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Belated NGD


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Hi all,


Some of you might remember my Epiphone Les Paul mod project...and then that guitar's untimely demise. It was heartbreaking, and I hate to admit that there were many tears shed when the guitar techs told me the guitar was beyond saving.


Well, it's been about six weeks now, and I've had some time to move on and bond with the successor.


I present to you a used 2006 Epiphone Les Paul Custom:




You might notice two oddities. #1: The bridge. When my LP Standard passed on, I scavenged the body for all parts, and I kept the Stetsbar bridge to put on here. Best vibrato/trem system I've ever used. #2: The covers aren't gold! Why not?! (I switched out the stock pickups for a pair from an Epiphone Elitist guitar). I was planning on switching out other parts, but was honestly so impressed with the hardware and electronics that I decided to keep everything else stock.

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This is the first time I've ever been happy with the neck pickup - too often, neck pups will sound harsh and muddy to my ears while appearing to overwhelm the bridge pickup when in mid position. With this set, though, the 50SR blends very nicely with the 60ST; neck position is thick and smooth, the bridge position is lean and sharp, and mid position is a perfect blend of the two. I even find myself playing in neck position as often as any other - bear in mind that even when I was using Seymour Duncan pickups, I never played in neck position alone.


People who like the Gibson '57 Classics tend to say that that's what the Epiphone Elitist 50SR/60ST set sounds like, while people who like the Gibson 490/498 set tend to compare Epi Elitists to that set instead; meanwhile, people who don't care for the 50SR/60ST have complained that they can sort of get a vintage tone and sort of get a modern tone, without really nailing either one. I think that's very accurate: these pups have a very tight low end and good high-freq response like I'd expect out of "modern" pickups, without going too far overboard - but also providing a warm, vintage-y midrange that again doesn't go overboard there either.


By the way, I'm really impressed with the difference in the craftsmanship between my '06 Epi LP Standard and my current '06 Epi LP Standard. The neck really stands out - it's that D or U profile like I'm used to, but with a pronounced flat point down the middle of the back that provides a comfortable spot to plant my thumb. I was also going to switch out the tuners, but they were working so well - so much better than I remembered my locking tuners doing - that I just left them there.

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