NGD: 2014 Epiphone G400

laza616

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I did it again. Bought this only because it was for 135€ with the quality guitar stand and fender cable
2014 Epiphone g400

I plan to re-sell it and keep the stand for my acoustic and cable for the effects

The guitar has a veneer top, but otherwise its from two mahogany pieces. It has a nice dark fretboard but the inlays job is lousy.. grover tuners with the plastic nut and stock bridge surprisingly keep the guitar in tune like a charm. One week of playing and only A string dropped down by 2cents. The rest stayed perfectly tuned
I cleaned up the guitar and set it all up the best it could be done. It has this weirder neck, fat in the upper frets. Overall the neck is like 7/10 lets say.
The finish has some minor flaws, but nothing noticable from the distance, only upon the very close inspection
Pickups are stock, no model sticker on them, just "bridge epiphone" and "neck Epiphone"
The pickups are.....well the weakest part, i set them completely to get the best out of them, yet they are just pretty cheap and they sound pretty flat and i dislike the sound, clean, overdriven , no matter its just not it for me
In case i had some spare humbuckers to replace it, this could be a pretty great guitar

Not bad at all. The veneer looks pretty fine to me as well.
I still play with the thought of maybe keeping it and replacing the pups for the humbucker sized p90 pups or p94s
 

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DrBGood

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The pickups are.....well the weakest part, i set them completely to get the best out of them, yet they are just pretty cheap and they sound pretty flat and i dislike the sound, clean, overdriven , no matter its just not it for me
In case i had some spare humbuckers to replace it, this could be a pretty great guitar
This sounds like a textbook pickup height problem.

A screwdriver is the easiest, fastest, cheapest and by far the most efficient way to a good tone. You might replace your pickups a dozen times, if you put them back at the same height as the last ones, the problem will likely persist.

Those aren't bad pickups but they need their height adjusted. Lower the neck humbucker to its ring level, or maybe lower, that's where its sweet spot resides. Then adjust the bridge pup accordingly so middle position sound different than neck by itself. You should then get a sweet middle tone, a bit honky almost acoustic sound.
 

Go Nigel Go

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Totally agree with the Dr above. In my experience , most pickups can sound much better than they do "out of the box". The adjustments are there for a reason. There are so many different ideas about what a guitar is "supposed to sound like", the manufacturers just make it easy for the end user to make their own final adjustments rather than try to please everyone with their factory settings. Over all adjustments are made with the height screws, and individual strings can be adjusted with the pole piece screws.

It is possible that you may want to change pickups, and we are spoiled for choice with literally hundreds to choose from. Even if you get a new set of pickups however you are going to need to spend some time adjusting them to get the most out of them. For that reason I would always recommend trying to adjust the existing pickups first to see what they are capable of before going through the expense and effort of changing them out and adjusting the new ones.

Nice looking guitar btw, I'd rock it all day long. :dude:
 

laza616

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I know. I did. It took me the entire afternoon of adjusting. My wife was crazy that she had to listen to it hahah. But i think that someone damaged the pickups somehow before or these are somehow faulty.
Believe it or not i tried all the positions of height, and apart of very slightly louder or not pickup sound nothing else. So i stopped at what i have on the other guitars and i adjusted every pickup pole pieces. But i couldnt get any change. Like it wasnt doing anything at all.
They just sound like a sheet metal was involved in the sound. I dont know how to describe the sound and i have no idea how to record it properly, because on the video it just sounds the same, i have some crappy mic in the cellphone video, its not helping
Could it be that there is something frong inside of the pickups? They have some weird residue like circles on the pickup covers. Like some liquid dried and left something. I cant get it off. Is it possible that someone spilled something on the pickups or tried something when cleaning that possible got inside and caused this?? Its my Xth SG, Xth Epiphone and this is the only one having this kind of problem.
I checked the inside of the pots cavity and everything is well done in here, its obvious that whoever soldered pots and pups and everything together in there was not a trainee or "friday afternoon" tired worker on the shift.....
I never disassemled a pickup before, i cant take the cover off, so i dont know if there is anything wrong inside of the pickup. They just sound like they were made of a spare parts from some soviet transistor and they have this "sheet metal" sound like, pretty flat and awful to my ears
 

laza616

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And actually i am not sure if selling this guitar like this isnt bad becuase it just doesnt seem right
I will try to record a sample somehow for you.
 

Go Nigel Go

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I know. I did. It took me the entire afternoon of adjusting. My wife was crazy that she had to listen to it hahah. But i think that someone damaged the pickups somehow before or these are somehow faulty.
Believe it or not i tried all the positions of height, and apart of very slightly louder or not pickup sound nothing else. So i stopped at what i have on the other guitars and i adjusted every pickup pole pieces. But i couldnt get any change. Like it wasnt doing anything at all.
They just sound like a sheet metal was involved in the sound. I dont know how to describe the sound and i have no idea how to record it properly, because on the video it just sounds the same, i have some crappy mic in the cellphone video, its not helping
Could it be that there is something frong inside of the pickups? They have some weird residue like circles on the pickup covers. Like some liquid dried and left something. I cant get it off. Is it possible that someone spilled something on the pickups or tried something when cleaning that possible got inside and caused this?? Its my Xth SG, Xth Epiphone and this is the only one having this kind of problem.
I checked the inside of the pots cavity and everything is well done in here, its obvious that whoever soldered pots and pups and everything together in there was not a trainee or "friday afternoon" tired worker on the shift.....
I never disassemled a pickup before, i cant take the cover off, so i dont know if there is anything wrong inside of the pickup. They just sound like they were made of a spare parts from some soviet transistor and they have this "sheet metal" sound like, pretty flat and awful to my ears
It is always possible that someone rewired or modified something, but I would expect to see some evidence of the changes by carefully inspecting the solder joints and wire routes etc.

I have an image in my head what this"metal sheet sound" is like, but no idea if it is accurate... :squint: Either way it sounds like a possible problem. People do some strange things sometimes, even rebuilding a perfectly good pickup, so this could be a "failed experiment". If you can't figure out what it is though, it may impossible to fix it. Soldering in a new set of pickups using the proper schematic for the desired set up should fix it, but be sure to check (or have someone check) the wiring and condition of the pots etc, and look for changed components that could affect the sound first.
 

laza616

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I disassembled the entire guitar hardware.
Guitar Bridge was kind of a mess. So i took out my Gotoh bridge from the other Sg and compared it a bit. I cleaned everything and placed the bridge keys or how is it called as its on the gotoh. It was easier than i thought but took me a lot of time to figure it out. Luckily i had a compressed air in my basement, so i blew out every dust or wood particle in every hole, cavity.
I was looking at the pots and i noticed a lot of what looked like a rust on the soldered joints.
I bought a stuff called "cleaner of the connectors" - rougly translated . I have no idea how to translate to english but my friend adviced me that electricians use it
It was like 9€ so i took it, applied a bit on the piece of cloth that i use for cleaning the lens and led display on my camera and i softly cleaned everything. All the "rust" like residue on the pots was gone. Everything shines now
So i assembled the guitar now all cleaned up together and and i gave it brand new set of strings
Tuned, adjusted action, plugged in and suddenly a noticable change. I took out my screwdriver once again and spent another hour of changing pickups height and pole pieces adjustment as well
I can tell, that the guitar with these pickups sounds not like a "sheet metal" anymore. I guess maybe new strings and adjusted action did this
But so far i think i got the best out of the pickups. Its better, like 50% better. I dont like the sound anyway, its just that they sound like it was meant for a different kind of music or what. I improved it with the deep cleaning and re-setting.
Neck pickup sounds terrible, like it was behind the curtain or something. The sound is like filtered
Bridge pickup is now OK

Do you have some advice what else should i do? Or is it possible that the neck pickup in can be damaged?
 

DrBGood

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The cleaner you bought, is it in a spray can ? If so, spray inside the pots to clean, lubricate them before they start making noise and cutting out. Do the same with the pickup selector. As you do this, rotate the knobs and move the switch up and down so the cleaner goes everywhere in there.

As for the neck pickup, lower it level with it’s plastic ring, that’s about where it’s sweet spot resides.

About the bridge saddles (what you called keys), every guitar has them in a slightly different position. Adjusting them right is called intonation. To do that, you need a good tuner and you should adjust them so the open strings read the same true note as at 12th fret. Look it up on YouTube, there must be dozens on videos explaining how to do it properly.
 
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laza616

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Yes its a spray, i did exactly as you suggested. It runs smoother, i mean the knobs and switch are working like a charm, like WD40ed hahah
But i start to feel like the neck pickup is 1. Damaged/faulty or 2. Its tone pot is faulty
I even thought that what if the half of the humbucker is dead somehow or what

Because i cant really do anything that would dramatically changed the muddy filtered like sound, maybe it was from the factory like that and thats why the guitar was re-sold so cheap
Or it happened afterward, with some abusive "hack" on it or something and ot got wrong, so thats why it was re-sold so cheap

I can best describe it as : imagine you have a neck pickup with the tone on 0. This is how it sounds on 10 and when i go to 0 its even wilder. It basically is like when you have a phone ringing in your pocket, its like covered
The neck pickup on gain sounds absoltely terrible to my ear. Middle position is 50-50 its not what i am used to on my other SGs but its not bad too, i kind of like the dullness and quackiness of it.
 

DrBGood

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Yes its a spray, i did exactly as you suggested. It runs smoother, i mean the knobs and switch are working like a charm, like WD40ed hahah
But i start to feel like the neck pickup is 1. Damaged/faulty or 2. Its tone pot is faulty
I even thought that what if the half of the humbucker is dead somehow or what

Because i cant really do anything that would dramatically changed the muddy filtered like sound, maybe it was from the factory like that and thats why the guitar was re-sold so cheap
Or it happened afterward, with some abusive "hack" on it or something and ot got wrong, so thats why it was re-sold so cheap

I can best describe it as : imagine you have a neck pickup with the tone on 0. This is how it sounds on 10 and when i go to 0 its even wilder. It basically is like when you have a phone ringing in your pocket, its like covered
The neck pickup on gain sounds absoltely terrible to my ear. Middle position is 50-50 its not what i am used to on my other SGs but its not bad too, i kind of like the dullness and quackiness of it.
Hmmm ... someone might get what's going on and will comment. I can't help. Could maybe be a bad connection ?
 

dub-setter

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yap..
or maybe a bad tone pot...


i dont know how your solder skills are but maybe a complete resoldering/exchange of the cables/ pots will help.
the easier way would be to buy a probucker or an alnico pro pick up (neck) used..
they pop up all the time on the bay and aren´t that expensive.
 
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Bad Penguin

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Pictures of the wiring cavity would be a big help. It's possible that the tone pot might be shorted out against the black shielding paint.
 

dub-setter

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naa, i meant used ones.. from private sellers.
not the chinese fake ones..
 

laza616

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Hello guys

A quick update: i gave a guitar to a friend of mine who is a professional electrician and also a guitarist and he fixed it! It took a bit more as he was ill of covid
It turned out that someone was obviously doing something back there in the cavity and did everything wrong. He basically said that everything was wrongly soldered and connected not the way it should have been.
He said that the cleaner i used is fine and he uses it as well. He also made a little tweak on the pickup height



The guitar now is very fine. Its like a night and day when compared before the repair
I am glad that i didnt purchase the new pickups as it turned out these Epiphone stock pickups are pretty decent actually.

Thanks guys!
 

DrBGood

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Hello guys

A quick update: i gave a guitar to a friend of mine who is a professional electrician and also a guitarist and he fixed it! It took a bit more as he was ill of covid
It turned out that someone was obviously doing something back there in the cavity and did everything wrong. He basically said that everything was wrongly soldered and connected not the way it should have been.
He said that the cleaner i used is fine and he uses it as well. He also made a little tweak on the pickup height



The guitar now is very fine. Its like a night and day when compared before the repair
I am glad that i didnt purchase the new pickups as it turned out these Epiphone stock pickups are pretty decent actually.

Thanks guys!
Great ! I hadn't seen the conclusion of the story.
 


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