Upgrades for an Epiphone Les Paul?

jerryfan6

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,367
This weekend I walked into my local shop and got suckered into buying an Epi Gold Top on the cheap. They made me a deal I couldn't refuse, and the guitar played really nicely. Sounded good.

Now, I got it home and I'm wondering if "upgrading" it is worth it. I've been reading about putting in new pots/caps and/or new pickups. Problem is...I would have to pay someone to do the work, as I am completely incapable.

So...what say you? Leave the stock Epi as is, and love that I have a cheap rocker OR pay for some upgrades?

If you opt for upgrades, which do you recommend and how much should I expect to pay someone to do them for me?
 

SPROING!

Member
Messages
8,799
Goldtop. Is it P90 or humbucker?
At any rate, most Epis will sound killer with good pickups and wiring.
Cost is up to you. My son's. Has a used Duncan 59 bridge pickup ($50) and a Rose hand wound neck pickup ($65) Maybe another $40 or $50 in wiring upgrades and it is a killer guitar. Took him out shopping for a "better" Les Paul a couple of years ago and we came home with new strings and some tuners for the Epi. We couldn't find anything he liked better without getting into big bucks.
 

phazersonstun

Member
Messages
3,118
If its a gold top w/ open coil zebra buckers its an Epi LP Trad Pro.
The stock PUs are decent and it comes with Grover's.

I upgraded my older model quite a bit. All the electronic & tuning machines since the older ones didn't come with Grover's.
If you love the guitar & the bones are solid, wait till after be return period is over then mod away. I personally don't care about resale value but be advised if you sell it later don't expect the upgrades to increase what you would get for it much if at all.
 

Rusty G.

Member
Messages
3,141
If you like the guitar the way it is. . .leave it alone and play it.

If you're not happy with something, like pickups, and think the guitar is a keeper otherwise, then upgrade the pickups.

You will not make more money if you chose to sell it and have upgraded anything. Besides, people will low ball you if it's not original.

It will never be a Gibson. If that's what you want, buy a Gibson. I'm not saying Epiphone is bad. . .they make decent instruments. It's just that they're not the same thing.
 

TheClev

As seen on TV
Messages
5,098
You can upgrade the pickups, but I'd be tempted to just flip the guitar and save up for something nicer. Call me vain, but I've always hated the Epi headstock.
 

phazersonstun

Member
Messages
3,118
I should add that all the upgrades that were done on mine, the work was done by me so I didn't spend any additional money on setup or electronics work.

If you are not doing the work yourself, it will quickly get out of hand as you could easily spend $300 or more for PUs, pots, switch & installation. Sounds like it a Goldtop Standard so $400ish new.

Spend the dough on a pro setup (pay attention to the nut) and see how you feel about it after it settles and you play it for a while.
 

cowboytim

Member
Messages
751
If you up grade, up grade all the way, as fare as all the pickups, pots, switches, jacks, caps, wire and setup.....Done it to 4 Epiphone LPs....Jim Wagner is good for Pickups pots and caps.
R&S is good for pre-wired kits that pop in...limited soldering....Both have custom pots and caps....Jim's pickups are world class.
 

Dale

Member
Messages
10,310
I think the electronics, if they work and are reasonably close to spec, will have minimal impact if upgraded. However, if the posts are way off expected 500k spec it could make a great change. Pickups are something I swap on nearly all guitars. There are just couple that have not gone that way, despite what some of them cost. I see that a lot like getting glasses with the lenses that work for me.
 
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jaysmall

Member
Messages
39
If it already plays nicely and sounds good through your rig, the good news is you shouldn't feel compelled to double what you paid just to say you upgraded it.

Epi LP Standards come with respectable PAF-style pups. If you get the upgrade bug, start with less expensive things that may make a bigger difference: pots/caps/wiring, nut, and for the sake of your back, a really nice comfy strap and strap locks. That's because Epi Standards have no weight relief or chambering and can easily run 1-2 pounds more than Gibby LPs, which are themselves heavier than most other solidbody-style electrics.
 

Juan Tuthri

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,085
I've done many mods to Epi's and almost always like the way they come out better when I'm done. That being said it's fun and informative to spend a couple of hours noodling around with the stock configuration before going all out, that way you see where it was lacking and what made the best difference :phones

Sometimes you find it was fine before you wasted all that time and money :waiting

Also try what these guys did and see if you like the stock pickups.
http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/epiphone-les-pauls/304164-pickup-trick-so-surprised.html
 
Messages
11,606
If it were me, I'd put some Dimarzio EJ humbuckers into it, and upgrade pots if they're not 500k. Maybe a TonePros bridge, but that's about it.
 

edward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,502
This weekend I walked into my local shop and got suckered into buying an Epi Gold Top on the cheap. They made me a deal I couldn't refuse, and the guitar played really nicely. Sounded good....
Sorry, I'm baffled by this. You say "suckered" which has the clear connotation that you have remorse over the purchase, yet you say it played "really nicely" and "sounded good" ...so which is it???

Forgive me if this sounds critical, but it sounds to me like you're "upgrading" question seems based more on the moniker screened on the headstock than is based on what you actually want to hear or feel from the guitar. It's a guitar. Ignore the brand. Will paying for "upgrades" make you feel better about owning "only" an Epi???

...ok, you now may feel free to ignore me ;)
Edward
 

Mr. E.

Member
Messages
919
Sorry, I'm baffled by this. You say "suckered" which has the clear connotation that you have remorse over the purchase, yet you say it played "really nicely" and "sounded good" ...so which is it???

Forgive me if this sounds critical, but it sounds to me like you're "upgrading" question seems based more on the moniker screened on the headstock than is based on what you actually want to hear or feel from the guitar. It's a guitar. Ignore the brand. Will paying for "upgrades" make you feel better about owning "only" an Epi???

...ok, you now may feel free to ignore me ;)
Edward
maybe he means "suckered" as in "I wasn't planning on buying a guitar at all, but..."

I've been there. :wave
 

Luke

Senior Member
Messages
11,898
It will always be worth less on resale than what you paid, even if you double up on your investment with "upgrades". You could easily create a $300 guitar that you have $800 sunk into.
 

jerryfan6

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,367
Sorry, I'm baffled by this. You say "suckered" which has the clear connotation that you have remorse over the purchase, yet you say it played "really nicely" and "sounded good" ...so which is it???

Forgive me if this sounds critical, but it sounds to me like you're "upgrading" question seems based more on the moniker screened on the headstock than is based on what you actually want to hear or feel from the guitar. It's a guitar. Ignore the brand. Will paying for "upgrades" make you feel better about owning "only" an Epi???

...ok, you now may feel free to ignore me ;)
Edward

Its funny the things one has to defend on TGP...

What I meant by "suckered" is that I had no intention of buying a guitar when I went into the shop. This guitar was a good deal, and played well, so I said "what the hell". Simple as that...

As for the question about upgrades, please note that I didn't call the guitar "only" an epiphone. You added that. My question was simply whether upgrading pickups, wiring, etc would make a discernible improvement in tone. No, I don't think there is anything wrong with how it sounds currently, but am simply wondering about the unknown of what it could sound like. Point is...upgrading isn't always done because you dislike the guitar in the current state. It can also be because the upgrade provides some sort of improvement in tone, playability, etc. Again...funny the things you have to defend on TGP...
 

Sensates

Member
Messages
814
If it plays well, slap a pair of Duncan Whole Lotta Humbukers in it, and wire them with 50s wiring.
 

Dale

Member
Messages
10,310
It will always be worth less on resale than what you paid, even if you double up on your investment with "upgrades". You could easily create a $300 guitar that you have $800 sunk into.
Which is often the loss you take if you buy a new standard if you sell it later.
 




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