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Old May 5th, 2013, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Epiphone 339 fingerboard woes

Hi there
I have been enjoying upgrading my 339 a lot. I played it out last night and it sounded really good in the mix too.

So far I have:
Fitted a bone nut
Replaced pots and caps with CTS and PIOs
Levelled crowned and polished frets
Fitted DM 36th Anni DP103 and DP223 neck and bridge HBs.
Moved the strap button to the horn.

I like everything about this guitar except the fingerboard feel. My fingers just don't slide across it like they do on my maple necks or rosewood acoustics.
The board is very coarse grained and some sort of dirt/dye comes off when you clean it.

I have tried:
Lemon oil
Guitar Honey
Fast Fret.

I have sanded down with 1200 and 2000.
I have used 0000 steel wool.

It still sucks... is there anything else I can try before I sell this guitar on.
I know it's a cheapy but it is frustrating to have to slow down your licks because the board is "grabbing"

The Tele is coming out with me tonight

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Old May 5th, 2013, 07:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Slowing down my licks wouldn't be a problem for me.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 07:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have one and absolutly love it . I've left mine completly stock, and yes it doesnt play as fast or as smooth as a tele etc. it more than makes up for it in sound in a full band situation.
If you decide to sell it, let me know I would be interested in another.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Durberville View Post
I have one and absolutly love it . I've left mine completly stock, and yes it doesnt play as fast or as smooth as a tele etc. it more than makes up for it in sound in a full band situation.
If you decide to sell it, let me know I would be interested in another.
Well we all have different styles, needs and the way we play.

Also forgot to mention that it has a Gotoh TOM and aluminium tailpiece.

It sounds just great but it isn't like "coming home", if you know what I mean.
I found myself stumbling when playing over changes and that didn't feel great...
Not selling just yet mate If I do it will be returned to near stock as there is no advantage selling with all my costly goodies added on.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Stick with it , it may just need to be played in for a few months. One thing I noticed about mine is that the frets wear very quickly. but apart from that it is without doubt the best (and cheapest) guitar I have .

Did the upgrades make much of a difference to the sound ? I really like the pickups in there.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Stick with it , it may just need to be played in for a few months. One thing I noticed about mine is that the frets wear very quickly. but apart from that it is without doubt the best (and cheapest) guitar I have .

Did the upgrades make much of a difference to the sound ? I really like the pickups in there.
Like it!

All the upgrades and the DM pickups are excellent. I swapped them back and forth individually and I could really hear the added clarity with the 36ths.
The stock parts are fine but I wanted to see if I could get myself a Gibson playalike at Epi money, if you see where I'm coming from. I am pretty demanding when it comes to my guitars and amps...

I am going to play a Gibson 339 and see how the feel compares sometime.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 11:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I had the same fingerboard issue with an Epi DOT. I found that cleaning several times with lighter fluid and using 0000 steel wool (more than once) finally removed the dirt or whatever it was on the fingerboard. I have heard that they put some type of coating on the wood. Here is a link I found about scraping the fingerboard. I haven't tried it, but in more severe cases, it could make sense. I would use caution going this route.

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/epip...tom-setup.html
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Old May 5th, 2013, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had the same fingerboard issue with an Epi DOT. I found that cleaning several times with lighter fluid and using 0000 steel wool (more than once) finally removed the dirt or whatever it was on the fingerboard. I have heard that they put some type of coating on the wood. Here is a link I found about scraping the fingerboard. I haven't tried it, but in more severe cases, it could make sense. I would use caution going this route.

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/epip...tom-setup.html
Man that is an epic thread! Just what I was looking for.
A lot of it is stuff I do anyway, but the scraping is a great idea, as Roman says the fingerboard feels like it is plastic coated, THAT'S what is causing the finger judder!
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Old May 5th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Two things come to mind.

Assuming the larger radius of a Gibson it may be different if you're used to a Telecaster.

My favorite cleaner and preparation for a rosewood fingerboard is Gorgomyte cloth which is sold by the maker and distributed by GHS strings. It's one of those you have to try it to believe or understand it products. It leaves the surface neither too oily or dry. It doesn't seem to attract more gunk like oils and the feel stays longer.

And if both Bette Midler and Ted Nugent use it.........

http://gorgomyte.com/
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Old May 5th, 2013, 12:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by imwjl View Post
Two things come to mind.

Assuming the larger radius of a Gibson it may be different if you're used to a Telecaster.

My favorite cleaner and preparation for a rosewood fingerboard is Gorgomyte cloth which is sold by the maker and distributed by GHS strings. It's one of those you have to try it to believe or understand it products. It leaves the surface neither too oily or dry. It doesn't seem to attract more gunk like oils and the feel stays longer.

And if both Bette Midler and Ted Nugent use it.........

http://gorgomyte.com/
That's a new one for me- Gorgomyte -thanks!

My Tele is 10" radius, so not too weird

I have just done the razor scraping up to the 12th fret -gotta go out soon.
Smoothed the wood with 0000 wool, so I will finish it tomorrow then a good dose of Guitar Honey
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Old May 5th, 2013, 04:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Considering the number of mods you have done and you still can't get used to the neck feel, it would seem to me that this just isn't the guitar for you.

I got one this past December and it's an incredible guitar pretty much as is. I did replace the cheap, sticky nut with a bone one (what is Gibson thinking on this?). Otherwise I wouldn't change a thing on mine.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 06:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well yes you might be right about that, I played out my Tele last night and it was awesome, it can cope with anything. All you have to do is play it !

I think the scraping of the fingerboard is going to be a great help, I am determined to get this as good as I can. I think I just need to adapt as I have played Fender electrics all my life but I have also played acoustic too, and they have rosewood boards. The 339 is an acoustic really so I think the only problem is getting that fingerboard right so my callusses don't grab in the open pores.

Like I said it's a great sounding guitar! Sounds fine through all my amps. One more thing is to satin the back of the neck a little to get rid of the glossiness, then you get a smooth feeling playing surface.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 08:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Just to update you, the scraping was a step in the right direction, what really helped was a good dose of WD40 after and let it soak in. I have played it for quite a few hours since and it is much better. I also did another polish on the frets while I was about it.

When I go to the guitar shop I'll take it along and get the guys to try it so they can give me another view.

But I would say I am a lot happier now. Just needed 12 hours of work to get the neck right....
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Old May 11th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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"what really helped was a good dose of WD40 after and let it soak in"

Seriously? Wow...bad idea. #1 - WD40 is really bad for you - it gets absorbed into your body very easily (same way it penetrates seized/frozen/rusted nuts and bolts-they've actually re-formulated it due to incredibly high toxicity of the original formula. It's still bad though...). #2 - you'll be really lucky if your frets don't get loose. If you keep on doing that (soaking your fingerboard with WD) they will, and if you try to refret you won't have good results. Lemon oil only on the fingerboard. If you must have a "hard finish" you might want to try Tung Oil - you have to let it dry/cure though before you play it. It's not quite like a finished maple board, but definitely harder/slicker than RAW rosewood. Good Luck
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Old May 11th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dporto View Post
"what really helped was a good dose of WD40 after and let it soak in"

Seriously? Wow...bad idea. #1 - WD40 is really bad for you - it gets absorbed into your body very easily (same way it penetrates seized/frozen/rusted nuts and bolts-they've actually re-formulated it due to incredibly high toxicity of the original formula. It's still bad though...). #2 - you'll be really lucky if your frets don't get loose. If you keep on doing that (soaking your fingerboard with WD) they will, and if you try to refret you won't have good results. Lemon oil only on the fingerboard. If you must have a "hard finish" you might want to try Tung Oil - you have to let it dry/cure though before you play it. It's not quite like a finished maple board, but definitely harder/slicker than RAW rosewood. Good Luck
Fear not I am still alive and so is the guitar! I have absorbed plenty of toxins over the years and am still here, dunno for how much longer though

I know a famous UK guitarist who used WD for years, nothing fell off his guitar. I think it's a bit of an urban myth, mostly contains lanolin apart from the volatile carrier.

A chap on here (Dalesman) just told me to try some beeswax, which I just machine buffed in. That gives a really lovely feel, a great tip. I did use it on all my maple necks, but I guess all the toxins made me forget about it

I forgot to mention that I filled the pores up with CCL Gunstock Conditioning Oil, left to dry for 24 hours. This also helped.

Seriously the beeswax is the icing on the cake, bends are really smooth now.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 11:56 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Try this -

Clean fingerboard with iso-propyl alcohol

Rub it down with 6000 powdered pumice (which is for preparing wood for finishing), it will smooth the wood and polish the frets, clear that off with brush and cloth. It's better than steel wool because it is much finer, doesn't stick in fingers or leave bits on pickups, cleans and absorbs grease. Blow remains off with air duster and wash off with alcohol again.

Treat the fingerboard with Teak Oil, which is for rosewood, to condition it, seal it and close pores. Wipe on, wait 20 minutes, wipe off excess. It absorbs, so doesn't set fast or smear like the gunstock poly/oils do. Re-treat with a little every 2-3 years.

WD40 is a de-watering fluid used by the bucket to get salt-spray out of naval jets, it does dissolve rubber and dissolves oils and greases, nasty stuff. Whatever it is, it is not a lubricant or oil. Lanolin is used in soaps, it repels water. I wondered why it vaguely smelt of dead sheep.

Beeswax is used for furniture. It gets tacky when warm, it is a soft wax. Usually formulated with other harder waxes. A beeswax/rosin mix is used to seal accordions.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 12:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jefrs View Post
Try this -

Clean fingerboard with iso-propyl alcohol

Rub it down with 6000 powdered pumice (which is for preparing wood for finishing), it will smooth the wood and polish the frets, clear that off with brush and cloth. It's better than steel wool because it is much finer, doesn't stick in fingers or leave bits on pickups, cleans and absorbs grease. Blow remains off with air duster and wash off with alcohol again.

Treat the fingerboard with Teak Oil, which is for rosewood, to condition it, seal it and close pores. Wipe on, wait 20 minutes, wipe off excess. It absorbs, so doesn't set fast or smear like the gunstock poly/oils do. Re-treat with a little every 2-3 years.

WD40 is a de-watering fluid used by the bucket to get salt-spray out of naval jets, it does dissolve rubber and dissolves oils and greases, nasty stuff. Whatever it is, it is not a lubricant or oil. Lanolin is used in soaps, it repels water. I wondered why it vaguely smelt of dead sheep.

Beeswax is used for furniture. It gets tacky when warm, it is a soft wax. Usually formulated with other harder waxes. A beeswax/rosin mix is used to seal accordions.
Thanks
I will look out for the IPA, pumice and teak oil and once I get them all, I will give it a go
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Old May 11th, 2013, 12:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks
I will look out for the IPA, pumice and teak oil and once I get them all, I will give it a go
IPA from Maplins in 500ml, Teak Oil from diy/hardware/Home&Q.
Powdered pumice is a little more tricky (typo - grade I got was is Extra Fine 6/00) I got my 500g pot from here
http://www.thepolishingshop.co.uk/ac...er___Grit.html
Pumice is light, that is about a 1-litre bucket lifetime supply. Cheap too, do not pay silly money for exfoliant skin-care stuff.

There's a car gadget looks like a giant yellow electric toothbrush, the soft brush very effective for scrubbing fretboard with pumice (it does go everywhere), mainly for cleaning gunge off and degreasing.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 01:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I use gorgomyte and Gibson Fretboard Conditioner. Gorgomyte more for the frets than the fretboard. I had no idea that WD40 was so nasty. Thanks for the warning guys.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 01:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I will get the stuff this week and let you know how I get on - cheers
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