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Giving Up On Modding Your Guitar

Adam1578

Member
Messages
261
I've got to a place with my tele that even though there are more changes I think would make me like the guitar more, I won't do them. I read a quote from Tom Morello where he modded his guitar a bunch but it still didn't sound how he wanted but instead of moving on or trying again, he left it as is and made it work for him. In a similar way, I think I want to make the guitar work for me as is, instead of continually changing it. Obviously that doesn't bar buying more guitars down the road, but as my main guitar I'm keeping it the way it is.

Has anyone else embraced their main guitar as is, or after a few changes even though it isn't exactly what you wanted?
 

R.T.

Member
Messages
164
I've never made a single mod to any of my guitars besides putting a bone nut (actually it was made of deer antler) on my Jazz Bass. I only did that because the stock one broke. If a guitar isn't working for me off the shelf, I don't want to have to change a bunch of stuff to get it where I want it. I just put it back and find one I like.

Not that there is anything wrong with mods. I'd love to have a project/franken tele someday and I respect folks who mod the tar out of their guitars! Just a preference thing for me.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,677
If you have a clear idea of what you want and feel like making changes can get you there, keep going. If you’re changing stuff simply to make what you have “better”, yeah you should probably stop (although that can be a hobby in itself, which is fine if you recognize it as that).
 

Brian N

Member
Messages
1,846
I modded the heck out of my strat. Upgraded the trem block, blocked the trem, changed all the pickups to humbuckers with a stacked humbucker in the middle, added coil split to each of them, and added a master switch to use any combo of the pickups at once. Tried for years to swallow it and in the end, there wasn't a single sound that I liked. After it sat in the closet for 4 years, I sold it. Turns out I'm a Gibson guy.
 

C-4

Member
Messages
13,756
I've never made a single mod to any of my guitars besides putting a bone nut (actually it was made of deer antler) on my Jazz Bass. I only did that because the stock one broke. If a guitar isn't working for me off the shelf, I don't want to have to change a bunch of stuff to get it where I want it. I just put it back and find one I like.
I'm the same way. The guitar has to sound and play well when I first get it, after I set it up. I've only changed pickups in 3 guitars in 64+ years of playing. I've gotten everything I wanted from the rest of my guitars. The ones I changed pickups out of, didn't stay long. :)
 
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mikesch

Double Platinum Member
Messages
661
I've never really believed in modding. I could see it in an otherwise spectacular guitar that you wanted completely different pickups in or something, but there are plenty off the shelf that are going to work for you with relatively little effort. Buy one of those.
 

Masa

Member
Messages
675
I've never really believed in stock guitars off the shelf. Everybody is different. I have about 30 electric guitars, and all of them have some mods. Except for the vintage Gibson with Centralab pots, I replaced all the pots and caps. None of my guitars (except one) has the original pickups. I scalloped pretty much all my strats and teles.
 

ChieFender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
172
Never been into modding, either, until now. But I've got a failing volume pot in the Bolt, and I'm going to wire up a new one, with a much-needed treble bleed. And *then* I'll give up and bring the smoldering heap to a luthier after it all goes hideously wrong.
 
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fishlog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,028
the older I got the less I did it... last bunch of guitars I have bought have been great out of the box.
 

Mikhael

Member
Messages
3,107
Nope. I tend to mod the snot out of my guitars. My #1, a Hamer Chaparral, is modified so much that the only original things on it are the wood, frets (and those stupid boomerang inlays)... well, that's it. Everything else has been changed.
 

aiq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,438
I have a ‘20 LP Tribute I am fond of and I have been playing it nonstop. Of course, the rat of pain is gnawing my brain to change: tuners, pickups, etc.

I have decided that it is fine as is and I will only replace if something fails.

I am not immune though, the Firebird, Trad Pro, and Telecaster have been...altered.
 

Adam1578

Member
Messages
261
I've never made a single mod to any of my guitars besides putting a bone nut (actually it was made of deer antler) on my Jazz Bass. I only did that because the stock one broke. If a guitar isn't working for me off the shelf, I don't want to have to change a bunch of stuff to get it where I want it. I just put it back and find one I like.

Not that there is anything wrong with mods. I'd love to have a project/franken tele someday and I respect folks who mod the tar out of their guitars! Just a preference thing for me.
Yeah I never wanted to do it initially, I loved it stock from the store. It wasn't until maybe 6 years later I started to mod it as my needs evolved.

That being said I do want to do a fully custom partscaster one day
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,826
The reason i mod is i have almost never owned a guitar i was etremely happy with as is and never owned one that didn't improve when i modded it with a very few exceptions. If i look at all the guitars i have had, not one of them that i modded to where i was extremely happy was then or is now available exactly how i modded it in stock form. So why wouldn't I? Lets look at my current thinline tele. The stock saddles and pickups sounded like crap. I knew that thru experience. I'd have had no idea 40 years ago. I loved the neck and i could tell it sounded good under the blanket of crap the saddles and pickups imparted. In stock form i would absofreakinlutely sold that thing asap. Instead it;s my fav tele to date even with respect to all my former teles i modded and made better. But if you compare it to the others BEFORE they were modded, it's not even close. Heres the thing....i've been modding guitars since the 70s. My first pickup swap was super distortions into a LP, the first aftermarket pickup even made AFAIK. So having been doing this a long time iknow what will get me where i want a guitar to be. Maybe not always exactly, but i have a good idea and so it doesn't take a lot of luck and it's never blind luck where i have to buy parts with no idea what will help. So if thats not you, then i can understand why you might feel like modding ain't the way to go.

It's like anything else in life....everyone has their way of finding what works for them. For you it may be buying 30 teles till you find "the one", or like me it may be buying one that u know is in the ballpark and MAKING it "the one". Modding is essential for me. Thats just my need and my nature.
 

twotone

Member
Messages
4,438
If it's a Strat with single coil pickups I hook up one of the tone controls to the bridge pickup. And if it has a plastic nut that is easy to remove, I replace it with something that doesn't click while tuning.
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
2,946
I was mod happy when I started playing.

I think it was part not being satisfied with stock offerings and part me thinking I could do it "better" than the established makers.

These days, I swap pickups mainly, but not every guitar though.
I lower/adjust the nut.
I sometimes change electronics if I want something different, or something breaks.

That's it.
 

BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,537
Depends on the guitar. My Gretsches are all stock because the Filter'trons and Dynasonics all have great treble response. All my Ibanez S and RG models are stock because the Ibanez pickups sound good, and they have very versatile HH selector switches - parallel and single coil options. I have bumped up the pots on my Gibsons to 500KΩ and dropped a Duncan JB/Jazz set into my LP Std Pro DC - all in search of better treble response. I installed series-single-parallel switches for the Duncans in my Jackson 6 and 7 strings - once again to have decent treble response. And I loaded a set of GFS Dream 90s and a TruTube lipstick middle into my Steinberger Spirit GT Pro.

 

Bossanova

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,828
Make it comfortable and stable, and after that, just practice for 10,000 hours. Mods should only come after you put your time in. Nothing sadder to me than a horrible hack who keeps wanting to discuss his gear and focuses on minutia instead of not sucking.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,757
.

I mod 'em

Tele Esquire-H, split humbucker to a 4-way switch for neck/parallel/bridge/humbucker.

Strat has a reverse/Hendrix angled pickguard and an Armstrong Blender to go from stock SSS to series HSH.



I used to do more mods but once I found out the changes that worked for me then I mostly stopped. The Armstrong Blender has been installed on four Strats I've played, two of them started as HSS that were converted to SSS and then wired with the Armstrong Blender.

.
 




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