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Archtop bridge issue

MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent

I have an Epiphone Zephyr Regent that I love, but it has one minor flaw: the high e and the g both sound a bit buzzy when playing single notes. I can hear it whether or not I'm going through the amp. On gigs, I dont notice it much because I'm playing at a louder volume than when I practice. But it bugs me when I practice. The other strings are clear with sustain that I like, but those 2 just dont ring out like I want them to. In fact, I find myself using extra vibrato on a ballad or slow swing tune on the high e to try to get it to sustain more. Any suggestions for how to correct this? Full disclaimer: I use Thomastik Bebop 13's, I'm not sure if that matters here.

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Comments

  • Radiofm74Radiofm74 New Di Mauro Boogie Woogie
    Posts: 14

    Please define "buzzy". Is there a rattle? If so, that can usually be solved quite easily.

    Get yourself in a quiet corner with your guitar, unplugged, and hunt it down. Troubleshooting like this takes a little patience: on electric archtops, vibrations can come from many places such as the pickguard, the pickup rings… Once you're positive where that comes from, the solution will present itself to you: tighten down that little screw, or at worse replace the offending part.

    My MIC Epi Casino, though lovely, came with a few of these little issues. The factory TOM bridge rattled, in particular: I swapped it with a nice Gotoh and for a minor expense the problem was gone for good.

    Let us know how you fare! Posting a pic of your guitar might help, too. In the story of Epiphone, there have been several "Zephyr Regents", all of them quite different.

  • Posts: 4,175

    If it's a string buzz, I'd look at two things; frets condition and neck relief. Recrowning and polishing the frets might take care of it or adding a touch more relief to the neck.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 922

    Not sure what Regent model, your profile says a Zephyr Regent, but I have seen some with old style archtop rosewood bridges and some with the adjustable tune-o-matic bridges. Either way a rough groove in the bridge or nut would do that, or even a badly seated or loose nut, it would only take a tiny bit of interference to damp the string vibrations and kill sustain.

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent
    Posts: 302

    Thanks radiofm74. It's definitely not a rattle. It's more of a quick fading away of the sustain on those 2 strings that seems to come from the bridge, which is accompanied by a slight buzzing sound. It's very subtle, but gets my attention nonetheless. I'll post a pic of it soon--it's an '06 to '08 Zephyr Regent, with dot inlays on the neck.

    Radiofm74
  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent
    Posts: 302
  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 604

    OK,

    I will chime in here: Given buzzy, could be several things - 1st - the bridge may need a little fitting to make sure the grove is in the correct place; and the pieces within are all seated correctly (that style has 5 pieces between the string and the wood: little peice the string is on, screw, top of bridge, pin to the wood, thumbscrew, wood part of bridge) all could be taking a toll on sustain.

    Finally, the fretboard or frets; if the board is uneven, that would cause this for sure. . . or the frets may need a leveling.

    Hit up a good luthier who helps other jazz players in your area and show them - they may have a good solution.

    B.

    Ps. that's a cool box frankly- I didn't know they made this!

    billyshakesMikeK
  • Radiofm74Radiofm74 New Di Mauro Boogie Woogie
    Posts: 14

    It's a very cool guitar! An Epiphone Herb Ellis!

    You've had already a store of good advice so you know what to look for. Me, I'd take a very close look at how your bridge is working and whether the nut is cut well and sufficiently lubricated. The condition you describe recalls me of a problem I had on a much-loved Mexican telecaster – I called it "sitar strings": a strange buzzing overtone and shortened sustain on the B string. Turns out it was a misalignment of the nut that made the string sit in a burr of the saddle instead of where it was supposed to sit. I changed the stock plastic nut to a nice bone nut, and got the occasion to buy better brass saddles, and it was gone.

    Besides: my experience with these lovely Korean and Chinese Epiphones is that while their "bones" are great, and fit and finish is typically very nice, the hardware (and electronics) is where they cut corners. Most of it is serviceable and I keep it unless it gives problems, but a GOTOH TOM bridge costs about 30€, is a simple swap if you determine correctly what model goes on your guitar, and it might be a good upgrade in any case.

    MikeK
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,277

    Maybe a problem with bridge but also check the nut, frets, tailpiece, etc. Do you have a repair tech?

  • Posts: 4,175

    You could try a few things to troubleshoot. The nut should be easy, find a suitable size stainless steel nail to use as the zero fret. And if you have a GJ bridge laying around with the approximate height, swap it. These may provide some answers. Come to think of it, you could probably swap around the bridge pieces and see if that makes any difference.

    MikeK
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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