• TT

    2014 E-II Eclipse w/rattling pots

    I've got a question for all of you who have the current new 2014 E-II guitars.

    Do the pots on your E-II's rattle, and have shafts that move/have play in the pot?  I am told that all passive pup E-II's have "upgraded" CTS pots and they are ALL like this.  IOW, they are made like this by CTS.

    I had bought a 2013 LTD Elite Eclipse 1 in tobacco about 2-3 months ago.  It was a really great guitar.  Flawless finish, and everything worked just I and everyone would expect from a Japanese made ESP.

    Forward a month and I was offered a great price on a new 2014 ESP E-II Eclipse in the finish I first wanted, vintage honey burst.  The retailer was willing to take the LTD Elite back and order me a new 2014 E-II in VHB, I accepted.

    It took way too long due to a mix up at ESP.  About 5 weeks later I finally get the new 2014 E-II.  I was VERY excited to get a real Japanese made ESP w/passive pup's in the color/finish I wanted.   As soon as I opened the case the guitar looked really nice.  I went to turn the knobs and whaaaaat?  They make a "tink" noise as I grab it just to turn it.  The tone knob is the worst as it makes this noise as soon as you even lightly touch it.  Tried the 2 volume knobs and they too rattle and tink, but not as much.  One of the volume knobs has a light rattle and if all 3 were like that I probably wouldn't even be writing this post.  But these pots are just plain BAD.

    I removed the metal knobs to check if they were loose.  They weren't.  I looked at the shaft without the knob and the shafts move in the pot.  IOW there is a good amount of play in the shaft, with the tone knob be REALLY bad.  The tink noise even comes through the amp when I go to turn it. NOT good.

    Then I start playing it and notice that the low E feels odd, and my fingers are like stumbling to note that string.  I look closer and the low E sits lower than the A.  The nut groove is cut way too low and makes playability poor.  This is not what I expect of ESP, especially a Japanese made one.  I haven't even experienced this on any number of LTD's.

    On top of all that, there is a large pencil erasure size stain/finish flaw right in the horn cutaway.  It's right there in the middle of the cutaway.  I've seen B stock guitars with less finish flaw than this so called "first quality" that ESP let out of their Japanese shop.

    Yes, this guitar went back.  The retailer made good on it really quickly, and sent me an identical replacement ESP.  Better?  Not so much.  This E-II also has rattling pots, but not as bad.  Still, why ANY rattle at all?  The finish looks awesome, but as I look down the neck while playing I see something odd in the binding on the head stock.  It's a dip/dimple and it's easy to see and feel.  WTF?!  This isn't "flawless" either.  Rattling knobs and a binding finishing flaw, once again, not a B stock, full price.

    The saving grace is that this one plays better and sounds really good.  The low E is also cut a bit too much imo, as it feels odd, and I can see why it feels odd.  Both of these guitars must have been made by the same luthier, and I happen to get 2 of them.

    I contacted ESP to let them know about the knobs and the other issues, and I wanted to know, why?  I did get a call back from ESP, and was told that they did contact ESP Japan to ask about the knobs.  I was told that all passive pup E-II's have "upgrade" CTS brand pots.  And, Japan says they all have play in them as that's how CTS makes them.  Well, if CTS and ESP think "upgraded" pots should have play in the shafts so that the knobs rattle, then we have a BIG difference of opinion as to what is good and acceptable.

    The ESP rep the glances over the badly cut nuts, and pretty much ignores my comment on the finishing flaws, and offers that if I don't like the way the pots feel, then I can just get after market replacements.  So, I should pay ESP full first quality pricing, and then go and buy after market parts to correct the issues that were sent to me from ESP as brand new.

    Anybody here noticed any play in their pots on their E-II's?  If so, how much?  Do the pots make a "tink" sound if you hold them between your thumb and index finger and move them lightly back and forth?  If so, does that sound come through the amp at louder volumes?  I'm really curious if CTS really makes pots with shafts that have built in play.  Of all the guitars I've even owned since I started playing over 30 yrs ago, and of the 4 guitarsI currently own, only my 1991 American Strat Plus has 1 pot that has some play in it.  All other pots on my other guitars have not play at all.  The only other guitars I've played and owned that had wobbly, rattly feeling knobs have been Gibson LP's with push/pull pots.  Those types of pots are prone to that feeling.  I don't like them either, because there are reall quality pots out there that don't move like that.  ESP and Gibson seem to think it's ok.

    I had purchased a 2013 Gibson LP Standard plus top at the begininng of the new year and found that I'm not a Les Paul player.  My hands don't fit those guitars, even with the slimmer 60's neck.  So I returned it to get an ESP.  I thought I was upgrading, but right now, I do NOT feel that way.

    Oh, and take a look at the bridge anchor posts.  The anchor posts are the ribbed part that goes into the wood, and then the bridge posts screw into them.  On both of the E-II's I have those posts are not installed all the way down.  They stick up and you can empty wood and the gap between the wood and the posts.  And one the wood edge I can see the rough cut made to make the hole the post goes in.  The top on an Eclipse body is carved, but the anchor posts should be installed all the way down to make sure it's in and it looks good.  If the carved top prevents those posts from going all the way down, then ESP could at least finish that area so it doesn't look so cheap as to be like some Epiphone knockoff. 

    Yeah, I said it.  I'm not a happy ESP E-II buyer.  And I'm not happy with ESP's response and glancing over all the little things done wrong that shouldn't be there.  My previous experience with ESP has been FLAWLESS finishes and FLAWLESS constructed guitars.  What I received is not in that vane.  

    • TT

      BTW, I do have to add this.

      Even though I have some issues with some light cosmetic things, I really like my E-II Eclipse.  Of the 3 ESP's I've had this current E-II is best sounding and best playing.  It sounds great and plays great, just as anyone should expect of an ESP.

      I decided to keep this one based on how great it sounds and plays.  After all, THAT is THE most important thing imo.  I can ignore the light imperfections in light of how great of a guitar it is.  The one I sent back I couldn't keep due to the wiggly pots.

    • nick h.

      I will stick with buying used ESP models. The custom shops are now way overpriced. The LTD's are junk. Now the standard series is priced like a custom shop (way too high)These E2 guitars are just not there. They are like an upgraded LTD which turns me off. I love ESP and hate to see marketing and cost cutting moves like this.

      • TT

        I disagree.

        LTD's are not junk at all.  They are pretty darn nice guitars for the low cost.   For the price of a nice LTD you'd get a sloppy built Epiphone LP or SG, or a Mex made Strat.  Some times there are diamonds on the rough with those guitars and you get a good.  But, good luck finding that one.

        LTD quality is pretty darn consistent, just like Schecter.  Gibson can't even do consistent quality the way the lower cost LTD can.


        The Standard series IS the E-II.  There isn't another 'Standard' series.   ESP has added some lines that are way out there in price.  I'd have to see, play, and hear if they are worth Gibson like prices.   The E-II line guitars are the SAME as the Standard.  Take a look at the quilted top EMG Eclipses, they are identical to last years Standards, identical.  Same hardware, same pups, same everything.

        What has been added to the E-II line are last years LTD Elite models.  ESP stupidly named them "LTD" Elite and that caused a lot of people to question what was going on.  Well, what was going on was a lower priced ESP with flame tops and passive pups that kept the price down.  The LTD Elites also had the same neck radius of the LTD's.  Now that they have become ESP E-II's, the neck radius is now the same as the Standards

        The E-II passive pup guitars are the new kid on the block and I'm glad ESP came out with nice looking flame tops and more choices for passive pups.  EMG's are not bad and they are great for certain styles, but they aren't tonally diverse enough compared to passives.

        You can look at an LTD as a downgraded ESP, or and ESP as an upgraded LTD, but the latter is not correct.  ESP came first, LTD came later as a lower cost model that is mass produced.  Less human hands involved in the construction means lower construction costs, and a player can get a really nice playing and good sounding guitar for less money.

        As for the lack of quality on 2 ESP's E-II's that I experienced, well it speaks for itself.  If ESP don't address the build issues and correct the construction and parts quality, then their sales will drop.  ESP hasn't filled me with confidence especially with the answer they gave me that rattling pots were "normal".  Yeah, keep telling yourself that and keep making rattling guitars and let's see where that will get you in the future.

        BTW, with the E-II/Standard quilted, EMG guitars the price has come DOWN.  You can get the exact same guitar that was $2000 last year and it's now $1700.  Good deal imo.  It's possible that the people making the quilted top ESP's are still making them correctly and perfect.  Maybe ESP has a new line in the Japan plant the is stocked with younger inexperienced builders and they are making the passive pup E-II's.  That's not a good thing.