Don’t know jack

IMG_3261 What is up with the jacks on these semi-hollowbody Epiphone guitars.  When I was shopping for guitars in the stores, I often saw Epiphone Dots and Sheratons with the jack missing inside the guitar.   How can that be good for sales?!  And when reading in the Epi forums, I saw folks complaining of this happening to them.  Does this happen on the more expensive Elite Epi’s, or other semi-hollow body guitars?

I never thought it would happen to me!   I made a point of periodically hand-tightening the jack when plugging in a cable, just to be sure.

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Tune-o-matic, buzz-tastic!

IMG_3278The retainer wire on a standard Tune-o-matic bridge can buzz and rattle if the bridge isn’t machined to perfection.

I didn’t expect this to bother me as much as it does.  The buzz doesn’t come through the amp, but I don’t usually play very loud, so hearing a buzzy rattle from the bridge results in a real lack of clarity in the sound I’m hearing.


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Pickup experiment – bypassing electronics

Speaking with Pete Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars about possible dog-eared P-90 pickup replacements for the Riviera P93, Pete recommended I first try bypassing the guitar’s electronics to see if they’re sucking the tone away.   This experiment requires disconnecting the pickup wire from the electronics, and routing it directly to the output jack.  The results are interesting.   Read on for pictures, and audio, video before/after.

IMG_3188 Gathering my tools, started to feel a little crazy!   Soldering iron and solder, needle nose pliers, locking pliers, big and small phillips screwdrivers, wrench, wire stripper, multi meter, alligator clips, 1/4” jack, magnifying glass, flashlight, tuner, string winder, spool of thread, soft cloths.

I did all my work on the floor – bad idea!  Why am I always too lazy to clear off a table top before starting?

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A Luthier’s Setup

The factory setup of my Epiphone Riviera P93 was horrible!   I had a luthier to do a full setup on the guitar, and it’s much better now.  Read on for all the measurements before/after the setup.

Prepack ChecklistHere’s the “Pre-Pack Checklist” that came with the guitar.  What a joke! I imagine the inspector works like this:

  • Intonation?  Sucks, check!
  • String height?  Crazy high, check!
  • Buzzing?  Yep, check!
  • Fretboard cleaning? Yuck, check!






Well, Mr. 24 in the USA, I’m not impressed!




Here are my measurements of the lousy factory setup:  Read the rest of this entry

Video Review of the Epiphone Riviera P93

Just uploaded my first YouTube video ever 🙂  It’s a quick overview of the Riviera P93, along with some demos of the three P-90 pickups individually, and my thoughts on possible mods/improvements.

I’ve got some more videos and audio examples, coming soon, so stay tuned…

Possible guitar mods

There are several things about the P93 that I’d like to change.  The pickups seem dull and lifeless.  The wire retainer on the Tune-O-Matic bridge rattles and buzzes, so I’d like to change to a better bridge.  And I hear occasional pinging in the nut when tuning and using the Bigsby, so perhaps I’ll change the nut to a Graphtech teflon nut.

I often read folks saying that a new nut gave them better sustain, or richer sound.  Or how a new bridge gave them less high frequency response, etc.    It all sounds a bit wishy washy to me.
I’d like to be more scientific about it.  For each mod, I’ll do some before/after recordings and post them here. 

Epiphone Riviera P-93

2009-07-20 Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 0052009-07-21 Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 0022009-07-21 Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 009

This is an ES-335 style guitar, with three dog eared P-90’s.     I bought this in late July from Guitar Center: Epiphone Limited Edition Riviera Custom P93 Electric Guitar

I’m planning some upgrades and tweaks, and I’ll be posting more on this soon.

  2009-07-21 Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 008 2009-07-20 Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 006

Here’s a link to Epiphone’s page on this guitar

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