Quick fixes for my Les Paul

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by teestone, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. teestone

    teestone Mostly Regular Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I recently acquired an early 90's Les Paul. Basically, it needs a good overhaul before it will step into regular playing rotation. The bridge is all chewed up and the stock Gibson pickups and electronics sound pretty muddy and I really just don't like them.

    My plan is to immediately replace the pickups, electronics and bridge.

    For the pickups I've decided to go with the Rio Grande Texas/BBQ setup...should work well with what I'm trying to do. Basically a nice, hot, all purpose kinda vibe. I'm sure there are tons of opinions about pickup options, I'd love to hear some...;)

    From what I've read, the drop-in RS kit should be a quick, easy, marginally priced upgrade to the stock LP electronics. Is the premium kit worth the extra money IYHO?

    Lastly the bridge. This is where I need some direction. Do I get the Tonepros? Is it really necessary? I'm not really interested in replacing the tailpiece, I really just need a new bridge. What are some other options?

    After I perform these three quick fixes, I'm confident this guitar will get much more playing time. Does my plan seem on point to you? Any pointers?

    As always I'd appreciate any insight from you Les Paulaholics out there:D
     
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  2. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Sounds good to me, I put a tonepros on my 82 custom for 2 reasons, one is that the original was shot, two is that it is a Nashville style bridge, not a standard ABR.
    I pur RS kits in all 3 LP's, there is no going back, that will help clear out the mud in a big way.

    Once you put these in place you can move on, either play it or see if it needs any other TLC.
     
  3. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I just sold a 1990 Les Paul Standard, but I owned it for 12 years and it was my most played. It was a great guitar, but only after a couple of minor mods.

    The 490R/498T are my least favorite pickups ever. Harsh, brittle and sound terrible clean. In fact, I only thought they sounded good with heavy distortion. I replaced them with a Duncan '59/JB combo and they were worlds better. I'm sure there are better these days though...

    I didn't like the original tuners either, so I put Grovers on--much better.

    A bone nut.

    I didn't have any problems with the bridge, but I hear the Tonepros are an improvement. Same goes for the RS wiring kits.
     
  4. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane Silver Supporting Member

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    I replaced the pitted, chewed-up saddles bridge on my '78 Custom with the Gibson stock replacement bridge. I think I had to pay close to $50 for the gold one, but I've been happy with the results. That way I could save the original as a one piece unit.
     
  5. leoman57

    leoman57 Guest

    The rio grande pups are hot and dark. I think they would sound better in a guitar that needed a little help not an LP. Any PAF type for the neck and something a little hotter in the bridge would be my choice.

    I didn't like the fralins that much and I think it was due to the A4 magnet, not enough mids. So I would go with an A3 magnet neck with about 8-8.5K and an A5 magnet in the bridge with about 9-10K. Voodoo's (Peter Florance)are wonderful pups, as are many of the booteek pups out there. There is also lollar, Wagner, Wolftone, High Order, Manlius, SD.......and good old Tom Homes if you have about $500....LOL...Some of them will run anywhere from $55 to $150 per pup. When in doubt Duncan's are great, a 59 or pearly gates in the neck and a custom custom (hot with an A2 magnet)or custom 5 (same pup but with an A5 magnet) in the bridge.

    As for the bridge, aluminum tail pieces are the way to go in my opinion. Not great bang for the buck but you can hear it if you have those kind of ears. I always went with the stock Gibson bridge and don't know what's out there anymore. I haven't owned a Gibson in a few years.
     
  6. Erik

    Erik Member

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    +1...unless your LP is a bright guitar. (Mine is...the BBQ sounds really nice in the bridge of mine.) Quick way to test it out...if a JB sounds trebly and harsh, the BBQ would probably sound perfect.
     
  7. BillyBardahl

    BillyBardahl Member

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    I am having WCR pickups and an RS Premium kit with super pots put in by a local shop as I write. I may change out the tailpiece later. I will be able to let ya know if it was worth it in a week or so....

    Your post title kinda drew me in.....very similar circumstances. I picked up a 2001 Standard with a drop dead gorgeous top last year for a steal. A good one....Plays like butter, but sounds like crap. 2001 was the last year of the old pickups before they started putting in Burstbuckers I think. I came close to selling this guitar a few times but something made me hang onto it ( mainly a strat guy ).

    If what I have read about the RS / WCR combination is true it will be money well spent. If it's just hype I'm out 400.00. I have a feeling it is going to be worth it as I never ran across anyone saying they were disappointed in this combination....keeping my fingers crossed!
     
  8. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    Billy, you will most likely be amazed. Which WCR's are you going with?
     
  9. BillyBardahl

    BillyBardahl Member

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    Hey Slipbeer..

    I am a herd follower on this one....so I went with a pair of darkbursts...keepin' my fingers crossed.

    I went back and forth for several days reading about this bridge and that neck, and that neck and this bridge etc...until I just said the heck with it and got the DB's.

    I am hoping that they have it ready this weekend. I would have done the stuff myself, but I wanted the LP set up for 12-52 also ( has 10's on it )and thats a little more neck tweaking than I am comfortable with, plus the nut may need replacing.

    Do you have a set of WCR's???
     
  10. doctorx

    doctorx Member

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    I wanted to replace the bridge on a Les Paul knockoff I just bought and looked at the Tonepros. It's a $25.00 Gotoh bridge that they drill holes into and tap for an allen screw, then they charge $65 for it. :NUTS My guitar setup guy had one and showed it side by side with an identical Gotoh. It even said Gotoh on the bottom of it.

    Dose it make a sound difference? Dunno, but seems to me that the pressure of the strings holding the bridge down would be more than sufficent for sustain and the difference added by the tonepros setup would be negligible. I bought the Gotah. Having the bridge locked when changing strings is no big deal to me, I change one string at a time.
     
  11. teestone

    teestone Mostly Regular Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm still up-in-the-air about the Tonepros. Seems like it might be overkill. The RS kit is a must and the pickups could go any way at this point. This weekend I should do some damage to my credit card though, I'm dieing to get this LP up to speed. It's just sitting there now, begging to be used. It's too bad the stock pickups are so bad.:rolleyes:
     
  12. teestone

    teestone Mostly Regular Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Well the verdict is in! Here are the mods I'll be doing as soon as the goodies arrive:

    * Tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge
    * Deluxe RS electronics kit
    * Rio Grande Texas BBQ set

    Once I have installed everything, I'll do a little tone report/review. Thanks all for your input and pointers. It's always appreciated!:BEER
     
  13. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    It's not overkill if you enjoy improved intonation and sustain. :)
     

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