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sbpark

Taking the plunge...J45 modifications

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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. [b]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)[/b]

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. Edited by sbpark

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[quote name='sbpark' timestamp='1536863642' post='1953746']
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.
[/quote]

I don't know, sounds freakin' awesome to me. Nice tuner's on a nice guitar, you're just going to like it all that much more. Congrats!

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1) I thought you sold this guitar?

2) More importantly - awesome you kept it, and I think your mods will be awesome. I love my K&K J50, but then again I also like the VTC in my 45....

Anyways Keep this in your closet if you get bored! Every now and then a man needs a little 45......

Good luck.

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[quote name='ThemisSal' timestamp='1536866604' post='1953756']
1) I thought you sold this guitar?

2) More importantly - awesome you kept it, and I think your mods will be awesome. I love my K&K J50, but then again I also like the VTC in my 45....

Anyways Keep this in your closet if you get bored! Every now and then a man needs a little 45......

Good luck.
[/quote]

I sold it then bought it back.

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[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]This poly-modification[/size][size="4"] deserves a couple of photos. [/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]Interesting to hear 'bout your 45-experiences. And yes, the Standards can be very very good. [/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]How do you feel about the MOP-logo [b]?[/b][/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]Not that 45ish, is it. . [/size][/font]

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[quote name='E-minor7' timestamp='1536868298' post='1953761']
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]This poly-modification[/size][size="4"] deserves a couple of photos. [/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]Interesting to hear 'bout your 45-experiences. And yes, the Standards can be very very good. [/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]How do you feel about the MOP-logo [b]?[/b][/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]Not that 45ish, is it. . [/size][/font]
[/quote]

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.

[img]https://i.imgur.com/WnjT5iA.jpg[/img]

Here's one with an MOP logo:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/uFvAjVe.jpg[/img] Edited by sbpark

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[quote name='sbpark' timestamp='1536868929' post='1953765']
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 trying to personallyo:
[/quote]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]Whatever makes you happy. And if you found your combo, things couldn't be better.[/size][/font]

[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]I personally think a J-45 likes faded white ovals plus a golden logo and have considered exchanging the Grovers on my 45 Std. (the head-stock steel-mill).
Would do if it wasn't for the vintage ancestors in the herd. [/size][/font]
[font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]They cover all the classic virtues and goin' from the splendid 2010 black nut Std. to the oldies makes me appreciate that even more.
Have fun with guitar, , , ouh, and don't forget the pics. .

[/size][/font]

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[size="3"]You're in the wrong room if you think anyone 'round here will give you grief for going through a bit of effort to make a J-45 Standard into something just as you'd like it.

Good luck with the mods- 'looking forward to hearing and/or seeing how it turns out.

[Edit] congrats on your good luck in getting it back- sometimes there [i]are[/i] second chances.[/size] Edited by 62burst

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[quote name='62burst' timestamp='1536876346' post='1953794']
[size="3"]You're in the wrong room if you think anyone 'round here will give you grief for going through a bit of effort to make a J-45 Standard into something just as you'd like it.

Good luck with the mods- 'looking forward to hearing and/or seeing how it turns out.

[Edit] congrats on your good luck in getting it back- sometimes there [i]are[/i] second chances.[/size]
[/quote]

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.

[img]https://i.imgur.com/uMM8Ppe.jpg[/img] Edited by sbpark

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I do not think you will hear anyone object to your making a guitar more aesthetically pleasing to your eye. Other than the pickup installation it is all pretty routine stuff.

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enjoy yer git, I do wonder about the saddle and nut, if it sounds and plays great why risk a new sound and feel ?

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[quote name='jvi' timestamp='1537021768' post='1954021']
enjoy yer git, I do wonder about the saddle and nut, if it sounds and plays great why risk a new sound and feel ?
[/quote]

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. Edited by sbpark

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Hey SBP, just wondering - are you doing it all yourself or having it done? The tuner swap doesn't sound too bad, but not sure what's entailed with messing with the nut / saddle etc... (the stuff from your list)

Rgds - billroy

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[quote name='billroy' timestamp='1537032631' post='1954042']
Hey SBP, just wondering - are you doing it all yourself or having it done? The tuner swap doesn't sound too bad, but not sure what's entailed with messing with the nut / saddle etc... (the stuff from your list)

Rgds - billroy
[/quote]

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:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/s2GfgGh.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/RAIugdW.jpg[/img]

Pickguard I made to the J45TV I no longer own:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/TpUPNSO.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/vE2RzPO.jpg[/img] Edited by sbpark

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Nice work

I’m a ham fisted idiot and i installed a KK mini ultra with not much trouble

You’re free to do what you want but a man who does work like the above will have no bother with the knk!

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It's all a matter of personal preferences - do what you like & enjoy.

Tuners are interesting. I actually prefer the feel of standard Grovers, and find them much easier to dial in compared to small button Klusons.

A while back, I posted about my dislike of Mini-Grovers, and eventually discovered that, again, it's actually the smaller buttons I don't like. Then figured out that large Grover buttons, as well as many Hipshot buttons, will fit given the proper screw length. Finally settled on Gibson-style pearl tulips.

Others in the herd came with white oval Klusons, and they'll remain. But if a guitar comes with Grovers, I'm a happy camper & will stick with them - reserving the right to swap out buttons! Edited by bobouz

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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:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/jsJXsqa.jpg?1[/img]

After:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/Hj9fmoE.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/8nuNnqp.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/QcFT7i3.jpg[/img] Edited by sbpark

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[quote name='sbpark' timestamp='1537117678' post='1954144']
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:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/jsJXsqa.jpg?1[/img]

After:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/Hj9fmoE.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/8nuNnqp.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/QcFT7i3.jpg[/img]
[/quote]

Huge cosmetic improvement!! Looks great. Did the machinehead change alter the tone at all? I’ve read a lot of speculation about the added neck mass of the Rotos changing sound when fitted, so i figure the reverse would apply when removing them.

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[quote name='Jinder' timestamp='1537213875' post='1954304']
Huge cosmetic improvement!! Looks great. Did the machinehead change alter the tone at all? I’ve read a lot of speculation about the added neck mass of the Rotos changing sound when fitted, so i figure the reverse would apply when removing them.
[/quote]

I don't necessarily think it changed the sound of the guitar, but it did make it noticeably lighter. Last night I also removed the thick, rubberized stock pickguard. It's been peeling off for a while now, so I figured what the heck, and removed it with some q-tips dipped in white gas and low heat from a hairdryer, and it practically fell off. Guitar looks great without it and I may keep it off. Even with removing the pickguard I can't confidently say that it changed the sound the guitar.

On thing that did change the sound for the better was replacing the Tusq saddle with a bone saddle. Guitar sounds fuller, with higher highs and lower lows. Sounded a bit restricted/muted with the Tusq but honestly not bad, just different, maybe a little less dynamic and smoother. I'm sure it will improve even a little more after getting rid of the Element pickup.

Just dropped the guitar off at the shop about an hour ago to get the UST removed and a K&K installed along with a new nut and saddle. Edited by sbpark

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[quote name='sbpark' timestamp='1537214319' post='1954308']
I don't necessarily think it changed the song of the guitar, but it did make it noticeably lighter. Last night I also removed the thick, rubberized stock pickguard. It's been peeling off for a while now, so I figured what the heck, and removed it with some white gas and low head from a hairdryer, and it practically fell off. Guitar looks great without it and I may keep it off. Even with removing the pickguard I can't confidently say that it changed the sound the guitar.

On thing that did change the sound for the better was replacing the Tusq saddle with a bone saddle. Guitar sounds fuller, with higher highs and lower lows. Sounded a bit restricted/muted with the Tusq. I'm sure it will improve just a little more after getting rid of the Element pickup.

Just dropped the guitar off at he shop about an hour ago to get the UST removed and a K&K installed along with a new nut and saddle.
[/quote]

The bone nut and saddle are easily the best sonic upgrades unplugged. The K&K should be awesome when plugged in.

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