Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups darrenriley.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Modding a good guitar for the sake of Modding.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by fatcat, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    175
    Feb 27, 2017
    Palmetto, Florida
    For an even grand you can get an Epiphone Johnny A, long scale with Gibson classic 57s and a real bigsby. This fact keeps me from trying anymore pickup changes in my Epi ES 339. Dragging stuff in and out of those F holes is a major PITA. I also found the bright channel on my DRRI and goosing the tone on the compressor can put some of that clarity back in the neck pickup.
     

  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    As someone who changed out just about everything in an Epi Sheraton II, I can understand the desire in this specific case, but it is so close to the line of just buying an EPI 339 with the P-90s that it could go either way, so have at it with reversible mods. From one engineer to another, enjoy the sonic adventure.
     

  3. Mudman32

    Mudman32 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    32
    103
    Dec 23, 2017
    Upstate NY
    Heck, I do it to the expensive guitars too. Just put locking tuners on my R8 (completely reversible gotoh magnum something or others). I did find it funny that those “gibson deluxe” are stamped japan. I changed the bridge to a callaham, because I don’t like the rattle from gibson abr-1s with a wire. Changed the tailpiece studs to steel from brass just because I had a set lying about and the brass ones had some wear to the plating. I’m going to attack the wiring soon and go from modern to 50’s style. Might replace the tone pots because I think they’re linear instead of audio taper.

    My mim 60s classic has had a bunch too. Callaham bridge (I hate how ball ends get stuck in the stock bridge block), Eric Johnson pickups and wiring harness pots and tone cap, and a nickel jack plate to match the callaham bridge.

    My avri 52 has the tone switched to modern from mud, and the pickups are switching fully to Florance VooDoo Nocasters (currently the neck pup is stock). I thought of changing the bridge brass to callaham for intonation (even ordered them when I bought the guitar) but I haven’t had any real noticeable issues so I’ve left that alone.
     

  4. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Cabronita?
     

  5. Minimalist518

    Minimalist518 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    56
    Mar 5, 2017
    Albany
    The beauty of inexpensive guitars is, if you love the neck and the body fits your frame comfortably, anything you don’t like can be modded to your liking.
    I get and totally respect that folks are saying, “Why not spend the money up front on something that has everything you want?” That’s cool for some and actually very wise if A.) you are reasonably certain you can find it at a price you can afford and, B.) you are constitutionally capable of leaving a guitar alone. I am not. It doesn’t sound as if you are either!
    My #1 is nothing *but* mod! I don’t think there is a part on there that was originally bolted to another part with the possible exception of the control plate. It may be the original.
    That said, I’ve now gotten almost superstitious about it and don’t want to change *anything* about it aside from the strings!
    I recently unloaded the last of my case queens and I got a stock Fender Blacktop Jazzmaster HS. I’ve got a drawer full of parts. Let the mods begin!
     
    rogb and YeOldeTeleDuder like this.

  6. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    1523920671944.jpg

    The only original thing on that tone is the tuners.

    Sometimes mods are a good lesser expensive option to GAS.
     
    Minimalist518 likes this.

  7. jaybones

    jaybones Friend of Leo's

    As long as its not a rare or collectable guitar, I say go ahead. Provided:

    1) You don't do anything that can't be undone.

    2) You keep as many original parts intact as you can. If it was a guitar with the electronics mounted on a PG I always recommend building another one so you can take the original off and keep it together. I will say you're probably going to have some stress working on the wiring. Those hollow bodies going through the pup pot switch and f holes are not easy. A flexible fish tape kind of tool is very useful for getting wires out, and an unwound guitar string is the perfect tool to bring pots or switch back into the holes for the jam nut to be attached. Feed it through the hole as a loop keeping the free end outside, put whatever you've worked on it, then pull back. Wiggle around until the shaft comes up far enough to grab it and thread the jam nut (and washer) onto it. Then cut the string to open the loop. That's what I did when I needed to resolder some of the connections of my Epiphone Rivoli bass (EA-260 really). I considered taking it to a luthier, and having them cut an access panel in the back, but I'm cheap and like to do things myself (if I can).
     

  8. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    I ordered the wiring harness bits today. From StewMac.

    I could have ordered a pre-wired kit, but I'm feeling a little bit particular over how I want it done.

    Not going to get into PIO caps this time.

    I did a strat last year with the Orange drops and was pretty impressed with the results.
     
    Minimalist518 likes this.

  9. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Colorado
    I’ve modded every electric guitar I’ve ever owned. If I like the way a guitar feels enough to buy it, I will try different pickups in it until I get it to sound the way I want it to.
     
    Minimalist518 likes this.

  10. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    54
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    I’m in the yes camp for modding as long as it’s not a collector or unique guitar. I also like the idea of being able to return it back to OEM condition but that’s just me.

    I bought my cheap Strat specifically as a modding platform and it’s such a nice guitar now. I changed everything on it but frets and wood. I’ve also done a lot of mods on my home built Telecaster style guitar. My Ibanez solid and semi hollow bodies have been upgraded with pickups and series/parallel wiring on the humbuckers. For me, it lets me really get acquainted with the guitar and I’m certain that it translates to better playing.

    I have one guitar I haven’t modded. It’s my most recent acquisition (Classic player 60’s Strat) and there isn’t a thing I don’t like about it. I may get some of those Highwood vintage type saddles with the recessed height screws but aside from that I can’t think of anything I’d change.

    I think your upgrade plans are well thought out. It’ll be interesting to hear how you like the results.

    EDIT: I’m sure you’ve heard of the horrors of working on a semi hollow body guitar but it’s not that bad. My Ibanez AS100 is darn near identical to an ES335 and I’ve swapped pickups and “adjusted” the wiring on it several times over the past 35+ years, involving the removal of pots, switch and jack. Using surgical tubing around the pot shaft and feeding it through the holes is a good trick. I usually use some semi-stiff single conductor wire through the jack as a feeder for pulling it into place and getting the nut on it. I find telephone wire works well for that. I also wrap the lower F-hole with painter’s tape to protect it while I’m working on it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018

  11. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    If you decide to do a complete wiring pickups , harness , pots, etc. , make youself a little tool , take a small 1/8" diameter wooden dowel about 24 inches long attach a 1/4 guitar plug to one end ,( no need to put the screw on shielding back on the plug) this will help to guide the plug back into the jack plate on the guitar , this process alone will make your hair grey because your fingers will not fit in the f holes to get the jack back into place. I made one so I could pull the jack through an acoustic guitar elapsed time is 2 min tops , with out one many hours and lots of swearing ,
    also Allparts has Gibson style replacement metal braid pull back wire to replace the crap epi wiring I wired my chibson with this wire using a wiring diagram from a 58 paul.
     

  12. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    Yep gotta do the complete thing. You don't want to go in too many times. I've done it before. Last time I used dental floss tied to all the components.
     

  13. ce24

    ce24 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 26, 2008
    Idahoastan
    1524713063567.jpg here is my PRS SE1 after the bigsby and dual gang pot so I have vol and tone.....
     
    BorderRadio and brookdalebill like this.

  14. Minimalist518

    Minimalist518 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    56
    Mar 5, 2017
    Albany
    Yes. This!
     

  15. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    It begins....

    I got myself a good stewmac wiring kit.

    I made myself a template with some photos, measurements, computer, and some cardboard from work.

    1524953376589.jpg

    Im going to take my time with this.

    Low pressure fun.
     

  16. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Every guitar out there comes with a caveat. Buy vintage, deal with cost, possible theft, damage, and deal with the playing condition, learn to live with said condition (lots of confirmation bias here). Buy MIA/Custom, deal with the price and theft/damage. Buy import/low cost, deal with quality and so-so parts, with a slight potential for snobby commentary. I mod to get what I want, learning something technical in the process is the reward. I play anyways, that’s a given.

    Two guitars I own were almost left unmodded, and they cost over 2 grand. I ended up changing the bridge on both of them, one for aesthetic reasons, another for better functionality. I crunched the number, did the math, and if it costs over 2k, 10 percent mods are ok with me; over 1k, 25 percent mods are respectable; under 1k, 50 percent mods are copacetic, as long as you can part out and win your money back should you need to :)
     

  17. Recce

    Recce Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    966
    May 3, 2016
    Northern Alabama
    So if you buy something knowing you are going to spend more money totally rearranging it why buy it in the first place?
     

  18. Mudman32

    Mudman32 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    32
    103
    Dec 23, 2017
    Upstate NY
    Because I get to make it my own and have fun with it along the way. Some guys like things stock, others just have to play
     
    rogb, fatcat and Recce like this.

  19. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Holic

    Age:
    47
    690
    Dec 19, 2017
    Chattanooga
    I have a vintage ‘89 lotus tele that I just finished nodding today. Fret crown and level, graphite nut, new control plate, new selector switch, new pots, orange drop cap, custom wound pickup and a new pick guard. Now I got myself an Esquire with the Eldred mod. It’s been fun.
    Got a fender squire 75th anniversary PBass with a badass bridge, hipshot D-tuner, Dimarzio pickups and a new granite pickguard. It’s a fun little bass.
     

  20. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    54
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    For me the answer is simple... it’s because I can’t always seem to find exactly what I want at the music shop.

    I lucked out with my Ibanez AS100 i bought in 1981. I was happy with it for at least 10 years and then decided I wanted more sparkle from the pickups. It has new pickups and pull pots. They’re the third set of pickups it’s had since it was new. They’re A5 humbuckers with nickel silver covers but I’ve recently decided I’m going to get some A2 pickups for it. I think That’ll be it once I’ve done that.

    I wasn’t so lucky with the USA Standard Strat I bought in the early 90’s. I never bonded with it and sold it at a loss. That was before I was into making it my own but I turned that around last year with a purchase of a MIM Strat and an idea of what I wanted. I’ve done some magic to it now and it’s fantastic; it’s not about the money but it still cost less than half of what the Americans Standard I didn’t bond with cost me and I play it daily.

    I was also lucky with the latest guitar acquisition (classic Player 60’s). I think it checks almost all of the boxes but I think I want a series parallel switch on the #2 position. I want to add a subtle push button switch for that. It’s also unshielded so I might shield it and if I could do one more thing, I’d switch the middle Custom 69 pickup for a RWRP.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018

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