How to turn that " almost perfect" guitar into something better, eh?!

Dave W

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Modifying your guitars, you say? What a concept! That's never been discussed here before! 🙄

I try to make sure I like the neck and pickups before I buy the guitar, and that has worked well for me 98% of the time.
 

Happy Enchilada

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I take on projects like this as a hobby. Fer instance, I just acquired a 2005 MIK Hamer Sunburst (think double cutaway Lester with humbuckers). Got the guitar and HSC for $300 delivered. Guitar has nary a scratch on it, and case actually had the keys in the accessory box (that NEVER happens, right?). However ...

Tuners are awful, and being 16 years old and "gold" hasn't helped them age gracefully, which I could forgive if they actually did their job and kept it in tune. So they're getting swapped out for some bargain-priced "Bogart" lockers.

Nut is cheap hollow plastic, so it's getting replaced with a GraphTech part, which will be a vast improvement.

Stoptail and tuna-matic are gold with some wear, but they do what they're supposed to, so they stay.

Pots and switch and jack are "evil Asian" brand - so they're getting swapped out for parts made by Bournes, Switchcraft, and PureTone. Plus a new capacitor, which will be either .033 or .022, depending on which sounds better with the new pickups. And those crappy "Top Hat" knobs will be replaced with "notched" speed knobs from Vintage Forge (think Gibson speed knobs with grippy serrated top rim).

Pickups are "Duncan Designed," which is Asian for "Doggy Poo." And the previous owner (he bought it new) had the bridge pickup adjusted so high that the strings don't have room to vibrate ... Overall a ghastly situation that will be rectified when I slip in a new Seymour Duncan "Vintage Blues" set with zebra bobbins. Had these in a 335 clone a while back and they were amazing. They are actually '59s with more hutzpah.

So when the smoke clears, I'll be left with a sub-$600 "Les Paul Killer." Will post pix in separate thread when done.
 

unixfish

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View attachment 991613

(my foot)

I screwed up a repair on one of my old lam-top Takamines, accidentally glued the endpin block somewhere in the middle of the body. I like the neck so I've kept it, with the idea of someday opening it up and giving it the J.J. Cale treatment.

Realistically, it's firewood.



P.S. I'm currently reading William Faulkner, so @Randwulf's paragraph didn't bother me at all!

Or Hawthorne.

Like Butterscotch Horseman said, "I had this really interesting sentence that went on for pages..." :rolleyes:
 

Toto'sDad

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I see a lot of posts about people having great guitars and then getting rid of them, always seeming to be in pursuit of the "perfect" one, well here's a thought that may help some of you out. I play bass, classical, rock, and country, and have 28 guitars. I love 'em all. I'd say I've done some tweaks on almost all of them, all for the better. I've reshaped necks, removed finish, changed tuners, added/swapped pickups, changed bridge pins and nuts, and haven't sold one guitar off because it didn't perform well. I don't understand why some of you just don't take a cabinet scraper to that axe of yours if you love everything about it but the neck is a bit deep or wide....I've scraped five necks into perfect shapes for me, and all it cost was seven bucks for the scraper. Want better sustain in your acoustic? Put in some boxwood or ebony bridgepins. Don't like your pickup? Put in another one or swap it out. I have four acoustics with two pickups and two jacks coming out of them. I've got a $600 parlour on which I scraped and shaped the neck, put in a real good pickup, and changed the bridge pins and tuners. I put an extra $500 into it, which may seem crazy, however, I now have an $1100 guitar that sounds and plays better than the $3600 one I was contemplating on getting. To my thinking, I'm $2500 to the good. Seems to me too many guitar players are overly concerned with how their instrument looks rather than what it's intended to do, be a tool for producing music that you like, eh???? Remember, most guitars are mass produced, and signature models are just a gimmick.....if you don't have Eric Clapton's fingers and hands why would you think you'd like his signature guitar???? Would you buy a size 10 shoe if your feet are size 13???? Finally, if you're only buying a guitar to resell down the line and keep it wrapped in bubble wrap, you're not a musician, are you, you're a matchbox collector! As an aside, there are a few guitars I have that needed nothing, I won't name them because they're perfect for me, and it's subjective anyway. But four were made in Canada and one was made in Oregon. Only thing I did to the Oregonian ( is that right? ) was add another pickup to complement the one it came with.
1657037077644.png
 

Jakedog

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I used to waste a lot of time and money modifying and customizing things. Now I just buy what I really want and get it over with.

I have procured five instruments since September of ‘21. Two new, and three used. I have done absolutely nothing to four of them except change strings and play them. Because they don’t need anything. They’re just what I wanted. Nothing I did to them would be an improvement. The fifth was a mod platform, and no matter what I do to it (and I’m pretty good at this stuff) I just don’t like it as much as the others. So it’s currently up for sale.

I’m done buying anything I have to work on to make it right. I’m just getting what I really want and calling it a day. If I have to save and wait to afford it, so be it.
 

Toto'sDad

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I used to waste a lot of time and money modifying and customizing things. Now I just buy what I really want and get it over with.

I have procured five instruments since September of ‘21. Two new, and three used. I have done absolutely nothing to four of them except change strings and play them. Because they don’t need anything. They’re just what I wanted. Nothing I did to them would be an improvement. The fifth was a mod platform, and no matter what I do to it (and I’m pretty good at this stuff) I just don’t like it as much as the others. So it’s currently up for sale.

I’m done buying anything I have to work on to make it right. I’m just getting what I really want and calling it a day. If I have to save and wait to afford it, so be it.
I hope the OP really puts some thought into choosing a mate, if he doesn't like the way they look...
 

unixfish

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I used to waste a lot of time and money modifying and customizing things. Now I just buy what I really want and get it over with.

I have procured five instruments since September of ‘21. Two new, and three used. I have done absolutely nothing to four of them except change strings and play them. Because they don’t need anything. They’re just what I wanted. Nothing I did to them would be an improvement. The fifth was a mod platform, and no matter what I do to it (and I’m pretty good at this stuff) I just don’t like it as much as the others. So it’s currently up for sale.

I’m done buying anything I have to work on to make it right. I’m just getting what I really want and calling it a day. If I have to save and wait to afford it, so be it.

Just being pedantic here. You do mean outside of a good setup to the way you like it, correct?

Earlier this year I finally got out the allen wrench to adjust the relief on my new guitar, then adjust string height. Boy oh boy did that feel like a major mod project - but it wasn't, it was just setup. I think it was "first time touching a new guitar" nerves.

The only mod I did to my last guitar was to change the saddles to compensated ones, and some setup adjustments. Sooooooo... :);)
 

Jakedog

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Just being pedantic here. You do mean outside of a good setup to the way you like it, correct?

Earlier this year I finally got out the allen wrench to adjust the relief on my new guitar, then adjust string height. Boy oh boy did that feel like a major mod project - but it wasn't, it was just setup. I think it was "first time touching a new guitar" nerves.

The only mod I did to my last guitar was to change the saddles to compensated ones, and some setup adjustments. Sooooooo... :);)
Well of course, that’s constant. I don’t care how much one spends on a guitar or how well it’s built, it’s going to need adjustment initially, and with seasonal and major humidity changes. Unless a person just doesn’t care how their guitars play that’s something that always needs kept up with.

I can’t see the differences measured in thousandths of an inch, but I can sure feel them.
 




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