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Col Mustard

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About Col Mustard

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  • Birthday 09/17/1948

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  1. Here I will quote from an experienced friend who has shared his method on another forum. This method works very well, and is the opposite of what you are normally told. This works well enough that it ought to be made a sticky. My friend's online handle is "Biddlin." "Start in your normal tuning, ie if you play in double drop c tune your guitar to double drop c . Retune between each adjustment. Begin by setting the bridge height for frets 17-22 so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height. Start with low E. Lower the bass side until it buzzes, raise until clear. Check A and D raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out. When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 16, increasing relief (loosening trussrod) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns, until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed. Once you have acceptable relief, i.e. no buzz and easy action, set your intonation and you're done."
  2. I'll bet your ex-Epiphone is worth the effort. I have a step daughter who expressed an interest in playing guitar when she was about 11 years old. Her dad responded by buying her an Epiphone Les Paul Special ll. *grins She brought that home and was all excited. I responded by getting her some cool upgrades for it. I actually thought it sounded pretty good just out of the box. But I knew it could be better. I ended up replacing almost everything I could unscrew or unsolder. Just a labor of love, that's all. Grover tuners, Tusq nut, Gibson 490 pickups out of my SG, Tone Pros bridge and tail, a good quality wiring harness. The neck and the frets were fine. The body is made of plywood, but that doesn't have much effect on the instrument. Wood is like, not magnetic. The Gibson p'ups sound better in the Epiphone that they did in the Gibson. A decent nut is also a key point, as is the bridge. Good quality parts there make a difference, an important difference. So she ends up with a guitar that is much more than it appears to be. Great tone and sustain, it's set up very well and is easy to play, and stays in tune. Hard to beat. Also, it doesn't attract thieves. We kept the original "Special ll" decal on. So it looks like an inexpensive Epi, but it plays like a million. I'm sure yours does too.
  3. One suggestion that I have made on other fora, concerning neck shapes. Neck shapes are irrelevant if you keep your thumb behind the neck. I do know that many many internet posts are created by guys who feel that a guitar neck that is "too chunky' or "too whippy" is a crucial issue. So I'll buck all this and say that the human hand can play any instrument from a ukulele to a double bass with no problems. We pick our guitars based on the tone we need for the song we intend to play. Then we tell our hands to play the selected instrument, and we practice until the hand complies. Allowing your hand to tell you what guitar you will play... seems like taking career advice from a three year old. Never allow this. Tell your hand to play the guitar you need in order to make the sounds you hear in your head. This from a musician who plays acoustic, electric and bass guitars. I never think about neck shapes. All my instruments have different shapes. I just play them. And I suggest that you shop for guitars based on the tone you want to achieve, knowing that your hand is capable of accommodating your needs and wishes, to perform the music that only you can do.
  4. Seven hundred is a lot for an Epi... But the Casinos get more respect than most because of how much great music was created and played on them. Good question, whether a used one is worth that much. Me, I'd offer $500. If the seller got pissed, I wouldn't cry. What I suggest is that you go where Epiphone guitars are sold, and try out a couple of alternatives. Epiphone makes other semi hollow P-90 equipped guitars. One of those is what I bought, when I decided I had to have a P-90 guitar. I bought an Epiphone ES-339 P-90 pro. This is a smaller instrument than a Casino, and I really like that. My ES-339 has become one of my favorite guitars. I'm an old guy now, a Beatle fan. When I realized how many of my favorite songs had been played by Lennon on his Epiphone Casino, I began to lust for one. This was during the great 2015 Gibson bash-fest. There was so much negativity on internet fora during those times, I grew impatient. I'm also a Gibson fan. The 2015 Gibson bashing was all bull-taco, as we know now, but it had some basis from the player's POV. My response was to go hunting, and what I found was my excellent Epiphone ES-339. I highly recommend this model, and the other one I looked at during those times was the Epiphone Casino Coupe. The Coupe is built on the same size body as the ES-339. It's smaller and (for me) more comfortable to play. I really intended to buy an Epiphone Casino Coupe. It has the same twin P-90 setup as the full size Casino, but the body is about the size of a Les Paul, and about a pound lighter. It has the same neck. The idea of getting the Casino sound on a smaller body and a lower price was very appealing to me. The ES-339 was even less expensive. So I decided I didn't need to get a Chinese or Japanese Copy of what John Lennon played. I went for a 21st century version of this instrument, and I made the right choice. I played a Casino Coupe at two different music stores when I was on my hunt, and loved the tone. You should see if you can find one. A used one would cost half of what the "inspired Casino" demands. ...and give the same tone, and give an excellent feel. So this is a recommendation from a fan of the same tones, who has owned his ES-339 P-90 pro since 2015 and is still arse over teakettle in love with it.
  5. I don't think anyone makes fake Epiphone Les Paul Special lls... The genuine guitars don't sell for that much money, so there's no financial incentive. What you have is like a parts-caster. We can assemble Fender style guitars out of parts that have been bought or made or stolen, and make a playable instrument. This is true for bolt-on neck Epiphones also. And this is what you have. It doesn't look much like what left the Epiphone factory, but that's okay because it is something you have changed to meet your own needs. Or just to have some fun. Epiphones respond very well to upgrades. Inexpensive Epiphone guitars can be made into real players. I know this because I have done it. Repeatedly. One of my favorite instruments is a 1997 ex-Squier P-bass that was abandoned by its owner. The original instrument probably didn't cost more than $150 US when it was new in 1997. By the time it came to me, it was in bad shape... it had been down in some basement, under piles of debris, and the hardware was all rusty and the instrument was covered in mold and mildew or other life forms. I got it free, and treated it like a rescue puppy. I actually took it to a good luthier, asking him if he thought he could get the neck straight. I said, if he could, I'd take the instrument on as a project. Otherwise, it was bound for a Viking Funeral. He got the neck straight. That was the key. With a playable neck, all I needed to do was install good quality parts. I stripped off and threw away all the hardware, including the neck plate with the serial number. I bought new (good) parts: Schaller tuners, Fender nut, StewMac Golden Age P-bass pickup, Alpha pots, Switchcraft jack, and a Gotoh Bridge. My reward for doing the work was to end up with a very playable Precision Bass. It weighs about nine pounds and balances perfectly. Great tone and sustain. The neck and frets work fine, no problems. I have about $450 into it now, including an excellent high end gig bag for it. This bass can take its place alongside instruments costing ten times as much, and not give up a thing. So I would not worry about whether your Special ll is a fake. I would just mod it to suit yourself and play the hell out of it. What you have is a cool custom guitar that will be what you make of it. It likely has a low resale value... like my ex-Squier bass. So its real value is in the music it can make. When I had my bass stripped down, I sanded off the Squier decal. And installed a new blank neck plate. So my bass is no longer a Squier P-bass. It is now one of a kind, and so is your guitar. Get it set up perfectly by the best luthier you can find or afford. That's the best mod you can do to it. Then play it loud.
  6. Bone might be best... most advanced luthiers I've talked to prefer bone. I like tusq... I've replaced three Epiphone nuts with tusq and heard a tonal improvement but I confess that I also upgraded the bridges and pickups at the same time. I have a tusq nut and bridge saddle on my 2018 J-45 AG, and these work fine. My J-45 is so new that I've been listening to its tone mellow for the last year, and I'm sure it will continue. Those parts were factory stock... anyway they are serviceable as issued and I feel no need at this time to change them out. So I'm still playing and listening as my new guitar's tone changes. I've actually never owned a NEW acoustic guitar before. All my other acoustics were purchased used. I decided to pounce on this one because I knew Gibson was entering their bankruptcy phase, so I got mine just before that happened. In the future, these might be known as "pre-bankruptcy" Gibsons. *laughs I thought I'd support my favorite guitar company in the only way I know how. I wasn't buying any of the preferred stock... just a guitar. Good choice... Guitars make music. I don't really understand why players might object to tusq. I've had considerable experience with nuts made from this material. But I have a Gibson SG with a factory Corian nut, and this seems fine to me also. It's given zero trouble since 2013. If I thought there was something wrong with the tusq nut and bridge saddle on my J-45, I would seriously consider changing them. So I read this post with interest, and an open mind. On a J-45, bone seems like the proper material. And that's what I would choose, if I thought I needed to. Ebony seems too soft and too easily split. I have made pick guards out of Ebony, as well as tenon covers and control cavity covers and Truss Rod Covers. I like Ebony, but not for the nut. IMHO, tusq is better, and bone is maybe just a little better than that. But only a little. My J-45 is a 21st century instrument, which unplugs ALL of the 'vintage J-45" mystique. Mine has a unique tone, which I like. Walnut back and sides, walnut bridge, walnut fretboard, spruce top... Maple neck. I confess that I like unique instruments. Especially this one, made from North American hardwood and tone wood. Which unplugs ALL of the tropical tonewood mystique as well. As soon as I heard about this guitar, I wanted one. Tropical tone wood is a vanishing resource, and so it is an obsolete issue IMHO. The old guitars are still there to be bought by the fans of the traditional materials. Some sound great, some don't. Just like now.
  7. Here's another suggestion that might be easy to do, and cost about the same or less than, a three pack of Elixir strings: Get a set of Tusq bridge pins. I recently bought a 2018 Gibson J-45 AG, which has a Walnut back & sides, spruce top, Walnut bridge and fretboard and a maple neck. I was immediately attracted by the unique construction of this model, and also wanted to support the idea of a guitar made from North American Hardwood, rather than tropical wood obtained from pirates, developers or plantation owners. I've had my J-45 for more than a year now, it's the first acoustic guitar in my long career that I ever bought new. All my other acoustics were used, some VERY used. So I've never before experienced the mellowing of a new guitar, or listened to it happen while playing over a period of a year. It's been fascinating. When I first received my new Gibson, its tone was bright bright bright. I sort of expected this, knowing that any guitar needs to work and vibrate a lot before it achieves its tone. Even electrics go through this when new, although not as dramatically as acoustics. So I have been listening attentively as my J-45 tone has worked its way into my music. The first mod was to install bluegrass style "light top, medium bottom" strings... So if you want your guitar to sound brighter, reverse this and install light gauge strings. The second mod was to remove the Tusq bridge pins and install a set of Ebony ones. Tusq is a fine material, my Gibson has a Tusq nut and bridge saddle as well as Tusq bridge pins. I replaced the Tusq with Ebony and observed more warmth in the tone immediately. Reversing this would be an easy and inexpensive mod. You could also buy bone bridge pins which would do the same thing, with more organic elegance. For even more organic elegance, try fossil Walrus Ivory, or fossil Mammoth Ivory bridge pins. These are $$$$$$$$$$ of course, but I can't help being fascinated by the idea. *grins But I'm very happy with the ebony pins, they have tamed a bit of the brightness of my new Gibson, and I'm loving the music she makes. Time will do the rest. Also, since my guitar is so new and shiny and all, I'm sure she needs a few more "tone notches" which is how we refer to the dings and scratches that accidentally accumulate on a wooden instrument. I have ONE such 'tone notch" dinged into the lovely spruce top of my guitar, caused when I dropped a needle nose plier that I was using to clip my new strings, and it bounced off the floor right into the top of my new guitar... with a THUNK. Don't we hate that sound? The first one hurts the worst, I confess. I know, if you really want to improve the tone of a new acoustic, you have to drag it down a dirt road behind your truck. But I ain't doing that. I'm trying to protect her, so she gets her tone notches one at a time, and only when I ain't looking.
  8. I think Epiphone buys and uses wood according to market swings and trends, and according to what's available, rather than according to any "Official Policy." I could be wrong, because I don't speak Chinese. But its my belief that they keep prices low this way. They make instruments out of whatever their buyers can find. Epiphone has to be a major player in the 'tropical tonewoodf' boondoggle. And so are the cabinet makers who supply the burgeoning Chinese middle class. Market forces probably ebb and flow according to pressures invisible to the U.S. guitarist, who is trapped in a world of illusion and hype, by our own "sources" of information. If there was a scarcity or a surplus of East Indian Rosewood on the world market how would we know? If somebody said so on an internet forum, could we believe this? (no). If some Brazilian Developers got access to another hundred square miles of untouched rain forest and clear cut it to sell on the black market, would guitar makers flock to take advantage? *shrugs The scarcity of Rosewood and Ebony that got Gibson in trouble ten years ago was due to a coup d'etat in Madagascar, which was never reported in the U.S. news that I ever heard. (Probably BBC had it) But I don't know everything. I certainly don't. And I don't know why Epiphone guitars are made of different materials from time to time. But I observe that they are.
  9. So here's another suggestion no one has mentioned, but which I always recommend when somebody comes aboard with a "newly acquired' instrument: Professional setup. Take this baby to the best luthier you can find/afford, and get it set up properly. Pay the luthier extra to remove the patch, and fix the broken neck underneath it. Then he can get the neck straight, check the frets for level, check the nut slots to make sure they are cut right for the strings you prefer, set the pickup height, radius the pole pieces, set the bridge height for best action and set the intonation for your preferred string gauge. All this will cost you some money but enhance your guitar experience so much that you'll wonder why you didn't do it first. Sometimes ya need professional help. Sometimes yer plumbing backs up, and you don't know where the problem is, and yer afraid to find out the hard way. Then ya call for assistance from someone who's got the right tools and experience to put things right.
  10. yuck, that looks horrible. what I wrote was talking about some thin coat of gunk that you could scrub off. But this looks like you should try and peel it off by grabbing it with a needle nose and getting your drummer to hold the guitar body and pull. Maybe heating it with a hair dryer would help, maybe it would make it worse... But I would try it. Heat it up, and try and pull it off. Then you can scrub the neck according to my suggestions if you wish.
  11. I have never heard of any "grip" materiel added to the back of a guitar neck by any player I know, or by anyone on any forum that I visit. So I say: It doesn't matter what it is, or why the previous owner did this. The only thing that matters is to get it off there. I agree with the above post that you should clean the back of the neck well. I would try Windex first. Then the Naphtha. Apply with a rag, and if gunk comes off, throw that away and get another rag and continue. Then I would work with the green kitchen scrubbie. These work very well. If it gets clogged with goop, throw it away and get anther one. They are cheap. Next I would use sandpaper. I would use 220 grit, and see if this does anything. If not, go up a grade in coarseness and use 150 grit. Remove the gunk from the back of the neck. Take it down to the wood. Then use the 220 grit again. Lots of us do this, and then leave it that way. I have a Squier "rescue" bass that was given to me in really bad condition. The back of the neck was all chewed up like guys had been dropping the bass on a pile of bricks or cinder blocks. So I sanded it down, smoothed it with 220 grit, and then with steel wool. (do this outside, on a windy day, with the wind blowing all the little steel bits AWAY from your pickups. The magnets will attract the steel bits and short out your instrument faster than you can say Henry Juskiewitz. The bare wood neck feels great (It probably still has some grain filler in it) and has given no problems. Lots of players sand the back of the neck down to bare, especially on instruments that are covered in plasticky polyurethane.
  12. Lots of good answers on this thread. I'll add some input of mine. I own nine guitars and basses now, and love them all. Five electrics, two basses and two acoustics. My number one acoustic is a Gibson J-45 AG, that I bought last year right before Gibson had to go into bankruptcy. I wanted this guitar badly, and as soon as I heard the company was in trouble I decided to pounce and get mine while the getting' was good, and also to help the company in the only way I know how. It's now a year later and I have bonded with this guitar. Guys above have mentioned this process, casually as if it were a well known concept. But I don't think it is, so I'll enlarge on it just a bit. Bonding with a guitar is what makes a guitar great. It enhances your music, it might have songs inside that you discover by playing it. The instrument seems to call to you from inside its case: "Play me..." When you play it, you discover music you didn't realize you could manage. This is actually priceless. I hang out on other guitar fora, and sometimes guys will post about wanting to get a new instrument, and asking for general statements about this year class or that year class... whether they are any good, whether their necks are chunky or thin... etc etc etc... My response is to suggest that the OP "go where they sell them, and play as many as they'll let you. Buy the one that comes alive in your hands." That's how you know. So yes, I agree with most of our colleagues above, when they say Playability (setup) is first in importance, Tone is a very close next... meaning highs mids and lows. Part of the bonding process is intuitive, hearing the guitar's tone, feeling it in your hands, adding your voice and listening... If it's got the tone that calls to you, but is hard to play, that can be adjusted. And setup too is very subjective, one man's ceiling is another man's floor. But these things can be worked with, and improved. Tone is native to an acoustic. Appearance comes a long way last, for guys like me. I have been playing since like 1962 and my 2018 Gibson J-45 AG is the first NEW Acoustic guitar that I have ever owned. I've always gone with the wisdom that you get much more guitar for your hard earned cash when you buy a used one. So I've performed my whole career on old beat up guitars, and found this to be NO handicap at all. It's tone, it's the way the instrument makes me feel... the audience can see it, and it pulls them along. Dings and scratches mean nothing... nor does the presence or absence of decorations such as inlay and binding. All that is just superficial stuff that guys obsess over when they can afford it. The audience will likely never consider it... if your music is any good. If their attention wanders to the point that they begin to notice details on your guitar, you're probably boring them. IMHO anyway. Make 'em watch your face, and your hands, and your body language. So I agree that this is all subjective... And each individual should be on a personal quest to find the guitar that he bonds with. The only way to do this is to go in person, and play a number of them. If nothing comes alive for you, keep looking. Good luck, and good hunting.
  13. sorry I repeated myself... I musta been dreaming about people tearing down beautiful guitars... Love this from Black Dog: "They take a perfectly good historic, take it apart completely, strip the finish, re-carve the top and neck, change the fretboard and put it all back together claiming it's even more historic than when it was historic ... Of course, that was for the older generation historic's which were less historic than the current historic's. Nothing is more historic than the current historic's. To get anything more historic now you'll need a time machine." Love it love it. And yeah, it's always the privelege of the OP or anybody else to make up their own mind and do as they wish. Be well, play loud...
  14. I've said this in other similar threads but if you bought a custom shop guitar and paid the premium price for it, and then you find fault with it... What I think you should do is sell that guitar unmodified to someone who values it more than you do. Don't mod it, sell it, and use the money to buy what you really want. There is no reason for any Gibson guitar pickups to sound 'too bright" or 'too muddy" or what. Gibson pickups are accurate. The tone achieved by the player is a combination of many factors, beginning with the pick he selects, (or his bare fingers) and continuing through all the magnetics and electronics and output through the speakers he chose to install in the amp he chose to play. If you can't figure out how to find your tone with a Gibson Custom shop guitar, then I recommend you sell that immediately to someone who can. Then use the money to go on your quest. Go where they sell them...Play as many as they'll let you. Buy the one that comes alive in your hands. That's the only way to find the right guitar. Because with Gibsons, it doesn't matter if it's a custom shop guitar or an SG faded special... One will be a clunker, and one will be gold. And there's really no way to know, until you play it. Play a lot of them, and one will emerge as THE ONE. It might surprise you, and be of much more humble origins. But still a Gibson. It really doesn't matter if a guitar was made in the custom shop, if it doesn't come alive in your hands when you play it. Players like me regard the Custom Shop as a con game. All Gibsons are excellent. Custom Shop makes instruments for guys that can afford to pay extra for the same thing the rest of us already have. *shrugs You don't have to believe me. Just go on the personal quest that I recommend, and make up your own mind. But before you do, unload the Custom Shop guitar that doesn't please you. Unload it without devaluing it by ill considered modifications. Somewhere there is a player who would respect that instrument much more than you do. Find that person, and get their money, and turn over the Gibson, and let it all go. Then begin your quest in person. I predict that you'll have a lot of fun in the search, and you'll end up with something that makes your music soar like an eagle.
  15. how about: NONE OF THE ABOVE... the knobs you should have for your SG are the ones that go from O to 11. It doesn't matter if they are speed knobs or bell knobs or top hats... as long as they go from 0-11. That's the only important factor. Here's a link: https://www.allparts.com/products/pk-0142-set-of-2-bell-knobs-that-go-to-11?variant=18579862880313 You only need to go to 11 on the volume knobs of course. So if you agree with me and know in your heart that no knobs will serve unless they go to 11, just buy the black ones and put them on. If you don't agree about needing to go from 0-11, then get Witch Hats. Those are the best knobs. I haven't seen a source for Witch Hats that go to 11, but if you install witch hats on your guitar, this won't matter.
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