip it down. I measured it and it's off best intonation by about 4mm so I hope I can move it, you wouldn't know it though by the sound.

The body and back of the neck is cosmetically good, what I thought were dings or scratches were just dried on dirt which comes off with the fingernail, I'll give it a thorough wet clean later.

The electrics are faultless, no scratching or crackling from any of the pots or the switch and the jack is fine, very tight and can't get any noise even wiggling it. Totally silent electrical operation through all the electronics.

The reason I haven't got started with it straight away is because there is a problem that took me a little time to track down. I was on the Jazz forums and apparently with archtops, there can be problems with eliminating buzzing from the guitar, not fret buzzing but various components buzzing when you play. I was getting terrible buzzing acoustically that was also spilling into the electric sound. I eventually traced it down to the pickups rattling inside and against the pickup mounts. From other forums I saw others having the same problem and it seemed to take them some time to trace it as well. You think that because you've tightened the pickup mount screws against the soundboard that they are tight, so it can't be the pickups. They are tight but the pickups themselves are not, they buzz against the insides of the mounts. I put my fingers on the pickups forcing them against the mounts under pressure and the buzzing was gone.

I've left it as is with the strings on so I can test it while I try to come up with a solution to this problem. Not sure what to do about it yet. Something that will not be visible. Ramming a pick between the pickups and the mounts works. I might even cover the mounts with felt so they press against the pickups.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, after just a rough truss rod adjustment, it is playing quite well with low action and little to no string buzzing, despite the terrible state of the strings. I think it will be great with the full set up and a decent clean of everything.

The pickups sound fine to me, string balance is good and the tone is warm and mellow. All I've done is play it direct into the audio interface without any amp, just dry and I don't object to the tone, again considering it hasn't even been set up yet and the bad strings, the signs are excellent.

So all there is to do is to come up with a solution to the pickup buzz and then see if the bridge is glued and what to do about that. Then with a decent setup and new strings, I think it will sound fantastic. Then adding the pedals and/or VST amp wooo.... I'm not going to mod this one, just get it up to spec and see what's what.

I don't know what strings to get it, straight nickle roundwounds or flatwounds or half roundwounds etc. will have to check that out.

 

 

 

 

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As Paul McCartney once said when asked what kind of strings he used: "the shiny ones"

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1 hour ago, Bapu said:

As Paul McCartney once said when asked what kind of strings he used: "the shiny ones"

Real Paul or Faux Paul? 

😁

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1 hour ago, craigb said:

Real Paul or Faux Paul? 

😁

Ra6ca0487bfde3a91844f8220a8d332ed?rik=4A

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22 hours ago, craigb said:

Heh, Ted Nugent used to play a hollow body and, before a concert, he'd put X's on the stage in all the areas that had a lot of feedback so he could use 'em or avoid 'em as needed.

 

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44 minutes ago, Notes_Norton said:

HNGD!!!

U2!

(😁)

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Posted (edited)

Get d’addarrio chomes flat wound lite

shopping?q=tbn:ANd9GcTg9W2rpP5hXHK98hsyW

Edited by bayoubill
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