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Cheap NGD

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Rich_S, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I'm stuck in Lake Charles, LA for work over the holiday, with nothing to do until the project gets going again on Saturday. Since I flew down here, I didn't bring a guitar with and after a week I couldn't stand it any more. I hit the pawn shops after work and found this little punk-rock beastie:

    LP_Junior.JPG

    It's a Chinese-made Maestro (by Gibson). Typical lightweight mystery-wood body with a satin-finished maple scarf-joint neck, and the cheapest possible hardware.

    I put new strings on it and it will get me through the week as-is. After than, it will be a cool-looking fixer-upper. First order of business will be to wipe off the goo left behind by the sticker that was on it. It needs a better nut, since the the existing plastic one isn't even glued in. The tuners could be better, and I can improve the pots with ones from my junk drawer. I don't know if the existing generic humbucker is any good, but this guitar is just begging for a GFS Mean 90.

    I'll also install some threaded inserts in the neck, so I can take the neck off and stash it in my suitcase whenever I fly. Time to rock the Fairfield Inn!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  2. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Hey, nothing wrong with an el-cheapo.

    Play some Mountain tunes on that sucker, after all, Lesley West rocked Juniors.
     
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  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I've flipped Maestros after fixing them up.

    I currently have the 'upscale' version of what you have, pic below. For a while Samick would start up a new factory in a cheaper neighborhood with cheaper workers, give them the Maestros to start on and when they graduated they got to do Epiphone Specials, and then eventually the higher end Epiphones. By then the factory wanted too much money per unit and Samick would start a new cheap factory and start over again with Maestros.

    Weaknesses on the Maestros/Specials:
    They often need a fret level, but after the fret level they play like a Custom Shop (if 'your guy' is good).
    If the nut is not broken on yours then just fix it in place with a dab of wood glue, those plastic nuts are fine.
    Tuners are fine if you are good about 'tuning up' to pitch, but you can throw a set of those $20 'grover' on there and get better performance.
    Do swap in full size Bourns or CTS pots and a Switchcraft jack. Make sure the wiring to the jack is a shielded cable to cut noise.

    If you swap a couple of pot values and adjust pickup heights you can push the stock pickup tone around. I only swapped the pickup here so I could get a split coil push/pull tone pot in mine. It's a 16kohm that splits to 8kohm. I rotated the screw pole side to get more of a thicker P90 tone out of it, and it performs.

    After the mods on mine, this guitar has beat out the Gibsons in the fleet for play hours. It sounds great, is easy to play, and weighs just over half what a typical LP weighs (I'm not at the stage crying about weight yet, but so many Gibson players do and the answer is simple to fix...).

    So keep at your modding It will be a useful guitar for you.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    Looks like my Epiphone that I shoe horned a P-90 into.
    20201001_174201.jpg
     
  5. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I found a sunburst Epi on Facebook earlier in the week and was prepared to drive and hour and give the guy cash for it. After a couple of 1-word answers to simple questions, he neglected to respond to my request for a time & place to meet up. So, off the the pawn shop I went, and I like the white better anyway.

    His loss.

    How hard was it to do that? It looks more authentic, but sticking an HB-sized one in there is stupid simple.
     
  6. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    You know, I don’t think I’d ever seen a white or black single-cutaway LP Jr.-style guitar before now. Both look great! No-frills rock machine.
     
  7. Goldenshellback

    Goldenshellback Tele-Meister

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    You can pick up a nice bottle of wine and use the cork for a tone and volume knob. Cut the cork in two or buy two bottles.
     
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  8. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    It was pretty easy. Here is the thread where I chronicled the project: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/project-dogear-p90-in-humbucker-route.1050273/

    You basically have to chisel out between the humbucker mounting screw holes about 4mm down. I ended up adding a shim/spacer to raise the height (not shown in thread). The added benefit, is that the shim completely covers the humbucker route.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    Rich_S likes this.
  9. posttoastie

    posttoastie Tele-Afflicted

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    I got one of these First Act ME-951 guitars for 50 dollars. Great sounding Humbucker, big/fat neck, 25 1/2 string length and frets are finished fine. Intonation is easy with the Strat type bridge. Body is same size as my Gibson Les Paul Jr/Special double cut guitars.
    I love it
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    1 21 gigawatts, thanks for the info. I really like your Junior. However, I realized in the shower this morning (where all my really great thinking gets done) that if I go with a dogear, there's no going back. I think I'm going to stick with the HB route and put a Mean 90 in it for now. That way, if want something different down the road, I ca swap in a 'bucker I want. This guitar would be cool with a Duncan Custom (or even a Dimarzio Super D) with volume and spin-a-split, but for now, I want to try out the P-90 thang. I've never had a P-90 guitar before.

    Posttoastie, that's another cool "Junior". There were a couple of FIrst Acts on the wall at the pawn shop, those kinda tulip-shaped ones (Or do they look like a single-cut Junior in need of Viagra?). They were cheaper and functionally similar, but a lightly-reliced white LP Junior is SO much cooler.
     
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  11. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Do you know how/where the Maestro brand was sold? They're obviously Epi's without the Epi name, and don't compete with Epi in music stores like GC. It's also interesting that Gibson allows these things into the wild with the open-book headstock profile. Not even Epi gets away with that (until recently).
     
  12. posttoastie

    posttoastie Tele-Afflicted

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    Epiphone made these in about 2007-08 in Sunburst or Black with P-90 bolt neck. Guitar Center was selling them for 99 dollars back then . P-90 sounds great on these.
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Nice score. Congratulations.
     
  14. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    The Maestros and Baldwin are similar to the Fender Starcasters. Cheaper than Epiphone and Squires, but with the parent company name.

    I had no problem with the permanent modification since I wanted a P-90 guitar. There is any number of cheap candidates for a single humbucker guitar. I ended up buying a Starcaster to turn into an EVH Frankenstrat replica.
     
  15. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Congrats! Love el cheapo!!
     
  16. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Stuck in the hotel over the holiday, I did some guerrilla guitar repairs. Had to buy a pair of diagonal cutters and one of those 4-way screwdrivers at Lowe’s and drive almost an hour to the Beaumont GC to buy strings.

    I’m happy to report, now that I re-glued the nut (Gorilla yellow wood glue from Kroger), tuning is rock-solid despite the crappy, rusty tuners. Switching to my accustomed EB .010s improved its unplugged tone and makes it feel like a “real” guitar.

    Now I’m working on learning the next few songs for our the band’s COVID Quarantine Cover Collaboration Capers.
     
  17. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    They were sold at Walmart, Target and other such big stores. Essentially they were something cheap to buy for a kid who wanted to learn guitar. They usually find their way to the back of closets or basements with other abandoned hobbies.
     
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  18. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    I like how some people think these should be priced as a "Real" Gibson.
     
  19. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Yep. I remember when these first came out around 1999 or so and were branded as Gibson with the Maestro either missing or in small print. There was a big stink raised on the old Harmony Central boards about some people selling them as real Gibsons at real Gibson prices on EBay.
     
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