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Randy99CL

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About Randy99CL

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    : New Mexico
  • Interests
    Rock 'N Roll, Blues, Hard Rock, Jazz

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  1. I'm living on SS so thought that I'd never be able to afford a real Gibson unless used. Saw many advertised but don't really know enough to buy a used guitar in the price range most were listed for. Guitar Center showed the Les Paul Studio Tribute 2019 and I watched it for months. The price got down to $929 (from $1200) and on a whim in June I called and talked with a sales rep. He said yes I would get the 10% Veteran discount and they probably didn't have any new ones but a few stores showed more than one and a couple might still be new-in-the-box. I ordered one and he attached a note to the order stating that I wanted a new one if possible. They only had the Satin Iced Tea Burst left in stock but I like that finish. The virus slowed things down as many stores were closed while I anxiously awaited word of what guitar I'd be getting. I called to check the order about a week later and was told that there were no new ones left and I could cancel if I wanted. The rep told me that many open-box guitars are like new, especially those hanging on the top rows where it takes a tall ladder to reach. I decided to wait and see what I got, I could always return it if not happy. I prepared myself for the worst when I drove to the store to pick up the guitar I had shipped in. A generic box with no Gibson logo told me it wasn't new but I was speechless to find that my guitar was flawless and beautiful. Not a scratch or mark on it, not even a pick mark on the plastic protecting the pickguard. Came in the soft case with all the goodies including the bench pic, wow it is nicer than I'd dreamed! I've had it a couple of weeks now and it is fantastic. I have a dozen guitars to compare it to (no Gibson but Fender, Gretsch, G&L, Epi and Squier) and the build quality and fit and finish and fretwork are as good as the best I own, it is perfect. It is a joy just to hold it in my hands and I love just looking at it. But it also plays great and sounds fantastic! Some here wouldn't like the dot inlays or satin finish or 490 pickups but I love it and it is still a real US made Les Paul with mahogany body and carved maple top. The satin finish neck feels smooth and fast and I like the maple, it is likely stronger than mahogany and the headstock may not break so easily. The body has been weight relieved and it hangs more like a Strat or Tele than my full-body Epi LP. And it still rings forever, the sustain is amazing. To sum it up this is a fantastic guitar for not much money and I recommend it highly. I got mine for a great price ($831!!) and feel lucky to have found it. Performance has always mattered more than looks or style so this model is perfect for me. It's not got the expensive bells and whistles that add cost but the basics and heart are there and I can upgrade the pickups and electronics and tuners if I want. These are still shown on the GC website today if someone wants one. Hard to tell the condition you might get but maybe it's worth a shot.
  2. On Jan 1 I decided to learn to play guitar. It's something I've always wanted to do but found reasons to put it off. Now I'm retired, have the time and stopped making excuses. Two of my brothers and all of my best friends play (mostly guitar) and I ran sound in the '80s so know the basics. I've gone a little crazy and collected quite a few guitars already. My advice (for what it's worth) 1. Listen to as many styles/types as you can and decide what sound you want and what type of music you want to play. There are a million videos on YT demonstrating the sound of guitars to help you decide. Wear headphones. 2. There are some videos listing the "four guitars everyone should own", usually the Tele, Strat, Les Paul and ES335. Each of those has a distinctive sound that is unique to that instrument. All 4 are important in the history of electric music. 3. I wanted the "classic" sound so bought a Strat with 3 single-coils and a Tele with 2 single-coils, IOW I didn't want an HH Tele or HSS or HSH Strat because they probably won't have the exact sound I expect. Jimi, Eric and Stevie all played Strats with SSS pickups. Later I will buy some with non-standard configurations. 4. I have 3 guitars made in China (two Epis and a Squier) and 5 from Indonesia (two G&L, two Gretsch and a Squier) and believe the Indonesian models are superior. All of these were from $250-$400 (on sale) and all are great guitars for the money. I know you can't make a blanket statement (like all XXXXX guitars are better) but in those I own the Indo are perfect and all 3 Chinese have small flaws, but they are still 98% perfect. Just My Opinion. If you want a Fender, the Mexican (MIM) models are fantastic at around $700 new. Many great players use them, gig with them and agree that they are probably the best bang-for-the-buck in the industry. It is hard to tell the difference between the $700 MIM and the $2000 American versions, they're that good. The G&L Tribute series is around $500 (less when on sale) and worth a serious look because they're almost as good as the MIM Fenders for less money. The G&L MFD pickups sound incredible because they were invented by Leo Fender. All G&L guitars, even the imports, have pickups made in the US. Gretsch Streamliners ($450-$550) are fantastic if you want a semi or hollowbody, I love the two I own. I'm living on SS and have to pinch my pennies so watch for sales and haven't bought any guitars I didn't get a discount on. But you'll see that most retailers sell everything at list and that amazes me. I've signed up for Guitar Center and Musician's Friend sale emails and have bought mostly from those two because they seem to have the most frequent and best sales. I just ordered a Gibson Les Paul Tribute and it hasn't shipped yet. It will be my most expensive guitar and I can't wait to hear how it sounds and how it compares to what I already own.
  3. The treble bleed circuit is a great idea and I would add it to anything that doesn't have it. To me this is a necessity. But the others aren't necessary but cool to have. Some like the single-coil sound and phase switching and others don't. My Epi LP has both and I do like them and they do add other voices that will make your guitar more versatile. I have a twin-HB Squier Telecaster that has 3-wire pickups that can't be split so I'm replacing those pups. An HH Tele with coil splitting should give me a nice tele twang along with the full-range HB sound. Search on youtube, there are bunches of videos demonstrating these options.
  4. I bought a set of locking Grover tuners off ebay for $70 a set (for black) and they are perfection. As to the pickups you'll just have to research youtube and try some to find the sound you want. Start with some less expensive imports first, I've known lots of players who were happy with them. You don't always have to go with the name brands (at $100 each). I don't like the really cheap Amazon sets but the GFS from Guitar Fetish are popular and many seem to like their sound. They make good wiring kits too, and sell them for decent prices. I'm planning to get a set of their HB-sized P-90s for my Epi SG. Guitar Fetish sells lots of bridges and tailpieces too. https://www.guitarfetish.com/
  5. Another quick point: the pots in these Epis are not the best quality. My new guitar shipped with a faulty push-pull tone pot and the shaft came completely out when I pulled it. I called Epi customer service and they sent me a new pot (and GC will change it when I schedule the repair). The pots are the small cheap ones that come in less-expensive import guitars. Eventually I'll replace mine with better quality pieces.
  6. Thanks for the comments! Sadly, this model is not part of the new 2020 lineup.
  7. No, I don't think they sell replacement parts. You can find some pieces/parts on ebay as people disassemble guitars to sell separate pieces. But very few of them are really "Epiphone" parts, most are generic and not made by Epi. For example, I ordered a black pickup selector switch off Amazon that is exactly like the Epi part, so exact I'm sure it's the same switch from the same factory. While Fender, Gibson and G&L are famous for making their own pickups I believe the Epis are made in some generic Chinese factory. I replaced many of the pieces on my LP (to black it out) by ordering them from Amazon and the bridge/tailpiece (an exact replacement) from Guitar Fetish. Every generic piece is as good quality as the Epi original. I show before/after pics in this thread:
  8. Mission Accomplished! It took me a little while to collect all the parts but I'm really happy with the new look and the new locking tuners work great. For anyone interested, I got the 3-way switch, knobs, pickup mounting rings and black plastic kit (pickguard and bracket, poker chip, truss rod cover, rear access covers), from Amazon. The Grover tuners and metal jack plate off ebay. I returned a couple different painted bridge/tailpiece combos from amazon that looked good in the pics but were all beat up IRL and was lucky to find a black plated set at GuitarFetish. The strap buttons come with black Dunlop strap locks. It's funny that I picked this color because I partly didn't want a Gibson clone but I've discovered that GC now shows 3 Gibson Les Pauls that are blacked out. Mine looks close to those but they don't have zebra pickups. They each cost over $3000.
  9. I've had this guitar for a week and really do love it, I couldn't be happier. The sound is amazing compared to my other guitars; they sound really good but when I switch to these Gibson 57s the difference is immediately obvious with a fuller bottom end, very clear and defined mids and a beautiful, smooth (not harsh) high range. To my (again, untrained) ears they do sound amazing and well worth the price difference. But the push-pull boost knob didn't feel or sound the same as the others, not a solid click. So yesterday I got my new knobs and when I pulled that one the whole shaft came out of the pot. Not a big deal, I was going to replace them all (cheap small imports) eventually and this just speeded up the need. Amazon has sets of 4 CTS full-size for about $35. And I'm buying the pieces to black out the guitar. I'll post pics when I'm done.
  10. Your $70 figure for pickups seems high to me. For an inexpensive guitar I'd: 1. Look at Amazon, they list hundreds of pickups and the imports start at around $10 or so, then decent sets are maybe $30? Fleor is one brand that seems to get decent reviews. 2. Check fleabay. Many of the midrange Epiphones come with their Alnico Classic pickups that sound decent (in that price range). Then as some guys upgrade they offer the ACs for sale. ***I just checked and there are (new takeoffs?) sets of these AC pickups for $19.99 and $6.00 shipping. The Amazon pickups are unknown but there are tons of good reviews of these. Search youtube for videos showing how to setup your pickups (and strings/neck).
  11. OK, I picked up this guitar yesterday. It's incredible, I love it. First, let me say that right now I am more of a collector than player. I'm just a beginner and can't comment on the playability or sound as I don't have the playing experience or "ear" yet. I live in a duplex and can't crank my little Fender Mustang LT-25, I normally wear headphones. I also own an Epi SG (new 1966 G-400 Pro) and Squier Tele and knew that eventually I'd get a Les Paul. Not planning on buying one now but last week Guitar Center had a few of the Epis on sale. I wanted a "premium" model so researched them and decided that this is the best bang for the buck. Retail is $699 but currently $599 (or $579 for other colors). The appearance is fantastic. Build quality is flawless and I can't find an imperfection anywhere. I like the Trans Black color as I didn't want one that looks like a burst Gibson copy, I wanted an above-average Epi LP. Pictures showed that the front is high gloss (mine has beautiful wood, better than the picture) but the sides, back and neck are satin black. I'm surprised that the wood wasn't filled and you can see open pores but it looks great and I really like the feel of the neck; it's slicker than the high-gloss SG. I don't like the look of the traditional gold knobs and will swap them out for the black modern ones. I've seen pictures of "blacked out" guitars and like that look, I may replace most of the cream and chrome pieces with black. It sounds fantastic. My untrained ears can't hear a lot of difference over the Alnico Classic Pros in the SG but the Gibson 57s sound great in every configuration. Bright but full bodied, clean, well defined. I've found a couple of places that sell the US Gibson 57s separately and they are around $150 each; I'm amazed that my $600 guitar has $300 worth of pickups. The phase-switching is a fun effect but I'll take the battery from the boost as I don't need it for practice. I knew that LPs sustain well but didn't realize that they can ring forever, just strumming unplugged this thing never stops vibrating til you deaden the strings. Amazing! Overall this is a great guitar and really worth the money. I'm retired on SS and have to pinch pennies but this model seems (to me) to be as good as anything Epi makes and I don't know that paying more for a signature (or whatever) model buys you a noticeably better guitar. This level is high enough that you might have to upgrade to a 2x+ priced Gibson to get something better? I don't know, just my opinion and I'm not an expert.
  12. Hi again Luke I just bought my SG about 10 days ago and am finding more info every day. I've seen reviews that are dated 8+ years ago. Yours isn't marked "Pro" but with those tuners I'm sure it wasn't a lower model. Mine says "Limited Edition" on the back of the headstock but it seems they were made for about 2 years this time and were probably made in other batches in the past. I really like the pickguard because of the coverage; this is my first guitar and I'm just learning to control the pick. Don't want to scratch the body. Also the non-batwing models have an extra piece of plastic between the neck and pickup that looks out of place to me. My bridge adjusters are 1/8" to almost 3/16" above the pickguard. I think you need to check into replacing your bridge posts; possibly the newer batwings have different posts. Good Luck! Randy
  13. I'm new to Epi and don't know exactly what your SG is but I just bought a new (limited edition) 1966 replica G-400 Pro that matches yours except for the classic tuners. Mine is cherry but they made black too. I've seen video reviews of this model from two years ago but it has recently disappeared from the website, replaced by the 1961 version. Okay, I just found the 1966 model on their website but it is now only available in a silver burst color. http://www.epiphone.com/Products/SG/1966-G-400.aspx I like the batwing pickguard and love the guitar. There are still some new ones around for approx. $430. Sorry I don't have specifics on yours, just trying to add to our SG knowledge.
  14. Hello All First post here. Epi has so many models of LPs it's almost hard to choose but after making a spreadsheet I decided on the Trad Pro 3 Plus LE. I'd like to see some reviews or any info on this model but a search found nothing. Anyone playing one, like it? Any opinions at all? Currently on sale at a decent price and I ordered one to be delivered in a couple of days. It's different than most because of the satin finish back and neck (love it) and the US Gibson 57 humbuckers. Comments? thanks, Randy
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