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Tailpiece Woes...

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I have an Epiphone 1958 Korina Explorer reissue, in the natural finish. It's flat-out beautiful, and I love the thing and use it for rhythm duties (which means that it is on the receiving end of D'Addario 12s tuned anywhere from drop C to concert pitch).

However, I noticed the other day that the stop tailpiece has started to physically pull out of the body. Not the screw-in inserts, but the bushings themselves have begun to pull out and lean forward, especially on the high E side.

Now, I believe the thing is still under Epi's "limited lifetime" warranty (since I haven't modded it and I believe it counts as a workmanship/materials issue), so I'm gonna see if I can send it in. Has anyone dealt with Epiphone's warranty service before, and would the use of heavy strings (albeit not excessively so) void the warranty?

Also, I am curious what sort of repair they would do on it to fix it, as if I'm not mistaken it's screwing up the wood inside the body around the tailpiece studs due to the way they are leaning out. With a natural finish, it'd not be very easy to hide a dowel cleanly. Would they just shove the bushings back in and send it back out? Epoxy and drill? Or would they send a whole new guitar?

I suppose I'm more curious than anything... I have no way to get to the dealer I bought it from at the moment and am interested in people's opinions, experiences, and advice than anything.

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More than likely they will just put some glue down in the hole and ship it back out to you. Gluing a dowel into the hole, and drilling a new hole would be the best thing to do but the quick and easy fix is a small amount of epoxy. Just don’t expect to pull the bushings back out anytime soon.

BTW, I would imagine that sending it back to Eppi would mean a good 6 months without your axe. I didn’t even know guitars came with a warranty but then again, I never purchased one that I didn’t modify within the first month of having it.

Edited by zyonsdream
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Sounds like they arent actually biting any material in the holes they sit in, which may mean they have been changed in the past for a different size post, or the holes have been enlarged in some way. Technically, this shouldnt happen as the forces on the stop tailpiece shouldn't pull upwards to remove them from the holes, unless the bridge is way too high and the force of the strings is doing it, although I doubt it.

as a stop gap repair, pull the posts out, shove some matchsticks in the hole and reinstall them. The extra wood in the hole will help them bite a bit more (thats an old stop gap fix for strap buttons that pull out!)

I doubt they would send you a new guitar, they would probably just glue it, or replace the pole pieces.

Pictures will help give a complete explanation of the problem.

Edited by Digideus
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Unfortunately, I can't get a decent picture of the problem with my only camera (a cell phone one) so I have attempted to draw a diagram in CAD of what is happening:


Basically, the bushings are not pulling straight up and out, but rather forward and then out. The bushing on the high E string has worked loose enough that I could probably pull it out by hand, while the low E string is just leaning a little forward right now.

EDIT: The leaning stud above is a very very slight exaggeration of what my high E string side is doing, to give you an idea...

Edited by TemjinStrife
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Hmmm. Although I would have thought it unlikely, the holes for the bushing sound like they've either been drilled too large, or not smoothly. Perhaps the tension has compressed the wood? Still, unlikely. I agree with the epoxying, but you'd have to block off the hole in the bottom of the bushing so epoxy doesn't squeeze into the thread. Shimming with wood is non-permanent and sounds a better idea as you can try others if it doesn't work to your requirements.

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I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that this is a known issue with certain Epiphone models (I'm sure marksound will know exactly where I read that, wait until he wakes up....)

Anyway, I bet the issue is more likely that they used narrower bushings than they should have --replacing them with a different set of slightly thicker bushings (that match the posts of course) should be enough to fix this, without the need for any epoxy or matchsticks or whatever. You can even replace the bushings with those extension sleeve thingamajigs (which is what Gibson used to use).

Although, as long as you're at it, you might as well upgrade and replace the bushings and posts with the locking type.

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Worse case scenario, drill the holes out 2 sizes oversize and plug , DON'T USE DOWELS as they are endgrain standing in that application, use Real plugs and refinish the guitar. Sorry, but that's the way I see it. Hopefully, they will REPLACE the Guitar.


Edited by MiKro
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Hopefully, they will REPLACE the Guitar.

Not likely. And besides, he says he loves the guitar. This is actually a pretty minor issue. It just requires upgraded parts, that's all --in his case, a new set of (normal-sized) bushings will take care of the problem. They're easy to get and don't cost much.

Here's one possibility: TonePros

Here's another: Normal studs/bushings

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If I remember right...the metric bushings are slightly smaller than the standard...

But epoxy is really a good solution...you can still remove them later if needed,because epoxy (frome home depot,ets)doesn't stick as well to metal as wood,but you probably won't need to unless you constantly mod your guitar.

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How would I be able to tell?

The bushings would pull out under the tension of the strings over time. :D

Seriously, though, I went and measured the various bushings in my ever-growing parts collection. The thickest came out at just over 12.5 mm. The thinnest (from a Wilkinson bridge) measured 11 mm. So there's some considerable variation there.

You could try taking it back to the store, showing it to them-- chances are they'll have a set of bushings there that will fit more snugly. That way you won't have to chase around after parts.

Although you could always use one of the other methods suggested here.

I wonder if it's that big a deal--anyone here think that the post will pull out all the way?

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  • 1 month later...

So, an update:

I sent it in for warranty repair, and got it back in under a week. I was shocked. Turned out the place that I gave it to for warranty service instead got confused and sent it to their own workshop, then tried to charge me for fixing it. I was able to get them to waive the fee thought... looks like they epoxied the bushings in there. Got me a new set of strings too... all in all, turned out reasonably.

Regardless, it's very stable, although I'm not so sure I'm gonna be tuning those 12s back up to concert pitch anytime soon... although playing a whole-step down with my singer doesn't quite work so I may have to compromise and go down to 11s... or just take the plunge and tune up again and trust in the warranty. I shouldn't be screwing anything else on the guitar up by doing so, should I?

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