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Old 02-22-2024, 09:42 AM
firelakekid2 firelakekid2 is offline
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Default new Epiphone 335 question

I recently got an Epiphone es 335 from Musician's Friend SDOTD. It is a beautiful guitar. I have not gotten to play it as much as I'd like lately due to work and other commitments. But my question is about the volume controls. I usually plug into my Fender Princeton Reverb and play about 3-5 volume--sometimes louder if alone in the house. Sometimes I use my Strymon Decco also. So, it seems that when I turn the volume knobs down past 9 or 10, the volume seems to fade down quite low quickly. It doesn't seem to get gradually lower. My friend who is quite experienced with electric guitars (I have played acoustic mostly) says that this is normal. I trust his judgement but I am still within the 45 day period, so I want to make sure it's okay. Otherwise I really am learning to like this guitar and getting different tones. It is a big guitar, and I have to be mindful of how I'm holding it and posture, etc., so I don't end up with sore shoulders.
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Old 02-22-2024, 09:51 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Some volume knobs are a little touchy...do you hear any static/crackle when you use them?
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Old 02-22-2024, 10:47 AM
ChrisN ChrisN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firelakekid2 View Post
So, it seems that when I turn the volume knobs down past 9 or 10, the volume seems to fade down quite low quickly. It doesn't seem to get gradually lower.
Sounds like Epi used "audio" taper potentiometers for the Volumes. Do some research on "audio" and "linear" "tapers" for "pots" (potentiometers). "Audio" taper pots are supposed to more accurately replicate how the human ear hears, as opposed to "linear" pots that bring in volume the way you're actually expecting volume to increase. I hate them, and prefer linear taper pots for Volume.

Some/many use 335s with single channel amps to play rock/blues and other "gainy" stuff, and so some guitar makers choose "audio" volume pots to facilitate using the volume pot as a "gain" or volume modifier. That allows the player to keep a high gain volume setting on THE AMP, and then use the GUITAR's volume knob to control what's hitting the amp and, thus, the amount of gain/distortion/volume that comes from the amp, all without the player having to run back and forth making adjustments while he's playing - he can play "clean" by running lower guitar volume, then go into a louder/gainy solo just by increasing guitar volume - the short volume "window" on the audio pots makes turning gain on/off quicker - almost like a gain switch. If you DON'T use your volume pot to control your amp's gain, however, audio taper pots are useless and annoying. I have a Gibson 390 (a hollow 339) that has short taper audio pots - silent below "7" - and I hate them. My Gibson 339 (like a baby 335) came with linear pots (they're great) - go figure. I have a Epi 339 P90 - linear pots - love them.

Within the world of "audio" taper pots, you can get DIFFERENT DEGREES OF TAPER, too, affecting when sound falls away, which makes the whole thing even more confusing when talking replacements.

In your place, I'd replace the "audio" volume pots (only) with linear pots, BUT 335s are more costly to work on because you have to fish all/part of the electronics out via the F holes, so 2 $5 pots could cost you up to $200 to install in a $500 guitar.

I'd then try to do it myself via videos, or I'd try to find a hungry tech who'd be willing to try to remove/replace ONLY the volume pots (rather than the whole harness, which likely isn't necessary - BUT may be, if the harness is small/tight).

Some techs may say, "just replace all the electronics as long as I have the harness out," but be aware that Epi is lately using good quality full size CTS pots (albeit the cheaper variant), so you're not gaining much/anything from also replacing the Tone pots/caps, and you're introducing new points of failure, if the tech's not great.

I think a fair labor price to replace 2 volume pots in a 335 would be $100 - it'll take a good tech less than a half-hour. Most "full replacement" (vol and tone pots/caps, switch/plug) jobs for 335s seem to run $200-300.

So, your friend is right - this is "normal" behavior for AUDIO pots. If you don't like it now, it's unlikely you'll like it more later - it'll always be on your mind, though you could just leave your volumes at 10 and not worry about it. You could return the guitar if you don't want to mess with it, or just not worry about it. If you otherwise like the guitar and want to stay with the 335 format for at least a while, then you could learn to live with it (Vols on 10), or replace the pots at extra expense with no added value, so you'd eat that $$ on resale.

Last edited by ChrisN; 02-22-2024 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 02-23-2024, 06:21 PM
firelakekid2 firelakekid2 is offline
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Well ChrisN and Mr. Beaumont, Thanks for your response. There is not any static or problem when I turn the knobs. So not that kind of issue--at least so far. ChrisN, thanks for the explanation. I now have a better understanding of what's going on. I admit I would prefer more traditional volume knobs. But I will learn to work with what I have. I admit if I had the funds, I would like to get a Gibson 335. But at almost 7x the cost for my Epiphone, no way I could justify that expenditure. Now that I have better understanding of how the volume knobs work and that there isn't a problem with guitar, I feel more at ease. Also, I am still open to any other ideas on this issue.
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Old 02-24-2024, 12:07 AM
ChrisN ChrisN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firelakekid2 View Post
I admit if I had the funds, I would like to get a Gibson 335. But at almost 7x the cost for my Epiphone, no way I could justify that expenditure.
Your epi 335 is a fine guitar. Note that Gibson put audio tapers in my 390, so it's not a brand thing - just how the maker sees the guitar's mission.
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Old 02-28-2024, 08:27 AM
abn556 abn556 is offline
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Get some good 550k pots and rewire the 335 to 50s wiring. CTS 500k pots routinely get you well under 500k. The 550k pots will be better. Check out some videos online of 50s wiring vs modern and linear taper vs audio taper pots. Its amazing how important the details are in tone.
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