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Author Topic: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)  (Read 23326 times)

Offline nalu

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Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« on: June 02, 2010, 10:09:06 PM »
I created this thread to document the mods that I will be doing on my Epiphone LP.
The goal here is DEFINITELY not to make mine sound like a 1959 Gibson LP.
Neither is it for justifying extensive mods on an Epi to make it sound like a Gibson.
So let's do away with arguments going that direction and just have fun sharing experiences on moding our guitars.
Your suggestions, recommendations, and comments are very much welcome.

So here she is... she's a Standard Plus Top VS that I got from Ishibashi through Hordex.


And here are all the guitar parts and kits that will eventually find their way into her guts (except for the monster cables of course)


Here's a list of the parts:
RS Vintage Upgrade Kit with Luxe Bumble Bee Repros
RS Modern Upgrade Kit (back-up just in case I burn some pots and maybe try out the tonal difference between the Luxe repros and RS GuitarCaps)
RS Top Hat Gold Knobs
Switchcraft 3-way Toggle Switch
Switchcraft input jack
2 pcs Vintage Single Braided Wire (4 ft each)
Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers (Set)
Gotoh Tune-o-matic GE103BT bridge (Nickel)
Gotoh GE101A-N Aluminum tailpiece (Nickel)
Stewmac Shaped 1-45/64" x 21/64" x 3/16", 12" radius bone nut

So the plan is to get all her cheap china guts out (wiring, pots, caps, toggle switch, pickups) and replace with supposedly better ones.
Most of the hardware on the body will be replaced as well.
I actually have no idea if all the parts I got will fit but I tried to get metric ones (as much as possible) to guarantee that they'd fit. I guess will see.
The neck is sticky because of the think Poly finish. So I definitely need to do something about that... research mode...
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 11:01:41 PM by nalu »

Offline kurtcobainer

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 10:16:48 PM »
Bookmarked! :-)

Offline masarapangtaho

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 10:19:03 PM »
awsome idea. although i think it would be helpful if you could list those parts/stuff/mods you are planning to do to your epi lp

Online r_chino18

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 10:20:30 PM »
Suggestion:

before and after na video demo..  :-)

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 10:26:01 PM »
awsome idea. although i think it would be helpful if you could list those parts/stuff/mods you are planning to do to your epi lp

noted. i'll modify the first post.


Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 10:43:44 PM »
Suggestion:

before and after na video demo..  :-)

we'll see what I can do with this
but definitely a good suggestion
i'm not a good guitar player, trust me i suck, so I may be hesitant posting it here  :-D
buy i maybe able to send you a copy though... will get to that.

Online r_chino18

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 10:46:23 PM »
we'll see what I can do with this
but definitely a good suggestion
i'm not a good guitar player, trust me i suck, so I may be hesitant posting it here  :-D
buy i maybe able to send you a copy though... will get to that.

no need to worry about skills.. maganda lang tingan bro yung difference sa sound.. i'm sure may mag-iiba jan.. pero masaya tingnan kung naging mas maganda or drastic talaga yung effect nung mods..

 :-)

looking forward to that bro.. cheers!  :wink:

Offline Rmansh

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2010, 10:50:39 PM »
nice.

sana may price list, i have an epi standard too. :-)
looking for badass guitars and amps.....

Offline gainsucker

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2010, 10:53:51 PM »
this is interesting.. will wait for those videos  :-)

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2010, 10:58:32 PM »
So the very first mod, which I believe has the highest impact given the condition of my guitar when I first got it, is the nut.
Mine came stock with a plastic one and it's causing terrible tuning stability problems.
The setup was also terrible... fret buzz, high action, incorrect intonation, etc.
So I decided to have the nut replaced with bone and have Jon of Elegee do the seutp as well.

For reference, here are some pictures before the bone nut replacement and setup.

Here's a close up on the plastic nut:


Here's a sideview showing how high the strings are from the fretboard:


Another shot closer to the body:


Will post the after setup pictures soon...
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 08:07:12 PM by nalu »

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2010, 09:13:06 PM »
Before taking it to Elegee I checked all frets across the fretboard with this



It's a 4-in-1 Fret Rocker from Stewmac and the idea here is to take 3 frets at a time and see if you're guitar need some fret leveling like this



If the frets are even the Fret Rocker will sit still on top of the frets.
Unfortunately, my LP has some notorious frets and definitely needs fret leveling.

Online renz13

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2010, 09:25:08 PM »
interesting......gusto ko marinig yung comparison nung bumblebee cap dun sa stock plan ko mag kabit ng isang ganun sa project guitar ko
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Online Boxedking

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2010, 09:40:43 PM »
subscribed!  :wink:
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Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2010, 03:01:02 AM »
Ok, so I went to Elegee and finally met the man himself. All I can say is that Jon really knows his stuff. A top class luthier and a down to earth guy... hands down.

So here's what Jon did to my LP:
    Bone nut replacement
    Fret Leveling, crowning, and polishing
    Truss Rod Adjustment
    Intonation
    Action

While he (and his assistant) was doing all these I discovered that he is also a surfer so we got to chat about our surfing experiences. He also gave me a lot of tips, some guitar setup 101 along the way, and a refreshing watermelon juice (da best!)

Anyway, back on track... This is the nut that I ordered from Stewmac:



It's a Shaped bone nut with the following dimensions:
    1-45/64" x 21/64" x 3/16", 12" radius.
Unfortunately it is smaller than you're Epiphone stock plastic nut. Here's the link so that Epiphone users can stay away from it:
    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Nuts,_saddles/String_nuts/White_Bone_Nuts.html
It's Item #6012. Jon's assistant ended up shaping a cow's leg bone for my LP's nut.

Here's the close up after the bone nut replacement



Here are the close-up pictures after the setup





I was hoping that the tuning would become more stable after the bone nut replacement but it didn't. I might end up trying the Big Bends Nut Sauce and see if it helps.  We'll see... Other than that I'm really happy with my LP's setup now. Playing conditions are far better than the stock.

Up next, wiring and electronics.

Online r_chino18

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2010, 10:08:15 AM »
^^^

There's a graphtech nut that fits Epiphone guitars.. that should be a direct replacement for your guitar sir.. hopefully it can also stable up your tuning provided that your bridge, tailpiece, and tuners are all in good condition..  :-)

Offline bryanarzaga

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2010, 10:24:30 AM »


that's one dirty binding,

btw @Nalu

have you thought of applying graphite on the nut string slots? graphite pencil will do

Offline justine3563

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2010, 10:26:02 AM »
im in! looks nice!
i love music...more than food!

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2010, 11:21:28 AM »

that's one dirty binding,

btw @Nalu

have you thought of applying graphite on the nut string slots? graphite pencil will do

you're right. the binding work on the guitar where the neck connects to the body is pretty ugly.

@ bryanarzaga: come to think of it, i haven't thought of using graphite yet. do i have to mix it with vaseline or just use it as it is?

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2010, 11:24:42 AM »
^^^

There's a graphtech nut that fits Epiphone guitars.. that should be a direct replacement for your guitar sir.. hopefully it can also stable up your tuning provided that your bridge, tailpiece, and tuners are all in good condition..  :-)

that's right, actually I already ordered a tusq XL from bossingBoss a week ago. it should be a direct fit but I think i'll try out the graphite pencil as soon as i get it all done.

Offline bryanarzaga

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2010, 11:42:29 AM »
you're right. the binding work on the guitar where the neck connects to the body is pretty ugly.

@ bryanarzaga: come to think of it, i haven't thought of using graphite yet. do i have to mix it with vaseline or just use it as it is?

you can apply it w/o vaseline, i havent used vaseline for guitar nut's..

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2010, 08:07:28 AM »
you can apply it w/o vaseline, i havent used vaseline for guitar nut's..

noted. thanks!

Offline imarco

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2010, 11:07:56 AM »
like. . .

starting to think of getting an epiphone korea/japan again then upgrade. . .hehehe
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 11:30:27 AM by imarco »

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2010, 12:26:01 AM »
So for today, I laid her down in the couch and stripped everything from her body.  :-o
Hopefully nobody imagines something else from that.

Here are the metal and plastic hardware taken off:



There are a lot of screws that came out so remember to secure them and not loose even a single one.

We also take off her guts out starting from the pickups since they will be flying around without the pickup rings holding them in place.







Notice the RoHS Compliant sticker? That means that all the materials used on those pickups were made from non-hazardous stuff.  Which implies a change in composition or a direct replacement on the material being used.  Which makes me wonder if being RoHS Compliant has an effect on the tone.... Anyway, back to our topic.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 12:47:06 AM by nalu »

Offline nalu

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2010, 12:38:40 AM »
For reference, here's what the control cavity of an epiphone les paul MIC looks like with all the stock parts.



Doesn't it look ugly?
By the way, I'm not sure what's the point of using a 4-pin tamiya connector in their wiring since you still have to desolder some wires before you can completely take off any of the electronic parts.

The toggle switch is taken off as well...





And then the input jack...

« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 01:01:39 AM by nalu »

Offline masarapangtaho

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Re: Giving new life to your axe (mods for your humble Epi LP)
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2010, 05:19:52 PM »
For reference, here's what the control cavity of an epiphone les paul MIC looks like with all the stock parts.



is that electrical tape i see?  :roll:
anyway, what are the stock pots for MIC epi lp's?