Epiphone LP standard - is it worth changing pickups?

mici

Member
Messages
1,071
So, I've been using this Epiphone LP standard (Cardinal Red version) for almost two years.

Yes, it is probably made in China, but my pro and reputable luthier said that this guitar is suprisingly well-made (you can't always expect that from chinese, mass production, can you?). He did some small corrections ans standard set-up and now I really feel that my Epi has got wings.

Recently, I wondered if it is worth to swap pickups? I got the standard ones which are Alnico humbuckers (?). If yes, then I would appreciate any mid-budget suggestions.
 

GrungeMan

Member
Messages
6,694
It all depends on what year/era Epi you have. There is a reason why Gibson 57 Classics/BB 1&2's and other components are installed in Epi Tributes at the factory, better quality.
 
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cap10kirk

Member
Messages
9,862
It's only worth it if you don't like what the stock pickups do. If you're happy with how it sounds, leave it alone. If you aren't happy with it, how do you want it to sound?

FWIW, I feel that if you're going to start modifying an Epiphone, the pots, caps, switch, jack, and wiring should all be upgraded first. That's where they really cut costs on these guitars. My Epiphone Standard gold top has been my number 1 for the past 3 years, all the stock electronics have failed already, except the pickups (which are still doing fine in a friend's Gibson Les Paul). I now have a Switchcraft toggle switch and output jack, full size Bourns 500k pots, orange drop caps, and 50's wiring. As well as a set of Seymour Duncan Antiquities, and I love how mine sounds.
 

stahlhart

Member
Messages
2,684
I am having good luck with a DiMarzio 36th Anniversary set (DP103N neck, DP223 bridge) in mine. I pulled the stock push-pull wiring and went with the '50s setup, and substituted alnico 2 magnets for the stock alnico 5s. I also replaced the 4-conductor wiring on the 223 with traditional single conductor for consistency, and I never mess with coil switching/tapping anyway.

Philadelphia Luthier Tools carries CTS 500K metric bushing pots, so there's no opening of the control holes necessary. I did have to take out a teeny little bit to get the Switchcraft toggle in, but it was worth it.

I've also got Seth Lovers in one of them, and really like those, too. The bridge pickup here doesn't have the wider pole piece spacing, but it still looks like the Es more or less line up okay.
 
Messages
2,877
IMO it is worth changing pickups IF:
1. The guitar plays really well and you love it.
2. Your idea of "worth" it relates to keeping the instrument, not to resale value.

I have an Epi Les Paul 56 that came with P90s and I did a pickup swap for some TV Jones dynasonic style pickups. It plays great and I have not regretted the expense, especially since a dynasonic equipped Gretsch would run me a lot more money.

+1 on upgrading switches and pots. In fact I just had to have my Epi's switch replaced and I wish I had had that done when the pickups were installed.
 

cam.man67

Member
Messages
2,507
If you like how it plays but aren't satisfied with the sound, then yes, go for it.

The pickup set you should have is Epiphone's Alnico Classic/Classic Hot. Alnico V magnet, ~13.5k bridge ~8.4k neck. I'd personally like to swap a regular Classic into the bridge like they do on the Dots and Sheraton to lower the output some. But if you dig the tone, there'd be no reason to change.

EDIT: I should add that I've used SD '59s, Dimarzio Anniversaries, even 57 Classics, and none of them left anything but underwhelmed. The Alnico Classics that are stock in my Dot Studio beat them all!
 

Buzzard Luck

Member
Messages
2,686
Yes, it is. Yes, the stock pickups are good for what they are. You've kept and played the guitar long enough now to notice and appreciate the massive and wonderful difference an upgrade in pickups will offer. A zillion choices these days, but my favorite and easily available set for a Les Paul is the Dimarzio 36th set , or a Seymour Duncan JB/59 combo. With some new strings and a set up, it'll be amazing. Hopefully. Make sure the amp and pedals, etc. are up to meeting the new higher standard.
 

Fatboy666

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,014
It's only worth it if you don't like what the stock pickups do. If you're happy with how it sounds, leave it alone. If you aren't happy with it, how do you want it to sound?

FWIW, I feel that if you're going to start modifying an Epiphone, the pots, caps, switch, jack, and wiring should all be upgraded first. That's where they really cut costs on these guitars. My Epiphone Standard gold top has been my number 1 for the past 3 years, all the stock electronics have failed already, except the pickups (which are still doing fine in a friend's Gibson Les Paul). I now have a Switchcraft toggle switch and output jack, full size Bourns 500k pots, orange drop caps, and 50's wiring. As well as a set of Seymour Duncan Antiquities, and I love how mine sounds.


couldn't agree more! I loooooove Epiphones, I think they are the best bang for the buck. But, I usually replace the guts when I find a keeper. The pickup selector switch usually goes out on me in a short time and the pots and output jack hold no charm for me either. It's easier to just pull out the whole harness and replace it. But I do that work myself so it doesn't cost much. Pickups can be quite a rabbit hole, so beware!
 

bgmacaw

Member
Messages
8,075
FWIW, I feel that if you're going to start modifying an Epiphone, the pots, caps, switch, jack, and wiring should all be upgraded first.

It's interesting that they're now touting that they're using full size pots and higher grade switches and jacks in them. I guess someone at Epiphone management pays attention to online gripes.

As for swapping pickups, I would start with what you have now and figure out the direction you want to go. Are you current pickups too hot? too muddy? too bright? Or are you just considering it because "the grass is always greener" or because swapping pickups on an Epiphone is what everybody online says you need to do?
 

Ilduce

And now for something completely different!
Messages
4,593
If yours has the Alnico Classic pups I wouldn't change them if you're happy with them. I have them in my new Epi V and love them!

But if you're really not digging them of course change them!
 

Mincer

Senior Member
Messages
4,596
So, I've been using this Epiphone LP standard (Cardinal Red version) for almost two years.

Yes, it is probably made in China, but my pro and reputable luthier said that this guitar is suprisingly well-made (you can't always expect that from chinese, mass production, can you?). He did some small corrections ans standard set-up and now I really feel that my Epi has got wings.

Recently, I wondered if it is worth to swap pickups? I got the standard ones which are Alnico humbuckers (?). If yes, then I would appreciate any mid-budget suggestions.

I never suggest changing pickups unless the current ones have properties you don't like. If you are hoping for a 'better' sound with no idea of what that means, it is a $$-lined rabbit hole. If you want more output, less mids, etc, then you should start your search. Otherwise, just play the guitar until/unless something about the pickups starts bothering you.
 

mici

Member
Messages
1,071
Thank's for the input, guys. It seems that a better idea is chaning the whole electronics inside than pickups.
 

dubdub

Member
Messages
700
How are the switches going out on you guys? Do you hit it hard while strumming, or are you just generally rough with it? I have a had a bunch of Epi's and still have 5, I have never had an issue with the switch. Wierd.

As far as pickups, I would only change them if I really really didnt like the tone I was getting. If you change them, make some recordings before you swap them out and A/B them afterwards to compare. If you dont like the new pups return them.

My only current Epi with Epi pups is this one. Pro Bucker 2 and 3, they sound great to me for my application.
http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Les-Paul/Ltd-Ed-Les-Paul-Custom-Blackback-PRO.aspx
 

HoustonJr

Member
Messages
216
I'm interested in this as well. Have a Korean Epi Les Paul Custom and it sounds good enough. Not as much clarity/articulation as my Dillion Les Paul Custom lawsuit. I think that can be attributed to the fact the Dillion is simply superior in wood quality and craftsmanship (it's Korean as well - likely cheap wiring and GFS or Artec pickups, but sounds beautiful. I can't explain it). I'm thinking a rewiring kit and SD Custom in my Epi might do the trick.
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
12,064
It's just me, but for the price of the electronics upgrades with the resale on the Epi, you're getting into a low end Gibson with all those upgrades installed from the factory.
 

JGD5150

Senior Member
Messages
1,195
I've got 3 Epi LPs, all recent, and they all came with upgraded pickups stock. The Tribute Plus has 57/57+, the Inspired by 55 Custom has Gibson P90s, and the Slash Rosso Corsa has the Duncan Slash set. I did recently play a couple new Epi Standards at GC and I thought the stock pickups were pretty good.
 

Mincer

Senior Member
Messages
4,596
Thank's for the input, guys. It seems that a better idea is chaning the whole electronics inside than pickups.

My thought on that is if there is a problem with the electronics, or they don't do what you want them to do (they don't turn easily, or the switch shorts out), then change them. I don't do it for the sake of it unless something is wrong.
 
Messages
345
I put Burstbucker 3 and 2 in my Epi LP Classic last month. I also installed a premium wiring kit from StewMac and a Tusq XL nut. It basically sounds like Gibson now.
 

lemonpaul59

Member
Messages
2,065
So, I've been using this Epiphone LP standard (Cardinal Red version) for almost two years.

Yes, it is probably made in China, but my pro and reputable luthier said that this guitar is suprisingly well-made (you can't always expect that from chinese, mass production, can you?). He did some small corrections ans standard set-up and now I really feel that my Epi has got wings.

Recently, I wondered if it is worth to swap pickups? I got the standard ones which are Alnico humbuckers (?). If yes, then I would appreciate any mid-budget suggestions.

No, not worth putting $200 to $400 worth of pickups in a $500 guitar. If those are the same pickups that came in my Epi ES-339, they're a pretty good copy of Gibson '57 humbuckers.
 

tjmicsak

Member
Messages
5,668
Epi Dot Deluxe got Gibson '57 Classics, real bumble bee caps and 50s wiring.
Epi 295 Scotty Moore got Antiquity dog ear P90s and 50s wiring. Duncan was kind enough to recently make me a set of cream covers on request, custom to keep the right look in place of the standard black bakelite they come with.
Epi '56 Les Paul got Lollar 50s slightly underwound soapbar in the neck and standard 50s wind P90 soapbar in the bridge with bumble bees and 50s wiring.
Epi Joe Pass Emperor got Duncan Seth Lovers (B & N set) keeping the stock wiring.

I could not be happier with the upgrades. Each fit the guitar perfectly for what it needed and what I wanted, which was for vintage sounds for the period of the guitars. I do my own setups, anything short of full refret.

It is worth it since you can keep the stock pickups and put them back in if ever you want to sell it, keeping the upgrade pickups for any other guitar...you don't have to sell the upgrades too, keep them and keep the investment if you sell. simple.
 




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