update: Carving 1978 Les Paul Deluxe for humbucker

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Muffdriver, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

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    Is the cavity for this guitar the same depth as Les Paul built for full-size humbucker? The bridge cavity was already altered for width. What tool besides a router can I use to open it up just a tiny bit more? Thanks.

    Original
    I bought 2 full-size Duncan antiquity humbuckers for my 1978 Gibson Les Paul but the bridge cavity isn't big/deep enough.

    My uncle is a carpenter with a router, is this something I can trust him to do or do I need to go to a luthier? What do you think that would cost (I can install pickups myself)?

    Other info
    I usually judge the tone to be inferior to other quality humbucker guitars (it sounds nasally) but I've never ever played a guitar that felt any better.
    I've always had other full size humbuckers in bridge so I thought I could at least stick it in there if not perfectly.

    I would prefer not to sell because of the feel and because my Dad passed it on to me when I was 11 but ya know... tone.
    The neck cavity was already carved for full-size humbuckers. How much would resale value go down by carving another cavity?
    This is my only guitar worth more than like $200.
    Thanks a bunch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  2. slider

    slider Member

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    Maybe there are pups that size that will sound good to you. P90s will drop in, there are P90 size humbuckers, I mean that sound like full-sized buckers.
    IMO routing is a last resort. It will negatively affect the resale value of the guitar.
    And please take it to a luthier, if you do rout. It's different than carpentry.
     
  3. sanrico

    sanrico Member

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    If the neck cavity has already been carved, then have at it with the other. The collectible value is pretty much toast, but it's still a very nice guitar for keeping.

    If your uncle is a carpenter, he might even be better with a router than a luthier. Depends on his skill level. It's not very hard. I'm a novice and was able to route very clean humbucker routes using a jig.
     
  4. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Gold Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't do it but that's just me. There are plenty of good sounding pickups that will work in a Deluxe without routing.
     
  5. willie k

    willie k Silver Supporting Member

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    If not yet routed, I'd go for a pair of screaming P90s. If neck is already routed, go for it.
     
  6. kdc113

    kdc113 Member

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  7. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    Too bad the neck cavity was already carved out, the neck is where the mini shines...big and full sounding, but much more articulate and defined than a full-size HB.

    At the bridge, the mini can be a bit anemic. And this is coming from a dedicated mini-HB player (I don't own any guitars with full-size HB anymore).

    The guitar is already routed, doesn't faze me to do it again. But if you aren't confident in your uncle's ability, have a pro do it...they'll have the correct router templates and be used to the carved top.
     
  8. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    None. The originality of the guitar has already been compromised. There is no reason not to change the bridge pickup to a full size humbucker as well.....imo....
     
  9. standard24

    standard24 Member

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    Man, your Dad gave you this guitar when you were 11!!!!! Don't change anything that you can't change back! (You can always get another LP, but you can't undo a re-routing.)
     
  10. paulbearer

    paulbearer Supporting Member

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    SO your dad gave it to you, so there's likely no reason you'd ever sell it. (hopefully)
    Which means resale isn't an issue you need to think about.

    There are humbuckers that will fit in the existing cavity, but 2 full size HBs look pretty bit chin' so...
    Show your uncle. He can do it easily.
    Since the neck cavity was routed why not?

    There's a played '78 hanging and hanging with 80 watchers at $2400 on ebay. Wouldn't see this as rare, but your guitar is meant to be played and enjoyed.
    Heck if your *dad* routed the neck cavity, you're just carrying on tradition!

    You're makin' him proud!

    And the antiquities will ROCK. You might (easily) wax pot them if you want to avoid squeal depending on your style/rig. Google it if you need info.
     
  11. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    Yeah, if the neck was already routed, go for it. Your dad would want you to be happy with it and keep it, so go right ahead.
     
  12. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

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    Have someone do the rout that knows how.

    For bridge position mini-hum naysayers...Uh...
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    I'm not a bridge position minihum nay-sayer, I'm a mini hum (except for a Firebird pickup in the neck position of a Tele) nay-sayer. I even had a '68 goldtop that had Pat Number buckers in it (no, I didn't do it) and that kicked ass over other ones that still had the original P-90s in it and I love P-90s...wish I still had that guitar too.
     
  14. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm surprised there are still Deluxes out there that have minis still in them. :) I think I have seen far more routed for full size buckers than with the original minis.

    The one Deluxe I had in the early eighties I hogged out with a chisel to fit a bridge full size humbucker. And it looked really good when the pickup was installed; as long as your digging doesn't hurt the structural integrity of the guitar and doesn't extend beyond the pickup ring, you should be OK. That humbucker pickup ring can cover a multitude of sins. BTW, chiseling maple is HARD. Use a router.

    That being said, the LP mini buckers have a very good tone unique to themselves. Maybe the most surprising tone I ever got in a music store was a LP with mini hums into an early 80's Peavey steel guitar amp with a 15" Scorpion, can't recall the amp's name though. Just a massive screaming tone.
     
  15. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

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    The neck width is too narrow and it's too heavy for his tastes. I know I won't regret routing it (we've never had mini's in it anyway) but I feel like I might regret selling it one day.
     
  16. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

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    Funny you said that - my dad has a Koa telecaster shaped guitar with a duncan firebird mini in neck position. That guitar sounds so much better than the Les Paul.
     
  17. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, If it won't make resale value go down (since the neck cavity was cut before we got it) I think I will do it.
    I've played a Carvin Les Paul type guitar with antiquity pups and liked it so this gambit is really my last hope to keep this guitar.
    Thanks everybody.
     
  18. MRscratch

    MRscratch Member

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    I would drop two nice P-90 in that thing instead. Social Distortion tone instantly
     
  19. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

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  20. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

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    I called Gibson and they said the cavity was 1.5" but that doesn't seem right.
     

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