ESP Vintage Plus, Pimp It or Sell It..What to Do?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Wesman61, May 27, 2015.

  1. Wesman61

    Wesman61 Member

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    I love this guitar. It's one of those that I know I'd regret selling if I did. However it's tone just isn't what I want. It's a '94 all original except for the strap locks and saddles. The body is a one piece ash and the neck a one piece quarter sawn. The problem is that the tone is too full, not much quack. It's great for overdriven Strat tones but I really want a good clean Strat type of tone. I replaced the block saddles with the vintage Fender type which was an improvement but the pickups just aren't cutting it.

    Problem is getting a good set of pickups (preferably Fralin) would be spendy and besides it could use a fret level/re-crowning. Also the graphite nut is starting to get worn out. The low E buzzes slightly when played open. I'm not rich but can afford the upgrades. Just wondering if I should sell it and get a guitar with exactly what I want as far as specs.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. 59Bassman

    59Bassman Plank Cranker Silver Supporting Member

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    Then don't sell it. Those Vintage Plus ESP's are fantastic guitars, but they're not a collector's piece. Especially since this is a 20+ year old guitar and it's probably not selling for a whole lot more than you paid for it. IMHO, this is one where you need to do what it takes to make it work for you.

    Realize going in that any money you put into it you will never get out of it. Mods on this instrument aren't going to raise the selling price - but they could lower it if you do something like a belt sander relic job. Take your time, do your homework, and pick some parts that will get you closer to where you want to be.

    One thing I wonder about is what pickups are in that guitar. IIRC, most of the VP's used something like a Duncan SSL-1, which is a very vintage-toned pickup. You may be hard pressed to find something "strattier" - different, but you may be hearing the fundamental tone of that guitar. Dunno. It may be worth finding out what's in there now and posting up your rig asking for suggestions.
     
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  3. shane88

    shane88 Member

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  4. zztomato

    zztomato Supporting Member

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    Get a level and crown done- you may not need a new nut after that depending on how much fret material comes off. Do a pickup swap at the same time to get a better deal on the tech work.
    Find some used pickups in the parts emporium to save money. If you really dig the guitar then it's not unreasonable to spend a bit on the maintenance of it and the occasional upgrade.
     
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  5. Che_Guitarra

    Che_Guitarra Member

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    If you do pimp it, just keep all the outgoing parts in a box so you can revert back. I pimped out my 91 Am Std strat I had owned since new (my first real guitar), flipped the pickups onto Ebay the second they were removed. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect, selling those pickups was the worst guitar-based decision i've ever made... i've been chasing that original tone ever since.
     
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  6. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Member

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    Find out what is in there first. If it's a really good, classic strat pickup there may not be much you can do. It just may not be a guitar with good quack. Pickups will not not replace something that is not there.
     
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  7. GSHARP

    GSHARP Member

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    Pimp it, have fun, life is short. Make it unique, make it yours. I probably have 4 strats highly pimped, they reflect my personality, they are all unique and pimped to my likings.
     
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  8. Wesman61

    Wesman61 Member

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    The pickups in there seem to be original and have no identifying marks. Just an alnico vintage style strat pickup. I've been playing around with some different TS type OD pedals today and it is great for that sound. Maybe I should just leave it alone and look into getting a clean strat. Nothing wrong with having 2 strats. :aok
     
  9. Braunzo

    Braunzo Supporting Member

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    I have a couple strats for different things. I'm not really a strat guy, either. I have my "typical" strat, then I have my rockin' strat. But if you like the guitar and don't want to buy another guitar, pickups aren't a huge deal to swap out. You'll want to have the guitar setup/leveled/etc whether you drop new pickups in or not. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a lot of money in comparison to all the other guitar stuff we waste our money on.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
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  10. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    can you get a swamp ash strat to play those bell-chime clean tones?
     
  11. Wesman61

    Wesman61 Member

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    This one is a swamp ash strat. Maybe it sounds too simple but ideally I would have an ash/maple strat for clean and alder/rosewood for dirtier stuff.
     
  12. TomDev

    TomDev Member

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    I had one of those and my understanding is that the pickups were made by Duncan (I could be wrong but I think that's what ads from the time stated). And, yes, you would regret selling it! I would keep it stock and just buy a different used guitar to get a different tone.
     
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  13. Mr. Mukuzi O

    Mr. Mukuzi O Member

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    I have one, its a 2010, with Duncan SSL1. if I were you I would mod it but keep the original stuff as stated above.
    or if I were you I would just Lower the height of the pick ups. see if that tames it a bit. also I would have it wired with no tone for the bridge pick up. original wiring always sounds better imo
     
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  14. JCM 800

    JCM 800 Member

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    Sell it to me please! :)
     
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  15. Wesman61

    Wesman61 Member

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    One really weird thing about this guitar is that it looks deep blue in pictures but looks slightly teal in person. Especially with good light. I think the clear top coat may have aged to give it that effect.
     
  16. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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    Stock pickups should be Duncan SSL-1 set, which are very good pickups.
     
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  17. Wesman61

    Wesman61 Member

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    Is there a way to verify? I just replaced the strings but I can take another look under the hood next string change.
     
  18. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

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    Pimp your guitar

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Pointy Headstock

    Pointy Headstock Member

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    Pimp!

    Earl Slick has one with a Sustainer pickup fitted that he used for Heroes when he played live with Bowie.



    Page Hamilton rocked a newer ESP based on the Vintage with Bowie as well.

     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
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  20. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    Hang onto that guitar. I suspect you'll regret it immediately if you sell it.

    My guess is that you should check the pickups and then the wiring. If the pickups are Duncan SSL-1's then those are fine vintage-toned pickups - in other words, not the problem. Maybe a wiring kit from RS Guitar Works, or another company, might help?

    Also try lowering the pickups. If that doesn't work, then I suspect the problem is inherent to the guitar. Some Strats naturally have a thicker tone, while others bring the chime. But that's a sweet axe; hang onto it.
     
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