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cooltouch

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Everything posted by cooltouch

  1. I have a new Joe Pass Emperor II Pro and today I decided to measure the depth of the frets on this guitar with a depth micrometer. I was getting 0.065" everywhere I measured. This is a very tall fret dimension -- tallest I've ever seen, in fact. Playability wise, it makes using heavier strings easier because it's possible to get more of my finger under the string as I bend strings. I've enjoyed playing this guitar ever since I bought it a couple months ago, and now I think I have a better understanding why I've felt this way. I guess I prefer really tall frets. I have another guitar I'm very fond of, except it is about due to have its frets replaced. Before I bought it, it had had some rather severe fret work done to it, such that most of its frets are down to about 0.030," which is too low for me. So, I checked around at all the sources for fret wire that I know of, and the tallest wire I can find is 0.055." Hey, if I can't find any of this super tall Epiphone wire, I'll go with the 55 wire, but it would be cool if I could find some of the Epi stuff. So I'm just wondering -- anybody know where or how I can buy Epi fretwire?
  2. I have a kramer Focus 1000 that I'm curious about when it was made. It pretty much looks like an Eddie Van Halen special -- vaguely Strat style body, single slanted humbucker with a Floyd Rose system. It hs a New Jersey neck heel plate, but from what I understand, that doesn't mean it was made there. I'm guessing either Japan or Korea, but I dunno. Here's a pic of it. You'll note that I've done a bit of hotrodding to it. I added a P90 to the neck position, a selector switch, and a second volume pot. I also discovered that the stock humbucker had an extra wire, so I installed a microswitch and set it for coil tap and I forget what the other setting is. I don't use either much at all anyway. Kramer Focus 1000 circa 1986 by Michael McBroom, on Flickr
  3. I found out about Guitarfetish just a few days ago from a couple of members over at the Stratocaster forum. I need a new tremolo block for my SE Squier, and Guitarfetish was recommended. They appear to have good stuff at good prices. And their customer service was very prompt and very helpful. I will be ordering a replacement block from them soon. And I look forward to exploring their site further.
  4. Wmachine, that's a very pretty Traditional. I almost bought one at GC that was marked down to $2k when I was shopping around. It looked just like yours, and as I recall, it was a Trad Pro II. That same day, as I was driving home, mulling over whether I should spend the $2k (plus sales tax, of course) on that LP, on impulse, I decided to drop in at a pawn shop on my way home. In the past I've found and bought some cool stuff from that pawn shop, so I thought I'd just stop by and have a look around, since I had some cash burning a hole in my pocket, and all. Well, I walk into the shop and the first thing my eyes light on is a Les Paul hanging on the wall. So, I go over there and check it out, and the guitar looks brand new. The pawn shop owner tells me it comes with a case and the case has all the tags inside. So I'm deeply interested at this point, and I check out the tags, ascertaining that it's a Trad Pro II, same as I was just looking at over at GC just a few minutes before. At that point I'm thinking that something like destiny convinced me to stop in at that moment. So I asked the owner what his best out-the-door price was if I paid for it in Benjamins right then and there. He told me $1,100. I didn't even bargain with him. I just whipped out my envelope of cash and started counting out hundred dollar bills. It was destiny is what it was, and I saved more than $1,000! Yes, I would have rather had a cherry burst model, but for the money I saved, I can live with the burgundy finish (or whatever it's called) just fine.
  5. So in other words, a 1960 Slimtaper C profile is unique? It reminds me a lot of the profile on the 55 Epi Custom with P90s, but I dunno if that is indicative of any particular year of Les Paul neck profiles -- 1955 perhaps?
  6. As of a couple weeks ago, I added a Les Paul BFG with P90s to my Gibson arsenal. BFG stands for "barely finished guitar" and I can believe it -- it's pretty rough. But it's a great player and it has that great P90 sound.
  7. I selected the "Slim Tapered" profile, but the one I'm used to reading about -- and the one that I own the most of -- is a profile I've always known as the Slim 60s profile. So is that "Slim Tapered" or "60"? Or both? I own four Gibsons and another make, all 5 of which have what I've always understood as the Slim-60s profile. I own an Epiphone Joe Pass that has a semi-chunky neck profile. Supposedly it is a "1960s Slimtaper C" profile, but it is not at all like the Slim-60s profile I'm used to. It's a comfortable player, though, so no complaints. So which of the above profiles does a "1960s Slimtaper C" fit within, being that it's got a slim taper and it's a 1960s design?
  8. About my 2013 Traditional Pro II in the above post, I have some questions. I bought the guitar used, so I didn't get all the details one might when buying it new. For instance, I was told that the Pro II model was built specifically for Guitar Center. Is this true? My Trad Pro II has active circuitry, requiring a battery. 10 dB of boost is available by pulling out the neck pickup's tone control. Was this a typical feature of the Pro models? I'm assuming all Pro IIs have this feature. I've also read that the Trad Pro II was available with a 50s style neck and the Slim-60s profile. Mine has the Slim-60s profile, and I'm glad it does. I wonder how common the ones with the 50s style neck are? I've played other Pro IIs and all of the ones I've played had the slim profile.
  9. What I had planned to do was buy one of these beauties and do the same pickup swap that you guys did, but I kept balking over the price. And then I found out about the Gibson Limited Edition Les Paul BFG with P90s that was being clearance priced by Guitar Center and Musician's Friend. The BFG is an interesting looking guitar -- "rough" would be a good description. Not nearly as beautiful as the '55 Epi. But it's a Les Paul with P90s and it was priced such that it was very hard to resist. So I bought one. It's a great player -- has the Slim 60's neck profile and the P90s sound awesome. One interesting feature about the guitar is it has no fingerboard inlays. I really didn't care for the rather pale red look of the fingerboard, so I decided to use an old Luthier's trick for treating ebony fingerboards that aren't dark enough. I dyed my BFG's fingerboard black. Being a classical player from way back, I don't mind a fingerboard without inlays and the black fingerboard reminds me of a classical. Besides, it makes the guitar look much better with that black fingerboard. My next mod on my BFG will be to replace the neck PU with a Lollar Staple. That should transform the guitar from being a very good player to an excellent one, or so is my hope. Thanks for the inspiration, guys. Mine may not be the '55 Epi, but it will have been inspired by it, truly enough.
  10. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    I aim to please. The slight reddish cast is an artifact of the camera. I even tried tweaking the white balance some, but it's still there.
  11. Nice to see your mods. My local Guitar Center has one of these beauties and I've played on it a lot. At first I didn't think I'd like the neck, cuz I like the Slim 60s profile, but actually I didn't mind it at all. It felt quite comfortable, in fact. I've thought long and hard about buying one of these but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. However, what I have planned for it is same as you've done and dump the neck P90 for a Lollar Staple. I found your report of its tonal qualities to be very illuminating. Sounds like just the ticket for that guitar.
  12. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    Just a quick follow up. Rabs, I took your advice. I used a sharp knife and carefully scraped away the dye from the fret markers. Worked great!
  13. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    01GT Eibach, good question. Because fret markers are non-porous, I could probably apply the dye and wipe it off without problems. But I think that what I'd do, just to be sure, would be to test it out on a portion of a fret marker or block, and see what happens. If it looks like it might be a problem removing the dye, then for sure, I'd mask off the fret markers or blocks with masking tape. Fancy shaped markers would be a real PITA though -- like those found on a PRS, for example -- so I hope I never have to do one of those fingerboards. Rabs, that's a good idea. Scraping with my fingernails didn't work all that well, but something like a knife edge might work better. I'll give that a try with the dots on my BFG before I resort to fingernail polish.
  14. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    Well, I thought I'd add a little update to my dye project. Yesterday, I dyed the edges of the fingerboard. I did much as I described above. I masked off the fingerboard, then lightly sanded it with 320 grit sandpaper (couldn't find any 400, but 320 is plenty fine enough). I tried cutting out some tiny circles from sticker material, but failed miserably at it. They're just too tiny for scissors, and I didn't feel like messing with a X-acto blade for this. So I just went ahead and applied the dye, hoping for the best. So I used the applicator, from which I squeezed out excess, and it was really nothing more than a couple of swipes with the applicator and that was it. I let the fingerboard dry for about five minutes, then scrubbed down the edges with a paper towel, then peeled off the masking tape. Looked great, except that I couldn't see the side fretboard markers anymore. So I tried scratching away the dye from the little circles with my thumbnail. That actually worked pretty well. But they're no longer bright white like they used to be. And as a result, hard to pick up in dim lighting. I find this kinda annoying, so rather than try anything too aggressive with them, which might remove dye or fingerboard material, I think I'm gonna try an old classical guitarist's trick. Since almost no classicals have fingerboard side dots, but since many classical players like to have these dots, what we do is use a silver colored fingernail polish. Just one light dot of the stuff at each of the frets where a dot is desired. I don't have any at present. I bought some stuff some years back that I thought was silver but it has a magenta cast to it, and goes on looking pink. I've been putting up with the color, but I've decided I'll wait with this Les Paul until I can get some proper silver, or else figure out another way to brighten up the dots.
  15. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    Bound? I wish. This is the first Gibson I've ever owned without a bound fingerboard. I've even fantasized about how I could go about installing binding on it. Whereabouts are you located? If in the US and not in California, you should be able to find the stuff. Mail order, if nothing else. If not, I'd recommend you go to a a shoe repair facility, or a leather crafts store, and ask what they use for leather dye.
  16. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    Joe, Fiebing's is actually very easy to use. I bought my bottle (4 oz) at a Tandy's Leather Crafts store for about $7. It comes with a fluffy swab on a metal handle and I recommend using this swab to apply it with. One thing I didn't do that I recommend is sanding down the sides of the fingerboard. The sides are finished with whatever Gibson used to finish the neck. Because the sides are finished, the Fiebing's doesn't adhere. I haven't done it yet, but what I'm gonna do is mask off the sides of the fingerboard, lightly sand it down with probably 400 or 600 grit sandpaper, then cut out pieces of adhesive backed paper -- like stickers -- the size of the fret markers, place them on the markers to mask them, then swab down the sides. OK, what I did to color the fingerboard was dead simple. I just dipped the swab in the Fiebing's bottle, then pressed it against the inside edge of the bottle to remove excess liquid. Then I just swabbed down the fingerboard. I noticed as I was doing so that there were areas where the dye sort of welled up, so I went back over these areas to remove the excess. Fiebing's dries very quickly, so after only a few minutes, I was able to take a paper towel and scrub down the fingerboard. There was very little residue that came off onto the paper towel. Scrubbing down the fingerboard with a paper towel also removed all dye from the frets, and the small amount of dye I got onto the nut. The result was impressive. It looks like an ebony fingerboard -- except for the sides, which I will be taking care of as soon as I can find my stash of sandpaper. And it doesn't rub off. Ever. But even if it were to, all I'll have to do is touch it up again with more Fiebing's. And with all that leftover Fiebing's you have -- an almost full bottle -- you can redye any of your black shoes, your wife's black purses, and anything else that's leather that you want to be jet black (again). And of course, you can dye any other of your guitars' non-ebony fingerboards with this stuff.
  17. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    I couldn't resist tweaking the looks of my new BFG. I just really didn't like the looks of the very pale, very dry rosewood fingerboard. And since it doesn't have any fret markers, which makes the fingerboard look like a classical's I decided to push it a bit further. All good classicals have ebony fingerboards. So I decided to use an old luthier's trick and dye mine black. Yep. I used Fiebing's Leather Dye, which is the dye to use if you ever want to dye wood black, btw. Except for you folks in California, who can't buy it because of who knows what weird law you people have to put up with. Good thing about Fiebing's is, because it is a dye, it soaks into the wood, so it won't rub off after extended playing. So here's a pic of my BFG with ebony-look fingerboard.
  18. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    Heh, I know what you mean. I also own an old Kramer Focus 1000 that originally had a single HB in the bridge position. I modified it by putting a P90 in the neck position. Turned that guitar into an awesome, flexible screamer. And yeah, the middle position does indeed produce an interesting sound. Kramer Focus 1000 circa 1986 by Michael McBroom, on Flickr I've been kicking around the idea of stripping the BFG and taking a sander to the top -- smoothing it down, then refinishing it. But I'd probably kill its resale value if I did that. I just need to get used to the coarse nature of the guitar, I tell myself.
  19. cooltouch

    Les Paul BFG

    Yep, $649 was too tempting for me. I bought one yesterday. I was after one with P90s, which seem to be harder to find than the HB models. Fortunately, I found one at a local Guitar Center, so quick like a bunny rabbit, I scooted over there and grabbed it. A very interesing guitar. It is rough. Relic'd in a way -- or just intentionally crudely finished. Except the neck and fingerboard, which are very nicely done. I was expecting a fatter neck profile, but it is very close to the Slim-60s profile. I actually like that it doesn't have any fingerboard inlays. I've played classical for many years and I like that clean look. As long as it has the side markers, that's all I need anyway. My BFG plays great -- as nicely as my regular Les Paul. And that P90 sound, well, I just love it. So I am very happy with what I have. Really, rough or not, I consider this to be a spectacular deal on a Gibson. Especially a LP with P90s.
  20. Of course you deserve it! Everyone should own at least one really nice guitar. Doesn't have to be a Gibson and it doesn't have to be all that expensive but it does have to be really nice. And I'm sure that 2018 SG will fit the bill. Cherry is the classic SG color. When I think SG, I'm not thinking of Clapton's painted wonder or any of the other fancy schemes that Gibson has cooked up during recent years. I'm not even thinking of my Showcase Edition in blue metallic. I'm thinking Cherry all the way.
  21. I posted a pic of my double-cut LP Special over in the Specials club, but since it has P90s I thought I'd go ahead and post a pic of it here also. Gibson Les Paul Special circa 2000 with P90 single coils by Michael McBroom, on Flickr I have another guitar with a single P90. While not a Gibson, it is now days one of the Gibson brands. It's a Kramer Focus 1000, which originally had a single humbucker and a Floyd Rose. I almost never use wang bars, so I took a couple of pieces of hardwood and tapped them into the tremolo's channel to isolate it, preventing its movement. I also had the neck position routed for a P90, installed the P90 and a pickup selector switch. When I had the guitar apart I noticed the humbucker had an additional wire that wasn't being used, so I wired it up to produce single coil, parallel and series, hooked up to a micro switch. I don't use the other settings though. I just mostly leave it set to the straight humbucker mode. As for the P90, in the neck position, it delivers just a huge wall of sound. I love it. Kramer Focus 1000 circa 1986 by Michael McBroom, on Flickr
  22. I just found out about this club. I own a 2013 Traditional Pro II and I love it much. Les Paul Traditional, 2013 Model with Pick Guard Removed by Michael McBroom, on Flickr
  23. I just found out about this club, so I thought I'd post and participate. I bought my double-cut Special from the now defunct Mars Music back in about 2000. Before I bought mine, Mars had these double-cut Specials with both the green key Klusons and the white key Klusons. When I bought mine, they didn't have any left with the green key Klusons.That's the only thing this guitar doesn't have that I wish it did. I'll probably buy a set of green key Klusons for it one of these days. Nonetheless, I really really like this guitar. It plays great with its Slim-60s neck profile and sounds just unbelievably fantastic through my Marshalls. One nice touch about my guitar that I don't see on all Specials is the bound fingerboard. Gibson Les Paul Special circa 2000 with P90 single coils by Michael McBroom, on Flickr
  24. Guys, regarding the spacing at the bridge, I don't see this as being an issue. Because the original spacing remains the same the way the stock nut is configured, this tells me that the distance between the edges of the fingerboard and each outer string should be the same as it is at the nut all the way down the neck. Therefore, if I increase the spacing at the nut by 0.05" on each side, but keep the spacing at the bridge the same, according to a rough set of calcs I just ran, the change in distance between the outer strings and the edge of the fingerboard at, say, the 16th fret, where the neck joins the body, should be only about 0.020". I consider this amount of displacement to be negligible, so no modification of bridge saddles would be needed. Regarding centering of the strings over the pickup pole pieces, according to another set of rough calcs I just ran, the difference in location of the string is insignificant. Much less than the widths of the high and low E strings themselves. So, bottom line, I don't see there being a problem with respect to cutting a wider nut for a 2015 Les Paul.
  25. Thanks for the responses, guys. Yes, I was aware that the string spacing hadn't changed, but that didn't put me off. I build guitars (classicals) and cutting a new nut is a paltry affair. So my idea was and is, if I ever get a 2015, I'll just cut a new nut for it to take advantage of the extra width. This would seem to be an especially advantageous move based on Rabs' comment about the rapidly deteriorating condition of the factory brass nuts. Wmachine, you are so right. The neck and fingerboard are the most intimate parts of any guitar, providing most of the tactile feedback a player experiences, thus a player is likely to develop strong opinions about what is "good" or "bad." Me, I've been trying to become more flexible in this matter. Just last week I bought an Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II Pro from an online retailer and, after it arrived, discovered that the neck profile wasn't what I'd expected. There are seven Guitar Centers in my town, plus a couple of large independents, and not a one of them had a Joe Pass in stock, so I wasn't able to try one out before I bought it. The description of its neck profile said it was slim and "C" shaped. Well, I guess I just assumed that, since the description said "slim" it would be a Slim-60s profile, same as that on my three Gibsons, one of my Ibanezes and my Greg Bennett Samick. But apparently not. Rather than get all upset and box the guitar up and send it back, I decided I'd just sit down and play it for a while. After about a half hour I came up for air and decided I could definitely live with the profile. Even though it looks kinda chunky -- definitely isn't what I'm used to seeing -- I don't play with my eyes, and it turns out that, to me, it is a very comfortable neck. I almost have to stay flexible in this regard. I own a few Fenders, a couple of Ibanezes, and even an old Kramer, and their neck profiles are all different, yet I'm able to get along with them just fine. And then there are my classicals, an entirely different kettle of fish. And, being hand-made, every one of them is a bit different from the others. Actually, I think that maintaining a certain flexibility is a good thing. That way, I can enjoy my Strat for being a Strat and my Les Pauls for being the great guitars they are, and of course, my favorite classical for being the instrument it is. I would find things frightfully restrictive if I felt comfortable playing on only a single neck profile.
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