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  1. #1

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    My wife bought me a NOS 2012 Korean made Unsung Epiphone Emperor Regent for my significant birthday.

    This guitar has been hanging on a wall in a Wigan music shop for the last 2 years all unloved.

    I did a piece on this and the shop a while back.

    So I got Blondie home and played for the rest of the day.

    So I expected some tweaking to make this guitar play better and the remainder of this thread is devoted to this process.

    Before you read further I don't want this thread to disolve into 'this is better than that' bashing. This piece is purely for those of us here needing insights and knowledge as to how to make our guitars perform better or what to look and ask for when buying a hollow bodied guitar.

    A quick note on the whole business of making and selling of mass produced products in the 21st Centuary.
    Everything is built to a price, standard and quality.
    This particular guitar is a student level instrument or 2nd backup instrument and it does this very well.
    Quality control (QC) at this level from the factory leaves wide margins for tweaking. In theory the more expensive product would have costed in better QC before any ham-fisted attempts at setting up could do serious damage.

    So what was wrong from the start?

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0529-jpg

    I've left this picture in a larger format so we can see the burring of the factory finished nut.

    The nut action was too high which makes the string action a little stiff and chords in the first position play out of tune.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0543-640x360-jpg

    So a bit of filing with appropriate sized files and gagues bring the strings down to their optimum action. File a little measure twice! Note the burring is removed and the strings are lower in the slots. We can reduce the the overall height of the nut to clean up the look. (more on this later)

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0552-640x360-jpg

    Now we can assess the neck relief at the 8th fret using a notched straight edge ( the strings are off purely for the picture).

    We check the flatness of the fingerboard at its centre. There are measuring guides for the relief gap, anything between totally flat to .008". I'm looking for .006" with heavy flatwound strings. These measurements are done with the strings tuned to pitch and in the playing position.

    In this instance the truss rod needed tightening as much as 1/4qtr and 1/8th turn to read as .006" relief. Remember, as you look onto the nut, righty tighty, lefty loosey

    So now that I have perfect nut action and fingerboard relief I can look at the wooden bridge and saddle to be able to set my preferred string height at the 12th fret.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0541-640x360-jpg

    Using a radius gague the same radii as the fingerboard we measure under the strings as close to the bridge as possible. Note there is a noticable gap between radii and the top E string.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0542-640x360-jpg

    Sometimes gaps are not easily seen so a piece of paper helps. Here there is a gap under the A string.

    So using the radii and appropriate gagued file we carefully lower the higher strings to the correct radius to match the fingerboard and hopefully the frets. I look for the strings to be sunk in up to 3/4qtrs and angled back to the tailpiece. If the 12th fret harmonic on any string has a funny overtone the string slot is too shallow and flat which allows string vibration to pass over the saddle to the tailpiece and back again.

    To set the intonation quickly way before getting a tuner get a measuring tape and set it at your guitars string length and then measure from the nut edge at the fingerboard and then move the saddle to the string length distance for the top E and then add 3/32" or 2.5mm to the string length for the bottom E. Of course detune the strings to make moving the bridge easier. Now tune up to pitch with a tuner and move the saddle accordingly for better results.

    I then set the action at the 12th fret to my preferences, 1.75" for bottom E and 1.35" for top E.

    So now I have perfect nut action, perfect fingerboard relief, perfect truss rod adjustment, perfect saddle radius, intonation is set and for me perfect string action. I now have a better playing guitar but now I find some fret buzz on the higher frets and a low fret on the 6th. I could set the string action higher to 2.5mm and 1.5mm which will reduce the buzz but I prefer a lower action.

    So now we go deeper into setting up this guitar and I make some astounding discoveries!

    But it is late now and I need a coffee!

    More later......

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  3. #2

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    So now I have a balanced musical instrument with fret buzz!
    Back to the factory QC debate; employ a guy to level frets or more profit?

    When I worked at Fenix guitars we would level the frets on all our guitars prior to dispatch. It's a boring job.

    So what to do?

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0542_1-640x360-jpg

    After setting the intonation I want to avoid messing around again so I use masking tape to the edges of the bridge with a pencil mark to show me the exact position. Note the light has left a mark on the guitar-which is in the wrong place! Damn you...!

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0553-640x360-jpg

    Okay, back to the notched straight edge. In the centre of the fingerboard @ the 8th fret and a with a torch behind we adjust the truss rod until the light disappears. In this instance I had to turn the truss rod into a slight back bow. When applying masking tape to a fingerboard be wary that decorators tape comes in different tackyness(!). The buff coloured stuff is very hard to remove if it's left on for any length of time. On older, lacquered and dryer fingerboards the buff stuff causes damage. The blue tape has a lower tackiness and with either tape if you stick onto felt the wollen fibres attach to the tape and reduces its tackiness further.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0557-640x360-jpg

    Now we remove the nut. Score around it with a sharp blade to break any lacquer that has attached to the nut. Using a piece of wood as a drift a sharp tap with a hammer releases the nut. Note a chip of plastic is still attached to the nut. These Epi Emp Regs use a whole face plate with all the inlay and binding in place, more profit! The nut is sitting on plastic and not wood! Does this affect tone? Who knows...
    (More on the chip and nut later)

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0554-640x360-jpg

    So we could strap the guitar in such a way as to hold the neck in a flat position so as to apply sanding blocks and brawn but I favour the fret rocker approach. This handy and simple device spreads covers three frets and if you can rock it side to side and make a tapping sound the middle fret is higher in that place than the two either side. This doesn't need any force on the neck which would distort any readings, this is a gentle process. We now mark the high spots and then using a file we just reduce these higher areas. Remember, measure one fret-file one fret.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0558-640x360-jpg

    With all frets spot leveled and re-checked for high spots I now use a radiused sanding block with 800 grit wet and dry sand paper and re-mark the frets with ink as a gague. I would apply just enough pressure and support the neck half way until all the ink has disappeared in the centre of all the frets. This shouldn't be more than 10 passes. Because we have spot filed all the high areas all we are doing here is checking all frets are even and removing file marks.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0561-640x360-jpg

    With a piece of the sand paper from the block we use the fleshy part of thumbs to remove the blue ink at the sides of the frets. In doing so softening any edges and scratches left by the filing and sanding.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0562-640x360-jpg

    Using 0000 grade wire wool we polish the fret the old skool way! It's surprising how quick this works, but after a 10 hour day of this your fingers ache like an unrequited teenagers heart.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0563-640x360-jpg

    After polishing each fret check for any scratch marks using your nail. If you find a scratch use the 800 grit paper to remove it and then re-polish with 0000 wire wool.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0565-640x360-jpg

    After polishing all the frets and carefully removing the masking tape we see the fingerboard wood needs some TLC.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0566-640x360-jpg

    Here I've used Gorgamyte to treat the wood and in doing so it provides a final polish to the frets. Nice.

    Now I have a balanced guitar with no fret buzz, ace mate!

    But now I want to go deeper like a mole on speed!
    Last edited by jazzbow; 07-07-2015 at 04:15 AM.

  4. #3

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    So what's next? Well while the strings are off setting the bridge base is the way to go..

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0531-640x360-jpg

    While it was strung up and under string tension see if you can slide paper underneath. Here we see there is no contact.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0532-640x360-jpg

    No contact here either. The bridge area in contact with the arch is small enough but if theres less contact under tension we're not getting the full transference of string vibration to the guitar top plate and therefore not a full sound.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0543_1-640x360-jpg

    So with the strings off and a piece of 180 grit sand paper cut and taped to fall within the marked tape for the bridge intonation set point. I use a water based 'whiteboard' marker to colour in the base as a gague, be sure to go sparingly. Of course care is to be taken on vintage instruments and masking tape.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0546-640x360-jpg

    Note the saddle is loked into place by the thumbscrews. We do this so when were sanding the base to the contours of the top arch we have a visual cue to which side goes to the top E and which side goes to the bottom E. I count in 4/4 time to whatever is on the radio and try to whistle a solo while doing this, MoR power rock is good. Avoid slow ballads and anything by Motorhead as your brain will explode!

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0549-640x360-jpg

    If you check this picture you can see I've penciled in a 'B' to indicate which way round the saddle goes when sanding and the final set up with new strings.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0547-640x360-jpg

    Once the wood dust reaches right across we know we are done.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0548-640x360-jpg

    After all is done and levelled we can see holes appearing from the bottom of the screw post holes. No trouble here, I guess this would be the bradwl point of a wood drill bit and nothing suspicious.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0569_1-640x360-jpg

    So now we treat the wood to Gorgamyte. Can you tell which part has been treated and which has not?

    New strings are fitted and stretched in, all tuned and intonated. Lovely.

    So far this has taken me 8 hours.

    But still, there are other issues that need addressing which draws me in further than a Jackson Pollock 'Paint by numbers' gift set.

    More to come!
    Last edited by jazzbow; 07-07-2015 at 09:10 AM.

  5. #4

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    Well I said more than that when the stock nut came off with a large chip still stuck on because of too much glue! I guess profit over traditional labour intensive detailing rules the day.

    Anyway, a simple fix.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0570_1-640x360-jpg

    With a fresh blade and a few light taps from the hammer the chip came away. No dramas here.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0575_1-640x360-jpg

    Always fix a chip as soon as posible, never go poking around with greasy fingers incase the glue don't stick. Here it is all glued and filed.
    The plastic faux faceplate goes all the way under the nut and actually under the fingerboard!
    I guess we could cut it out and glue in wood matching the maple. On reflection that would return very little for a major arse -ache. Would that diminish string tone? Answers on a postcard addressed to Gerrwhan Whadyefink.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0579_1-640x360-jpg

    So the stock nut works but for me the stark whiteness is asthetically ugly. A piece of unbleached bone will work well. Find the 90 degree corner on the bone blank for the fingerboard face for a straight edge. We dab two tiny spots of super glue on the stock nut and fix it to the bone. We now have a template from which to shape the bone. If we like the string spaces we can use this to rough in the start on the bone blank.
    I managed to squeeze a wider spacing because of me big fingers. My nickname at school was 'Spoons'

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0601_1-640x360-jpg

    How do we gauge the depth of the nut slots so as not to take too much off? Old skool was by eye. This way with thickness gauges is easy. First we find the height of the fret. A straight edge over fret 1 & 2 and using a feeler gauge we find the height. In this case the first fret height is approx .040" and all with strings installed and tuned to pitch.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0602_1-640x360-jpg

    So .040" plus .010" for clearance will give me a gauge total of .050". that leaves plenty of space to manouver for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th string fret clearance. It's a bit tight for the 5th and 6th so I add an extra .002".
    So the appropriate gauges are selected ready to act as a stop for the nut file.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0603_1-640x360-jpg

    Here we see the gauged stop in action. I follow the neck break angle with the file first then just over parallel to the fingerboard to establish the string groove. As I get closer to the gauge stop I start to file in one direction from fingerboard to headstock and in a downward rolling action. I'm mindfull not to hit the cheapo headstock faceplate and looking for the file to touch the gauge stop.
    De-tune each string as you file its slot, it makes it a bit easier.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0606_1-640x360-jpg

    So how far do we file down the sting slots for perfect string clearance? Well just enough!
    Think of the nut as a fret, a string has to have just enough clearance over the next fret so as not to rattle against it.
    Pressing a string just in front of the second fret we can see the clearance over the first fret. We can measure this and then file a little bit off until we get the clearance we want. I eyeball it and press the string against the fist fret to hear it make a 'clink' sound. If it don't clink there is no clearance and therefore string buzz on open notes.
    If we take too much off we can gather some bone dust, press it into the over filed slot, drop a bit of super glue and start filing again.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0610_1-640x360-jpg

    Now we have a perfect cut nut that needs further shaping. Top off with 600 grit wet & dry sand paper and polish the bone with some metal polish to remove the fine scratches.
    Two little dabs of super glue to the fingerboard edge and then press home the nut with finger pressure.

    Good to go!

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0629_1-640x360-jpg
    Unbleached bone suits the guitar. Nice.

    So there we have the guitar playing perfectly, but oh dear, the pickup placement. OMG. Serious fail.

    I was as speechless as a Carmelite Nun who's just blatted her thumb with a ball pein hammer!
    Last edited by jazzbow; 07-07-2015 at 04:51 PM.

  6. #5

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    Is that light at the end of the tunnel?

    No, it's that bugger Jazzbow with a torch and a notched straight edge..... AAaaaaarrrghhh!

    Almost home folks.

    So yeah, the pickup placement and more.

    Check this out...

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0538_1-640x360-jpg

    Can you see the adjustable pole piece divots on the top plate? Naughty Epiphone QC. Go to the corner with a dunces hat and a copy of Dan Erlewines guitar repair book and reflect on what you've done. Bad Epiphone QC.

    What to do here?

    Drastic measures for serious Epiphone QC F'up.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0576_1-640x360-jpg

    3.5mm had to be taken off the pole pieces so the neck mount pickup would lay flat and the polepieces are flush to the pickup cover.
    Let me just write that again; 3.5mm clipped off the adjustable polepieces!
    So I screwed in each polepiece individually, clipped off 3.5mm and then filed down the cut mark. Had this been a original Johnny Smith p/u he would have turned in his grave!
    I considered unscrewing the polepieces to cut off the 3.5mm extra length but it would have been an arse-ache to try and screw it back in with squashed thread from the clipping and filing motion.

    Anyhoo,

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0526-jpg

    We went from this ....

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0636-jpg

    To this.....

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0540_1-640x360-jpg

    Poorly cut pickup mounting recess with lacquer build up needed attending to.

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0583_1-640x360-jpg

    Hmm, come here Epiphone QC, right, after careful consideration you have been sacked! Leave the house of Jazz Guitar immediately.

    So we now went from....

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0525-360x640-jpg

    this...

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0622_1-360x640-jpg

    To this.

    I also did this

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0585_1-640x360-jpg

    A bit of copper shielding for the pots.

    So now every thing is done. I think I put in around 12 hours on this guitar to make it playable. Shocking really for a new guitar.
    Who can we lay blame to? The retail outlet? No. the way the big brands force retailers to have minimum spends of up to £10k you would expect the product to be ready to go with just a simple action and intonation tweak.
    It's obvious that this guitar is built to a price so the factory is not to blame. It's up to the distributers to wrestle their product into fine playing instruments. This one must have slipped by the gates.

    I jumped into this guitar knowing of its shortcomings before any purchase was discussed. I spotted the pickup thing within 5 minutes of playing it and know from experience that there will be issues with mass produced instruments.

    Anyhoo, I hope you enjoyed this voyage of discovery.

    P.S. experience in guitar tweaking comes at a cost, you will F'up something but you will learn, just don't F'up your '56 L5 in the process.
    Last edited by jazzbow; 07-07-2015 at 06:19 PM.

  7. #6

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    Thanks a lot for sharing thus far. Really interesting stuff!

  8. #7

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    Thanks for your kind comments and interest.

    So why did I go for this guitar?

    I wanted a new hollow big bodied guitar with a 25.5" scale with a floating pickup so I can play acoustically.

    I looked at the Gretsch New Yorker with pickup but they had issues with low frets that needed re-setting. One shop I tried one at wouldn't lower the string height unless I bought it! Mate, I'm a silver surfer with a disposable income. Fool.

    The G100 syncromatic is hard to find to try as is the D'Angellico and Washburn J600K.

    So I have a fine playing Epi Emp Reg but what does it sound like?

    It's opened up in acoustic volume with some nice spruce crispness to the mids and highs.

    It plays like a dream instead of a nightmare and it loves the key of Bb.

    Blondie doesn't like F notes though and barks back through my valve amp.

    Why Blondie?

    Coz of what Tuco said....



    I have plans for some more tweaks but that's for the future, right now I'm sitting back with a beer and enjoying a midnight sesh!

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0637-jpg
    Last edited by jazzbow; 07-07-2015 at 06:53 PM.

  9. #8

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    Mate you know for that price what I would do?

    I would take the top off from the rest of the body and replace it with a formed solid spruce or maple on.

    Then you could have a solid topped Emperor Regent.

    Its not because I think the guitar is bad, its just it would be a fun experiment. Take the old top off, fill it to make a mould, then use the mould to vacuum press a nice bit of spruce, add your braces then glue it on.

  10. #9

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    That's a challenge!

    I have a few things in the background I want to do but the whole new top plate thing is not one of them.

    I'm going to make a new scratchplate for Blondie with bass and treble cut and boost pots and introduce an effective connector system to be able to swap out pickups for bronze or nickel strings.

    I've got to finish off my Jazz Tele for a thread on that too.

    And I'm converting some junk guitars into dulcimers too.

    So much to do, so little time to do it all!

  11. #10

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    Oh, and finally....

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0615_1-640x360-jpg

    800 W+D sand paper to the over glossy 2 pack lacquer

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0632_1-360x640-jpg

    With some masking tape to create an edge

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0633_1-640x360-jpg

    And eventually the matting effect on the neck will polish up with use

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0634_1-640x360-jpg

    A piece of rubber to support the flimsy screw fixing on the scratch plate

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-dsc_0627_1-640x360-jpg

    And the final rites of NGD.... The removal of the protective plastic film

    :-D
    Last edited by jazzbow; 07-10-2015 at 03:52 AM.

  12. #11

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    Excellent thread/description and photos.

  13. #12

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    I am enjoying your thread a lot, jazzbow. One of the better threads for a very very long time. Educational to a duffer like me, too.

    Gorgomyte...yeeech, it always reminds me of "smegma" for some strange inexplicable reason. Gorgomyte. Smegma. Gorgomyte. Smegma. And a heaping jar of Marmite, too.

  14. #13

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    Excellent ! Detailed and uncompromising !

    Gosh, you must really be enjoying it after all this work ...

    Thanks and congrats

  15. #14

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    I agree with Jabbs. The ideas, the pictures, the detail and the wit, all priceless.

  16. #15

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    So, how does she sound and play?


    Addenum: OOPS! Just read your post #10 and got the answer.
    Last edited by rsclosson; 07-10-2015 at 08:40 AM.

  17. #16

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    Well RS, don't worry, any chance to blurt on about me new geetarr is always a good thing!

    Blondie plays well. No effort getting around the fingerboard in my limited fashion. Chords are a breeze and everything's relatively in tune as we voyage off into the improvisational vista.

    Acoustically Blondie has the crisp highs and mids you would expect from spruce, laminated or not. With flatwounds the lower frequencies are focused but limited. The guitar needs to be held in such a way that the back is not touching ones body in order to get a deeper tone.

    Electrically the mini humbucker works well delivering the acoustic tone I have described but the tone control and cap has three settings; off, fully on, a little bit on. Juggling along with the volume on the guitar and the Baxendale EQ stack on my amp I can tweak the tone a bit more.

    I have already made plans on tweaking the electrics but that's in the background.

    I see you have kept the ES 175. Why is it a second? You should do a piece on it for the gizmo section.

    Cheers

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzbow

    I see you have kept the ES 175. Why is it a second? You should do a piece on it for the gizmo section.

    Cheers
    It is a second because of a minor finish flaw which went away when I did the virtuoso polish to put some gloss back into the guitar. Also the tailpiece was misaligned by almost a quarter of an inch. I did some real serious measuring and testing before fixing that. Turned out perfect. Not sure why, but this guitar actually has improved my playing and the USA Gibson pickup sounds outstanding.

    I also have an Emperor Regent. My second one. The first was a gorgeous blonde which I could never quite bond with because of the narrow neck. Now I have a sunburst with a much more substantial neck which feels much better. I like the more acoustic sound from the mini HB but I am really digging the 175.

  19. #18

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    I could not help but laugh because a month ago I purchased on a whim the same guitar. Built in same factory in 2005. It was second or third hand but in very good condition and it just sounded nice. It is not a laminated top but some type of steamed spruce one piece. I got a flexscope into it and am able to clearly see identical wood grains inside and out. I noted a lot of the same deficiencies. I hated the plastic nut sitting on a plastic bed, the bridge needed fitting, the action was a little high because of a buzz. The pickup route around the bridge end had a little tag of loose wood. Did not have the issue with the long pickup screws. Anyway your travels around the guitar were virtually identical except I've yet to do the fret level (I will this winter). I needed to drill and plug the pickup mounting holes on one side of the neck to get a quirky little angle out of the pickup. I punted on the wooden bridge and changed it to a rosewood with a bone saddle (Stewmac) that matched the new unbleached bone nut color (same process you used) and it made the guitar a little brighter and have more higher harmonics to my ear. I also added a treble bleed circuit to the volume pot which I like. The reason I was looking today was that I was trying to see if there was any Epiphone "official" setup guidelines for the guitar (just for grins). This box has a 25.5" scale and there aren't many guitars that long. Using 0.011"-0.050"DiAdarios. The Bridge fitting process has been interesting. I've done this job on my Godin 5th Ave before and got a perfect fit. The top is so flexible on this Epiphone that the bridge fit changes under string tension. The area directly under the bridge compresses and very slightly lifts the two ends of the bridge base. I believe I am going to cut about 1/4" off each end of the bridge base. I don't believe there will be a noticeable sonic difference. Having said all of this I'm still very happy with the guitar. I'm not afraid to drag it anywhere and you would have to pay a whole lot more money to get one that might sound better.

  20. #19

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    Hello Jazzbow, I recently acquired a regent and want to thank you for your tutorial. Would you tell me what the fretboard radius is on yours? I have read they are 12" & somewhere else read 16". Would it be silly to assume that mine is the same as yours?

  21. #20

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    Mine is a 14" fret board radius

  22. #21

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    Hi guys.

    I found the radii to be closer 16"

    Palu, I see the same bridge base foot print with the edges sticking up! The majority of the bridge base centre clearly fits onto the top of the arch and I believe that's enough.
    It's funny you mention the bone saddle, I'm contemplating fixing one up in the future.

    You mention the top on yours being one piece and not laminated, that's cool. I'm under the impression it's laminated though after looking at some fixed pickup work on one.

    There's also some concern with the neck block being a plywood block and not solid wood. I can report my 2012 version has a solid wood neck block.

    As for official set up I have the owners manual and it states:

    String action measured from the 12th fret to the underside of the string....
    Electric guitars 4/64 Treble side and 6/64 Bass side
    Acoustic guitars 5/64 Treble side and 7/64 Bass side.

    As we have what is in effect an 'Electro-acoustic' somewhere between the two would work.

    It states further...
    'Lower than standard action can often result in "buzz" or "rattle". Buzz or rattle caused by lower than standard action is not considered a defect of the instrument'.
    What a caveat considering I found obvious high frets and a piss poor misalignment of the pickup caused by overly long pickup screws that pushed the pickup up into the lower than standard string action zone!
    Bastards!!

    Ahem!

    Sorry.

    The Epi Emp Reg is sounding better acoustically the more it is played, all good here matey!
    Last edited by jazzbow; 08-18-2015 at 05:59 AM.

  23. #22

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    My 2003 Peerless has a laminated top and neck block as shown by my major surgery on it

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-22-routing09-jpg

    Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-24-routing10-jpg

  24. #23
    destinytot Guest
    Fascinating thread - thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by jazzbow
    So now that I have perfect nut action...
    I'm curious to know whether low nut action is considered a problem if there's no buzz (or intonation problem).

  25. #24

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    Hi DT, thanks for your kind words,

    Low nut action is only a problem if the plucked string rattles against the first fret.

    In a 'nut'-shell, the strings should just pass the 1st fret. This helps toward a good string action over the rest of the fingerboard.

    I would assess a guitar in this order:

    1. Nut action
    2. Neck straightness
    3. String height
    4. Fret buzz (high frets)
    5. Intonation


    If the nut action is too high it will effect the pitch of the fretted strings.

    Check this link...

    Nut Action

    I hope this helps.

  26. #25

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    Great thread, thanks, Jazzbow. (I want you to be my guitar tech!)

  27. #26

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    Jazzbow, Nice Tutorial on proper set up. And Vinlander thanks for that shot of yours. I was just reaching for the jig saw.....

    For years I had a '48 L-7 and loved it. I even sold it and bought it back! Eventually I sold it to buy an old Twin amp. I'd been jonesing for an acoustic archtop and last year went looking for something I could afford. Searching thru the web, I settled on a blonde 2004 Peerless example with a very nice Levy's bag.
    It arrived and to my delight already had a nicely done bone nut, the bridge was fine, (It's odd though A Rosewood base with an Ebony saddle, is that stock?) and nicely dressed frets. Except for strings it needed little.
    I left it as -is for a week or so then turned it into what you see in the second shot. I had a set of med phos. bronze on hand so I put them on. I've gone back and forth between the ebony bridge and one with a bone saddle. It's not a killer but it'll do until the real thing comes along.
    As it turned out I also found a very affordable UnSung built Broadway with a Bigsby tailpiece. I asked the seller about the stock tail and he was lucky enough to find it and send it along. I used the long side of it as you can see. Idea proudly swiped from Hank Garland!
    3 things I would have liked. First a non cutaway body, then figured veneers and, while the necks is decent I would have liked a bit more beef. After I got mine I saw one that had Birdseye back and sides but haven't ever seen another with figured wood. I realize it's a profit driven world but I doubt the cost of figured veneers would have broke the bank and might have sold more guitars.

    And lastly a blast from the past. A post war Deluxe I owned for a while leaning against a '52 Alamo Amp-6a. THE coolest looking amp I've ever owned!
    Attached Images Attached Images Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-001-jpg Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-img_0762-jpg Epiphone Emperor Regent - Setup and Tweaks-epialamo2-jpg 
    Last edited by Bigsbyguy; 08-20-2015 at 06:41 PM.

  28. #27

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    Great job Jazzbow, I loved everything about the post. All those hours of work straightening out the problems. How little effort it would have been for the factory to take care of those flaws and then they would have been producing a product to be proud of. Perhaps Gibson is afraid to show just how good a guitar can be without costing $10,000.Thanks for the effort.

  29. #28

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    Awesome thread, i'm about to buy an Emperor Regent too, and being aware of this will let me guide the luthier i hire to do a great work like you did.

    Thanks!

  30. #29

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    Great thread. I imagine paying a luthier to do all of that would almost double the price of the instrument, well, at least half as much again. Worth the bother?

  31. #30

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    Wonderful thread, absolutely wonderful!
    I'm going to follow your process to setup an Emperor Regent as well.

    With that said, do you think it would be better to get a bone nut, or one of those lubricated tusq ones for a guitar like this?

  32. #31

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    I have a question; I recently removed a pickguard on this guitar and found that the pickup was not attached to the neck bracket. Does this mean the guitar is broken, or is it just a different design?
    Last edited by JohnBee; 07-31-2018 at 06:34 AM.

  33. #32

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    I would say that Tusq is more consistent and harmonically better. There's a you tube video of that grumpy Dave fella doing a sound comparison twixt bone and Tusq by dropping them onto a hard surface. Bone went 'clunk' and Tusq went 'click'.

    But, as always, 1 out of 1000 music lovers would be able to tell the difference in a live music event (before alcohol of course).

    Lots of opinion out there. It's whatever gets you 'on & in'.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBee
    I have a question; I recently removed the pickguard on my own guitar and found that the pickup was not attached to the neck bracket. Does this mean mine is broken, or a different design?
    Broke.

    Careful with soldering it back on.

    Or alternatively solder in another pickup.

    I have ditched the mini humbucker for a 50 year old single coil Vox pickup which will have to be noted on this thread, sometime...

    Have fun

  35. #34

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    Oh well that's not good - I was under the impression that the guitar was pristine, but I guess the seller kept this on the down-low. At any rate, I'll assemble a replacement pickup and pickguard rather than to mess with it, and include the broken as backup.

    With that said, do you have any recommendations for a replacement, or would I be better off sticking with the original?
    Last edited by JohnBee; 07-31-2018 at 06:35 AM.

  36. #35

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    The more common way of mounting a suspended pickup is to attach it to the pickguard. Sometimes they are attached to the end of the neck with a bracket. Perhaps this one originally had the pickup attached to the neck, but it was replaced with one attached to the pickguard. It's possible for the pickup to break off the bracket. That isn't the end of the world, because the pickup can be attached to a pickguard and still used. I'm not sure if that's the case with yours, or if you have a replacement pickup. As long as it works, I wouldn't worry about it.

  37. #36

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    Okay, I just checked and concluded that the pickup is indeed broken. And so I guess I'll just order a new one.
    With that said, do you think a "Kent Armstrong Handwound Mini Humbucker 12 pole side mount" pickup would be a suitable replacement?

    Also, I noticed the mounting face where the neck bracket resides is in pretty bad shape, though I wouldn't want to remove it, as this would expose the mounting holes and raw spacing. And so I wondered if you know a better method of addressing this, and/or whether there was a gold plated bracket to cover this up? Or would this be more of a custom piece?
    Last edited by JohnBee; 07-31-2018 at 06:37 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBee
    Oh well that's not good - I was under the impression that the guitar was pristine, but I guess the seller kept this little fact on the downlow.

    At any rate, I'll assemble a replacement pickup and pickguard rather than to mess with this one, and keep the broken as backup.

    With that said, do you have any recommendations for a replacement, or would I be better off sticking with the original?
    Hard to say depending on what your tastes are.

    Mini humbucker is bright sounding with no hum. Full sized humbucker warm bassy tone no hum.
    Single coil more articulate bright tone.
    Factor in pots and cap values then 'Whammo!' You're falling down the rabbit hole of tone desperately trying to cling on..... Wahhhh!
    Do what I've done and make up a couple of scratchplate with different pickups with an easy way to swap them around.

    Y'know methinks i should post up my electronic swappables for the Epi Emp Reg tweak thread this weekend.
    Give me time and I'll get some pix and maybe sound bites.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBee
    Okay, I just checked and concluded that the pickup is indeed broken. And so I guess I'll just order a new one.
    With that said, do you think a "Kent Armstrong Handwound Mini Humbucker 12 pole side mount" pickup would be a suitable replacement?

    Also, I noticed the mounting face where the neck bracket resides is in pretty bad shape, but wouldn't want to remove it, as this would expose the mounting holes and the likes. And so I wondered if you know whether there was a gold plated bracket to cover this up. Or would that be more of a custom piece?
    The K/A is a good piece of kit.
    As for the remaining holes I must put the screws back in. However for the OCD types something could be manufactured. Sky's the limit!

  40. #39

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    A true OCD proponent would setup and electrolysis bath and replate the original bracket

    .oO now where did I put that electrophoretic gold dye lacquer

  41. #40
    Thanks for posting such an interesting run through of your tweaks.
    I bought a 2012 Regent a couple of months ago and experienced all the same issues you had.
    The guitar had obviously hardly been used in the last 6 years and was in mint condition.
    The acoustic sound/tone was very dull and sustain very bad.

    What I've done so far:
    D'Addario 12-52 halfrounds.
    Replaced the nut with a ZeroGlide Zero Fret with stainless fret. (I've done this on all my guitars. Love it!)
    Gotoh TOM (black) with Ti saddles. Filed the saddles for a better radius and notched for a better string spacing.
    Sanded the bridge base to fit. I had the same problem as others with the ends of the base rising up on string tension so I just cut off the last 12mm of each end. Feeling through the f-holes this takes the base to just over the internal bracing.
    Grover locking tuners (black). (Had to fill in the old screw holes as new tuners off by a couple of mm).
    Trimmed down the pickup poles so the pickup lies flat and doesn't touch the top.
    Setup action and intonation. Frets almost perfect.
    MusicNomad F-One fretboard oil.

    What a difference!
    Sustain massively improved.
    Tone now full and mellow across all the strings. Just what I wanted.

    Jobs still to do:
    A 'harp' shaped metal tailpiece due soon.
    I've got a Macassar ebony fretboard that I'm sanding and shaping to make a new finger rest.
    Full width 12-pole humbucker on the drawingboard with Oil City pickups here in London.
    When that comes through next year I'll fit the finger rest and re-do the electronics with some Schatten Design thumbwheels.
    Gotoh curved jack plate (black).

    That will complete the black makeover as well! (never really liked the gold finishes).

  42. #41

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    Figured I'd revive this since I've decided to attempt to improve the bridge-to-top contact on my Epiphone ER.

    To be brief, I failed! Haha.
    I followed the OP's steps as far as taping and marking things. Picked up some 180 grit sandpaper, taped it down and got to sanding. I did it 3 times and still couldn't get it 100% flush. Ugh! It's better but still comes pretty short.

    Someone very knowledgeable played the guitar a few weeks and said that he thought the 3 high strings sounded a bit shrill, so I hoped this would help. I don't have the experience or tools to make the other improvements. Maybe next time I change strings I will take another bite at the Apple.

    On another note, I swapped out the high E & B strings for .13 & .17s. It helped a bit.

  43. #42

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    Hello matey, Jazzbow here.

    The bridge feet will push up as the guitar top flexes. I believe the centre of the bridge base (between the string posts) would need to sit flush. You could cut in the flex to the bridge plate but that skill takes many f'ups to perfect.

    Shrill notes could be the string gauge but it also could be a bad saddle string slot being flat. You should be looking at 1 inch height between bottom of string to guitar top plate at the bridge/saddle as a rule, this gives you the right break angle. Any less than an inch and we could be looking at a collapsed top or neck reset.

    Hello everyone else. I'm still here! Vaguely um and err not to mention lots of ha ha.

  44. #43

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    I have had an emperor regent since 2009. Its made in Korea.
    There is a lot to like about this guitar, but like many others, who have posted around. There seems to be a frequent dissatisfaction with some aspects of the guitars sound. not all of the sound, but part of it and if that could be fixed than the guitar would be brilliant.

    On my guitar it first need a big setup. I had it fully worked on in London and plecked. The finger board is now as good as any gibson. For many of these guitars the nut is in serious need of skilled attention and that alone will make them much more playable. For many, the frets will be OK, if not, the guitars neck is well made and can be a great fingerboard after some work in the luthiers.

    As for the sound, mine seemed very bassy, and woody, which was good. However it had weird scooped midrange with an annoying shrill quality to the treble part of the sound, particularly on the top strings. It sounded good acoustically but the electric sound was not great. This could be EQ'd out, either with the tone control on the amp, but that isn't really a great fix. I can see why many people were experimenting with different pickups.
    It would be better if the guitar just didn't make a shrill sound. This sound has stopped me from using the guitar, and using others, although I always hung onto it in the hope I might "cure" the sound on day.

    Finally I have, so I thought I would share my fix for my problem. I appreciate this might not work for others, or for every emperor regent, but it worked on mine.

    I simply replaced the top part of the wooden bridge with a metal tune-o-matic one. I have kept the wooden foot of the bridge, as that is already shaped to the guitars top. With the tune-o-matic that I got the top simply slotted on. The change to the electric sound was dramatic.


    • All the shrill treble has gone, replaced with a sweet clean glassy treble, as you would want
    • The scooped mid has gone and a thicker upper mid is now present
    • Bass remains the same, thick and large
    • Sustain, with flat wounds, is a slightly increased, but not excessive.
    • The airy quality of the guitar is still there, the "floating pickup" sound but no shrill treble.


    This has been a great improvement for this guitar, won't be selling now. Also won't be replacing the pickup, it actually sounds fine.

    Another small change I made was to replace the tone capacitor. The one supplied was of large value, as in line with vintage guitars. I put on the same value that a current gibson has. The tone control works in a more "normal" way with that change.

    In summary, if you want to get a better electric sound from this guitar, try swapping the bridge top for a tune-o-matic before doing anything more. Its an easy cost effective change and might get you the sound you want.

  45. #44

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    For reasons I don't completely understand, some guitars seem to prefer TOMs, and some seem to prefer wood. I haven't found a way to predict in advance which will sound better on an individual guitar. Some also prefer solid bases, and some seem to like split ones. The only way I know to tell is to try all the combinations.

  46. #45

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    I should consider myself lucky, because my -99 ER has never needed any work on bridge, saddle or fingerboard. The tone issues are pretty subjective, and many of us are constantly seeking for better PUs, capacitors, strings etc. After years with flatwounds I returned to roundwounds, because this guitar serves mainly in a swing-type comping role. I always try to keep the amp volume so low that the guitar itself is also heard. Unhappy with the original PU, I found very little improvement from the Sky PUs subsequently mounted. There's a Shadow AZ 48 waiting for installation, but I don't want to cut a bigger opening to the pickguard.

    Around 2002 I was on a business trip in Florida. A jazz trio was playing in the hotel lobby, led by a fine guitarist whose name I, unfortunately, did not catch. He was playing an ER and said it's just as good as his Gibson but much more sensible for a touring musician. It was the first time I became aware of TI flatwounds.

    Funny how much less discussion there's about the sister model Broadway, which has two humbuckers dug into the top and, hence, assumably, inferior acoustic properties.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 07-04-2020 at 03:52 PM.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imoy
    I have had an emperor regent since 2009. Its made in Korea.
    There is a lot to like about this guitar, but like many others, who have posted around. There seems to be a frequent dissatisfaction with some aspects of the guitars sound. not all of the sound, but part of it and if that could be fixed than the guitar would be brilliant.

    In summary, if you want to get a better electric sound from this guitar, try swapping the bridge top for a tune-o-matic before doing anything more. Its an easy cost effective change and might get you the sound you want.
    Nice observations Imoy.

    The ER is a sound long scale semi pro instrument or knock-about gigging guitar and great platform for changing the hardware.

    Hi everyone else from Jazzbows lush lockdown lodgings.
    Still here and tweaking shattered, torn and pulverized musical instruments.

    Funnily enough me next project is to swap out some pickups and an easy click in system for the Epi Emp Reg.
    I have, at present, a 60 year old Vox single coil pickup on the ole' girl at the moment.
    I also have a 60 year old Fenton Weil single coil pickup and loom plus an old Japanese made single coil from the 70's as well!

    The idea is to have a simple (Derrr) system to be able to swap out pickup looms in minutes, so swap a single coil to humbucker if needed in a buzzy live room setting.

    I'll crack on this week and post up the results here for your perusal.