If you have just purchased a new Epiphone guitar or bass to plug into Rocksmith 2014, congratulations! You now hold in your hands a superb instrument designed and built to last a lifetime. If you already own an Epiphone (and most players have several), consider this Care and Maintenance Guide your quick reference resource for all guitar questions big and small.
When it comes to taking care of both new and vintage instruments, the same rules apply. We recommend you always keep your instrument in a case when transporting or storing it away until the next gig. This reduces the possibility of damage due to nicks, jams, and sudden changes in climate. Think of your case as your guitar's bodyguard. It's nearly impossible for an instrument to go through life without getting bumped around. But a solid Epiphone case is the only shore fire way to keep your instrument safe when its not being played.
Perspiration or water can damage the finish on your instrument so always wipe it down with a clean soft cloth after playing or before storing it in a case. Polishing with high gloss guitar polish or a good quality carnauba wax polish will prolong the durability of the finish.
When using a shoulder strap, check that all contact points and strap fasteners are secure. You're never too old or too experienced to 'think' your guitar is fastened correctly only to have it come crashing down when the strap falls off! So always double check that your guitar strap is securely fastened.
Avoid sharp blows to any part of your instrument. Be particularly alert to avoiding blows to the back of the headstock, machine heads (better known as tuners), and the neck heel area. Many headstock breaks are the result of an instrument being knocked over while being temporarily stored on a guitar stand. And do not stand your guitar case on its end. (Yes, we know that might sound obvious, but it had to be said!)
Though your Epiphone is expertly set up prior to shipping, should minor set up adjustments become necessary, contact your local authorized Epiphone dealer for service or questions.
Restringing Your Instrument
Fresh strings are a vital part of making an instrument sing and sound its best. When strings begin to go dead---lose their resonance or are not as touch sensitive--you won't get a balanced response from your Epiphone pickups. Further wear and tear could result in a broken string right in the middle of your solo. If that happens, it's time for a new set of strings!
How much you play your instrument and even your body chemistry (how much you perspire) will determine how often to change strings. Listening to your instrument is the only sure way to judge whether or not your strings need to be changed. And if one string needs to be changed, the others can't be far behind. To maintain tonal balance, change the whole set at the same time. There are some players (and some styles of music) that prefer the sound of worked-in or "duller"” strings. It all depends on the sound you're looking for. For instance, bass players who play classic rock and roll love the sound of "worked in" strings. When it comes to guitar, a new set of strings really makes a guitar come alive.
Proper string installation is critical to the playability of your instrument. An incorrectly installed string can slip and cause the instrument to go out of tune. When changing strings, we recommend changing one string at a time in order to maintain tension on the neck and bridge. The pressure of the strings holds the bridge and saddles in place and removing all the strings at once could necessitate a new setup.
1. At the bridge
The bridge end of the instrument is strung as shown in the images above. (Acoustic guitar left, electric guitar right.) Different instruments are strung according to the bridge and string type. The bridge end is always strung before the string posts at the headstock.
2. At the headstock
Bring the string from the bridge to the post on the corresponding tuner located on the headstock. Put string (A) through the hole or slot in the post at (B) to (C); around the upper side of the post (D) and under the string (A) at (B), back again around the string post (D). Now when you wind the string, it will lock itself against the post as shown in the image above.
Tuning Your Instrument
Many individuals have their own method of tuning their instrument and Rocksmith 2014 will introduce you to many of these including DADGAD and open G, D, and E. Your new Epiphone guitar is tuned to A-400 (standard tuning) utilizing a tuning fork, electronic tuner, or pitch pipe. The chart below shows how guitar and bass are tuned. The first string, for this purpose, is considered to be the smallest diameter. Tune the two outside strings first then tune towards the center. This equalizes the pressure on the bridge and allows rapid tuning. Be sure to check your intonation, too.
Intonation and Saddle Adjustment for a Tune-o-matic Bridge
If you have a Tune-o-matic bridge equipped Epiphone guitar, it comes to you pre-adjusted. But several additional adjustment options are available to you.
1. String Height or Action*
The height adjustment of the bridge can be set by using the two slot-head screws on either side of the Tune-o-matic Bridge. Turn clockwise to lower and counter-clockwise to raise.
2. Adjusting the Intonation*
An intonation adjustment is usually only necessary when different gauge strings are fitted (it can also be affected by the angle of a tremolo unit). The saddle positions are adjusted by the individual slot-head screws located on the front of the bridge and by sliding the saddles forward or backward. To check the intonation, use an electronic tuner and tune the guitar to standard pitch. Note: All Epiphone guitars use A-440 for standard pitch. Play the harmonic at the 12th fret and then compare it to the fretted note on the 12th fret. These notes should read the same on your tuner. Before adjusting the intonation, first determine the direction that the saddle needs to be moved. If the 12th fret harmonic pitch is lower than the fretted note, slide the saddle back. If the 12th fret harmonic pitch is higher than the fretted note, slide the saddle forward.
* Adjusting intonation and string height will affect how your guitar plays and feels. If you are unsure of any of the above operations, please take instrument to an Authorized Epiphone Dealer or experienced gutiar technician.
Action on an Epiphone guitar or bass is the distance that a string must be depressed before it meets the fret. Action measurements are taken in the 64ths of an inch and are calculated from the top of the 12th fret to the underside of the string. We set the action on all Epiphone instruments at the factory to the optimum playability setting. On occasion, lower than standard settings are desired by the player. This can be achieved by adjusting the bridge studs (See Tune-o-matic Bridge). Lower than standard action can often result in "buzz." This is caused by the string vibrating against the fret. Buzz or rattle cased by lower than standard action is not considered a defect of the instrument.
For action at the first fret, all instruments are set at the same height. Treble strings are set to 1/64" and the action progresses up to 2/64" for bass strings. Be sure that the truss rod is properly adjusted before setting your action.
All guitar necks are subject to great stress as a result of string tension, humidity or changes in climate. Occasionally there are times when the neck angle may need adjusting. The truss rod is adjustable at the headstock using an Allen wrench. Please note: this adjustment should be performed periodically but only by a qualified Epiphone repair person. Over adjustment can result in damage to your instrument's neck.
Humbucking and Single Coil Pickups
Humbucking (double coil)
Most Epiphones have double-coil humbucking pickups which were designed to do what the name says: "buck" the hum caused by fluorescent lights, rheostats, and other electric interference. This is accomplished with two coils of wire, wound in opposite directions to cancel interference. Best of all, they provide a powerful sound that is the foundation of rock and roll.
Epiphone pickups are made to produce a variety of subtle variations which can be achieved by the use of different magnets, different combinations of winding turns, and with or without covers. For individual model and pickup specs, visit Epiphone.com and also check out our Pro Bucker Challenge feature and video demonstration filmed during Epiphone's 140th anniversary celebration in Nashville in Summer, 2013.
P-90 (single coil)
Certain Epiphone models are equipped with single coil P-90 pickups. These come with various covers including "dog ear" (Casino) and "soap bar" (the classic Les Paul 1956 Goldtop). When the P-90 was introduced in 1946, it was the most powerful pickup of its kind. The Beatles were especially fond of the P-90 pickup and used their Casinos on every Beatles album from Revolver through Abbey Road.
Although the pickups on each Epiphone are set up to Epiphone standards at the factory, some additional adjustments are possible. The height of the pickup can be adjusted by the two screws found at either end of the pickup mounting ring. Individual string volume can be adjusted by turning the polepiece screws. Bringing the pickup or individual pople screws closer to the strings make the signal stronger or "hotter."
Control Knobs and Switches
The standard Epiphone electronic configuration is two pickups, four control knobs, and a pickup selector switch. The four control knobs provide individual tone and volume control for each pickup. Models with only three knobs provide individual volume control and one master tone control. Single pickup models have only two knobs--one volume and one tone control--and no pickup selector.
Your Epiphone guitar is capable of producing an infinite variety of sounds by manipulating these controls.
The Volume Control on all Epiphone models controls the amount of volume each pickup puts out. Turning the control clockwise produces more volume. Turning the control counterclockwise produces less volume.
The Tone Control on all models are "Treble Cut" controls. This means that as you turn the knob counterclockwise, you reduce the treble output of that pickup and produce a darker tone. Turning the control fully clockwise will produce the brightest sound. This means the pickup's full range of harmonic frequencies are being passed on to your amplifier.
The Selector Switch permits you to turn pickups on and off. On most guitars with two pickups, the middle position turns both pickups on. When the switch is "up," only the neck or "Rhythm" pickup is turned on. When the switch is "down," only the bridge or "Treble" pickup will be heard.
Your Epiphone comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty and 140 years (including 50 years as part of Gibson Brands) of music history. Artists like Les Paul, The Beatles, Gary Clark Jr., Slash, Zakk Wylde, The Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker, Heart, Brendon Small, Tommy Thayer of KISS, Dwight Yoakam and many others have made Epiphone a part of their story. So you can be sure your Epiphone can go anywhere your imagination can. So plug in, turn on, and make music!