NUGD: Gibson R8 and OX4 pickup content

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Seegs, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Germany
    Years ago I bought an amazing 2007 Gibson R8 in tribute to my mom's passing...I put a set of Tom Holmes hum buckers in it and played the heck out of it...best guitar I had ever had...after I developed some serious shoulder problems I could no longer stand and play it so I sold it and all of my heavier than 7lbs guitars (seemed to be the limit of my pain tolerance) as the pain was just too excruciating...I was really sad and down but resigned to the fact that I would be playing lightweight teles for the rest of my life...not a bad thing but certainly not my Les Paul...

    I decided to forgo the recommended surgery and after years of physical therapy...weight training...stretching and a diet (no carbs) my shoulder is now nearly 100%...

    I decided that 2015 would be the year I would get back into a LP so I started saving...when my bud heard that I had found an R8 at an affordable price that was local to me...he offered me his because he wanted to upgrade to a Collecters choice Greg Martin...he sold it to me for the amount that he needed to grab the 5,5K euros GM...

    I got it rehearsed it and it was a pretty good guitar but nothing like my 2007...

    Here is an update...a bud and fellow formite Chrissy came over and we went about checking out my new used 2009 R8 LP...first evaluating and then deciding on how to best optimise it...one thing that is cool is that we have done this for so long that once we change something we kind of know that this particular change is as good as it gets for us...we no longer have to go through 5 different bridges or tailpieces or tone caps etc. to see which we prefer...

    First order of business was to check out the hardware...we found out that the tailpiece studs were non-magnetic (maybe zinc?) and in our travels steel studs always win...they clear up the flabby bass end and just give you better string seperation...harmonics...sustain and make the guitar overall more percussive...lively and acoustically louder and maybe most important the notes seem to expand or bloom after the initial attack...seems like the notes start small...hang around and then grow and just fill the whole room with sound...hard to put in words but you'll know it when it happens...simple change with a huge payoff...

    Couldn't believe what I was hearing after popping in some steel Gibson studs that I had left over from my ex-339...right away it became a different guitar even with the Burstbuckers and dead strings...

    Next it was time to check the wiring and we found the CTS audio taper pots in 2009 were 500k and ok...but based on our experience we decided to exchange the fake Gibson bumblebee caps for some great NOS green Russian .022uf caps...they were $4 a piece and give you a far more usable taper...when rolling down the volume and tone controls you get single coil tele-like tones without losing clarity...huge difference...

    Then we plugged it in and adjusted the Burstbuckers to where they were sounding pretty good...I was surprised and pleased and wondering do we really need the new OX4 pickups that I had just bought?...But since I had them it was a no brainer...we were compelled to put them in...

    I got them after hearing another forumite's set (Stekks) and researching and realising that there are just some pickups I haven't tried that I just can't afford...you know the ones that come in over 500...and there are some that I just do not want to revisit...I wanted something new and fresh for this guitar that would bring out it's true voice...I remember hearing these in a Stekk's R7 and liking them a lot...

    Never did I think that they would be the best hums I have ever played or heard to this date...they were new...fresh and affordable at sub 300 shipped to me...


    This is the thing that I find over and over with BBs...they can sound ok when you tweak them just right and don't have anything to compare them to...once you compare to other great pickups you see where they fall woefully flat in the tone and response department...at least in our experience...gone is that annoying upper end sizzle and broken glass/scratchy tone...

    Last up were the OX4 double creams...here we had a difference of opinion...I wanted to keep the no pick guard and no covers look so we compromised...

    Once we got the asthetics sorted out we went down and plugged in and were greated with a huge massive wall of sound...through my 64 bassman the R8 now sounded like a giant symphony orchestra...the cleans on these pickups were not to be believed...the touch response even with my bassman set to 2.5 on the volume control/not even working was off the charts...I had all of the tonal shadings from squeaky clean to crunch available just from my picking hand...you hear every note even in complex chords with gain...chords are perfectly balanced and the string separation is better than with any set of hum buckers I have ever tried...chords are in tune and balanced across the whole frequency spectrum...note bloom or expansion is a thing of beauty and I no longer need reverb or delay to give me some space in my sound...these pickups do that naturally...these pickups relaxed my right hand as I no longer have to pick harder to get more treble to cut through the mix...I can pick soft and still cut through a two guitar mix or pick harder and come over the top of the other guitar/mix if need be...I never felt lost and felt I had to compensate by turning up or picking harder...

    One thing I noticed is that the OX4s come with the pole pieces already adjusted and I would recommend leaving them alone or just making minor tweaks as it serves to give you amazing string separation and almost perfect balance so that you hear every note... even in complex chords with gain...normally we'll spend hours trying to get the pole pieces just right and here most of the work was already done for us...

    This guitar has become a total beast!!

    Lastly the guy that sold it to me brought over his new Greg Martin Collectors choice and after I played his old guitar...he said..."I should have never sold that to you"...I think his 5K Greg Martin is going back to the store today :D

    Here are the before and after pics...

    Before
    [​IMG]

    After
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  2. stekks

    stekks Member

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    The Netherlands
    Cool beans! Glad you have a great Les Paul again and I could help a little deciding on the pickups!

    Now go play instead of writing long posts! :p
     
  3. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Thanks for recommending these Mr. Stekks...I owe you one!

    I played for 4 hours yesterday and my family needs some attention but I will be on it later...
     
  4. Musicman

    Musicman Member

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    Great story and glad you found the sound.
     
  5. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Member

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    Awesome, sounds like a fun experience for all but the seller. Enjoy the new guitar!
     
  6. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Thx guys...the guy is apparently happy with his guitar...
     
  7. V846

    V846 Member

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    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    Enfield, CT
    Very nice :drool my GAS was in remission
     

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