What's Wrong with My Guitar?

by Tom
(Philadelphia)



I own a Gibson Epiphone starters edition that I play on a 10 watt Marshall amp and occasionally on a 26 watt Peavey. I have owned this guitar for four years now and have had a few minor problems on and off for about six months now but then it all stopped. But last Thursday I plug into the 10watt Marshall and I start playing and after only five minutes of playing the amp starts fading in and out and buzzing like its about to blow out. So thinking its the amp ready to go I unplug the gibson and plug in one of my other guitars and it's fine. Not even a single problem. I plug the Gibson back in and it doesn't fade in and out but when I started playing again there was this faint vibrating kind of sound while I was playing like one of the things was loose. So I tried to tighten the string that it sounded like and it was fine but then the next day it starts fading in and out again with the Gibson. As I said its a learners edition and a friend of mine who has been playing since he was about 13 and is now 31 tells me that sometimes learners edition guitars don't last too long. He said that another explanation could be that maybe before I bought the guitar someone else owned it, he said the headstock may have been replaced before whoever owned it previously traded it in or even the pick-ups could be getting old. He suggested that I take it to a shop and have someone look it over but at the moment I'm broke. I don't want to lose the Gibson as it is the first guitar I ever owned so it is very important to me. I was wondering if anybody might be able to give me some kind of an explanation as to what the problem could be and how much it might cost to get it examined at a shop like Samash.

Tom.

ANSWER

Hi, Tom--

You don't say what model your Epiphone is, but in my opinion, Epiphone makes a very decent quality guitar, even in the lower price ranges.

OK--now about the problem: The fading and making electronic-type noise has nothing to do with the headstock or probably the pickups.

The most common cause of this is that the nut which hold the jack for the input has come loose. If it has not been loose long enough to damage the wires, just tighten it and see if that helps. If not, then it may have twisted the wires for the jack loose inside the guitar.

If that is the case, take it to a local music store that does repairs and ask for an estimate. It should not be terribly expensive for them to reconnect the wires to the jack.

As far as the string noise, be sure that you have the guitar tuned properly. If the guitar is tuned too low, the strings may buzz. You also might need to have the bridge adjusted so that the strings are the proper distance from the neck. Again, this is a small investment. I would, however, take care of the electronic problem first if you must make a choice.

Hope this is of some help--

Lynne

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