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Epiphone SG Custom Upgrades


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I recently acquired an Epiphone SG Custom (3 Pickups, White, Gold Hardware, Maestro Tremolo) and would like to upgrade some of the parts.

 

Pickups

Ideally, I would like to upgrade the pickups to Gibson 57 Classics. Unfortunately, they are too expensive (especially since I would like to replace all three pickups). Which of these cheaper alternatives do you recommend?

 

GFS Vintage 59 Humbuckers

 

GoldenAge Humbuckers

 

Tonerider Rocksong Humbuckers

 

Also, does anyone know what type of pickup is in the middle position in my guitar? Is it a neck or a bridge?

 

Electronics

I've found several electronic upgrade but most of them are made for guitars equipped with two humbuckers but I was able to find one made for three humbuckers. You can view the link here. Is there anything missing in this kit?

 

Tuners

I would also like to replace the tuners with vintage keystone tuners. This will mostly be for aesthetics but I am having difficulty finding out which ones will fit without modification. Will either of these fit without having to drill?

 

GFS Vintage Keystone Tuners

 

Gotoh Vintage Keystone Tuners

 

Bridge

I am also considering upgrading the bridge on the guitar. I've seen some websites recommending a "roller bridge" or "locking roller bridge" for guitars that come equipped with tremolos. Do you recommend either of these bridges?

 

GFS Roller Bridge

 

Locking Roller Bridge

 

I apologize for the long post but I really could use some help since my only experience with modding guitars is replacing a pickguard. :)

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Tuners

I would also like to replace the tuners with vintage keystone tuners. This will mostly be for aesthetics but I am having difficulty finding out which ones will fit without modification. Will either of these fit without having to drill?

 

GFS Vintage Keystone Tuners

 

Gotoh Vintage Keystone Tuners

You want the Grover Vintage (135N) tuners. They will fit right into the existing holes. The Gotohs and their ilk will require step-down bushings since the holes you have are already oversize.

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$ave your dough..that axe is sweet enough already. Get a cool effects pedal instead. jmho.

 

I've considered this several times but this is my favorite guitar and I want to make it the best it can be.

 

You want the Grover Vintage (135N) tuners. They will fit right into the existing holes. The Gotohs and their ilk will require step-down bushings since the holes you have are already oversize.

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

One more question, my local shop has a great deal on a pair of used Gibson 57 Classics. I am considering buying the pair and leaving the middle pickup stock. Do you think this is worthwhile?

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I recently acquired an Epiphone SG Custom (3 Pickups' date=' White, Gold Hardware, Maestro Tremolo) and would like to upgrade some of the parts.

 

[u']Pickups[/u]

Ideally, I would like to upgrade the pickups to Gibson 57 Classics. Unfortunately, they are too expensive (especially since I would like to replace all three pickups). Which of these cheaper alternatives do you recommend?

 

GFS Vintage 59 Humbuckers

 

GoldenAge Humbuckers

 

Tonerider Rocksong Humbuckers

 

Also, does anyone know what type of pickup is in the middle position in my guitar? Is it a neck or a bridge?

 

 

 

Electronics

I've found several electronic upgrade but most of them are made for guitars equipped with two humbuckers but I was able to find one made for three humbuckers. You can view the link here. Is there anything missing in this kit?

 

Tuners

I would also like to replace the tuners with vintage keystone tuners. This will mostly be for aesthetics but I am having difficulty finding out which ones will fit without modification. Will either of these fit without having to drill?

 

GFS Vintage Keystone Tuners

 

Gotoh Vintage Keystone Tuners

 

Bridge

I am also considering upgrading the bridge on the guitar. I've seen some websites recommending a "roller bridge" or "locking roller bridge" for guitars that come equipped with tremolos. Do you recommend either of these bridges?

 

GFS Roller Bridge

 

Locking Roller Bridge

 

I apologize for the long post but I really could use some help since my only experience with modding guitars is replacing a pickguard. :-&

 

The pickups in the G-400 Custom are already '57 Classics.

Two 57 Classics (8.5k)in the neck and mid, and a '57 Classic Plus in the bridge (13.5k).

How much better would the Gibson '57's sound? Not Sure. I like the Epi '57 Plus in the Custom.

i liked it so much that when i upgraded the bridge and mid pickups with a Duncan SH-6 Mayhem set I flipped the '57 + and threw it in the neck.

I Just wanted the guitar to sound hotter. Now it's a high output rhythm pickup with good tone and not as bright as before.

The caps on the Custom were orange at 0.22 if I'm not mistaken (just 1 on the tone pot)

I replaced the tuners with Sperzel Locking tuners (mod needed) and added a $22 Gotoh bridge.

Also replaced the toggle with an angled switchcraft and the output jack as well.

It plays like a dream. The neck being the best part of this guitar.

The stop tailpiece on this one was was replaced with a Gibson TP-6, but

you have the lovely Maestro on yours. You should definitely look into a rollerbridge for that.

100_1518.jpg

100_1522.jpg

100_1525.jpg

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The pickups in the G-400 Custom are already '57 Classics.

Two 57 Classics (8.5k)in the neck and mid' date=' and a '57 Classic Plus in the bridge (13.5k).

How much better would the Gibson '57's sound? Not Sure. I like the Epi '57 Plus in the Custom.

i liked it so much that when i upgraded the bridge and mid pickups with a Duncan SH-6 Mayhem set I flipped the '57 + and threw it in the neck.

I Just wanted the guitar to sound hotter. Now it's a high output rhythm pickup with good tone and not as bright as before.

The caps on the Custom were orange at 0.22 if I'm not mistaken (just 1 on the tone pot)

I replaced the tuners with Sperzel Locking tuners (mod needed) and added a $22 Gotoh bridge.

Also replaced the toggle with an angled switchcraft and the output jack as well.

It plays like a dream. The neck being the best part of this guitar.

The stop tailpiece on this one was was replaced with a Gibson TP-6, but

you have the lovely Maestro on yours. You should definitely look into a rollerbridge for that.

[img']http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h312/bobbydamm/SG%20Custom/100_1518.jpg[/img]

100_1522.jpg

100_1525.jpg

 

Wow, this is exactly what I was looking for! So, I should focus on upgrading the tuners, bridge, and jacks? Do you recommend one of the roller bridges I linked to in my original post? Or should I consider this Schaller Roller Bridge? Also, will this input jack fit? Thanks again for the advice!

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Wow' date=' this is exactly what I was looking for! So, I should focus on upgrading the tuners, bridge, and jacks? Do you recommend one of the roller bridges I linked to in my original post? Or should I consider this Schaller Roller Bridge? Also, will this input jack fit? Thanks again for the advice!

The Locking bridge from Stewmac looks awesome. I would go with it over the Guitarfetish brand if possible.

If you already have Grover tuners on your guitar you should seriously consider locking tuners instead of vintage unless it's a 'look' thing. I rely more on function as opposed to aesthetics, so I am thinking reliabilty. These will hold your tuning rock solid for sure if that's what's needed, and I don't think a mod would be needed if you already have a set of Grovers installed...

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tuners/Guitar,_solid_peghead_tuners/Grover_Roto-Grip_Full-size_Locking_Guitar_Machines.html

 

The in/out jack looks like the one you need.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't know too much about the Epi but I modded my Gibson SG Custom along the lines you are thinking of. You might be interested in a couple of observations I've made after a bit of experimentation.

 

I started from the principle that a guitar with three pickups but only two vols and a three selector combinations is a wasted opportunity. Imagine a strat that only did that! So going to three vols and one master tone, as you are intending to do, is an obvious step. Then if you wire the middle pickup to be on in any selector position, and the middle position to give you bridge and neck, with bridge only on the third position, as on a Les Paul, you have immediately gone to six combinations (since you can bring the middle in with any other selection). But why stop there? This is what I did:

 

1) took the stock pickups off (didn't like them - muddy and tinny at the same time)

 

2) put a bridge and neck humbucker on wired permanently out of phase (Bare Knuckle PG Blues set)

 

3) put a humbucker sized P90 in the middle (Bare Knuckle Mississippi Queen)

 

4) put a push-pull on the vol for the P90 to take it out of the circuit

 

The reason for #4 is that I found with all three in the circuit, there was too much load and I couldn't wind any of the pickups down below 3 without chopping all the top end off the sound, so if I wanted to get either of the humbuckers without a bit of P90 mixed in, I couldn't.

 

So now I get:

 

Neck and bridge humbuckers individually as normal, plus both combined out of phase for a honky blues sound (Peter Green and many other vintage blues guys). Then by winding in the P90 I get: P90 and neck out of phase for a really distinctive cutting or crystalline sound that with overdrive starts to remind me of a danelectro; P90 with both hums for another range of out of phase sounds (the P90 cuts some of the frequencies of the the neck, while combining in phase with the bridge); and then the P90 in phase with the bridge - this gives a very interesting combination of a full and slightly raunchy top end, with an almost single coil punch and attack on the bass strings. I find myself using this setting much more than I thought I would because it works well when playing rhythm and lead together, although I could use a bit more top end out of it. Might try putting a linear pot on the master tone and see if that helps.

 

Best thing about this arrangement is that with three vols and the out of phase combinations there is such progressive control over a huge range of tones, and I can always find the right balance I need between 'body' and 'cut' in a mix.

 

Second best thing about it is the expressions of complete mystification on the face of anyone else who tries to play it without knowing how the controls work ;)

 

You could go further and put the phase switching on another push pull, instead of having permanently out of phase pickups. Anyway with something along these lines, you'll have a very versatile guitar indeed.

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whats the wood in this one? is it any more special than the other g400's? i'm liking this one but the price went up £100 and now i'm wondering if the prices will ever come down? i guess if they are more than luaun (?) it would still be worth it, at that price, as the gibson special faded is the next step up for me...

i think the gibson equivalent of this is at 2 grand. which i could never buy.

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The pickups in the G-400 Custom are already '57 Classics.

Two 57 Classics (8.5k)in the neck and mid' date=' and a '57 Classic Plus in the bridge (13.5k).

How much better would the Gibson '57's sound? Not Sure.

[/quote']

Try 'day and night'. Gibson '57 Classics are very good pickups, probably one of the best they offer, alongside the Burstbuckers. The Epi Classics are Classics in name only, and they do not use "'57" in that name.

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Try 'day and night'. Gibson '57 Classics are very good pickups' date=' probably one of the best they offer, alongside the Burstbuckers. The Epi Classics are Classics in name only, and they do not use "'57" in that name.[/quote']

Sure they are day and night. I can see that and wouldn't be such a fool, but when I bought my G-400 Custom, even on the Epiphone website (and this was spring 2006 so it may have changed) the pickups were touted as 'Epiphone '57 Classic/neck and mid, Epiphone '57 Classic Plus/bridge.

I simply didn't make that up!

I've never had a pair of actual Gibson '57 Classic pickups so like I said I have No idea how close they would sound.

Probably blow the Epi's away.

Anyway I understand and I should've written it a bit different but it's a lil late for that!

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Epiphone have kept the waters rather muddy regarding their AlNiCo pickups over the years, particularly with respect to pickup specifications on their web site. I doubt that it was deliberate but nonetheless it has been very confusing so don't feel the need to apologize for any of it... it's not like it's your fault. Fortunately the last couple of catalogs have pretty much settled it all down and the '57' has pretty much disappeared from the nomenclature. They're just AlNiCo Classics now, although they still vacillate between 'Hot' and 'Plus' designations for the neck pickups.

 

I have a Gibson '61 reissue SG with the '57 Classics in it and let me just say... they're pretty awesome. Not at all like the sound of a G-400. I'd also take them over a set of 490R/498Ts any day of the week.

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Guest icantbuyafender

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

One more question' date=' my local shop has a great deal on a pair of used Gibson 57 Classics. I am considering buying the pair and leaving the middle pickup stock. Do you think this is worthwhile?[/quote']

 

i always liked the gold imperial style or gold keystone style for guitars with gold hardware.

 

just be mindful- anything other than grover may require new holes!!!

 

might i suggest ditching the orange pickup selector switch tip for a much nicer creme or gold?

 

those used gibbys sound like a great solution upgrade and leave the middle stock. then use the gold covers from your stocks pickups to make them match.

 

keep us posted

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