If it were mine, I'd leave it and go get a Godin 5th Avenue to cut on.
Those were fairly common, but they don't make em any more and haven't for a while.
I'm not a big fan of modding old pieces that have survived this long in original condition.
You are correct; the new ones are much higher quality guitars than the originals.
They are also fairly generic apart from the shape and don't sound or feel anything like the original.
On one hand, you're getting a capable guitar for a good price that does have a distinctive appearance, so...
I've seen a ton of Loar NGD threads on the jazz guitar forum. Lots of owners there.
Generally positive things to say all around.
If they have a weakness, it's in the finish work. More than a few guys have returned theirs for another because of finish blemishes; often on the top under the neck...
I use a Duncan firebird pickup and, like you, have some single coils. It can be tough to go back and forth because a humbucker is never going to have those same qualities. It's a different animal.
Now, the Duncan IS nice and bright and open or whatever FOR A HUMBUCKER. But it ain't a single and...
Show it off!
I have one complete.
American black walnut body and neck. Indian rosewood fretboard.
Fender OV bridge pickup and Duncan SM3 firebird neck.
This one is made from the same wood. All hollow carved thinline with Honduran rosewood board and 24.5" scale. Looks like ill be...
Have your boards cut thicker than you need to allow for shrinkage and possible warping but there's no beating old wood.
Thanks. A lot of work but I never could find one I liked so I made this one.
Next up, my hollow body made from the same walnut.
Should be done in a month or...
I had an Epi with a neck mini. Pretty bland until I put in a Duncan SM3 firebird mini. Huge improvement. That pickup has become one of my favorites.
When clean, very clear and chimey without the big midrange. With drive, however, it does the humbucker wall of sound just great. Very versatile...