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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Joe Bonamassa Epiphone "Treasure" Firebird I gripes

Contributing Member

Portland, Oregon

May 20th, 2017 01:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

First this isn't meant to trash Joe. Big name Players partner with companies for signature models, etc. but in the end they really have no control over final product quality. And even with the short comings I'm still glad I bought one of these (Tobacco). I'm a big Firebird guy (own 4 Gibsons, 2 Epiphones) and I've always wanted a I (one). With neck through the body construction you couldn't beat the price. So I pre-ordered, waited and received late Dec. 2016. The guitar looks fabulous but it did come with a few issues. First, the fret board was filthy (dressing residue?). After the first 10 minutes of playing my fingers were nearly black. Not a big deal but not good. Next, as experience by many others, the guitar was wired wrong. Not a big deal but a PITA. Last, the bridge saddles were notched wrong. The high E is almost 0.250" away from the edge of the fret board. It's almost like they used the wrong width scale and biased it to the bass side. Last, the tuner's quality sucks, very sticky. From what I read that's why Gibson went to the Steinberg tuners as the Klusons quality had dropped in the toilet. I have a Medallion V and the tuners are like butter. I have two 1976 III's and theirs are not quite as good as the V's, but light years ahead of these.

If the wiring had been correct & the bridge string spacing been correct I still would have given the guitar a 5 star review, even with the nasty fret board and sticky tuners. I'm hoping I can take the tuners apart and maybe with some dressing, polishing and/or lubrication, get them to turn a bit smoother.

BTW - I contacted Epiphone twice over 3 months and never heard a peep back. No warm & fuzzy about Epiphone for this 60 y/o boy.

Now I'm only left with the inner battle of "do I cheese out and buy a Gibby truss rod cover?


Contributing Member

I tried to think

but nothing happened!
May 20th, 2017 03:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

Bummer. And I thought that Epi QC was supposed to be going up.

What was wrong with the wiring?

Contributing Member

I've got my own

double-cross to bear
May 21st, 2017 08:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

The black stuff on the board is dye to darken the wood, because darker colors of ebony and rosewood are more costly. So they 'fake' it. It does come off a little bit.

If I had pre-ordered a guitar and it arrived with those issues, I'd have sent it back. That is ridiculous.

Contributing Member

Memphis, TN

May 21st, 2017 02:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

Henry J needs an auger in his ass...

Quality before Quantity..

Contributing Member

United States

By Grabthar's Hammer, what a savings.
May 22nd, 2017 08:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

They're like $800, aren't they?

Contributing Member

Portland, Oregon

May 23rd, 2017 11:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

RDR: the pickup & output are both connected to the vol pot wiper, cap is connected to the vol pot input.

Peegoo: That makes perfect sense. I was struggling to believe it was dressing residue of some kind as it was almost like graphite, but what do I know about how they build these? As the "bulk" of the guitar was fine & I didn't want to deal with the return so I just decided to take on the short comings as a project (I tinker a lot with amps/guitars). If it wasn't for the Joe Bonamassa connection I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place. I guess I was emotionally invested from the git-go so WTH :-).

Stratmanx: Indeed, I wish someone with a different all-around philosophy would buy Gibson. Doubt I'll ever buy a new Gibby or Epi again (...but then there's that lottery thing...I keep buying my ticket...;-).

BrentD: Yup, right on the money (pun intended).

So in the end I guess I was more pleased with what it is than what it isn't. Had there been serious symmetry problems that would have been a different story.

Thanks all for the comments.

(This message was last edited by kwall at 06:05 PM, May 23rd, 2017)

Contributing Member

Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
May 24th, 2017 11:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

Practically every rosewood board guitar I have bought in the last 10 years has tuned my fingers black. It's dye and it will go away. I always looked at it as a minor inconvenience. Even my AVRI 64 Tele turned my fingers black. The old Brazilian Rosewood was pretty dark naturally and that's what they are trying to mimic. The African/Indian stuff just isn't as dark.


Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Jun 16th, 2017 06:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Aren't Firebird's wired differently from the factory anyway??? It seems I saw a diagram that showed LP wiring against FB and FB had both pickups on top in line and both tones on bottom in line, or I don't know what I'm talking about....;-) But somewhere I saw that it was wired differently.



Jun 16th, 2017 08:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

" I contacted Epiphone twice over 3 months and never heard a peep back."

Yeah, I always wondered if they ever honor their "limited lifetime warranty". I'm yet to hear anyone tell me about a warranty job being done on an Epiphone, not counting things retailers do for their customers.

I'm not surprised by the results. Epiphone (and Gibson too, I guess) tend to do really well with their benchmark models... LP Standard, G-400, Dot, Casino, etc. but when they try something different the quality goes down horribly. I'm not really sure why this is.

I'd be curious to see the bridge. Is it the notching, or the placement of the bridge itself? If it is just the notching, the copper lining here would be that replacing the bridge to correct the spacing would also make for a nice upgrade, unless their using nicer hardware on those than I think they are. If the placement is wrong, then you're doweling and redrilling... not much fun on a guitar like this, especially when you just got it new.

"I wish someone with a different all-around philosophy would buy Gibson."

Some day Henry J will die when the life support Darth Vader suit he's having Gibson R&D make for him fails at the young age of 150, and the company will change. The work culture there (I've gotten this first hand from many folks there) is that they all pretty much just put up with him so they can get to the things they enjoy. We'll talk about "Pre-Henry, Henry-era and Post-Henry" instruments like we talk about pre- and post-CBS.

Some day.

FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Joe Bonamassa Epiphone "Treasure" Firebird I gripes

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