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Discussion in 'Guitar Owners Clubs' started by rrben29, Sep 11, 2013.
Popcorn time ... Epiphone Saga ... has a happy ending. About two years ago, I bought an Epiphone ES339 Pro because I couldn't afford a vintage Gibson, but I wanted a guitar that was mostly functionally equivalent. 335s are a little large for me, but I liked the 339. I liked the idea of the flexibility the coil splits allowed. I read some reviews that said they didn't like the necks, so I had mine PLEK'd, and had a bone nut installed. I also read some reviews that said they didn't like the electrics, and figured somewhere down the road, that it would probably be a good idea to rewire it.
I loved it at first, then it started to have intermittent problems. Thought it was the 3-way, because touching it would often cause a similar crackling to the intermittent problem. Sweetwater wanted me to ship it back to them for the warranty repair. I don't like shipping guitars if there's any way to avoid it, so I talked Sweetwater into letting me take it to a local luthier and then reimburse me for the repair. Good enough.
The luthier (they're better with acoustic stringed instruments than electrics) told me that the stacked pots were the source of the noise, and they recommended returning the guitar. I had already had the guitar too long for Sweetwater to accept it as a return, so I got an estimate on completely rewiring the guitar with standard components. After lengthy discussion with Sweetwater, they agreed to pay the first $250 of the repair (which seemed pretty generous to me), so I authorized the repair. The guy in that shop that works on semi-hollow body guitars went on tour, and 6 weeks later, they returned the guitar to me unrepaired, lol. They couldn't make money on a $350 repair estimate and didn't want to do the work. (They get no more electric work from me, lol.)
Took the guitar immediately to Steve Crsip who I have had do work for me before. He says, yeah, I have done these before, no problem, gives me an estimate for 4 CTS pots, a new 3-way, and a new jack, and labor, it's like $247 total, Sweetwater is going to cover the whole thing. We are talking about the guitar and how it sounds, and he suggests a set of used 1980's SD Vintage 59s that he has. We're rewiring the guitar without the coil taps. I liked the cleans of the stock pickups, but I often used drive pedals to get the kind of sound I was looking for. I bought the Duncans and had him install them. So, he's a busy guy, lol ... ten weeks later, I get my guitar back.
Can you say "Exceeds Expectations"? After like 2 years of bad chapters, the Epiphone Saga finally turns around. So, I know (from reading this thread) this isn't the only 339 Pro that has SD Vintage 59s in it. I love this guitar now. Now it sounds as good as it has always played. Yes, all told, I have a ridiculous amount of money into this guitar, something like $1100 with a case, but, I like it better than any of the affordable Gibsons I have tried. The amount (proportionally) of solid wood in the smaller body makes it somewhere between a Les Paul and a 335.
I was lucky that it actually needed the upgraded wiring while it was still under warranty, and that Sweetwater and Steve did such a great job taking care of me. For what it is worth, Sweetwater really bent over backwards to facilitate on this. The QA was on Epiphone, the high standards were mine; Sweetwater kind of got stuck in the middle, but they did right by me. It was tough waiting while it was at various repair shops for 4 months ... but I am super happy with it now.
Except for the removed marketing stickers and a tiny bit of corrosion on the pickup screws, it looks identical to when I bought it:
The stuff that came out ... I will take point-to-point wire with fewer opportunities for bad connections, thank you. Love this guitar now.
I’ve had a couple over the years. This is the only one I have now. Maybe I can count it as two?
I bought an Epiphone Dot about 7 years ago. It was a limited edition sunburst model that they called a "59 ES-335 Dot". Came with nickel hardware, bound neck, and Gibson-shaped 59-style pickguard. Really nice right off the rack. But I figured I'd experiment. Long story short, the wiring harness is the weak link as far as tone goes with these IMO. I first put Seth Lovers in it and, while it improved the sound, it did not open it up as much as I'd hoped. Then I changed out the cheap wiring harness to a Mojotone 335 harness with CTS pots, Switchcraft switch, better caps and volume mods (treble bleeds on the volume pots). Wow, what a difference! Turned out the original alnico II pickups were not bad at all. It's been a great 335-style guitar that I've played on gigs many times. I've played with with another guy who has a 335, and feel that the Epi lacks nothing in sound or playbility. And I've got around $800 in it.
I've liked it so much I more recently bought a second one of the same model when it became available. This one is cherry, and I've put in the Mojotone harness and, this time, 57 Classics. I've been gigging with it along with a Strat and Tele and it's been a joy. A little more aggressive with more mids than my other one with Seth Lovers, as expected. Loving both of them.
Here's the cherry version: