Tragedy strikes my Jack Casady... Any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Verner, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    So I have an epi Jack Casady as a sidepiece. I have always like the body shape since it came out when I was in high school, and I have had it for almost 3 years now. I enjoy the tone and it plays very nicely. I did replace the bridge with a hipshot, put on ultralite tuners to eliminate the neck dive, and made a new nut. Put some pyramid flats on and it is great. I don't enjoy playing it sitting down so much, the sharp edge is uncomfortable on the large body unless I hold it classical guitar style. I think Gibson basses were more of an afterthought as far as design went, meant to compliment already existing guitar lines and designing around that. No complaints, it created some unique instruments.

    Anyway, I keep this bass at school where I teach orchestra and allow my students to use it. The jack is just surface mounted on the body and it isn't the best arrangement in my opinion. It tends to get loose easily and adjusting anything in a hollow body is a real pain.

    So the kids must have been twisting that darn jack, and it broke the wire internally. I took the whole thing apart, and the low impedance pickup wiring is unlike anything I have ever worked with. The low output pickup is fed through a small transformer to boost the signal three ways, which runs through a varitone as well as the usual volume and tone. The wire leading to the output comes directly from the transformer, which is filled with epoxy. The wire broke at the epoxy, no strands protrude. The wire is frayed, this was probably something that was exacerbated over time.

    I tried to source the part from epiphone, but they only deal with dealers. Dealers are telling me they probably can't get the part unless it is warranty work, which this is not. To their credit, my local shops are trying. No part number for the transformer. I even friended Jack Casady on facebook and sent a pm to see if he could move some epi gears, but I haven't heard back, which I totally understand.

    So my thoughts are I have a few choices going forward:

    1. Wait for parts to show up on ebay or reverb, but given this bass isn't especially common that may never happen
    2. Buy a new pickup (there is a company in England that makes a drop-in splittable humbucker package for about $230 shipped)
    3. Drill into the epoxy and try to find the lead or terminal and flood with solder

    Looking for any thoughts or previous experience to chime in. Again, not a priority, this is mostly a fun bass to have around for me, so I can be patient. Wire broke off in between the black and green wire on left in pic. IMG_3730.jpeg
    dkelley likes this.
  2. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Whaaaaa? This didn't make sense to me, so I got curious and went to the Epiphone web site to see if I could find a stated policy about this. Clicking on "Support," then "Store Policies & FAQ," led me here:

    Epiphone | Online Store Policies & Frequently Asked Questions

    Most of the page is about returns and warranties, but the last section (near the bottom of the page) it clearly says:

    Requesting Service or more Information
    If you need help with a specific part, service or warranty work reach out to us.​

    When you contacted them, what exactly did they say? Did they literally say, "Sorry, we can't help you; we only deal with dealers"? Something ain't right here....
    TN WOODMAN, Mr Cheese, MCF and 3 others like this.
  3. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    That's exactly what they said! "unfortunately we can't help you directly, all repair and parts questions need to be addressed with an authorized Epiphone dealer". I think this is a really bad approach to customer service, and even though I don't plan on many future epi purchases it makes me even less inclined to do so. I was surprised to say the least.
    TinIndian, Sorado71, vid1900 and 2 others like this.
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Hmmm. I wonder - if you could get the transformer specs, it might not be hard to find one from other sources. Or even have one custom wound, but that might get pricey. But I think @Lobster11 is right, try through harder through Epiphone customer support... (ok, tried already, nevermind that last sentence)
  5. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    I asked where I could get part specifications and they said the same thing, have to go through a dealer. I will call again and be a bit more aggressive as the dealer route isn't panning out. I am assuming they probably outsource most of their parts, so I am betting this little transformer exists somewhere on mouser or something like that. If I could get specs or a part number that would solve a lot of problems..
  6. wmhill

    wmhill Inactive

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    I was an Epiphone dealer for a short time back in the 90's- they didn't treat the dealers any better back then. I'm not surprised your local guys can't help you.
    Huw Phillips, TJH3113 and DJ Bebop like this.
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    You might try emailing instead of calling, and include a link to the page I linked above pointing them to the part I quoted. You could also say in the email that if they won't sell the part to you as a matter of policy that's fine, but ask if they can at least look up the part number for you so you can pass it along to your dealer so he can order it.

    It just doesn't make any sense that neither a customer or a dealer can get a replacement part for an instrument that isn't under warranty. (Of course you already know this, which is why you posted here in the first place -- I'm just ranting on your behalf.)
  8. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    @Lobster11 just sent an email, thanks for the idea. I agree, it should not be this difficult.
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  9. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    Doesn't seem you have much to lose by trying to excavate a bit of epoxy and see if you can get enough wire exposed to solder to.

    - John
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  10. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    @JKos that was my thought, I just don’t have high hopes on that front. I feel like the black epoxy dust will just cover up whatever I am looking for while I destroy any metal. But worth a shot I suppose.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  11. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    I love that you took it to the man. It's his name on the thing after all. Promise that if Jack Cassidy responds to you that you'll post that here!
    JPDsma, gozbass, TN WOODMAN and 5 others like this.
  12. Wow, what a crazy cool electronics design! Totally different than most basses.... something that one doesn't come across often (unique electronics, I mean).

    That totally sucks though. Hope you can solve it. I'd definitely work with the product you have - there must be a way to remove epoxy? just don't go too deep or rip the wire out from deeper inside during the procedure! (Well, try not to LoL).

    One thing - I REALLY doubt they make their own parts. They MUST have bought that thing from somewhere... right? I mean, do they seriously build those parts themselves??
  13. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    Maybe something more like a dental tool than a drill. I have some that have small cutting blade areas in various contortions.

    - John
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  14. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    I think epi at this point mostly produces guitars like most other second tier brands, outsources specs to existing factories. I would like to imagine a secluded electronics whiz in a dark room producing custom transistors but those days are mostly over.
    DJ Bebop and dkelley like this.
  15. sedan_dad

    sedan_dad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2006
    Too many other brands available to put up with that crap from Epiphone.
    fleabitten likes this.
  16. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I’d dig the wire out of the epoxy.
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  17. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    That's an idea, I also have a bunch of cheap small gouges someone gave me that I have never used. Wonder if I could sharpen them up enough to scoop small bits of material out.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  18. Verner


    Dec 24, 2018
    The last Epiphone I owned (and LOVED) was a 1945 broadway archtop acoustic. Younger days, not good with finances and it paid the rent for a few months. Wish I had been more grown up in my early 20s.
    2cooltoolz likes this.
  19. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    This is what I would do. But not with a drill! Use an exacto knife and tweezers to try to dig it out enough to solder to it. Alternately you could see if a heat gun (or hair dryer) will soften the epoxy enough to scrape it out with a small screwdriver.
    TinIndian, Haroldo, -Asdfgh- and 3 others like this.
  20. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    that kind of blows on their response, but i'd def try digging that hole out with a dremel tool and see if you can re-solder as mentioned above..atleast till you get the new part..what ya got to lose at this point
    JPDsma and DJ Bebop like this.