#1
Its an epiphone dr150 (iirc), currently has .012's on it now and truss rod is properly adjusted.

I got it from a friend (free), i am not a big acoustic player. Eighteen electrics and five classical and just this one steel stringer.

As things are, it stays in tune decently, it just sounds dead and dull. What could i upgrade for little coin? I was thinking brass bridge pins could be a good thing to do, but don't have much experience. Action isn't great, strings are higher than my preference I don't know what to do with that. Would it be good to fit a new nut?

Lastly I was thinking about adding a port.

I am going to take it apart and do a little minimal fretwork, polish the frets, condition the fretboard, and buff out the body and headstock.

What would be the best route to take spending <$40? I will do the work myself and don't want to sink more than that on a guitar that cost a hundred new.

Thoughts are welcome!
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
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2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#2
1) Aluminium bronze strings
2) Bone saddle
3) Sound port - I've recently done a couple of those - IMO they help improve player perception, if not audience tone.

Forget the brass pins, they could well make it worse. If it is dull I would try wood to reduce the mass on the bridge.
#3
How would I go about swapping/selecting a saddle?

Are there specific pins you would recommend?
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#4
Quote by trashedlostfdup
...[ ]....As things are, it stays in tune decently, it just sounds dead and dull. What could i upgrade for little coin? I was thinking brass bridge pins could be a good thing to do, but don't have much experience. Action isn't great, strings are higher than my preference I don't know what to do with that. Would it be good to fit a new nut?
In all honesty, laminate top low end acoustics lose their resonance soon after the "new string sound" wears off. I usually string my laminated Ibanez with 80/20 "brass",. which brightens it up quite a bit, at the expense of some low end warmth.

Replacing the nut is a major PiTA without a set of $120.00 nut files. A torch tip cleaner will do a /passable/ sort of miserable job of cutting the grooves in lieu of files at about 4 bucks.. But, those are better left to just trimming out, and/ or or deepening grooves which are already there. I wouldn't attempt to cut a blank nut with it.

IMHO, it's not worth the aggravation or expense of changing the top nut, to reap an almost imperceptible, or let's call it, "subjective" improvement in tone.

"Lemon oil" on the fret board is just general maintenance that goes along with a string change. But, you can polish the frets until the cows come home, but if they're not set right, or not level, it's not gonna do much.

(BTW, I don't know how much you know about guitar repair, so I'm keeping it basic. If you rebuild electrics in your spare time, please let me know and I'll stop.

And sound ports well, they're Tony's department.


Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 28, 2016,
#5
Quote by Captaincranky
In all honesty, laminate top low end acoustics lose their resonance soon after the "new string sound" wears off. I usually string my laminated Ibanez with 80/20 "brass",. which brightens it up quite a bit, at the expense of some low end warmth.

Replacing the nut is a major PiTA without a set of $120.00 nut files. A torch tip cleaner will do a /passable/ sort of miserable job of cutting the grooves in lieu of files at about 4 bucks.. But, those are better left to just trimming out, and/ or or deepening grooves which are already there. I wouldn't attempt to cut a blank nut with it.

IMHO, it's not worth the aggravation or expense of changing the top nut, to reap an almost imperceptible, or let's call it, "subjective" improvement in tone.

"Lemon oil" on the fret board is just general maintenance that goes along with a string change. But, you can polish the frets until the cows come home, but if they're not set right, or not level, it's not gonna do much.

(BTW, I don't know how much you know about guitar repair, so I'm keeping it basic. If you rebuild electrics in your spare time, please let me know and I'll stop.

And sound ports well, they're Tony's department.




thanks. as far as experience, i have built amps and pedals, and refinished some electrics, assembled. but i haven't done fretwork or cut a nut.

i realize that it isn't anything great, but acoustic isn't my thing.

what do you think of the saddle and the bridge pins?
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#6
the biggest improvement in tone you could get would be to replace the strings. DR rares add brilliance to tone, and i find that while they're very mellow strings, martin silk and steels add a quality to all laminate guitars - i used to put them on my $35 rogue and they helped. replacing the saddle could make some difference, but not as much as changing the strings will.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#7
trashedlostfdup

Most saddles only come in a couple of standard sizes, so you can check its thickness and get a suitable blank and make one, using the original saddle as a model. Stewmac sells them. A small saw and a file is all you really need for the job.

I wouldn't worry about the pins, I think their effect is minimal, but Stewmac also sell bone and wood pins. I use ebony by default, to get the least weight, though some claim that bone will add brightness.

As Patticake says, strings will have the biggest effect. I'm now using Ernie Ball Aluminium Bronze on a couple of guitars. They are expensive, but very bright and aggressive, and supposedly long-lasting.

I would definitely try the sound port thing if you have some suitable tools. The reason they work is that they project more high frequencies directly to your ear than you get from the soundhole, because those frequencies don't go around corners very well. On a guitar with a barn door preamp, you can test the sound port effect just by taking the preamp out. This is one I did, converting it to passive controls for a magnetic soundhole pickup:



I'm pleased with the result.
Last edited by Tony Done at Jul 28, 2016,
#8
Well, like everyone else has said, "strings is da things". So why not take thew time and experiment for awhile, to find out which type set sounds best to you?

If you absolutely, positively have to spend money on the guitar other than strings, give a "tusq" saddle a shot, (after a few sets of strings.

Here's a great setup guide for acoustics; http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html I go back to it once and awhile myself.

You wanna get that action "LOPWOB" especially with the heavier acoustic strings. Tony Done Yes I know Tony, but not for bluegrass or slide.

Sound is so subjective, and there's a hoax a minute on Youtube. Everyone want's to share their story about how, "brass bridge pins changed my entire life".

In keeping with that, here's a comparison between 2 Epiphones and 2 Gibsons. When the two players exchange guitars, for a few seconds the EJ-200 on occassion sounds almost identical to the Gibson J-200. But within a mere matter of seconds, the Epi is tinny, while the Gibson has so much bass, you can hardly tell where the E-6 begins, and the D-4 leaves.

There's a ton of comments regarding what people think is hapening. But nobody seems to have to ballz to say what (IMHO), is really going.on. Behind door #3 some jacka** is re-EQing the mikes just after the switch is made.

The basis I have for that observation, is the fact I own 2 EJ-200-SCE's, and they don't sound a damned thing like the one in this video.
See what you think.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 28, 2016,
#10
Quote by Tony Done
You're taking my name in vain. I go heavy and low (13-56, 1.6 mm, treble side); even for slide it is less than some 'grassers would use.
I never called you a bluegrasser. Man oh man, now you "guys" are starting to make shit up.about me.

In spite of the fact "it's 2016", reprobate personalities like mine still have a place in this world....

I still have one question, you can probably answer for me. Is this a map of Australia?



\
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 28, 2016,
#12
I sorry. I knew it was Wong of me to ask.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 28, 2016,
#13
well, thanks everybody. i am just going to leave it, and thanks to your advice i didn't waste any money!

as fate would have it, i ended up with a new acoustic today (thanks to a long shot trade). NGD thread was just posted.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#14
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#15
congrats - sounds like a great solution, and enjoy your new (to you) guitar
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#16
Quote by patticake
congrats - sounds like a great solution, and enjoy your new (to you) guitar


thanks!
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#17
regarding the Epi, other than fresh strings, is there really anything i can do that would be worth doing?
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#19
a sound port and the right strings would be my suggestion.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#20
@trashed: congrats on the free guitar! I played a PR-150 a few months ago and it was a great little axe. Should've bought it for the price they were asking, it was gone the next time I went in the shop. I really liked the way it felt in my hands and played.

I'd switch out the strings for some Elixirs and see what happens. Like Cranky said you could upgrade to TUSQ saddle and nut and probably get some improvement. I'd be very careful about cutting any holes in the body though..that can't be undone.
Last edited by TobusRex at Jul 31, 2016,
#21
i play the aj 100 and i can tell you it is all about the strings...when i got it it had old strings and sounded like it had a blanket in it...
new strings ( cheap 5eur yamaha strings .12-.52 ) made it an Instrument.
now i love it...there is no reason to buy a laminated guitar being any more expensive. i just miss a PU which i will add soon i guess...
#23
Quote by trashedlostfdup
regarding the Epi, other than fresh strings, is there really anything i can do that would be worth doing?


No. A guitar sounds as it sounds - end of story. New strings, perhaps of a lighter gauge, may help a little but other "tinkering" has only a minimal effect.

Enjoy your new one.
#24
Garthman

Yes, a guitar has a basic tone, but sometimes a bit of tweaking will lift it a notch or two in a way that you like. A strong example is scalloping plain braces, which can have a major effect on the bass response, but little things like a bone saddle or sound port or bridge ballast of some kind will yield a pleasing result. The effect might just be confirmation bias - you change something so you like it better - but the result is still positive as a far a your attitude to the guitar goes.
#25
Quote by Tony Done


Yes, a guitar has a basic tone, but sometimes a bit of tweaking will lift it a notch or two in a way that you like. A strong example is scalloping plain braces, which can have a major effect on the bass response, but little things like a bone saddle or sound port or bridge ballast of some kind will yield a pleasing result. The effect might just be confirmation bias - you change something so you like it better - but the result is still positive as a far a your attitude to the guitar goes.


Well, perhaps a tiny bit. But why bother wasting time to achieve (or maybe not) a result that is barely discernible? Surely learning a new song is far more rewarding.
#26
Garthman

I think that most of us are likely to try harder if we like (whatever that might imply) the guitar we are playing. I have absolutely no empathy with those who like bling, fancy timbers etc, but I'm strong on mojo. One aspect of mojo is putting something of yourself into a guitar by modding it. I guess that many are happy to play a guitar as it comes from the shop, but for me, for a long time now, tinkering and playing have gone hand-in-hand.
#27
what is the best way to lower the strings at the bridge? pop the saddle out and sand down a little bit? I am sorry if is a dumb question. lol
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#28
trashedlostfdup

Yes, do it from the bottom. You have to take twice as much off as you want to lower it, so if you want to lower the action by, say, 0.6 mm, you have to take 1.2 mm off the saddle - but make sure that neck relief is right before you start.

I do it by holding the saddle in a vise, using the vise jaws as a file stop, then finish on a flat file rather than abrasive paper. - less chance of getting rounded ends.
#29
Tony Done

Thanks! I appreciate the help.

This question may be really dumb, but is it glued and do i need to glue it back if so?

as far as glues go would the titebond be the way to go?
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#30
trashedlostfdup I promise if you read this: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html You'll never have to ask a "how do I setup my acoustics" question again.

Although, a couple of small points. Make sure you set the neck relief BEFORE you sand down the saddle. While the truss rod is not the way to adjust action height, it does effect action height. Hence, we set the relief first. (about .010" @ 6 /7th fret).

If this is for your A/E Martin, you absolutely have to sand the saddle straight, end to end Use a straight edge. This is to be certain you have even contact with the piezo UST. If the bottom of the saddle curves, you're liable to have uneven output at different strings.

The bottom of the saddle must also be at a true right angle with the sides. This is again for transducer contact, and also to insure maximum engery transmission to the guitar top in general.

The same rules apply to the Epiphone. But remember, the less even the fret work is, the higher overall the action will have to be. Unless of course, you take the time with a fret rocker and file and polish the frets.

Generally speaking, the action on an acoustic, should be in the neighborhood of 1/10". Fine adjustment from there, depends quite simply, on how hard you swing the pick.

Oh well, have fun, and please read that setup guide before you start.

One thing which isn't normally mentioned is a sort of cheat you can use to figure out how much saddle you need to take off easily. Sight the E-6 at the 12th fret, while pushing down on the string as close to the bridge as possible. That gives you a direct, "eyeball measurement estimate", instead of screwing around trying to measure the needed drop at the 12th fret. Supposedly, you have to double the drop at the saddle, when you measure at the 12th fret.

But, do try to sand down the saddle, reassemble the guitar, and test it. Don't chop the saddle down all at one shot. It never seems to work out quite right when you do it like that.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 7, 2016,
#31
Quote by Captaincranky
trashedlostfdup I promise if you read this: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html You'll never have to ask a "how do I setup my acoustics" question again.

Although, a couple of small points. Make sure you set the neck relief BEFORE you sand down the saddle. While the truss rod is not the way to adjust action height, it does effect action height. Hence, we set the relief first. (about .010" @ 6 /7th fret).

If this is for your A/E Martin, you absolutely have to sand the saddle straight, end to end Use a straight edge. This is to be certain you have even contact with the piezo UST. If the bottom of the saddle curves, you're liable to have uneven output at different strings.

The bottom of the saddle must also be at a true right angle with the sides. This is again for transducer contact, and also to insure maximum engery transmission to the guitar top in general.

The same rules apply to the Epiphone. But remember, the less even the fret work is, the higher overall the action will have to be. Unless of course, you take the time with a fret rocker and file and polish the frets.

Generally speaking, the action on an acoustic, should be in the neighborhood of 1/10". Fine adjustment from there, depends quite simply, on how hard you swing the pick.

Oh well, have fun, and please read that setup guide before you start.

One thing which isn't normally mentioned is a sort of cheat you can use to figure out how much saddle you need to take off easily. Sight the E-6 at the 12th fret, while pushing down on the string as close to the bridge as possible. That gives you a direct, "eyeball measurement estimate", instead of screwing around trying to measure the needed drop at the 12th fret. Supposedly, you have to double the drop at the saddle, when you measure at the 12th fret.

But, do try to sand down the saddle, reassemble the guitar, and test it. Don't chop the saddle down all at one shot. It never seems to work out quite right when you do it like that.


i forgot about the link. i will review it immediately.

this is on the epi.

the martin plays great, no need of adjustments at the moment.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#32
trashedlostfdup So we're clear here. The method of doubling the amount drop needed at the 12th fret, at the saddle, is accurate. I've set up a fair amount of acoustics, and my little short cut of directly measuring the drop just before the bridge is quite serviceable as well. Since this is more of a practice guitar, (no offense intended), you'll have the opportunity to evaluate both methods. Mine is a "TLAR" solution, and neither measurement should all be ground off the saddle all at once anyway.

That's why the "DIY guy", is better off than the tech at the shop, he or she only gets one shot at getting the guitar "right", you can take your time.

A few people have come back from a shop complaining, "my guitar buzzes" after a tech has set their actions. It isn't a "one height fits all situation" by any stretch of the imagination. Neck twist and fret height or misalignment are the "X" factors for any neck.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 7, 2016,