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Modding/Upgrading Epiphone LP


Black13

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Should I just replace all the electronics with Gibson Parts? What about the bridge and STP? Do those matter at all? Are Epiphone Grovers exactly the same as Gibsons?

 

I have a 2008 Epi LP Studio, and I really can't stand the pickups' tone. While I'm in there, what else should I replace and with what? Switchcraft toggle switch?

 

It has some super high-output humbuckers, but I just want a much more old-school LP tone, like classics or something. I'll probably check out Seymour Duncan for those, but do I just go with Gibson for everything else? Thanks.

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As for my Epi Tribute LP, all the stock electronics are flawless. The caps are Mallory foil types, superior to those typically used by Gibson, Fender and others. She came with Gibson '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus humbuckers, and I'm fine with them.

 

My Epi LP is somewhat mellower sounding than my Gibsons due to the timbers I think, but I can say I love the tone of them all. As I just posted into another topic, my Epi Tribute LP comes pretty close to my Gibson LP Standard 2012 with BurstBucker Pros stock.

 

Gibson hardware won't suit Epi bushings, and I would leave them bushings alone in any case. There are TonePros replacements I guess, but I don't believe they improve tone that much. Epiphone stock hardware is OK in my opinion.

 

The Grovers are real ones as well as on Gibsons, and I like those on my Epi better than all the Grovers on my Gibsons - no kidding. I'll leave the Epi stock but will replace those on my Gibsons with Schallers.

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Should I just replace all the electronics with Gibson Parts? What about the bridge and STP? Do those matter at all? Are Epiphone Grovers exactly the same as Gibsons?

 

I have a 2008 Epi LP Studio, and I really can't stand the pickups' tone. While I'm in there, what else should I replace and with what? Switchcraft toggle switch?

 

It has some super high-output humbuckers, but I just want a much more old-school LP tone, like classics or something. I'll probably check out Seymour Duncan for those, but do I just go with Gibson for everything else? Thanks.

 

Don't be afraid to explore the aftermarket for parts. There is some great stuff out there. I use Brown's Custom Shop wiring kits on my Epi and Gibson electrics. Gotoh makes some high quality bridges, tailpieces, and tuners for Gibson-style guitars. A good set of Seymour Duncans will do wonders, and there are plenty of other excellent pickup manufacturers out there too. I wouldn't get too hung up on staying with stock Gibson parts, unless you can find them in good used condition for a fair price. Some of the aftermarket stuff is far better, but be aware of cheap Chinese knock-off parts. Buy the real thing from a reputable seller and you won't be disappointed. The money I spent upgrading my Epi G-400 (see my sig for details) was absolutely worth it!

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Thanks for all the replies. I guess I was curious about fitment issues - so the bridge is the only part that isn't compatible? (Because of the post's diameters?)

 

How important is it to change the pots and the wiring/switch/jack to clean up its tone? It just sounds so "gritty" right now, not the smoother, creamy sounds in my head.

 

Right now, I never play the darned thing. I got it used as a "project guitar" to learn and practice set-ups, fret-leveling, nut cutting (currently has a broken nut), etc. but I want it to sound good too. It has no value the way it currently sounds. It's the "gothic" version, so I think they put extra-hot humbuckers in it, for more "gothic" tone, but I'm not sure. I like the look and color (even though it's mostly shiny now), but that gritty, ugly tone needs to gtfo. Yes, I tried rolling back the pots, but it's still not good.

 

Are most pickups utilizing quick-connectors now-a-days? I guess the easiest thing would be to get a kit, with matching connectors, so it's all plug and play without soldering...

 

So... how much would it cost (round-abouts) to make this mid-level Epiphone sound good? If it's too much, I may just sell the thing and forget about it and focus on my other project that already sounds good, but needs everything else.

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...

Right now, I never play the darned thing. I got it used as a "project guitar" to learn and practice set-ups, fret-leveling, nut cutting (currently has a broken nut), etc. but I want it to sound good too. It has no value the way it currently sounds. It's the "gothic" version, so I think they put extra-hot humbuckers in it, for more "gothic" tone, but I'm not sure. I like the look and color (even though it's mostly shiny now), but that gritty, ugly tone needs to gtfo. Yes, I tried rolling back the pots, but it's still not good.

...

According to http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Les-Paul/Goth-Les-Paul-Studio.aspx should have AlNiCo Classics in your guitar stock, and still in there in case you bought it new.

 

This model doesn't seem to have a maple top which usually contributes bite and clarity. Chances are this is exactly what you miss. For an upgrade, my specific suggestions would be a Seymour Duncan '59 for the neck and a Seymour Duncan SH-5 Duncan Custom for the bridge position, following my personal experiences. As for all the hardware, I would stay with it, and except for modding for switching options, I would stay with the electronics, too.

 

Another way could be selling or trading it, and looking for an Epiphone LP with maple top, perhaps with Gibson PUs, too.

 

All in all, as a player I agree that a guitar you don't like to play is of no use.

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According to http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Les-Paul/Goth-Les-Paul-Studio.aspx should have AlNiCo Classics in your guitar stock, and still in there in case you bought it new.

 

This model doesn't seem to have a maple top which usually contributes bite and clarity. Chances are this is exactly what you miss. For an upgrade, my specific suggestions would be a Seymour Duncan '59 for the neck and a Seymour Duncan SH-5 Duncan Custom for the bridge position, following my personal experiences. As for all the hardware, I would stay with it, and except for modding for switching options, I would stay with the electronics, too.

 

Another way could be selling or trading it, and looking for an Epiphone LP with maple top, perhaps with Gibson PUs, too.

 

All in all, as a player I agree that a guitar you don't like to play is of no use.

 

I bought it used, it's a 2008 year, so it doesn't have the "KillPot" and other newer features of the new ones. I guess it probably has the "Open Coil Alnico Classic™ Humbuckers" though, unless they changed that too. I can't find specs on the 2008 versions specifically.

 

"Epiphone Goth Les Paul Studio features a solid mahogany body and deliver the classic tone and sustain that can only come from a "real" Les Paul." I never thought of that tonewood thing! I only just now realized it's all asian-mahogany, instead of LP's usual maple top! (Don't the Gibson STUDIO LP's have the maple top though? Or are the Gibson STUDIO LP's also all mahogany? I guess I should look it up... "Les Paul Studio Faded starts with the classic tonewood combination of a mahogany body with solid carved maple top." so I guess only the Epiphones are constructed differently... (oh, I guess Gibson studios were all mahogany until about 2010 or something, when they changed them to have the maple caps)

 

Thanks for the pick-up suggestions. I wonder if my current pickups are those Alnico Classics - because that name sounds good, like I'd like them, but whatever is in there I don't like.

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... so the bridge is the only part that isn't compatible? (Because of the post's diameters?)

No. All Epi parts are metric. Gibson parts are imperial. Although the pickups are directly interchangeable. (Just don't use Fender spacing if ordering boutiques)

An yes, the after market parts for Epiphone are easily available.

 

How important is it to change the pots and the wiring/switch/jack to clean up its tone?

It helps, but it is mostly a matter of how you want to control your guitar and parts dependability when talking electronics.

It thus becomes a mater of quality and "Potentiometer Taper" (And yes, pickups are a separate subject.)

Also, keep in mind, if you go from Alpha pots (metric) to CTS you will need to ream the holes. (A very easy job.) The same for going

to Switchcraft toggle and jack. Good thing to learn if you really want to learn to work on guitars. Do you solder?

 

I got it used as a "project guitar" to learn and practice set-ups, fret-leveling, nut cutting (currently has a broken nut), etc. but I want it to sound good too.

Are you really interested? It takes a fair amount of time, work and a few tools. (some of which are not cheep)

 

So... how much would it cost (round-abouts) to make this mid-level Epiphone sound good?

Bottom line...

If you just want the guitar playable as any other, I would do no more to it than is needed.

Replace the nut with a Tusq,change the pickups and do a good setup.

 

Otherwise, consider it the first tool of a project that will sometimes cost some money. (Guitar plus time and tool cost)

You will never get the money out of the guitar!

On the other hand, for the cost of a guitar and a couple hundred in tools....?....education and ability?

 

I have leveled the frets on many guitars. I do set ups, nuts and adjustments for myself and others.

I have accumulate a few hundred in tools over time.

 

Some things you may be interested in:

 

http://epiphonewiki.com/index.php/Les_Paul_Studio#Goth_Les_Paul_Studio

Give these pages a bit to load....The posts are old:

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/77220-beater-guitar-part-5/

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/4615540-post22.html

http://mysite.verizon.net/jazz.guitar/guitarsetup.htm

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/51292-the-d0-it-yourself-thread-look-here-for-tech-related-questions/

 

Keep us up to date,

 

Willy

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No. All Epi parts are metric. Gibson parts are imperial. Although the pickups are directly interchangeable. (Just don't use Fender spacing if ordering boutiques)

An yes, the after market parts for Epiphone are easily available.

 

 

It helps, but it is mostly a matter of how you want to control your guitar and parts dependability when talking electronics.

It thus becomes a mater of quality and "Potentiometer Taper" (And yes, pickups are a separate subject.)

Also, keep in mind, if you go from Alpha pots (metric) to CTS you will need to ream the holes. (A very easy job.) The same for going

to Switchcraft toggle and jack. Good thing to learn if you really want to learn to work on guitars. Do you solder?

 

 

Are you really interested? It takes a fair amount of time, work and a few tools. (some of which are not cheep)

 

 

Bottom line...

If you just want the guitar playable as any other, I would do no more to it than is needed.

Replace the nut with a Tusq,change the pickups and do a good setup.

 

Otherwise, consider it the first tool of a project that will sometimes cost some money. (Guitar plus time and tool cost)

You will never get the money out of the guitar!

On the other hand, for the cost of a guitar and a couple hundred in tools....?....education and ability?

 

I have leveled the frets on many guitars. I do set ups, nuts and adjustments for myself and others.

I have accumulate a few hundred in tools over time.

 

Some things you may be interested in:

 

http://epiphonewiki.com/index.php/Les_Paul_Studio#Goth_Les_Paul_Studio

Give these pages a bit to load....The posts are old:

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/77220-beater-guitar-part-5/

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/4615540-post22.html

http://mysite.verizon.net/jazz.guitar/guitarsetup.htm

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/51292-the-d0-it-yourself-thread-look-here-for-tech-related-questions/

 

Keep us up to date,

 

Willy

 

Wow, that was a great response, thanks! Yeah, I've been soldering for many years, I once made a custom snake, 3 conductors x 32 channels per side, plus 6 returns, I think. I soldered the DeArmond Gold Tone Pick-Ups in my old Guild, but I messed up the shielding or something, because it has a lot of excess noise that I need to somehow fix via advice from the internet.

 

Anyway, yeah, I'm a DIY type of guy. I've already tried my hand at leveling the frets, because it buzzed a lot when I got it, just kind of going by feel since I don't have a radiused tool for that. I used my knife sharpening stones and super-flat diamond plate with sandpaper and it actually came out pretty well, for not using the proper tools. Crowning the frets with these little diamond files is tedious, so I plan on investing in the proper tools - a Gurian fret crowner is on the list... when I come into some money...

 

I cryoacidophilus-glued the broken nut back together. It broke because I used a thicker gauged string without thinking... I filed/sanded the slot much nicer with folded sandpaper, some small diamond files I had and used hard wire inside the sandpaper to guide the abrasives a little better. Turned out pretty nice!

 

So, yeah, I'm trying to learn and that's always fun. The tools are on my shopping list, but I do have some projects that I plan on doing myself. A cracked acoustic back, a refinish, etc. I dabble in the art of lutherie, as a hobby I guess.

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Wow, that was a great response, thanks! Yeah, I've been soldering for many years, I once made a custom snake, 3 conductors x 32 channels per side, plus 6 returns, I think. I soldered the DeArmond Gold Tone Pick-Ups in my old Guild, but I messed up the shielding or something, because it has a lot of excess noise that I need to somehow fix via advice from the internet.

 

Anyway, yeah, I'm a DIY type of guy. I've already tried my hand at leveling the frets, because it buzzed a lot when I got it, just kind of going by feel since I don't have a radiused tool for that. I used my knife sharpening stones and super-flat diamond plate with sandpaper and it actually came out pretty well, for not using the proper tools. Crowning the frets with these little diamond files is tedious, so I plan on investing in the proper tools - a Gurian fret crowner is on the list... when I come into some money...

 

I cryoacidophilus-glued the broken nut back together. It broke because I used a thicker gauged string without thinking... I filed/sanded the slot much nicer with folded sandpaper, some small diamond files I had and used hard wire inside the sandpaper to guide the abrasives a little better. Turned out pretty nice!

 

So, yeah, I'm trying to learn and that's always fun. The tools are on my shopping list, but I do have some projects that I plan on doing myself. A cracked acoustic back, a refinish, etc. I dabble in the art of lutherie, as a hobby I guess.

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I have an Epi LP Studio:

http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Les-Paul/Les-Paul-Studio.aspx

The page above does NOT mention maple top, nevertheless I believe there is one, because my LP sounds brighter than Explorer which is surely all-mahogany.

If you don't want to spend too much for pickups, consider Entwistle HV58. I have zebra unpotted version of them in my LP, and I must say, they sound very good, either clean, or with overdrive.

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I have an 05 LP Classic that I did a full electrical upgrade on. I've never done any guitar work before, ever. It was a great experience!

 

I read many threads here that only changing the pick-ups without changing the wiring would only be a 1/2 upgrade. The wiring in older Epi's were known to not be very good, so why dump a bunch of money into p'ups and not get the full benefit from them?

 

I ordered CTS 550k pots and Sprague 225P Polyester tone caps and wired it 50's style. The CTS pots use a thicker post, so you will need Gibson knobs, not the original Epi knobs. You will also need to ream the holes in the guitar body, but it's so easy. I simply rolled up some sandpaper like a cigarette and gave it a few spins in each hole and it was done. I ordered them from a guy in Indianapolis, "Jonsey" at jonesyblues.com. Very cool dude, and was helpful to me being that I never soldered anything ever. He has written instructions and "how-to" video's, too.

 

I also ordered Seymour Duncan "Slash" pick-ups for the classic PAF tone with a bit more bite. I also did a switchcraft switch and output jack.

 

I did NOT change the bridge or tail piece.

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