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Old September 3rd, 2013, 11:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Epiphone Question

Hi all- first post here. If it wasn't so darn late I'd introduce myself- with your forbearance I'll leave that for another day.

This is probably a dumb question - but here goes. I have a 70's vintage Epiphone dreadnaught I've had for years. Took it to a local guy a while ago and had it set up, with 10s on it (Phosphor Bronze Martins).

I've been playing it mainly to (re)build some hand strength and calluses. Initially it sounded just fine but suddenly it sounds just a little buzzy all over. (I'd almost describe the tone as 'fuzzy'.) Subtle change in the timbre but you know its not right.

Is that what happens when strings die - they go suddenly? Changing up the strings is the first thing I thought of (they're nearly a year old but didn't get regular use until the last few months.)

Anyone ever see this before? (Thanks in advance!)

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Old September 3rd, 2013, 11:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yeah, change the strings.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 12:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Change strings, I'd try 11s anyway or 12s.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 09:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If your strings are a year old, a set of new ones isn't going to hurt.

My guess though, is that new strings won't eliminate the buzzy fuzzy sound.

Although you say that you had it set up by a local guy a while ago, you don't indicate when it was set up, or how it was set up. Sometimes, even a good set up needs a "tweak" after a few weeks or a month or so. Some adjustments (like the truss rod, for instance) take some time to settle in, and as the wood adjusts to them, there can be problems, including unwanted buzzings.

Also, since we're moving from summer to fall, there are usually humidty and temperature changes, and sometimes they can have an impact on the action.

By the way, I've always liked Epiphones from the 70s - a lot of very cool guitars!
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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First, Thanks all.

Second, I'd come to the conclusion that I want 11s or 12s as well.

The instrument was set up about a year ago by a local guy who does the setup and repair work at one of the big chain stores. He plays regularly around town in a local band and does a lot of acoustic stuff himself so he has some feel for flattops. (Not just an electric player who does a little work on the side - not that there's anything wrong with that. )

It spent considerable idle time in the case in the first part of the year. I've finally established a bit of a routine so last couple of months its gotten some playing time.

I recognize that things change over time and for sure that the strings need to be replaced. I'd just never experienced this sort of change in the sound of an instrument for no obvious reason. (FWIW I stopped by with the guitar and spoke to the guy who set it up - he's likeable and helpful- and just like a car, it didn't do it.)

Thanks!
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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While I'm at it - this is a dreadnaught style body with a bolt on neck - probably pre-1975 or 76 vintage (I got it in late 76). 'Epiphone' inlaid on the headstock in script and block inlay markers on the finger board. Black pickguard with the 'E' on it. Strape buttons on bottom and at the neck joint.

I can't identify the model correctly, though - the label in the soundbox had the model rubber stamped in blue ink on it - and sometime before I got it, the paper appeared to have absorbed just enough moisture that the print blurred and can't be read.

Any ideas what it might be?

(I can get a picture or two when I get home later.)
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Old September 4th, 2013, 10:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzDreams View Post
While I'm at it - this is a dreadnaught style body with a bolt on neck - probably pre-1975 or 76 vintage (I got it in late 76). 'Epiphone' inlaid on the headstock in script and block inlay markers on the finger board. Black pickguard with the 'E' on it. Strape buttons on bottom and at the neck joint.

I can't identify the model correctly, though - the label in the soundbox had the model rubber stamped in blue ink on it - and sometime before I got it, the paper appeared to have absorbed just enough moisture that the print blurred and can't be read.

Any ideas what it might be?

(I can get a picture or two when I get home later.)
I bought a brand spanking new Epi dread in about 1971 that had a bolt on neck & was made in Japan. It was my first decent acoustic, not bad though I think laminated top, fairly heavy finish. I don't think mine had the E on the guard but it was an early one.

It did set up & play well & I sold it to a good friend a couple years later when I found a bargain on a Gibson Hummingbird.

Look here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphone
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks. This picture (the attachment) is essentially identical to my instrument. The top in the picture looks like its two pieces and the color is mismatched. Mine is uniform in color and looks like spruce to me.

The picture is otherwise identical, right down to the chipboard case. The only thing I can't see in the photo is the two adjusting screws for the bridge.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 12:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Here's another picture, (different image) without a case.



(I was fumbling to figure out how to upload the first picture, which I had saved.)

ETA: Now that I think about it this pic seems to have more elaborate binding. I think the first pic in the chipboard case is the closest to what I have and probably exactly the same.

Last edited by JazzDreams; September 5th, 2013 at 11:07 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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JD, you might try making slight adjustments to the bridge saddle height to see if that cures the problem. You might be adjusting the saddle height anyway if you switch to .011s or .012s.

A fuzzy, buzzy sound can also be caused by a brace coming unglued. This can happen due to changes in temperature and humidity, and has happened several times with my 1935 Martin O-18. A loose brace is fairly easy to track down by tapping around on the top with a knuckle. If you find a spot where the knuckle tap is accompanied by a sharp click, you'll know without doubt that you've found a loose brace. Repair is easy for a competent luthier with the appropriate tools, and not horribly expensive. It's also a fairly good candidate for a DIY repair, if you're inclined that way.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 11:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Gonna try checking out the top this morning.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 01:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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What a dope I am. Must have been thinking about my new Tele.

The Epiphone has Martin SP phosphor bronze strings on it .012 - .54.

Knocked all over the top and didn't hear any clicks.

I'll put on a fresh set of strings and see if it changes.


ETA: doing a little internet sleuthing - Label says Made in Japan; 1974 catalogue shows the FT - 150 which is visually identical to mine and describes it with "3 piece adjustable neck and adjustable bridge. Back then, $165.

The harder I stare at the label in mine the more it looks to me like (?)T-320.
Obviously FT for Flat-top. In '74 there was an FT-350 but it had a fixed bridge and a "fixed heel neck". Can't find any other FT - 3xx models so far.

Buehler? Buehler? Anyone?

Last edited by JazzDreams; September 5th, 2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Click image for larger version

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OK- after much sleuthing, I have come to the conclusion that my guitar is an Epiphone FT150 Bard. Everything matches except that the neck was supposedly a single ply binding. Mine is 3-ply.

Its a decent sounding player -might go in the $200 ballpark these days. I like it well enough- Once I have a new set of strings on it, it will serve my needs - a practice guitar.

Cedar top, rosewood rims and back. Online sources say laminated, not solid.
Whatever.

Here's the most accurate (online) picture I can find. Thanks all - if anyone knows additional detail, it would be fun to hear.
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