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Convert Les Paul to Telecaster - How close can I get?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DugT, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. DugT

    DugT TDPRI Member

    Age:
    67
    57
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    After playing acoustic guitars for thirty years, I took a break for twenty years. Two months ago I bought and electric guitar LP copy and then I bought a strat copy. This has all been education and now I'm figuring out what I want in a guitar. I want my LP to sound more like single coil guitar. I’m wondering if I should try to convert the LP to two single coils and use one of its switches for in-phase/out-of phase? Would I notice a nice difference? What pickups do you recommend?

    I Love the neck on my LP copy. The whole guitar seems to be of excellent quality. the neck has a 12” radius. It is bound ebony and the whole guitar including the neck is bordered in mother of pearl. It gorgeous and the neck has amazingly hemispherical fret ends. However, I prefer the richer tones from my strats (1992 Peavey Predator) single coils, especially its out of phase tones. I don't need humbuckers because I mostly play clean and alone at home.

    This LP has switches for both pups to switch from humbucking to single coil or parallel. Even it’s single coil mode sounds too sterile. The pups in it now are Ibanez Super 80 "Flying Finger" Ceramic. Supposedly they “feature moderate output & vintage tone”.

    The LP has 4 pots and three 3-way switches so there are lots of possibilities for fine tuning in or out of phase or blending neck to bridge pups.


    My LP copy is an Ibanez AR720 HH 4 pots, three 3-way switches. I am good with electronics and could easily gut it and get it back to original form if I decide to sell it.

    neck type AR 3pc Maple set-in neck (smooth heel)
    body Ash body w/Abalone body binding
    fretboard Bound Ebony fretboard w/Acrylic & Abalone block inlay
    fret Medium frets w/Custom fret edge treatment
    bridge ART-1 bridge
    tailpiece Quik Change Classic tailpiece
    neck pickup Super 80 "Flying Finger" (H) Ceramic
    bridge pickup Super 80 "Flying Finger" (H) Passive/Ceramic
    nut Bone nut

    Here is a photo of it:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/28286266@N02/36349295066/in/dateposted/

    [​IMG]
     
    TigerG and Doug 54 like this.

  2. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Holic

    569
    Mar 1, 2011
    Beltway, USA
    You may or may not achieve what you want by "converting" your LP. By the time you do the mods, you may be close to spending what you could have used to buy and inexpensive used Tele or Tele copy which will without a doubt, give you the Tele sound. Plus you will still have a traditional sounding LP.
     
    RadioFM74, Dan R and Frank'n'censed like this.

  3. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    38
    Feb 26, 2017
    Manchester UK
    I think a proper tele needs the bridge plate surrounding the magnetic field on the bridge pickup: seems a nice guitar to be doing that to when a tele is so cheap

    Just putting singles coils in it won't make it a tele to me but good luck to you if you enjoy the process
     
    Owenmoney and Dan R like this.

  4. jimbo735

    jimbo735 Tele-Holic

    631
    Sep 19, 2011
    michigan
    Build it and they will come.
     
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  5. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Meister

    166
    Mar 19, 2014
    London, UK
    I managed to inset a Tele bridge pickup (A Broadcaster) inside a humbucker cover and "ears". I had to chop off some material but being carefully it fits.

    It is installed into a Gibson Midtown and is really amazing how it sounds.

    Sounds like a Tele? Yes

    Like a mahogany Thinline Tele with short scale
     
    SweetClyde99 and jvin248 like this.

  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Save the LP and buy a tele. You are probably going to want both eventually anyway.
     

  7. hdvades

    hdvades Tele-Meister

    Age:
    57
    193
    Mar 6, 2016
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I'm not going to read all the replies but I did read some of your post. I'd recommend putting a set of P 90's in that LP. It can be done.
     

  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Pick closer to the bridge.

    Also, eventually you'll get the itch for humbuckers.

    So I also vote leave this guitar alone.
     
    boris bubbanov likes this.

  9. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Tele-Holic

    684
    Nov 12, 2016
    Virginia Beach, Va
    The P 90 could be your new buddy. Or as I call them, The Angry Single Coil
     
    Doug 54 and jvin248 like this.

  10. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 13, 2011
    UK
    That is a really nice looking Ibanez, seems a shame to mess it up in any way. Leave it as it is. If you have the cash buy an inexpensive telecaster, one day you will come to appreciate the Ibanez for what is is.
     
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  11. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    58
    May 9, 2015
    Seekonk, MA

  12. Strebs

    Strebs Tele-Meister

    199
    Dec 24, 2015
    Birmingham, AL
    The 24.75" scale of a Les Paul vs the 25.5" scale of the Tele is a huge tonal difference. The TuneOMatic bridge and the Tele bridge are going to produce very different sounds too. Your best bet might be to find a 24.75" scale Tele. The Vintage Modified Squier Thinlines from a while back were 24.75" scale and I'm sure there are others out there.
     
    pdcorlis and kafka like this.

  13. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    744
    Aug 14, 2015
    Nashville
    Zepfan and Piggy Stu like this.

  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Easiest way: Drop the neck pickup as low as it will go without the elevator screws falling out. Raise the screw poles as high as they will go without falling out. Look at pictures of Strat neck pickups for the pattern of staggered poles and put that in the screw studs. Fret the last fret and raise the neck pickup until the highest screw is 'a nickel' below the string. Raise the bridge pickup leaving the screws all flat to the bobbins within a nickel of the strings and compare the volume output on your amp between the three switch positions. Drop the bridge pickup height until you get balanced tone you want between them.

    The neck pickup this way will sound really clean on the cleans and also sound like a Strat single coil while retaining humbucking properties. The volume will be lower but I find the neck for cleans is great, middle with some crunchy old-school blues, and the bridge pickup for heavy distortion works out great.

    From there it's pickup swaps, P90s are awesome if you like bar room brawls (and there are humbucker sized versions) but are not a Strat single coil tone. A Tele pickup is its own thing but the P90s are close as both were launched around the same years.

    .
     
    Zepfan and dswo like this.

  15. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2004
    Ohio
    This.

    The best sounding, full, rich Tele I ever heard was a PRS w P-90's.

    .
     

  16. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    I was gonna say upside down too. :D:D
     

  17. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2011
    Parts Unknown
    GFS Mean 90's are the inexpensive ticket...they drop right in, without holding up your bank. Personally, I'd add a bass roll off control, giving you far more tonal range, especially for finding that single coil, sweet spot
     
    cabra velha likes this.

  18. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement

  19. DugT

    DugT TDPRI Member

    Age:
    67
    57
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    Thanks for all of the excellent input. You have far exceeded my expectations.

    I definitely wouldn’t want to devalue my Ibanez by putting in a tele bridge, for example. I was hoping that just changing pickups would be enough and I’ve heard GFS pickups are good, especially for the price. I don’t need steller performance or to mimic a strat or a tele. I just want rich clear single coil tone and some out of phase tone.

    First I will try picking closer to the bridge. That is a good idea but I’m going to have to change my posture to do that. Maybe I need to start wearing a guitar strap to get the lower bout more forward.

    “The P 90 could be your new buddy. Or as I call them, The Angry Single Coil”. I thought I read that they sound a little humbuckerish and are high output? Are you recommending them because they would fit or are they low output and good clean?

    “Also, eventually you'll get the itch for humbuckers.” If that happens I also have a B.C.Rich Warlock with two humbuckers. I got it for wall art but it is in mint condition and ready to play.

    Humbucker Rout adapter ring- Fits Tele Bridge Pickup-THREE COLORS are only $4 and look great! I like your rotary switch. That gives you some options!

    “Drop the neck pickup as low as it will go without the elevator screws falling out. Raise the screw poles as high as they will go without falling out. Look at pictures of Strat neck pickups for the pattern of staggered poles and put that in the screw studs. Fret the last fret and raise the neck pickup until the highest screw is 'a nickel' below the string. Raise the bridge pickup leaving the screws all flat to the bobbins within a nickel of the strings”

    I will try dropping my neck pickup. Both of my pups have covers and I don’t know if they have screw adjustments under the covers. They have ceramic magnets.

    “Personally, I'd add a bass roll off control, giving you far more tonal range, especially for finding that single coil, sweet spot” That is a good idea and it would be easy enough.

    Thanks again for all of the great advice! First I will try dropping the neck pup and picking closer to the bridge.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
    Frank'n'censed likes this.

  20. DugT

    DugT TDPRI Member

    Age:
    67
    57
    Sep 22, 2017
    northern CA
    Picking closer to the bridge makes my LP sound significantly more single coil. Thanks for that tip.

    Moving the pups up and down doesn't make much tone difference, that I can here, on this guitar. It makes a substantial volume difference. Also, the pups on this guitar don't individual pole height adjustments. In an Ibanez forum I'm going to ask what people think of this pups.

    last night I played with a lot of gain, for a change, and it was fun. The problem is I don't know how to play very much music that benefits from that. I will look into that.

    Now for the big news. Last night on ebay I saw a brand new G&L ASAT Tribute Classic "Buy now" for $275. I jumped on that like a duck on a June bug! I've only played Tele's briefly in a guitar store so I really don't how do dial one in with an amp or how they compare to my strat and LP. This will be a cheap education.

    I've heard mixed reviews about G&L's recent quality control but at $275 with a 14 day return window I can't loose, I hope.
     
    Piggy Stu likes this.

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