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Taking the plunge...J45 modifications

#1 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 12:34 PM

After some deliberation I pulled the trigger and ordered some Kluson 3-on-a plate white button tuners and conversion bushings and will be swapping out the Rotomatics on my J45 Standard.

This sent me down a rabbit hole of things to do to the guitar to get it where I'd like it, mostly for cosmetic reasons, but also to want to turn this thing into my open mic guitar, given none of my four current acoustics have pickups aside from this one, but I am not a fan of the UST. Here's what I'll be doing to the guitar:

- Kluson 3-on-a-plate tuners with aged white buttons
- StewMac 3/8" round conversion bushings
- Sanding off the "raccoon eyes" left by the Rotomatic washers on the headstock.
- All-black truss rod cover (no white border)
- Removing the LR Baggs Element VTC and installing a K&K Mini
- Bone nut and saddle
- Replacing the stock, rubberized pickguard that refused to stick (this is the second one sent to me from Gibson because the original also peeled up)
- Antique Acoustics Replica Gibson bridge pins (just don't like the look of the stock Tusq bridge pins)


Yes, this is basically a case of diminishing returns, and I know this sounds like a lot of work to put into a regular old J45 Standard, and others will most likely be thinking, why not just sell the Standard and get a used True Vintage or Vintage model?! Well, I've been down that road already. This is my third J45 Standard, and have also had a TV and V model, and this Standard I have now seems to be the best of the bunch (I know it sounds nuts, but the particular Vintage model I received was pretty bad, and was a major disappointment), so I figured I'll just turn the one I have aesthetically into what I want, and while I'm at it, drop in a better sounding pickup.

This post has been edited by sbpark: 13 September 2018 - 04:32 PM

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#2 User is offline   billroy 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 01:04 PM

View Postsbpark, on 13 September 2018 - 12:34 PM, said:

Yes, this is basically a case of diminishing returns, and I know this sounds like a lot of work to put into a regular old J45 Standard.


I don't know, sounds freakin' awesome to me. Nice tuner's on a nice guitar, you're just going to like it all that much more. Congrats!
'18 Gibson J45, vintage
'86 Guild D25
'00 Fender Strat (American Standard)
'90 Fender Strat (Korea, bought in an open market in Korea... yeah it might be real)
'68 Gibson SG
'17 Several 3 String CBGs

"Want people to listen to your stuff, don't play boring stuff..." heard somewhere.
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#3 User is offline   ThemisSal 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 01:23 PM

1) I thought you sold this guitar?

2) More importantly - awesome you kept it, and I think your mods will be awesome. I love my K&K J50, but then again I also like the VTC in my 45....

Anyways Keep this in your closet if you get bored! Every now and then a man needs a little 45......

Good luck.
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#4 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 01:41 PM

View PostThemisSal, on 13 September 2018 - 01:23 PM, said:

1) I thought you sold this guitar?

2) More importantly - awesome you kept it, and I think your mods will be awesome. I love my K&K J50, but then again I also like the VTC in my 45....

Anyways Keep this in your closet if you get bored! Every now and then a man needs a little 45......

Good luck.


I sold it then bought it back.
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#5 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 01:51 PM

This poly-modification deserves a couple of photos.
Interesting to hear 'bout your 45-experiences. And yes, the Standards can be very very good.
How do you feel about the MOP-logo ?
Not that 45ish, is it. .
You just can't keep coincidences down. .
Posted Image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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#6 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 02:02 PM

View PostE-minor7, on 13 September 2018 - 01:51 PM, said:

This poly-modification deserves a couple of photos.
Interesting to hear 'bout your 45-experiences. And yes, the Standards can be very very good.
How do you feel about the MOP-logo ?
Not that 45ish, is it. .


Oh, I could care less about the logo and how it wont be "accurate" looking with the white button tuners, etc. Only the true sticklers and snobs will turn their nose up at it or possibly make backhanded comments, etc. I'm not trying to turn this guitar into something it's not, more like attempting to personalize it aesthetically into something I enjoy looking at and to make it sound better when plugged in. The rubber pickguard bugs me more than the headstock logo.

I'll for sure post pictures when it's all said and done.

Just for reference, he's someone else's J45 Standard with the white button tuners and "modern" headstock logo in sort of a gold foil. Looks fine to me, and dont really think it will look horrible with the MOP.

Posted Image

Here's one with an MOP logo:

Posted Image

This post has been edited by sbpark: 13 September 2018 - 04:29 PM

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#7 User is offline   rbpicker 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:09 PM

Good mods. Makes a great guitar nearly perfect.
Rb
Pura Vida
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#8 User is offline   CAMELEYE 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:25 PM

What I'll be doing as soon as a nice J-45 lands in my yard.
Please post pix when your mods are done.
Thanks, Ce.
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#9 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:27 PM

View Postsbpark, on 13 September 2018 - 02:02 PM, said:

Oh, I could care less about the logo and how it wont be "accurate" looking with the white button tuners, etc. Only the true sticklers and snobs will turn their nose up at it or possibly make backhanded comments, etc. I'm not trying to turn this guitar into something it's not, more like trying to personallyo:

Whatever makes you happy. And if you found your combo, things couldn't be better.

I personally think a J-45 likes faded white ovals plus a golden logo and have considered exchanging the Grovers on my 45 Std. (the head-stock steel-mill).
Would do if it wasn't for the vintage ancestors in the herd.

They cover all the classic virtues and goin' from the splendid 2010 black nut Std. to the oldies makes me appreciate that even more.
Have fun with guitar, , , ouh, and don't forget the pics. .


You just can't keep coincidences down. .
Posted Image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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#10 User is offline   62burst 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 04:05 PM

You're in the wrong room if you think anyone 'round here will give you grief for going through a bit of effort to make a J-45 Standard into something just as you'd like it.

Good luck with the mods- 'looking forward to hearing and/or seeing how it turns out.

[Edit] congrats on your good luck in getting it back- sometimes there are second chances.

This post has been edited by 62burst: 13 September 2018 - 04:15 PM

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#11 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 04:25 PM

View Post62burst, on 13 September 2018 - 04:05 PM, said:

You're in the wrong room if you think anyone 'round here will give you grief for going through a bit of effort to make a J-45 Standard into something just as you'd like it.

Good luck with the mods- 'looking forward to hearing and/or seeing how it turns out.

[Edit] congrats on your good luck in getting it back- sometimes there are second chances.



I agree, stark white buttons dont really look right, even on a brand new guitar. The Klusons I got look closer to an aged/cream color. Will pair better with the off-white binding and aged bridge pins I have coming.

Posted Image

This post has been edited by sbpark: 13 September 2018 - 04:26 PM

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#12 User is offline   Hall 

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:17 AM

Hey, if you are enjoying the effort, that's what it's all about.[thumbup]
"The empty vessel makes the loudest sound." w.s.
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#13 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 12:19 PM

I do not think you will hear anyone object to your making a guitar more aesthetically pleasing to your eye. Other than the pickup installation it is all pretty routine stuff.
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#14 User is offline   jvi 

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:29 AM

enjoy yer git, I do wonder about the saddle and nut, if it sounds and plays great why risk a new sound and feel ?
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#15 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:09 AM

View Postjvi, on 15 September 2018 - 08:29 AM, said:

enjoy yer git, I do wonder about the saddle and nut, if it sounds and plays great why risk a new sound and feel ?


The guitar actually has a Bob Colosi bone saddle currently and sounds great, but I'm removing the current UST and have the action where I like it, or may even consider raising the action on the high side JUST as little. Removing the UST will lower the action even more, and I'd rather just replace the saddle than shim the existing one.

As far as the nut, a couple of the nut slots are cut a bit low on the stock Tusq saddle. No desire to shim a Tusq nut, and I've Neve heard of anyone filling a Tusq nut slot and re-cutting it, so I'll just have a new one made of bone and do it right instead of replacing it with a new one made of Tusq.

No sense in being cheap, shimming nuts and saddles, etc., just to save a couple bucks. If you[re going to do it, do it the right way.

This post has been edited by sbpark: 15 September 2018 - 11:15 AM

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#16 User is offline   billroy 

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:30 AM

Hey SBP, just wondering - are you doing it all yourself or having it done? The tuner swap doesn't sound too bad, but not sure what's entailed with messing with the nut / saddle etc... (the stuff from your list)

Rgds - billroy
'18 Gibson J45, vintage
'86 Guild D25
'00 Fender Strat (American Standard)
'90 Fender Strat (Korea, bought in an open market in Korea... yeah it might be real)
'68 Gibson SG
'17 Several 3 String CBGs

"Want people to listen to your stuff, don't play boring stuff..." heard somewhere.
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#17 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:50 AM

View Postbillroy, on 15 September 2018 - 11:30 AM, said:

Hey SBP, just wondering - are you doing it all yourself or having it done? The tuner swap doesn't sound too bad, but not sure what's entailed with messing with the nut / saddle etc... (the stuff from your list)

Rgds - billroy


I've made nuts and saddles for quite a few of my acoustic sin the past, including the slotted saddle for my AJ and have also made a pickguard for an older J45TV. I'm also capable of installing the tuners, reaming the existing holes for the conversion bushings, etc., but a little hesitant to do the finishing work on the headstock to get rid of the raccoon eyes. I also dont want to deal with installing a K&K, so I'm taking the guitar to a very reputable shop that AI've had work on a few of my other guitars that does amazing work. Currently, I also don't have the time or desire to do any of this stuff myself. I'd rather spend the free time I have playing and doing other things.

Here's the nut and saddle I made for my AJ:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Pickguard I made to the J45TV I no longer own:

Posted Image

Posted Image

This post has been edited by sbpark: 15 September 2018 - 11:51 AM

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#18 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:53 AM

Nice work

Iím a ham fisted idiot and i installed a KK mini ultra with not much trouble

Youíre free to do what you want but a man who does work like the above will have no bother with the knk!
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#19 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 12:43 PM

It's all a matter of personal preferences - do what you like & enjoy.

Tuners are interesting. I actually prefer the feel of standard Grovers, and find them much easier to dial in compared to small button Klusons.

A while back, I posted about my dislike of Mini-Grovers, and eventually discovered that, again, it's actually the smaller buttons I don't like. Then figured out that large Grover buttons, as well as many Hipshot buttons, will fit given the proper screw length. Finally settled on Gibson-style pearl tulips.

Others in the herd came with white oval Klusons, and they'll remain. But if a guitar comes with Grovers, I'm a happy camper & will stick with them - reserving the right to swap out buttons!

This post has been edited by bobouz: 15 September 2018 - 12:47 PM

> Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '66 Epi FT-45n Cortez (B-25) / '90 Tennessean
'00 J-100 Xtra / '02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '09 ES 339 / '10 ES 330L
'11 ES 335-P90s / '12 ES 330 VOS / '12 LP Special / '12 J-185
'13 LG2-AE / '13 Midtown Kalamazoo / '14 J-15 / '15 J-50 CS
> Epiphones: '00 AIUSA-John Lee Hooker 1964 Sheraton / '05 McCartney 1964 Texan (Terada)
'09 Elitist 1965 Casino / > Ibanez: '81 M-340 / > Breedlove: '10 American Series OO Mandolin
> Guilds: '73 F-30R / '74 F-40 / '76 G-37 / '92 D-6 / '94 JF-30 / '97 Starfire / '14 Savoy A-150b
> Martins: '00 OOO-16 / '01 Custom Rosewood Dreadnought
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#20 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 11:07 AM

The tuners and conversion bushings arrived in the mail yesterday, so I installed them after I got home from work. Here's a link to the thread talking about what I did to install the tuners:

http://forum.gibson....one-super-easy/

Next will be replacing the thick, rubberized stock pickguard that is lifting along all edges, get the new nut made, remove the UST and install a K&K and set her up!

Before:

Posted Image

After:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

This post has been edited by sbpark: 16 September 2018 - 11:54 AM

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