Epi Sheraton II...A Note On Quality Control

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by epluribus, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    These are pix of the factory-installed volume pots from an Epiphone Sheraton II, pulled out during a full re-wiring of the guitar...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Followers of the Epiphone Sheraton II may be aware that, despite some excellent playability and sound reviews, their electronics are legendary for lousy reliability. Within a year of new-purchase the jack was popping, the pots were scratching, and the switch was intermittent at best. Not wanting the same trash hardware to be put back in it, I never brought it back to the store for fixing. Just yesterday I got around to re-wiring it, and discovered the above. Suffice it to say my soldering style differs a bit from the above.

    --Ray

    BTW, I put a pair of ToneStylers in it. Usually I love these things, but in this particular guitar I actually think I liked the stock tone system better...tone caps at .022 and .047, which loaded the pups very nicely even when wide open. The pups, incidentally, are really pretty import takes on Gib's '57's, or at least that's what the stamping on the back says. A bit microphonic, but very distinctive and way easy on the ears. Beautiful guit apart from the awful wiring.
     
  2. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,653
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Playa Jaco, Costa Rica
    Though not "boutique" quality, or even what I would let out of my humble little operation, from what I can see the solder is shiny, rosin flowed out, which to me indicates a proper connection.

    I'd be more concerned with the actual pots, before blaming any poor performance on the connections, though to be totally fair I can't see the pot's legs and their connections.

    edit; You might try putting a meter across each of those connections, just to verify if there's any appreciable resistance - always a good idea just to verify si o no...
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  3. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Wasn't sure what to make of these, being a weekend warrior. I don't recall seeing anything like this in the various amps I've torn apart, nor in other guitars, but that could just be down to not making a point of remembering it. For my own work, I want shiny solder, modest amounts, no burning, and very solid mechanical contact...when I get a joint that looks like these, I'll tear it apart again.

    BTW, I may just be seeing normal flux color, but these look burnt to me. I can imagine they used tremendous heat to get this whole massive mess hot enough to take solder...so I wonder if they didn't cook the interior parts of perfectly reliable pots and make the supplier look bad.

    But the other thing that would concern me here, were this mine, is the contacts stacked one atop the other. Some of the connections don't actually touch the pot, they're just piled on top of each other...not spliced or twisted together either, just pressed together and soldered somehow. Some measure with resistance, and one was even cold, in fact, but the various parts had access to ground via other routes, so no noticeable impact.

    Personally I don't like big gang-connections like this...I prefer to make a connection bus with a lug or a short length of wire, connecting each leg individually (solidly too), and shrink-wrapping the assembly when done. Then all you do is connect one lead to the pot lugs or casing or whatever, sparing the pot as much heat as possible among other things. Maybe it's overkill, but it makes me feel better...whether it's scientific or not is a good question. What Would McInturff Do? :)

    --Ray

    PS...Re-wiring an archtop...quite the topology problem snaking all the lines back in in the right order. Sheesh!
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  4. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,653
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Playa Jaco, Costa Rica
    I hear ya Ray - if I were to find work like that in an amp, I'd be ripping all that stuff outta there too, but I'd be doing it mostly due to the voltages involved - don't forget we're talking less than a volt in a guitar circuit, so that leaves, providing you have a decent electronic connection (hence my suggestion to check w/ a meter) you're good to go.

    However from a strictly workmanship p.o.v, I'd give it a fail as well, but let's not overlook the fact that it's a lower price-point offshore product, and they're doing the best they can to crank 'em out.

    I doubt that the heat involved to produce those connections are an issue either - remember that the big blobs you show are on the pot's backs, (or shell or whatever) and as such, there's little if any chance for the heat to transfer to the carbon wafer. I would most definately replace those pots with better quality full-size CTS's or similar though, and I'm sure it will perform better, as well as last longer.

    In other words - it just looks like ****, but worked good enough to get it past Q.C.

    ...and yes - re-doing a Thinline can be trying, to say the least. I've become pretty good at it, but I'd often rather do something less painful, like lance a boil...:omg
     
  5. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    A boil... :roll I was gonna say root canal, but boil pretty much hits it.

    As it happens I did CTS pots, Switchcraft switch and jack, and a pair of Tonestyler Jazz in place of the tone pots. Very nice setup, wanted to keep it relatively stock, as it's basically a very cool guitar. Beautiful native tone. Now with proper hardware and wiring, it's even better.

    Y'know that's a good point...I was looking at all those joints based on what I'll accept in an amp circuit, hadn't really thought about different standards for smaller volts and watts being more forgiving. I was looking at it the other way around, that owing to the tiny power in the signal that the connections needed to be top-notch. But even a small connection looks big to a little signal I suppose, providing it's neither resistive nor capacitive...certainly no power-handling issues as there are in amps.

    --Ray
     

Share This Page