1998 Epiphone Dot Deluxe

JMP

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I just picked up a used 1998 Epiphone Dot Deluxe, natural, with the case, for a deal. It’s in very very good shape and It plays well. But, the stock nut is garbage ( it’s cut and shaped all wonky) and electronics generally feel cheap and barely work.

Once things chill with the virus situation, I plan to bring the guitar to the local luthier for a new bone nut and all new electronics (CTS, switchcraft, etc). I’m thinking putting some decent pickups in it also makes sense.

My question- I’m not interested in spending $200 on pickups. I see sets of the new Epiphone ProBuckers for a song on Reverb. Am I an idiot for considering ProBuckers? Any other inexpensive PAF style pickups I should consider?

Photo added. The guitar is going to my local luthier next week for surgery (bone nut, setup, new electronics but stock pups will stay for now). Can’t wait to get it back.
 

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Tone deaf

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I have an Epi 335 that I plan on upgrading. I like the guitar and I like modding guitars. I will do the nut , wiring and pups first. I was thinking of Seth Lovers. However, in the past, I have found good deals on CL for other pups (Burstbucker pros, etc.). Considering what I paid for it, if I put $300 into it and like how it plays, that's a deal.
 

BadPenguin

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I had the ProBuckers in a SG Pro, and despised them in that guitar. I have them in a Epi Paul Custom, and they are perfect for that guitar. How they would be in a Dot....?
 

DrBGood

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I see sets of the new Epiphone ProBuckers for a song on Reverb.
When it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Probuckers from China are fake. Epiphone sells them for over $100 s set.

... and electronics generally feel cheap and barely work ...
All electroniccs on all my old Epiphone are still original and work flawlessly. But I take care of them, clean lubricate them a few times a year with somethnig like Deoxit.
I’m thinking putting some decent pickups in it ...
It has been played with these in for ... 22 years and suddently they're crap. That's a bummer isn't it ? Have you thought of trying the most effective, cheapest and fastest mod on pickups ? If not, get your screwdriver and play with their height until you find their sweet spot. Yes, they have one.
 

JMP

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All electroniccs on all my old Epiphone are still original and work flawlessly. But I take care of them, clean lubricate them a few times a year with somethnig like Deoxit.
It has been played with these in for ... 22 years and suddently they're crap. That's a bummer isn't it ? Have you thought of trying the most effective, cheapest and fastest mod on pickups ? If not, get your screwdriver and play with their height until you find their sweet spot. Yes, they have one.
Thanks for responding. The guitar is actually in near mint condition and has clearly seen very little use. My thought is that replacing the electronics which (pots, jack,switch) in a semi-hollow guitar is a total pain in the ass and upgrading the pickups at the same time MAY be wise.
 

akuster777

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Hi @JMP congrats on your new 335!

I've had two of these Epi dot Craigslist finds pass through my hands over the past year--both made in the early 2000s--and I keep looking for more on Craigslist at the right price point, which I will buy and tinker with because these are extremely fun project guitars. I sold both for about the same amount that I put into them. I'll keep one when I find one with a neck that fits me--the necks on the ones I had were just a little too thick for my hands.

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Your first instinct about the nut is spot on: My first Epi dot never had been set up and the action was way too high at the nut; I asked my luthier to put in a new one, but he just talked me into having him slot it correctly, and that's all it took for it to play great all up and down the neck. My second Epi dot had been set up and had a nicely slotted nut when I got it.

Also, a new Gotoh bridge and tailpiece significantly improved the resonance of my first Epi Dot, but the bridge needed to be slotted to the right string depths for the curvature of the neck by my luthier. When I sold the first, I put the original bridge and tailpice back on, and then I used the new ones for my second, now also sold.

As far as pickups go: My first used dot came to me with SD Seth Lovers, and they sounded great in that guitar (I still have them now in another guitar). I rewired it (see below). Before I sold it, I swapped in a set of Korean-made pickups from a PRS, which still sounded quite good. My second used dot came with the stock Epi pickups, readings in the 7.5k - 8.5k DCR range, and they played well. The pots were shot, so I also rewired it (see below), and put in a SD 59 neck and SD custom bridge which sounded very good but perhaps not quite as good as the Seth Lovers in the first dot. Then before I sold it I put in a set of Gibson 490r and 490t, which were good, but not quite as good as the SDs to my ears in that particular guitar. YMMV

For both guitars, rewiring with premium 525k 5% CTS pots, OD caps, Switchcraft switch and jack, and vintage braid wire did improve the tone range, IMO. Yes, it's a bit of a pain the first time--basically you solder the entire harness outside of the guitar and pull it into place with fish tank tubing--but now it's kind of fun for me.

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If you do this, three bits of advice: First, don't be skimpy with wire lengths, better too long than too short. Second, make sure all the connections are soldered cleanly before you put it into the guitar, because its a pain to pull out and put back in again. Third, I recommend running vintage braid from the volume pots to the pickpup cavities and soldering the pickups to the braid in the cavities; that way you can swap pickpus without removing the entire harness.

Whatever you end up doing, have fun! Epi Dots are great guitars!

Best wishes,

Andrew
 
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JMP

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Andrew,
Thanks for the awesome response ! I really appreciate all the information.
 

JMP

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I just got the Dot back from my awesome local luthier. Here’s a summary of work that he did:
New bone nut

Glued the frets

Complete fret level and polish

New CTS pots, orange drop capacitors, Switchcraft switch and jack

Installed a set of used Epiphone ProBuckers

Full setup

I’m overjoyed by how incredible this guitar now plays. It’s simply awesome. And the ProBuckers.....they sound fantastic. The stock pickups were ok, but they were much higher output and microphonic at moderate volumes. The used ProBuckers were $35 and they exceed my expectations.

This is a killer guitar and I’m psyched to have it. Let me know what you all think about it. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.

The necessary photos:
 

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JMP

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I can’t put this guitar down. I’ve barely touched my Les Paul Traditional. When I play the Dot through my Fender Pro Jr at volume, the guitar vibrates and comes alive. I can’t get enough!

Anyone else have their ES type guitar vibrate with a loud amp?
 

akuster777

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Absolutely! Those Epi dots have good bones, and once you address the nut and the electronics they're excellent players, IME.

Check out 5:20 on this factory tour, the hollow bodies and semi hollows are made on presses like at Gibson:
 

mgrasso03

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Real nice. Enjoy her and play her often.

I have a 98 natural, that I picked up in 2005, I had the posts, switches and cables replaced but kept the pickups. Plays and sounds like a dream.

Did that to my 96 Peerless Casino and Sorrento. Great platforms for those upgrades. the necks, frets and finish are supurb.
 

JMP

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Real nice. Enjoy her and play her often.

I have a 98 natural, that I picked up in 2005, I had the posts, switches and cables replaced but kept the pickups. Plays and sounds like a dream.

Did that to my 96 Peerless Casino and Sorrento. Great platforms for those upgrades. the necks, frets and finish are supurb.
I’ve only played one MIK Epiphone Dot, the one I own. My guitar sure is superb!

Post some photos of your Dot , Sorrento and Casino- it’d be cool to see them.
 

JMP

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Here I am responding to my own thread.

My Dot is all maple, so it’s a bright sounding guitar. Lately, I’ve been using the Ernie Ball Rock N Roll strings (pure nickel). They add a little mellowness and thump to the low end. I dig them this guitar.

Anyone else use pure nickels on their Dot?
 


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