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Everything posted by sbpark

  1. Yet again, here's another acoustic guitar pickup thread! Looking for a pickup that sounds natural but also will be fairly easy to show up to an open mic, plug in and go (pretty much what everyone wants, right?!) I'm trying to decide what pickup to install into my J45 Standard. I'm not a fan of any kind of UST, and have messed with them in various incarnations, tried Aura pre's with them and just never could like them. I have an old passive LR Baggs M1 (not the active M1A). It's the least natural sounding, but most versatile, and easy to install/uninstall, but sounds like an electric guitar to my ear, not an acoustic. I've had a K&K in a J45TV I used to own, and that pickup actually sounded great, but not the most flexible as far as its versatility (better suited for low volume, coffee shop stuff, duo situations, but wouldn't be my first choice for a loud band. Considering a K&K Trinity that combines both the K&K SBT and an internal mic. This may be a good option as it allows for a more natural acoustic sound live, but have to be careful with adding in too much mic and getting feedback, plus you're adding in a dual source to the equation, and almost always wouldn't have the luxury of dialing in the sound, EQ, etc. But, with that said, I could just plug a 1/4" into the guitar and JUST use the Pure Mini SBT portion sans mic for these situations plugged into a Red Eye for a pretty decent sounding, portable, easy to use set-up (that is, if the open mic lets you use your own preamp!) Other options would create my own dual source with the M1A and the K&K Pure Mini. Depending on the situation I could use both pickups (but would have to be able to blend them, and that ain't happening at an open mic), or could just have two separate mono cables in my case, one wired to use just the K&K, and the other to just use the M1A. The other wrench to throw into the gears here is I do already have a Radial PZ Pre, which is an AWESOME dual source preamp that I could use for situations where I'd have time to mess with the sound, EQ, dial in the two sources, etc., but for right now Im looking for something that would just work best for open mics. With whatever pickup system configuration I go with, I'm leaning toward pickup a Red Eye preamp to go along with it for an easier "plus and play" option. What are your thoughts, experiences and opinions/suggestions?
  2. If you like the way the guitar sounds, I wouldn't worry much about it not being a Gibson. Just make sure you are comfortable with whatever terms the other guy is proposing regarding an "approval period" and the like. Not saying there's anything wrong with what he's proposing, Im just saying make sure it's mutually agreed upon, and once you agree upon any particular terms, I'd put it in writing and have both parties sign a copy.
  3. 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.com/index.php?/topic/144148-j45-standard-tuner-conversion-done-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: After:
  4. Agreed, it looks much better with the 1-ply black truss rod cover. Gives it a more classic look for sure.
  5. Figured I'd start a new thread describing how I converted the Grover Rotomatic tuners on my J45 Standard to Kluson 3-on-s-plate vintage style tuners with white buttons. I apologize for not taking pics during the process, and the pics I did post in this thread were taken around 2am, and I'm tired and want to go to bed, but I did want to create this thread because I have been wanting to do this for years, but there seems to be limited or conflicting information out there on if it will work or not, what tuners fit, what bushings work, etc. Well folks, hopefully this thread clears things up and will help others who have been wondering the same thing!! First off, here are the conversion bushing I used. The are the 3/8" conversion bushings sold by StewMac: https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Tuner_Parts/3_8_Conversion_Tuner_Bushing.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=2018-09-gp&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlcDygZW_3QIVB5RpCh2zgQPwEAQYASABEgINzvD_BwE These are the tuners I used. They are Kluson 3-on-a plate vintage-style tuners I got from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006ZPAEU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Removing the Rotomatics is super easy, and pretty self-explanatory. Unscrew the bushing, remove one screw on the back of the tuner and the tuner pops out. Seems easy from here, but there are two obstacles getting in your way if you want to do the tuner swap right. First, the washers from the Rotomatics leave what others have described as "raccoon eyes" on the front of the headstock. The next thing is the conversion bushings are just the slightest bit oversized compared to the holes in headstock, which require a little reaming, but I'll get to that later. First let's talk about getting rid of those raccoon eyes! I was a little hesitant to tackle this project because I was afraid to work on the headstock, and didnt want to deal with wet sanding and finishing, possibly screwing up the headstock, burning through the finish, scratching the crap out of it and not being able to fix it, etc. Well, let me tell you, if this has been freaking you out as well and/or keeping you from tackling this project, fear not! This is RIDICULOUSLY easy. Here's what I did: I used a small 1" x 1" square of 1200 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Instead of using water I actually used Meguiars Scratch X 2.0. I use this stuff around the door handles of my car because those areas seem to get easily scratched, and this stuff is amazing for removing those scratches. I've also used it in the past with great success getting rid of light surface swirls and scratches on acoustic and electric guitars with both poly and modern "nitro" finishes. Given it was late at night and Home Depot was closed, I just used what I had at home because I'm impatient and figured what the heck. So using the small square of 1200 grit sandpaper and the Scratch X 2.0 in the place of water, I gently sanded going in small circles around each hole in the pegged. I was blown away how easily and quickly the raccoon eyes disappeared. I just sanded a bit, wiped the area clean to see the progress, applied another tiny dab of Scratch X 2.0 and repeated the process until the raccoon eyes were gone for each hole. A couple of mine were pretty deep with a very noticeable ridge/indentation left by the Rotomatic washers, but the sandpaper/Scratch X 2.0 combo worked flawlessly. This obviously left the area I was sanding very dull around each hole, but fear not. Here's where the magic happens! I took a clean, cotton washcloth and using the Scratch X 2.0 buffed the headstock, and after maybe 10 minutes of buffing and a couple applications of Scratch X 2.0 the headstock had a mirror shine, as nice as the day it left the factory, possibly better! Seriously, that's all you need; a tiny piece of 1200 grit wet/dry sandpaper and Scratch X 2.0 pictured below: Now that you've got the headstock all nice and shiny and got rid of those pesky raccoon eyes, now you have to install the bushings. I watched the video on StewMac that shows how these same bushings were installed on Rich Robinson's on Gibson 335 that had Rotomatics installed, so I knew these bushings would work. As I mentioned earlier, the conversion bushings are just slightly oversized. If you attempt to muscle them in you risk splitting the headstock, so the holes need to be enlarged just the SLIGHTEST bit. StewMac makes a really nice reamer fort this task, but it costs $63.16 plus shipping. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about spending money on the right tool for the right job, but thought there had to be an equally effective way to do the job for much less. Amazon actually sells reamers with the same dimensions as the StewMac tool for $15-$20, but reviews of those reamers were pretty poor. People were complaining that these reamers arrived dull, so I scrapped that idea. Instead I ended up using 4" half-round file. A rat tail file would work just as well. I just filed the holes a little, dropped in the bushing, filed a little more, and checked the fit again, and when there was just a little bit of the bushing exposed I used a pair of channel lock pliers and a folded over washcloth for cushioning and pressed in the bushing, repeating this for the remaining 5 bushings. From this point on you're home free and all you have to do is actually mount the tuners. Here's the finished product. Hope this helps those of you who've been wondering about this. Before: After:
  6. Any sound clips of the Sunrise on the maple AJ? Would love to hear how that pickup sounds in that guitar!
  7. 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: Pickguard I made to the J45TV I no longer own:
  8. Worry less about the gear and more about the performance. Not saying this to keep you from using a different setup than you originally were going to use. I just say this because a LOT of people will get more caught up in worrying about and second guessing the gear and go down a very distracting rabbit hole that consumes all their time wondering about what pickups, gear, preamps, etc., to use and end up spending way less time practicing the actual songs and working on the parts they are a little rusty on. As far as the Tonedexter, I'd say no way, unless you already own one and have experience using it live. It's too complicated and you want something you can easily plug in and go with. I'd say for the first go at it, keep it super simple and stick to your original plan and focus more on the music.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. Here's one with an MOP logo:
  12. You are 100% correct, as all options on the StewMac website have a shaft diameter that's a little under 1/4". They will still work, you'll just have a little space around the opening the bushing. If you look at the photo below closely you can see a little gap on the G, B, & E tuners regarding the slightly narrower shaft diameter with the conversion bushings: I ended up going with these Klusons I picked up off of amazon. The are listed as having 1/4" tuner shafts, and the StewMac conversion bushings say that they specifically work with tuners with 1/4" shafts, so we'll see once they arrive! If they truly are 1/4" it may be a very tight fit with little wiggle room, and I may end up needing the 3-on-a-plate tuners with the slightly marrow shafts. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006ZPAEU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  13. 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.
  14. You're correct about it being more work to convert to the 3-on-a-plate white button tuners because of the need to use conversion bushings. You'll have to just slightly ream the pegged holes when installing the conversion bushings because they are just a little too large to just press then in, otherwise you'll risk splitting the headstock. Then you're going to be left with the "raccoon eyes" from the Rotomatic washers and to do it properly should sand the headstock to get rid of those the best you can. I'm actually going this route for my J45. Ordered the tuners and bushings and I'm just going to have a shop do the install. I'm actually super comfortable with reaming and installing the tuners, it's the sanding of the headstock to get rid of the raccoon eyes that makes me a little nervous. I did all the measurements and the 3-on-a-plate tuners will line up perfectly from post to post with the existing holes, you just have to use the 3/8 StewMac conversion bushings.
  15. So you used the StewMac conversion bushings? Also, what was the process for sanding/finishing/getting rid of the "raccoon eyes"?
  16. I'm way ahead of you on forwarding my questions if it all will work with parts numbers, links, etc.! Hoping to get a reply early next week as it says they will reply in 1-2 business days. And as expensive as the tool is (around $60), if I go ahead with the tuner swap I'd purchase the StewMac reaming tool just to do it right. I learned this when I used to work on motorcycles. It' better to have the correct tools and do the job right the first time, even if it means forking out for a specific tool compared to thinking you can fudge it with an inferior tool, only to screw things up and end up spending more time and money fixing your mistake(s).
  17. This is purely for cosmetic reasons. Can't stand the way the stock Rotomatics look on my J45 Standard (funny thing is I don't mind them on my D-35). Here's a youtube clip from StewMac converting from Rotomatics to Klusons on Rich Robinson's 335: The holes left by the Rototatics are too large to just drop in a set of Kluson or Gotoh 3-on-Plate style tuners, but seems like they would fit with a set of these StewMac conversion bushings: https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Tuner_Parts/3_8_Conversion_Tuner_Bushing.html These are the tuners: I know I will have to do lust a little reaming to get the new bushings to fit, and will obviously have to drill new holes for mounting the tuners. My only concern is the conversion bushings hole for the tuner post is 0.25", and the diameter of the tuner shaft on the Gotoh's is 0.236". The Kluson equivalent 3-on-Pate tuners are listed as having a 0.25" post. Here are the Klusons:
  18. I've never owned a "style 16". Dont know what that is.
  19. Love the memes! Whats most likely going to happen is I'll keep the D-35, D-28 and AJ and have three killer guitars for the Bluegrass/flatpicking stuff and sell the J45 and pick up some kind of all-mahogany, small body acoustic just to have something to noodle on and have lighter gauge strings on for a change of pace.
  20. I'd rather have two rosewood Martins that sound great than two Gibsons where one of them sounds just "ok". Sounds like people getting butt hurt because someone also likes other guitars with a different name on the headstock!
  21. How much do you think I'm actually "soaking" into it?! Maybe you should play the guitar first. I evaluate each guitar individually and on it's own merits. Even if it was my Dad's guitar, if it sounded like crap and needed the work, I wouldn't do it simply for sentimental reasons. It would have to sound great in order for me to do that. This one sounds great, I picked it up for a song. Well worth it.
  22. You guys crack me up. I havent parted with either of the Gibsons yet, but for sure the J45 is going to be sold. Compared to my other guitars it's just not cutting it. It sounds good, but just doesn't really work for what I'm doing these days. I thought I'd dig it after buying it back, but I'd rather have an all-mahogany small body to noodle with instead of the J45. I got rid of it before because the highs on J45's sound thin and weak to my ear, and thoughts my tastes would change, but after playing it for a couple weeks, I still think J45's sound weak and thin on the high strings. Cracks me up because some said to ditch the J45 because it's a new J45 Standard and they're nothing special or worth keeping, a dime a dozen and can be bought later on again if I wanted one, then I buy a 43 year old Martin with 43 year old wood that sounds wonderful (absolutely destroys the thin, weak sounding J45 Standard) and you guys freak out. Maybe it's just the label on the headstock that irks everyone, but I just go for what sounds better. And as much as people trash 70's Martins, I will say they are head and shoulders way nicer consistently in my experience if we're comparing them to 70's Gibson acoustics. But this isn't about Gibson vs. Martin, it's just about what is the better guitar for my uses and what I think sounds better. I'm playing a lot of Bluegrass currently, so the J45 just isn't cutting it for that stuff. Even one guy at the shop I took the D-28 to played my J45 Standard and commented on it being a great sounding J45, which surprised him because of how inconsistent they are in his opinions. And in reference to the members saying it's a lot of work, or too much to sink into the Martin to get it up and running, I got the '75 D-28 for a fraction of what they go for. I wouldn't call a neck reset, refret and a new pickguard on a 43 year old guitar "a lot of work", I'd say that's pretty much par for the course. Yes, filling in the existing bridge slot and cutting a new slot to get the correct scale length is adding a little cost, but again, its not a big deal (in my opinion), and it's a common issue with 70's Martins. The guitar has no previous repairs or damage, absolutely no structural issues, no loose braces, no cracks, etc. It's in really nice shape, the original case cleaned up and in also in incredible shape, and even with super old strings and high action it wipes the floor with the J45, sorry to say. Sure, there's that chance that it wont sound as good after the work, but I really doubt that. Even after the work it needs, which I equate to buying an old car that just needs a tune up, tires, brakes and an oil change, I'm still ahead of the game and could sell it for more than I have into it altogether, and like it's been said already, J45 Standards are a dime a dozen.
  23. I guess things have changed since starting this thread. I came across a '75 D-28 that had obviously been played a bit, but then was left in it's original case for a very long time. No cracks at all or structural issues or repairs and it's all original.I snagged it for a great price, and it's currently at a very reputable shop getting a neck reset, complete refret, fretboard planed, saddle slot filled and relocated (lots of 70's Martins have incorrect scale lengths due to a faulty jig at the factory back then, new nut and saddle and a new pickguard. Will be a couple months until I get the guitar back, but Im considering selling both the AJ and J45. That will leave me with the D-28 and D-35, and I'll maybe look for something like a small body mahogany acoustic to compliment the D-28 and D-35.
  24. I considered heavier strings, but my D-35 and AJ both wear 13's, and they work great on those guitars and was thinking that something shorter scale with 12's would be better for the quieter stuff, fingerpicking, etc.
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