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rednefceleb

Transforming Epiphones

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I bought my first Epiphone Electric Guitar last week. It's a beautiful Night Hawk. The action's so low it's insane. It plays as well as any Gibson. I love to work on guitars and doing complete a upgrade on my Night Hawk will be fun and basically turn it into a Gibson for all intent and purposes. Epiphone guitars that cost around $400 and up are all very 'playable'. I don't have the money for collecting $2500.00 guitars anymore. Finding Epiphone "replicas" has solved my problem. There are so many ways to 'transform' one. Filing fret edges/polishing frets, treating the ebony or rosewood for max smoothness / pickup replacement / upgrade all electronics: pots/caps/switches/etc. Since the better Epis have Grovers: there's no need to upgrade there. Paul Reed Smith has a line of budget guitars made out of the USA. Almost every major guitar manufacturer honors a line of budget guitars. Since the playability of the 'better' Epiphones is surprisingly fine, they are 'diamonds in the rough'. My next "collectible" is the '56 L.P. Goldtop with P-90 soapbars. Peace.

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I agree, I modified every single Epiphones I got.

I enjoy customizing these ladies to my taste.

They make nice guitar projects

 

Me too, every one gets upgraded PU's.

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Me too, every one gets upgraded PU's.

 

 

I'm glad all Epis aren't like my Dot. There is no removable plate at all which makes it beautiful to look at but a nightmare to fish a bunch of wires. I did see a make do procedure usuing soda straws onto the shafts of the pots so they dont drop outta sight but I guess all my get up and go musta got up and left.

 

Rafael

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I'm glad all Epis aren't like my Dot. There is no removable plate at all which makes it beautiful to look at but a nightmare to fish a bunch of wires. I did see a make do procedure usuing soda straws onto the shafts of the pots so they dont drop outta sight but I guess all my get up and go musta got up and left.

 

Rafael

It is not that huge a task if you have a later model with wider F holes.

In my case I did change the pickup for Gibson classic 57 / 57+ and all the cables and pots.

I got a ready made harness from BCS that I fished through the F Holes using little strings and patience.

It took me maybe an hour overall including soldering and drilling the pots hole for american size.

My Sheraton is now perfect to me...except maybe the missing fret markers beyond the 15th but I can live with it :-)

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i'm not sure if i am going to do anything to my firebird, and definately not right away i love the sound of the stock pups,i may get some chrome pup surrounds but that just an asthetic thing otherwise i am a happy bunny [biggrin]

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I'm hesitant to start digging around in my Casino. With my luck the dog will start to bark, or the kids will act up and then I'll rush and scratch the hell out of it. LOL!!!

 

I do want to change out the pickguard tho, just for aesthetics. Maybe a tortoise shell or something. The stark white on the blonde is a bit too light for me.

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I'm glad all Epis aren't like my Dot. There is no removable plate at all which makes it beautiful to look at but a nightmare to fish a bunch of wires. I did see a make do procedure usuing soda straws onto the shafts of the pots so they dont drop outta sight but I guess all my get up and go musta got up and left.

 

Rafael

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Rafael: I agree about hollow body electrics being hard to work on. I had a guy bring me his to completely rewire and I had to say: "I just don't know how they do that". My next Epi-project is still gonna be their '56 Les Paul Goldtop. I got the idea while watching David Gilmour's "Remember The Night" DVD. I really love that DVD. Gilmour's Black Strat tones are phenomenal. I read an article about his pedalboard and equipment man who's been with Pink Floyd and David and still is. His name is Pete Cornish. I'm sure that many of you know about him. Gilmour is a "Tone-God". When I saw him using that'56 Goldtop with P-90's, I made up my mind. Somewhere between a Humbucker & a Single-Coil is where a P-90 resides. I have owned a few Gibson Juniors and Specials. P-90's have their own, unique sound. Gibson created a great pickup. On the restoration of my '56 G'Top: I intend to buy cream soapbars that have the same specs as the original.

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i have one of those gold tops. when i go it the tone controls did nothing.. so i rewired it completely all new cts pots and new switch and plug. replaced all the wiring. everything works as it should and it sounds great.. youll like it after you go through it.

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i'm not sure if i am going to do anything to my firebird, and definately not right away i love the sound of the stock pups,i may get some chrome pup surrounds but that just an asthetic thing otherwise i am a happy bunny [biggrin]

 

I have a faded Epi Firebird studio and I love those Steinberger tuners-a band member had the Gibson Firebird with the banjo tuners and they would not hold their tuning, the steinbergers are great!

I had the full sized p'ups and decided to install mini humbuckers, I finally had to fabricate an insert to fit the full sized pickup rings.

A 1/16" piece of plastic was cut to the internal pickup ring size and I cut out the mini pickup size-it took some time but it all worked out-I also wired the new p'ups with coil split DTDP pots for single coil/humbucker switching!

The new P'ups installed-

EpiFirebirdStudio.jpg

A close-up-

MinibuckersinFirebird.jpg

The ring-

Plasticring-1.jpg

The ring installed-

RinginsidestandardPupring.jpg

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It is not that huge a task if you have a later model with wider F holes.

In my case I did change the pickup for Gibson classic 57 / 57+ and all the cables and pots.

I got a ready made harness from BCS that I fished through the F Holes using little strings and patience.

It took me maybe an hour overall including soldering and drilling the pots hole for american size.

My Sheraton is now perfect to me...except maybe the missing fret markers beyond the 15th but I can live with it :-)

 

I have a Sheraton II from 1992 with the smaller, bound F holes-the mini sized volume and tone pots are as large as I can install in there...I wish I could put full size pots in there but no luck on that. Maybe new pickups some day-I would probably just wire into the existing cabling though.

I agree that the missing fret markers beyond the 15th fret is an odd thing with the Sheratons, there are only a few songs I've played in bands where it was an issue-I just had to improvise with the Sheraton..

My Sheraton on a nice Spring day-

Reverend.jpg

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I found a crappy '04 Junior (with HSC) for $51. Several coats of spray paint, big gouges in the paint and body and the HB PU was literally falling out of it. I set a total cash outlay limit of $100 to transform it into something playable and nice to look at. $98 total, including a great, used Heywood P90 (which I absolutely love)and CTS/Switchcraft electrics. There was a little bit of "sweat equity" though.

Before-

oldgit1.jpg

After-

IMG_3633.jpg

IMG_3631.jpg

 

Transforming cheap crap has become a sort of hobby for me now. I don't get to use tools at work any more, so it's a good excus to get back into the work shop.

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I agree, I modified every single Epiphones I got.

I enjoy customizing these ladies to my taste.

They make nice guitar projects

 

rk0tfq.jpg

 

I modified my "Epiphone by Gibson" 80s Sheraton a couple of weeks ago. After donkeys years of wanting a Bigsby on it and different pickups etc, I put a Bigsby B60 on there, some Wilkinson stairstep tuners and a pair of Showstopper pickups (P90 in h/b case). If anything else is going to get modded it's getting rid of the remaining revolting gold plate with brutality if necessary, and I may yet stick Gibson P94s in there. If you ever get tempted by the Bigsby vibe, consider the Bigsby B3 or B60 with Towner Down Tension bar...it saves having to drill holes in the top (Bigsby B7) and the Towner bar uses the stop tail lugs so you don't have to worry about unsightly bushes or holes to be covered!(The B60 is slightly longer so the arm finishes right by the bridge pickup rather than having to reach backward for the arm on the B3) To me, the Bigsby just suits the Sheraton and Epiphone really ought to have offered a Bigsby version AND a chrome hardware option!

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Great results on your Junior project!

 

Regards,

Bill

 

 

I found a crappy '04 Junior (with HSC) for $51. Several coats of spray paint, big gouges in the paint and body and the HB PU was literally falling out of it. I set a total cash outlay limit of $100 to transform it into something playable and nice to look at. $98 total, including a great, used Heywood P90 (which I absolutely love)and CTS/Switchcraft electrics. There was a little bit of "sweat equity" though.

Transforming cheap crap has become a sort of hobby for me now. I don't get to use tools at work any more, so it's a good excus to get back into the work shop.

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I modified my "Epiphone by Gibson" 80s Sheraton a couple of weeks ago. After donkeys years of wanting a Bigsby on it and different pickups etc, I put a Bigsby B60 on there, some Wilkinson stairstep tuners and a pair of Showstopper pickups (P90 in h/b case). If anything else is going to get modded it's getting rid of the remaining revolting gold plate with brutality if necessary, and I may yet stick Gibson P94s in there. If you ever get tempted by the Bigsby vibe, consider the Bigsby B3 or B60 with Towner Down Tension bar...it saves having to drill holes in the top (Bigsby B7) and the Towner bar uses the stop tail lugs so you don't have to worry about unsightly bushes or holes to be covered!(The B60 is slightly longer so the arm finishes right by the bridge pickup rather than having to reach backward for the arm on the B3) To me, the Bigsby just suits the Sheraton and Epiphone really ought to have offered a Bigsby version AND a chrome hardware option!

 

Thanks boss!

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I am really glad to see the TP-6 on your Sheraton. I'm amazed more folks don't use them. I had the Gibson Custom Shop build me an ES-355 and spec'd a TP-6. I love it.

 

I agree, I modified every single Epiphones I got.

I enjoy customizing these ladies to my taste.

They make nice guitar projects

 

rk0tfq.jpg

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I am really glad to see the TP-6 on your Sheraton. I'm amazed more folks don't use them. I had the Gibson Custom Shop build me an ES-355 and spec'd a TP-6. I love it.

Yeah I agree, even if some people claim it sucks some tone away but frankly I don't think so.

I put one on my Gibson LP in 1992 and never looked back.

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Nice job on the filler ring/escutcheon plate for the pickup. Fabricating skills can turn ordinary materials into very useful parts which may not be available from parts vendors. Even when uncommon parts may be available, it can be excessively time consuming to find uncommon parts.

It's also very worthwhile to be able to perform your own wiring modifications, such as the push-pull switched pots for splitting humbuckers.

 

Bill

 

I have a faded Epi Firebird studio and I love those Steinberger tuners-a band member had the Gibson Firebird with the banjo tuners and they would not hold their tuning, the steinbergers are great!

I had the full sized p'ups and decided to install mini humbuckers, I finally had to fabricate an insert to fit the full sized pickup rings.

A 1/16" piece of plastic was cut to the internal pickup ring size and I cut out the mini pickup size-it took some time but it all worked out-I also wired the new p'ups with coil split DTDP pots for single coil/humbucker switching!

The new P'ups installed-

A close-up-

The ring-

The ring installed-

RinginsidestandardPupring.jpg

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Epiphone guitars that cost around $400 and up are all very 'playable'. I don't have the money for collecting $2500.00 guitars anymore. Finding Epiphone "replicas" has solved my problem.

 

 

I know whatcha about not having money for guitars selling for 2gs or more.

My income is about what a guy with more energy than me would get for picking up aluminum cans. I did scrouge up cash for a Cherry Red Dot.

I have a Recording King acoustic too. RK was an American brand at some vague time before I was born, although this one is Chinese, but what isn't these daze?

 

Rafael

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