Skip to content

Forum

Notifications
Clear all

Les Paul Upgrade

Page 2 / 2

 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
Topic starter  

Thanks TR! Your opinion on Epiphone is very interesting because I have always considered you an expert on Gibson. My LP is made in China. This is a link to a picture. I bought it two years ago.

It is possible I start by doing the change of electronics. I should do it in any case and it could improve the sound.

Steinar, thanks for the link! I saw they sell also to Spain.

I have already ordered the bridge because it is wrong. As I said, the wire that does the function of a spring is bended and does not touch some screws.

I'll review also the nut. My tuners are Grover as well. Perhaps I was comparing to the Gotoh that uses my Strat, they are blocking.

The neck and the action in my LP are very good. The action is very low but the strings do not buzz. Initially I thought they do it but the buzz problem comes from the bridge and his spring.


ReplyQuote
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Nuno, that is a thing of beauty! By all means, fix her up! IMHO you have some of the best tuners going so I wouldn't touch them, but if you don't like the pickups, change them. I checked the nut on mine and it is a touch high. I read the clearance at the first fret should be 1/2 the width of the wound strings and 1 width of the plain strings. Mine is close to 1 string width on the wound ones and is a little sharp til I get to the 5th fret (A). Looks like I'm gonna try my luck at deepening my nut, I just have to get the right file first so I don't ruin it. My Gibson Les Pauls are a little high at the first fret but not this high and they intonate better. Professional nut files are $140 a set so I'm gonna check the hardware store for needle files. Widening the slot is the kiss of death so they have to fit inside the existing slots. I think you have me psyched to turn this thing into my best Les Paul with time. Imagine that, a $429 project guitar.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


ReplyQuote
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I've got the MIK LP and the MIC SG. Both of mine came with the Alnico II pickups. I bought the SG second and put a set of SDs into it. It gave it more of a difference than what the two guitars originally had.

I've always said that I'm never going to mess with my LP, even if it is not a real gibby. It's still my most expensive electric and my baby. However, I got the LP Custom (black w/gold) and the gold color is starting to look iffy and the toggle starting to behave finickly. I can see replacing the toggle very soon, and the pick up covers too. I probably won't change those pick-ups unless they go bad somehow.

This is also the guitar that I pick up the most and am most comfortable with. It's the one I have the most feel for. I'll do as little as I can so that I don't risk losing that feel.

The behind the scenes wiring does interest me, though. Perhaps some of those mods being mentioned would be worth it. More investigation needed, but if I can retain what I have and double the voicings out of the guitar, why not?

My LP has the Grovers too. Hardly any tuning each day. Very minor. Oddly enough, the best guitar I have for staying in tune is that Ibanez double-cut cheapo GAX-70 with the bolt on neck and cheap tuners. I play it many times each week and I might have to adjust tuning once a week.

Nuno: I used some graphite lube stuff on my nut and saddle and appeared to get rid of the bulk of my bending-sticking out of tune problem.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


ReplyQuote
 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
Topic starter  

Nuno: I used some graphite lube stuff on my nut and saddle and appeared to get rid of the bulk of my bending-sticking out of tune problem.
Roy, thanks for the tip!

Probably it is the nut rather than the tuners. My Strat has blocking tuners. The first week after to change the strings it needs some retuning as always but then it is not longer needed. And I check the tuning every day!

The LP is not my first guitar, I prefer the Strat, much more comfortable to me, to my body and also to my hands, although I like very much the LP's neck: very smooth. I improved the tone just changing the cable so a new wiring could be very good. The pots do not have much "run" comparing to the Strat's one (they are CTS). Thus, the rewiring could be enough.

When you change the pickups the problem is that you don't know what will you get. You could compare with a guitar with those pickups but there are lots of small variables to consider too!

Roy, the Seymour Duncan site has several diagrams with "unconventional" wirings. It could be a good place to start. And reminds that the color code usually does not coincide between the main brands. Seymour Duncan also has a color code translator.


ReplyQuote
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

High Nuno,

No problems. The brand I used was Big Bends Nut Sauce, but there's a jillion threads around GN on possible stuff to use....and more importantly, not use.

I didn't do the pick-ups myself. A local repair and parts shop did it. It was one of those things where if you paid the small labor fee, you could have them switched out for free within 30 days if you wanted. No limits how many times. Easy decision. Alas, the first set I put on there was really good, so I didn't utilize the program fully. Security is a tough benefit to measure sometimes.

Yeah, the POTs on the LPs are not optimum. It's like 1 is on, 3 is wide-open and 7 is like a flood or data over-load. Well, maybe it's not the POTs. Regardless, I like the Strat volume knob much better. Doesn't seem like it's over-loading until around 9 or so, and that's with some GFS Texas singles I put in there a few years back.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


ReplyQuote
(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 833
 

Yeah, the POTs on the LPs are not optimum. It's like 1 is on, 3 is wide-open and 7 is like a flood or data over-load. Well, maybe it's not the POTs. Regardless, I like the Strat volume knob much better. Doesn't seem like it's over-loading until around 9 or so, and that's with some GFS Texas singles I put in there a few years back.

From that description the pots on your LP sound like they are linear taper and not audio taper. If you do upgrade the electronics that would be one thing to consider.

As for locking tuners, I like them a lot. They make string changing easier and tuning is more stable sooner after changing strings. I've got Schaller, Gotoh, and Grover lockers on different guitars. The Grovers are ok but the Schaller and Gotoh tuners are smoother and fine tune more easily though the Grovers are cheaper.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


ReplyQuote
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

From that description the pots on your LP sound like they are linear taper and not audio taper. If you do upgrade the electronics that would be one thing to consider.

Thanks for the tip!

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


ReplyQuote
(@the-ethical)
New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 4
 

How about a no brainer? What about Gibson pickups? The ones that come in the Gibson Les Pauls?
It was the Gibson pickups that I replaced with The Seymour Duncans!

[-----------------------------]
If it wasn't for bad luck...


ReplyQuote
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Well ... I cut the nut........ OMG! Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! Perfect. Neat, 1st fret intonates ......... no buzz, no rattle. I'm darn good I suppose. 8) My Epi Les Paul plays awsome. As far as replacing Gibson pickups with Duncans .... I got both and I like the Gibby's best.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


ReplyQuote
(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1507
 

Nuno, I've modified many a guitar... I'll give you my two-cents:

#1, make sure that Gibson brdige fit correctly. The Chinese Epis usually use metric sizes and the Gibby might not be metric. I would also suggest - if you have to return the Gibson bridge - that you look at TonePros... just a suggestion. TonePros are made in the USA and come in both Metric and US sizing.

#2, Keep those Grovers unless you go to a locking tuner.

#3, The nut is almost always the issue. Have a luthier check it if you don't want to touch it yourself.

#4, 500K pots for humbuckers, and I believe with the Les Paul's thick top you will want the longer shaft version. If the pots don't fit in your existing holes (too thick) you can bore out the holes with an electric drill. Just set your direction as BACKWARDS (counter clockwise) and the finish won't chip.

#5, pickups... I'm 100% with TR that Gibson Humbuckers are the balls. (In fact I'm selling a set of 490t/490r for $90 for the set right now...). The problem with Gibson pickups is that they usually don't come with 4-conductor wiring for your series/parrallel/splitting options. JB/Jazz is a GREAT set but very hot. I would look to a Duncan Custom 5 in the bridge and '59 in the neck. A great set with great CLEAN sound. Dimarzio - look at the PAF Pro set. Those are amazing for the mid-70's rock sound. The Humbucker from Hell is going to be VERY clean and single-coil sounding... but you have a great Strat already. Your Les Paul should have some power. PAF Pro is the way to go (new, in the USA, the PAF Pro set is about $120 for the set).

#6, check out the Guitarfetish site ( http://www.guitarfetish.com , they have a LP re-wire kit for about $20 (US).

Let us know how it goes!

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


ReplyQuote
 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
Topic starter  

Hi Dali!

That was much more than 2 cents!

The store has golden bridges in stock but they had to order in chrome for me. Probably I will go to the store next week (I'm trying some basses), so I will check the bridge with Epiphones. I have the previous model, currently the guitars have another painting but I think they don't change the bridges.

I will call to the luthier on September. That store works with a luthier and it seems he works pretty well and it is not too expensive. A basic setup is around 70€.

Here the pickups are about 100€ per each one, so the upgrade should be 200€ plus the bridge and electronics for a 400€ guitar. The usual stores like Musician's Friend do not sell overseas. eBay could be another possibility but you must pay the shipment and the taxes and sometimes it is not interesting because you only save some euros. I think stores and dealers already did the numbers...

I'll check the site, they have a lot of components!

Currently it is not too clear to me. I agree with you, the LP should have some power, for a Strat sound I already have my Strat. Recently I bought a Fulltone OCD and a Fulltone cable and the Epi sound was improved a lot! Just with the new cable! Probably I will wait for some sound demos (DiMarzio should update the page soon) and meanwhile I will review the electronics.

Thank you very much! :D


ReplyQuote
(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1507
 

Have fun!

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


ReplyQuote
Page 2 / 2