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NGD '03 Les Paul '59 RI R9 - Brazilian

baj2k

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
275
I just picked this up from Mark B. at "Mark's Guitar Loft".

It's a verfied '03 Gibson '59 RI R9 with Brazilan Rosewood fretboard s/n 9 3420... yes, I know, "420"... ;)

Just stunning 3D figured Maple flame on the top; it really moves from every angle with very minimal dropouts.

Zero issues, no binding bleed, no nicks, dings, or scratches; finish checking, etc. - it looks virtually brand new.

I even noticed some flame on the mahogany neck up just below the headstock.

It has a very resonant body – sounds great unplugged too, clear an bright (in a good way).

Not a fan of the BB1+BB2 pickups so I’ll be changing those out.

Any suggestions for some really sweet PAF clones with A2 magnets?

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All pictures posted with permission from Mark's Guitar Loft © 2021
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,788
I have a certified Braz ‘03 Goldtop LP and when I got it it sounded like ass. Put my all time favorite pickups in it (old WCR Goodwoods) and it still sounded like ass. WTF? I checked the harness and all four of the pots were below 450k! I replaced them all with TAoT 525k pots and the guitar roared to life and is an absolute monster.

Check the pots! Then give Jim at http://www.jimwagnerpickups.com/ a shout and tell him what you’re after. He’ll hook you up.

Beautiful guitar!
 

mike6m

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
736
2001-2003 had some great ones. And it seems to still be documented all the time. I like the late 90’s too, but 2001-2003 really had some consistency it seems. If solder joints are still original, I’d keep the pickups the same as these are becoming more collectible. Otherwise, slap some Throwbak’s in there and call it a day.
 

baj2k

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
275
I have a certified Braz ‘03 Goldtop LP and when I got it it sounded like ass. Put my all time favorite pickups in it (old WCR Goodwoods) and it still sounded like ass. WTF? I checked the harness and all four of the pots were below 450k! I replaced them all with TAoT 525k pots and the guitar roared to life and is an absolute monster.

Check the pots! Then give Jim at http://www.jimwagnerpickups.com/ a shout and tell him what you’re after. He’ll hook you up.

Beautiful guitar!
@GAD I have a set of WCR Goodwoods in PRS McCarty I have. Great pickups.

I'm not familer with TAoT 525k pots though - where do I get thos?

I usually get RS Guitars Works Super Pots but I'm open to trying something new...

Ideally a Linear 500k pot with a 60:40 taper ratio.
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,788
@GAD I have a set of WCR Goodwoods in PRS McCarty I have. Great pickups.

I'm not familer with TAoT 525k pots though - where do I get thos?

I usually get RS Guitars Works Super Pots but I'm open to trying something new...

Ideally a Linear 500k pot with a 60:40 taper ratio.
Here you go: https://theartoftone.com/potentiometers/

I think I might have gotten them from Amazon.
 

baj2k

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
275
Quick question...

Does changing out the original pickups and pots on a semi-collectable '03 Les Paul R9 affect it's value?

The BB1 + BB2 pickups just aren't my favorite and every time I've upgraded the pots on my guitars they play and sound better because the Volume and Tone controls have a more granular adjustability.

I'm an expert solderer so it won't be a sloppy mess and I would be using either a TAoT or RS Guitars Works pots with some vintage PIO caps and high quality PAF type A2 pups from a top builder.

I'd be keeping all of the original parts in case I ever had to sell it and the buyer wanted to go back to OEM.

It's seems like the '03 Brazilian Les Paul's are one of the non-vintage Les Paul's that retain their value over time so I'd like to do these upgrades but not if it tanks the potential future value; in case I ever have to sell it.

I know some will say "hey, it's your guitar do whatever makes you happy", great advise and I probably will. I just wanted to get some advice from other guitar enthusiasts first.
.
 

lcfparty35

Member
Messages
794
I’m just gonna say this and take my licks…it’s weird to me to spend that kind of cheese and say “don’t like the pickups.” Aren’t you essentially saying “I don’t like how it sounds?”

I’m sure changing the pickups on a guitar that nice will get you where you wanna go but it just feels kinda weird to me. Anyway, it’s a beauty, for sure.
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,788
Quick question...

Does changing out the original pickups and pots on a semi-collectable '03 Les Paul R9 affect it's value?

The BB1 + BB2 pickups just aren't my favorite and every time I've upgraded the pots on my guitars they play and sound better because the Volume and Tone controls have a more granular adjustability.

I'm an expert solderer so it won't be a sloppy mess and I would be using either a TAoT or RS Guitars Works pots with some vintage PIO caps and high quality PAF type A2 pups from a top builder.

I'd be keeping all of the original parts in case I ever had to sell it and the buyer wanted to go back to OEM.

It's seems like the '03 Brazilian Les Paul's are one of the non-vintage Les Paul's that retain their value over time so I'd like to do these upgrades but not if it tanks the potential future value; in case I ever have to sell it.

I know some will say "hey, it's your guitar do whatever makes you happy", great advise and I probably will. I just wanted to get some advice from other guitar enthusiasts first.
.
I’m too much of a tinkerer to not make changes, but to me swapping electronics is not an issue at all. Put any changed out parts into a ziplock and put ‘em in the case pocket and if you ever have to sell you’re good to go.
 

Jimmy MAck

Member
Messages
825
OP said he's not a fan of the BB's. Nuff said. Too many great parts out there and too many great tones to be gained.
The OP should get the most enjoyment possible. i know I've had to do surgery and it was very very much worth it. All of Gibson's stuff is not sacred!
 

baj2k

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
275
I’m just gonna say this and take my licks…it’s weird to me to spend that kind of cheese and say “don’t like the pickups.” Aren’t you essentially saying “I don’t like how it sounds?”

I’m sure changing the pickups on a guitar that nice will get you where you wanna go but it just feels kinda weird to me. Anyway, it’s a beauty, for sure.
I see your point but, no, it's not that I don't like it. I freakin' love :bananait.

I just prefer a warmer tone from my PAF pickups than the BB1 & BB2's are known for and even more importantly to have more usable range on the Volume and Tone controls which I'm always fiddling with when I play.
 

baj2k

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
275
I’m too much of a tinkerer to not make changes, but to me swapping electronics is not an issue at all. Put any changed out parts into a ziplock and put ‘em in the case pocket and if you ever have to sell you’re good to go.
Yup, that's my plan... ordering new pots, pickups. and maybe some new hardware too... stoptail, bridge, knobs, pickgaurd, etc. - why not; it'll give me something to do besides work until things get back to normal.

Being high risk, I haven't been out much since March 2020... and I still don't get out much...

Like my sig says "I have become uncomfortably numb..." :anon
..
 

Frond

Member
Messages
640
I’m just gonna say this and take my licks…it’s weird to me to spend that kind of cheese and say “don’t like the pickups.” Aren’t you essentially saying “I don’t like how it sounds?”

I’m sure changing the pickups on a guitar that nice will get you where you wanna go but it just feels kinda weird to me.
I think it's more akin to saying, "I already love how it sounds… imagine how damn fine she will be with that 5% more!"

pickups are such personal things. there's such a wide range of choices and options. potted, unpotted, A2… A3… A5 magnets, low.. med… high DCR readings…. there's no way Gibson can make a certain type of Les Paul model (for example a 50's Standard) and have all those flavours of pickup available for each model.

if you're spending 4 figures on a guitar, you'd be crazy to just accept the pickups that are in it, when you can tweak it just that little more and make it truly "yours"!
 

pfddi

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
279
I have 3 different boutique sets in my 59 LPs. I had to flip them in an out until I found the right combination for each guitar. I've only been lucky a couple of times when the pickups that came with the guitar were "my tone" - extremely subjective! I have also found that I replaced most of the pots with 550s to make sure I had at least 500k in each one. The cheapest upgrade was to put Russian MIL spec PIO caps in each one! The boutiques that I have are Tom Holmes, Rewind Creme Brulee, and Throbak SLE 101. That being said, I have a set of Duncan "Candy" pickups that I am waiting to slap into another guitar and try out!
 




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