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sparquelito

Okay, so I'm a hypocrite

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My one cardinal rule, and I broke it today.


Some background;
I'm that bone-stock guy.
I like all my guitars all-original.

I never modify them.
When others guys went down the road of constant mods and upgrades in search of that Holy Grail tone, I was the one who always said, "Leave it be." "Bone-stock is the best."

Or, "Why did you buy it if the thing didn't play right and sound good in the first place?"

And then so, a few weeks ago, I was comparing the humbucking sounds that I was getting out of a variety of my guitars, in relation to carrying one of them over to a band practice at our girl singer's loft.

Lo and behold, I found that my pristine 2017 Gibson (S Series) Firebird Zero sounded louder, better, and more bold than my beat-up, scuffed 2017 Gibson (also S Series) Les Paul Custom Studio. I mean, with the volume and tone settings identical, and the pickups adjusted to precisely the same height relative to the strings, the Les Paul just sounded weak by comparison.

What gives?
Both guitars were equipped with nearly-identical 'Double Slugs' Pickups.
DS-A5 Rhythm and DS-A5+ Lead humbuckers in the Les Paul. Alnico V magnets.
DS-C Rhythm and DS-C+ Lead humbuckers in the Firebird. Ceramic magnets.

So, on an impulse, I ordered a pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers.
Pearly Gates for the neck pickup, and Dimebucker for the bridge position.

And this very mornings, I soldered and heat-shrinked the new pickup wires into a pair of Gibson-style Quick-Connect adapters. (I wanted to be able to plug-and-play with either set of pickups, as opposed to hard-wiring them in there.) No good reason for that, it just seemed like soldering them in would be a waste of the Quick-Connect wiring system.

Installed them with very little fuss, and put on a new set of Ernie Ball Turbo Slinky 9.5 to 46's.
Tuned up, stretched the strings in, tuned up again, and I plugged in and rocked out in the music room.

I must confess, this is an enormous improvement.
I really like how this beat-up, ugly guitar sounds now.

Lord forgive me my trespasses, and please deliver me from evil.
Amen.

🙁

 

new-pickups-and-strings-jpg.798710

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Any mod is fine as long as it is reversible IMO.

I've been thinking about some hotter P90s for my LP.    But as I don't have any gigs, and am less likely these days to use it on a gig......:-k

Edited by jdgm
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The problem with chasing sound is it is a chase that never ends..  In a week/month/year or whatever. At some point you will probably want something different.

And thats what I think it is.. Its not that the previous sound was bad.. As experience changes, so does your taste...

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Good stuff.
Thanks for all the comments, gang.

I went online and checked for the proper height (altitude below the strings) adjustment, and made those.

After a bunch of errands all across town, I went back into the music room and was delighted to find that the beat-up Les Paul was still in tune.
I guess I stretched them strings and broke them in right.
I cranked up the amp and drum machine pedal, and ran thru some songs.

Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult was particularly fun on these new pickups.

Later on, my wife came in from walking the dogs.

"Man, I could hear you halfway down the street."

"Is that bad?"

"No. Godzilla was f#%king awesome!"

 

😃

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I wrote to Buck Dharma about Godzilla and he used an eBow for that bit about ripping the high tension wires down.

That will wow the Mrs...

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I am not sure that changing the pickups on a guitar you have owned for years, after having determined it was really needed, is anything close to high crimes and misdemeanors.  Just the same, though, we will still keep an eye on you ... 

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-that-looks-suspiciou

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2 hours ago, 01GT eibach said:

I am not sure that changing the pickups on a guitar you have owned for years, after having determined it was really needed, is anything close to high crimes and misdemeanors.  Just the same, though, we will still keep an eye on you ... 

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-that-looks-suspiciou


I guess I have only owned it for but three months, but it took me this long to foment this heresy. 

Father forgive me for I have sinned. 

This is my first Confession since.....  uh....    s#%t.   
It's been a long time. 

😐

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I'm guessing that adding a pick guard at this point wouldn't be out of the question. 

It would certainly cover up a lot of the damage from the previous owner. 

🙁

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You made a guitar make you happy, nothing wrong with that at all.  Why have one that doesn't make you happy?

rct

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You did the right thing and I'm sure you will enjoy the guitar much more now.

I've been playing for over 40 years and never believed in making any modifications. I primarily play bass but also play guitar. In 2012, my wife bought me a new American Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass. It had the N3 Noiseless pickups and could switch from active to passive. The problem was that when I switched to passive, the output dropped dramatically. I know some reduction is normal but it dropped to the point that it was much lower than any of my passive basses. After much research, I ordered a set of Lindy Fralin pickups over wound 8% to get more mids and lows and set it up passive with a separate volume and tone control for each pickup. It was the best thing I ever did. The bass sounds incredible. I do music for television and movies. My business partner always comments at how great the bass sounds when we're recording or when we play live with our band. I also installed a Nordstrand NP4V pickup in one my American Precision basses and it sounds much better than the stock pickup. 

 

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Does that I'm the only one left who's never made any modification to any guitar I've owned other than changing strings? Oh, by the way....from 1966 at 13 when I first started playing till 1981 at 28 years old, I never replaced strings  on a guitar unless they broke. And then to current date, and 67 years old, Playing for 54 years I've made no modifications at all. 

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13 minutes ago, Retired said:

Does that I'm the only one left who's never made any modification to any guitar I've owned other than changing strings? Oh, by the way....from 1966 at 13 when I first started playing till 1981 at 28 years old, I never replaced strings  on a guitar unless they broke. And then to current date, and 67 years old, Playing for 54 years I've made no modifications at all. 

I have only ever changed the plastics on one of my guitars.. Never a pickup..

And not that I have anything against it I just like the way they sound already  🙂

vJxp4qO.jpg

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12 minutes ago, Rabs said:

I have only ever changed the plastics on one of my guitars.. Never a pickup..

And not that I have anything against it I just like the way they sound already  🙂

vJxp4qO.jpg

Beautiful guitar Rabs. I've never even done that so I got you beat Lol. Besides the pots are gold before and black after, and the 3 way toggle white circle is removed. Yep, definitely  got you beat Rabs. I don't even remove the pick guards.  My guitars are All Virgin's! Haha.

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8 minutes ago, Retired said:

Beautiful guitar Rabs. I've never even done that so I got you beat Lol. Besides the pots are gold before and black after, and the 3 way toggle white circle is removed. Yep, definitely  got you beat Rabs. I don't even remove the pick guards.  My guitars are All Virgin's! Haha.

Well in the case of this guitar, I wanted to show the top off so changed all the plastics to black... And also this guitar came without the pickguard on (its in the case) so actually no modding there, I just never but it on 🙂 

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I'm fairly unsophisticated in such matters but I do have experience with ceramic magnets vs. Alnico V and I don't think they are similar. I had an LP classic with ceramic humbuckers and they were incendiary devices. Maybe the SD's are close because they are more powerful? In the end if you love it, good on ya.

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12 minutes ago, Rabs said:

Well in the case of this guitar, I wanted to show the top off so changed all the plastics to black... And also this guitar came without the pickguard on (its in the case) so actually no modding there, I just never but it on 🙂 

No problems Mate, I just wanted to show how stock my guitars really are. The only thing I have ever done to any of them is just change strings out. But I guess that would just be maintenance like changing dirty diapers? I'm actually afraid to remove screws as I might mess it up? 

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I usually upgrade the electrics of any cheap guitar. Other than that I leave them alone. Except... for this one I went all out! 

I changed the bridge because my athritic thumbs could not work the thumbwheels (the replacement Gotoh have screw slots on the posts). 

I changed the pickups as an experiment. I wanted to hear what (modest output) single coils would sound like on this sort of build. So the Duncan Designed HBs were replaced by Creamery Domino split coils. 

After a few years I replaced the unbranded tuners with mini Schallers (having first tried the ones from my Ric on there to endure they would fit the snake headstock)

Before: with matt hardwear & PUs

 3jTM3pi.jpg

 

After: with new bridge & PUs

w17D4R9.jpg

tuners were added to reinforce my confidence really...

M5d7T4k.jpg

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sometimes, it is indeed for the better, but it IS easy to go down a rabbit hole with this stuff.   So I tend to step lightly with mods myself.

OTOH.. I swapped out a pair of BB1s for a pair of Duncan's my '02 LP Standard.  Guitar came to life.

I removed a trapeze tail piece my ES135, installed a bigsby B7, (drilled the required holes and all!!) again, the guitar came to life.  That trapeze tail piece turns out, was a tone killer from the get go.

Nothing wrong with doing what makes em better.

 

 

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9 hours ago, kidblast said:

... Nothing wrong with doing what makes 'em better ...

I agree with that statement.  After living with some nice instruments, it definitely may become  apparent that a change is in order.  However, what really makes me roll my eyes is spending good money (say, $2000 or more) on a new  guitar or even a Custom Shop just to immediately go and rip out major components on it.  That to me is just making mods for the sake of making mods.  For me, when I spend that much money on a guitar, it better not need anything non-aesthetic to be changed out.  For lower end guitars, it is a totally different story ... it often makes a ton of sense to change out saddles, a nut, tuners or even pickups because it is not a higher-end MIA Fender or Gibson with all of the higher-end components.  But anyone getting a new Les Paul standard (or better) to start modding it out before the "new guitar" smell is even gone is just crazy to me.  Just my opinion , though.

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32 minutes ago, 01GT eibach said:

I agree with that statement.  After living with some nice instruments, it definitely may become  apparent that a change is in order.  However, what really makes me roll my eyes is spending good money (say, $2000 or more) on a new  guitar or even a Custom Shop just to immediately go and rip out major components on it.  That to me is just making mods for the sake of making mods.  For me, when I spend that much money on a guitar, it better not need anything non-aesthetic to be changed out.  For lower end guitars, it is a totally different story ... it often makes a ton of sense to change out saddles, a nut, tuners or even pickups because it is not a higher-end MIA Fender or Gibson with all of the higher-end components.  But anyone getting a new Les Paul standard (or better) to start modding it out before the "new guitar" smell is even gone is just crazy to me.  Just my opinion , though.

 

It depends on what the guitar is for.  Unfortunately for me, Fender and Gibson both don't put in their guitars what I require, even at 2k.  I have two 2k++ giggers that have been completely modified to meet my performance requirement, because they just don't put on what I want for that money.

rct

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