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Should I be apprehensive about putting $300+ into my cheap Les Paul

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jimmyohio75, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    I bought a 2017 Gibson Les Paul Tribute T about three months ago. There are a lot of things I like about the guitar. It is lightweight. It plays great. It looks great. It was fairly cheap.
    BUT......it doesn’t sound very good to me. The pickups are harsh and brittle. I spoke to my local guitar tech and he gave me a quote to gut the electronics and install a set of Pearly Gates pickups.
    After the price of the pickups I am looking at over $300 to upgrade this guitar. Even after the upgrades I will still be below (barely) the cost of a used LP Classic. Not to mention most of the Classics that I have played have weighed in the 9-10 pound range. My Tribute weighs 7.6 lbs. This is a big deal when playing a two hour gig. Have you guys ever put big money into a cheap guitar without concern about “over improving “ it? I don’t plan to sell this guitar but you know how GAS can be.
     
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  2. muzishun

    muzishun Member

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    I think it's worth it. I also really like a lightweight lp. They sound great, with the right pickups! :)
     
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  3. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    What I’d consider instead is getting a pre-wired harness and the pickups and installing it yourself so you can return it to stock if need be.

    That way you can sell the harness and pickups and recoup most of your outlay if you ever want to sell the guitar.
     
    massacre, Antmax, donnievaz and 6 others like this.
  4. Arewenotmen?

    Arewenotmen? Member

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    Totally worth it.
    Does $300 keep you from spending $1500 on another guitar?
     
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  5. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    Good point:beer
     
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  6. tnvol

    tnvol Supporting Member

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    I would. Life is too short to play something that's going to bug the crap out of you.
     
  7. Rick51

    Rick51 Member

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    The guitar is not worth much to you right now, lots of money tied up and doing you no good. So the real question is, do you sell it and start over, or mod it and end up with what you want.

    Great pickups can make a huge difference. If you like the guitar otherwise, it makes sense to go ahead.
     
  8. modavis99

    modavis99 Silver Supporting Member

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    The Tributes are great LPs. Finding the right pickups is a good call
     
  9. Brig Gen Ripper

    Brig Gen Ripper Member

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    Guilty. I just dropped $500 on a set of Kinman's + all new electronics for my Epi Casino Coupe ($469 new). Made a great guitar even greater! No regrets.
     
  10. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    I bought a $600 Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster and sunk $1100 in upgrading everything.

    it was an awesome fun project, it sounds / plays great and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

    $300 is nothing man. go for it!
     
  11. Scary Uncle G.

    Scary Uncle G. Member

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    I've spent a lot more money on gear with less to show for it.
     
  12. LBXPDX

    LBXPDX Member

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    I’d buy a good soldering iron and some tools and do it yourself. Pots, caps, switch and jack should run maybe $60 for CTS and switchcraft. It’s quite easy and can be done on a kitchen table. You could also buy a pre wired assembly for $30 or so more.
     
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  13. DarrellM5

    DarrellM5 Member

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    It seems that you and I don't enjoy the Burstbucker Pros. I ended up installing a set of Dimarzio 36th Anniversary pickups in my 2012 LP Standard and now I'm good to go. I think you'll have a similar experience with the Pearly Gates.

    I only replaced the pickups but I did the work myself. Gibson pickups aren't inexpensive so it's fairly easy to recoup the upgrade cost by selling them.
     
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  14. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, it is. You like the guitar except for the pickups, right? Then, mod it until you love it and don't worry about it.
     
  15. snow and steel

    snow and steel Supporting Member

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    This guy is spot on.

    If you sold your current, you'd lose half, and it wouldn't; be s cheap to "upgrade" to a classic either.

    My favorite/#1 is a studio - its just the most comfortable, best playing one I own. I have a ton in pickups, frets, tuners, electronics and what not and don't consider any of it a waste. If the guitar speaks to you and you have no plan on selling it then there is NO loss in making it even better suited to you.
     
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  16. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    Well I just dropped off my Tribute to get a set of Pearly Gates pickups installed. He is going to gut all the wiring and get it to 50’s wiring specs. I also took the opportunity to replace the top hats with speed knobs (personal preference). Should be done late Friday. Thanks for the “motivation “ guys. :aok
     
  17. sundog964

    sundog964 Supporting Member

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    I have an old (2000) Epi LP, and I felt the same way. From Sigler Music I got a set of Duncan Pearly Gates Humbucker Pickup Set, Zebra + Page Les Paul Wiring Harness, for about $180. I did the install myself, but had a pro set it up afterwards. So about $300.

    Yes, it was totally worth it. I play that guitar as much as my PRS S2, and the Gibson LP Traditional.

    You won't get any benefit on resale, but who sells guitars?
     
  18. dwoverdrive

    dwoverdrive Supporting Member

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    Ya the cost of the pickups is probably worth the upgrade if you like the guitar. Sounds like its nice and light too.
     
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  19. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    Keep in mind that if you do sell the guitar, while some people would consider what you are going to do, an upgrade, others may not. You "may" have to put the guitar back to stock prior to selling. If you like the new pickup, you may wish to hold onto it. However, you won't know this now, but only if and when you decide to sell it or GAS hits, whichever comes first. :)
     
  20. toddincharlotte

    toddincharlotte Member

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    I would try your hand at soldering. I've been back on electrics for a few years now. It evolved from buying new pickup sets and paying a tech to replace them to buying used sets and doing the work myself. I just ordered a JB/'59 set for a Chapman I am doing some work on for $125. I see Pearly Gates for around the same. $150 - $175 may not seem like a huge savings but if you get the gear bug and start your way down the rabbit hole, you may find yourself thinking back to this reply a few swaps out wondering why you didn't think about this earlier. Do yourself a favor, take a shortcut on the Darwinian Soldering Evolution Chain and just buy a decent iron and start trying your own repairs. It will cost you less than $300 you're planning on spending and you'll have a new tool to show for it.
     

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