Got a Les Paul, what would *you* do?

AprioriMark

Senior member
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1,710
So, after several years of trying to find (or build) a Les Paul to replace my stolen goldtop (seriously, I'm picky), I finally bought a used (black) Les Paul Classic from a guy who just didn't play it.  First of all, this guitar defies every bad thing I've felt about Gibson's work in the last quarter century or so.  It plays like freaking butter and is dead sexy.  It even has the little "nib" binding over the ends of the frets, which was something I couldn't easily get, and is one of those silly things I really needed to "feel" like a Les Paul to me.

Here are the issues I have:
1) No pickguard (omg, it doesn't say "1960" in gold).
2) Some monkey's hind end put EMG 81 and 85 pickups in it.

I'm considering putting cream colored P-rails in it, getting a replacement pickguard and wiring some sort of dpdt switches under the pickguard for the coil options.  I'm not 100% sure how that would work, but aesthetic is important to me and I don't want it to be obvious.  Les Pauls are pure sex, and while I could go with or without a pickguard and be happy, I don't want it looking *too* modified.  The P-rails alone are pushing it, but the tonal options make it worth considering.

Soooo.... What would you do?  This?  Something else?  I'm open for ideas.  Also, how would you go about selling the EMGs?  Just Craigslist, or is Ebay worth the time and effort?

Thanks!

-Mark

edit:  Warmoth, binding over the fret ends, please!  I'll build a goldtop LP in a heartbeat... I still have 1600 in my "in case you find the perfect LP" fund, and it's not going anywhere...
 
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metalman22105

Guest
Dude, go for the P-rails for sure, they are friggin' awesome!! I would try posting your EMG's on Craigslist first, then moving up to ebay in 2-3 weeks if they aren't selling. but yeah, those P-rails would be awesome in the Les-Paul.

You might try posting the EMG's here on this forum, in fact, I might be interested in buying them from ya, (or maybe only the 85)...
Send me a personal message and we can talk bizness...
 
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metalman22105

Guest
Oh also, I wouldn't try to wire anything under the pickguard, that would be way too clumsy to try and switch stuff, I would get some push-pull pots for where the tone/vol knobs are, and wire those up for the P-rail options, or even maybe something like a PRS 5-way rotary switch, then just have 2 normal volumes, one tone that controls both pickups, and then the 5-way rotary, then it would still keep the look of 4 knobs on there. I dunno, there's a bunch of ways to do it, but my opinion is not to change the look/layout of anything, especially not put anything under the pickguard
 

JaySwear

Senior member
Messages
3,006
i second the p-rails. a harsh single coil rail, a big fat p-90, and i've heard that the full humbucker sound can be pretty crunchy with the right amounts of gain. sounds like you'd have everything you could want! plus, if you're good with machining, i've seen people put chrome covers over p-rails, but a slot would have to be cut for the rail too for it to really kick like it's supposed to i would think
 

Superlizard

Senior member
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2,514
AprioriMark said:
2) Some monkey's hind end put EMG 81 and 85 pickups in it.

I feel your pain.

AprioriMark said:
Soooo.... What would you do?  This?  Something else?  I'm open for ideas.  Also, how would you go about selling the EMGs?  Just Craigslist, or is Ebay worth the time and effort?

Take a ballpeen hammer to the EMGs (because nobody should have to suffer with sucky tone; esp. if they paid for it) and get a pair of PAF-ish humbuckers.
 

bpmorton777

Senior member
Messages
1,651
use push-pull pots for switching or try those SD switching pickup rings. I think you will need to change the pots anyway since the emg's use strange pots.

Brian
 

blue313

Senior member
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2,824
The P-Rails would give you some great tones.  IIRC Seymour Duncan originally intended for the Triple-Shot pickup rings to be an accessory to those.  Plus its completely reversible to go for total vintage vibe.

However, Metalman's suggestion makes the control differences physically invisible.  I'm thinking that's a little more what your after.

I know aesthetics are important to you, but are you after versatility or classic LP tone?  I'd probably go with a set of covered SD '59s if that were the case.
 

DocNrock

Senior member
Messages
4,295
I say an Air Norton neck and Air Zone bridge.  Or, (fending off the booooos), get an original pair of 80's Dirty Fingers.  I personally love them in a Paul.  :icon_thumright:
 

smavridis

Senior member
Messages
710
Blue313 said:
The P-Rails would give you some great tones.  IIRC Seymour Duncan originally intended for the Triple-Shot pickup rings to be an accessory to those.  Plus its completely reversible to go for total vintage vibe.

However, Metalman's suggestion makes the control differences physically invisible.  I'm thinking that's a little more what your after.

I know aesthetics are important to you, but are you after versatility or classic LP tone?  I'd probably go with a set of covered SD '59s if that were the case.

i was originally going to suggest the 59's
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
If it's  your only guitar, I guess get the p-rails. My understanding is they're jack of all trades master of none. No I haven't heard them live.
If you have your single coil bases covered, get some good PAF types - it's a Paul for cryin out loud.
 

Death by Uberschall

Senior member
Messages
4,162
Are the EMGs the newer ones with the detachable harness connector or does the harness just come out of the epoxy?

Just out of curiosity, have you really tried working with the EMGs in that guitar, or are you just so opposed to them that you really haven't tried working with them?
 

Vol. Knob

Senior member
Messages
601
Question:  Got a Les Paul, what would *you* do?

Answer:  Play it.

But in all seriousness...  The pickups in it are clearly the result of it being in the hands of a metalhead.  Not a bad thing, but if those don't do the tone you want....
Here's another shameless plug for Reed James, http://www.reedjamescustom.com. IMHO they're the best sounding and looking.  I have a set of Woodbuckers carved from cocobolo in my Epi Les Paul Custom.  I humbly submit them as a suggestion. 

Beyond pickups, I can't really think of anything.  Other than straplocks.

 

Patrick from Davis

Senior member
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2,197
I have my favorites in pickups, but I kinda have to know what songs or lead tones you want to get out of your guitar.  I hate recommending something I really like to someone that is looking for something entirely different.  I have a set of Duncan Alnico Pro II's in a Les Paul and they are OK.  It is kinda bright, but definitely has a great vibe to it.  My taste in tunes is kick em in the teeth and smile punk/hardcore/metal for the most part, so I suppose that is why I rate them as OK.  But, for the guitar/sound I was going for it works great.  Good luck with figuring it out.
Patrick

 

rapfohl09

Senior member
Messages
1,673
Thank you for DBU for finally dousing the EMG flames. I love my EMG's and yes I bought them as upgrade pickups to replace my gibson pickups.

I was also looking at P-Rails, but I finally heard the hot-rodded set from SD the other day and ill probally put those in every HB guitar I have from here on out! :icon_thumright:

Thats a JB and Jazz by the way, just saying.
 

Vol. Knob

Senior member
Messages
601
Patrick from Davis said:
I kinda have to know what songs or lead tones you want to get out of your guitar.  I hate recommending something I really like to someone that is looking for something entirely different. 



+1

What kind of stuff do you play?  What kind of band are you in?  What are you after?
 

Death by Uberschall

Senior member
Messages
4,162
rapfohl09 said:
Thank you for DBU for finally dousing the EMG flames. I love my EMG's and yes I bought them as upgrade pickups to replace my gibson pickups.

I was also looking at P-Rails, but I finally heard the hot-rodded set from SD the other day and ill probally put those in every HB guitar I have from here on out! :icon_thumright:

Thats a JB and Jazz by the way, just saying.

For passive pups, the Jazz is a great neck pup. The JB is a winner also.

As the EMGs go, I really started to believe recently that a lot of players, because they think "active" circuitry negatively affects the tone, talk bad about them or say they will never use them. In actuality, it adds tone. Ask any bass players, and I'll bet you 95% of them use or like active pups in their basses. Guitar players have a "metal or mental block" to get over in most cases. For live players who use several long cables between guitar, pedals and amp, passive pups will have their tone affected in a negative way, especially on under wound or vintage wound pups. EMGs fix that by using the internal pre-amp as a buffer to convert the signal into low hz. The tone also stays the same as you roll the guitar volume up or down. In a Les Paul, that 81/85 combo is great.
 

AprioriMark

Senior member
Messages
1,710
Thanks for all the advice.  Some of my buddies and I were playing with the guitar last night, and I actually like the tone of the neck pickup a lot.  The bridge one is just ass, however.  It's thin and bleh.  To be honest, I have no idea how they're wired, or even if they are, in fact, and 81 and an 85.  That's just what the guy told me.  I wondered if I might not miss the tone of these pickups after switching them out.  I'm going to open it up and look at how it's wired, what the pickups are etc tonight.  I just assumed that they'd be too harsh, and they're sorta not.

-Mark
 

Death by Uberschall

Senior member
Messages
4,162
The EMG logo on the pup will in most cases tell you what it is by color. Grey is a 60, silver is an 81, gold is an 85, copper is an 89.

If it is an 81/85 combo is should sound fine in a LP. If it has the quick connect on the pup, swap the neck pup into the bridge spot and see if you like it better.
 

riverbluff

Senior member
Messages
733
I'd leave it just the way it is.  I love a LP with out a pick guard and I really like the sound of the EMG 81/85 set.  I got a set in my LP and love it.
 
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