1984 Studio Standard Repair Questions

Discussion in 'Norlin Years' started by JoshB, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    Hello, I just joined this forum so this is my introduction post.

    I have a 1984 Studio Standard LP that needs some work and I'm trying to make some decisions about replacing the bridge/tailpiece. I have other repairs to make but replacing the bridge will give me a lot more information on whether I want to keep this guitar or not.

    I've had this guitar for nearly twenty years and I've never really bonded with it. Part of that may be the bridge that is worked to death and likely not original (made in germany and looks like pot metal). My first LP was a 1989 Studio black with ebony fretboard and nickle hardware, that guitar was fire - I stupidly traded it off when I was a teenager (I wanted a whammy bar guitar... dumb). The Studio Standard has never had the same sparkle or harmonic depth and pinch harmonics really don't come through at all, albeit the neck pickup is far superior for jazz chord work.

    Moving on, I'd like to know what would be the closest to original replacement bridge and also what would be the best bridge set-up for tone; cost is a factor, though I'd rather get it right than save a few bucks. I have a feeling that original vs best sounding is going to be very different

    I've been toying with the idea of an ABR-1 conversion of some sort, aluminum tailpiece and possibly doing dual materials for the saddles (steel or titanium for wound strings and nylon or brass for the top strings. I'd rather keep the Nashville insert/stud set-up if I can do so without a major negative affect on tone.

    I'm also looking at this bridge deal http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338014323&icep_item=382316874770 since it fits my budget well.

    In addition, I've been considering the TonePros locking bridge posts and also locking tailpiece studs (can't remember if the ones I'm looking at are also TonePros.

    I'd really like to get this guitar to sing but I also would like to be able to get as much value out of it as I can if I sell it. My hope however, is that I can transform this thing and not sell it. If I do sell I don't want to make changes that I have to redo for value.

    I'm mostly a rhythm player and I play rockabilly/country swing/surf/jazz(ish, I'm not that studied). However, I also play metal and I remember my Studio being particularly well suited for that purpose. So, I'd like to be able to get nice vintage tones out of the thing but also have a bit of darkness and sparkle for more driven tones. I'd like to emphasize that I'm a rather heavy handed picker and I will be setting the action a bit on the high side with strings on the heavy side of things.

    Cosmetically I'd love to convert the whole guitar to nickel finish; I know it's not period correct though and I'm wondering if this would have a big negative affect on value.

    At this point I've read so many ideas on how to improve the bridge that I'm glazing over and I'd really like input from someone that has replaced/upgraded the bridge on this specific model since it's a little different sonically from a standard Les Paul.

    Thanks for your help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  2. bufbills

    bufbills Senior Member

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    Pics woud help, but hat Made in Germany br/tp is probably original. I have had several of these guitars over the years. See one of them in my avatar. My keeper is an 84 with a factory kahler. It too lacked that sparkle. While Shaws are one of my favorite pickups, for me, they dont work in bridge spot in these guitars. They are alder body guitars, not mahogany. the shaw in the neck is wonderful. In the three Ive owned, an 80s Dirty Fingers in the bridge spot was the trick. Great sustain and fantastic attack sensitivity. The DF turned my Kahler, model into a beast. Yet still a versatile guitar.

    As far as resale value, nothing you do will bring more than stock.
     
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  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    This^^^^ +1:thumb:

    Do what you want to it, resale be dammed! You want nickle, put nickle on it. Its only a plating. Gibson used both so no matter. Its your choice. I even took mine off and love the look of the zebras!

    I own an 82 Standard (avatar) which came to me with potted Shaws... IMO Ruined. OEM Shaws are not waxed.

    So I had them re-wound with fresh copper and the wax cleaned out of them. As you say, the neck pickup is heaven. :thumb:

    The bridge Shaw on mine was also incredibly weak. I put a ceramic mag from another pickup under it to boost the output to something more usable at one point.

    When I sent them out to be cleaned and re-wound by Dave at Sigil pickups I had him build me a custom bridge spaced 53mm pickup to put in place of the Shaw. It uses an A5 magnet as opposed to the Shaw A2 and more windings. The sound is closer to a T-Top.
    Again, resale be danged. I wanted better pole spacing and more oomph in the bridge pickup, so I did it.

    I've also changed the bridge, knobs, covers, and all the pots and pans and poker_chip. :wow:

    I love the end result and it makes me want to play the snot out of it. :jam:

    It gives me what I want, and looks the way I want too... What else is a guitar for? :dunno:
     
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  4. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    How is it not period correct? Just curious.... 1984 Studio Standard.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    You tell me. I'm assuming since the parts on my guitar are chrome that's what is original equipment. I'd love to not take a hit at possible selling time for nickle. Your guitar is quite lovely btw.

    I've reached a decision on the bridge. I'm just going to replace with as close to stock as I can find right now. Which leads to other questions: Would an SG replacement tuneomatic work? As far as a complete kit this one http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338014323&icep_item=362202573664 seems to be the best deal I can find from a reputable seller on ebay in chrome but I don't want to have to buy twice if I end up selling this guitar.

    If I knew I could get the tone right on this thing (for my tastes) I would invest in a Faber locking set-up, pickups (keep the originals handy of course), nut, tuners, pots etc..

    As it is a stock replacement bridge/tailpiece is a fairly affordable test and will keep the value of the instrument should I sell.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  6. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    Here are pictures of the bridge that's on the guitar. Is this maybe a Schaller kit? The guitar has Schaller tuners.
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    Is this alder? When I look at the finished back I could see that but the unfinished grain looks more like mahogany to me.

    How do pinch harmonics do through the dirty fingers? My roommate has T- Tops and DF's squirrelled away. Optimally, I'd like a pick-up that I can roll back and get some decent "spankiness" for Travis picking with slapback delay but would also have enough attack and sizzle for metal - my preferred "heavy" sound is halfway between Bark At The Moon Jake E. Lee and Master Of Puppets era Hetfield; ie a lot of attack and harmonic overtones, crisp bass/midrange with a lot of string to string definition but not insane gain. It's been a long time but I remember the 498T in my 1989 Studio as being just about perfect - not sure if it would react the same in this body though and I also didn't play anything but metal when I had that guitar.

    20180107_165925.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  8. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    One other question: is it possible to buy the PAF stickers for the pickup bezels anywhere? Mine are missing.
     
  9. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Gibson was using a lot of Schaller stuff around this time from what I've seen. Mine has Schaller tuners as well, with speedwinders!

    1982 was a big year for the postless Schaller bridge too...
    Looks like their modern roller bridge, without the rollers....
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    I had never heard of this so I looked into it. This article sites the first Studios as being Alder wood. It may well be that another distinction of the Studio Standard was that it had the hog and maple combo of a regular Standard along with the binding and paint job...

    The experts in here can correct me if I'm wrong..

    For reference here's my 82 pickup route. The reddish hog is really visible, so you might have alder....
    Yours
    [​IMG]
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Article:

    The first Studios from 1983 to 1986 were made with alder bodies rather than mahogany/maple. The current Studios come with a chambered mahogany body with either a maple or mahogany cap. The entry level Les Paul Studio "faded" has a weight relieved mahogany body and top and a satin finish.

    Gibson also offered the Studio in a "standard" model. This variant was adorned with neck and body binding, ebony fretboard and sunburst paint job. All Studios at the time had dot fretboard markers and a thinner body.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Try the dirty Fingers. They are a little hotter and grittier output when cranked but can mellow out when the volume is rolled off. Might be what You're looking for. I have read others saying they have a decent clean sound too.

    Heck, try the T-top too. That's got a lot of fans in here too... See what you like best.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  11. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Yup, save your money and go for one of these. Lots of happy people in here use these, including some builders.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    With the money you save on not getting the platinum bridge you can buy a new tone man harness.

    New 500K pots and new caps could be just what you need to replace the missing sparkle.

    A lot of Gibsons from this era use lower value pots from the factory and they give a more dark mellow tone.

    If we could see a close up of the control cavity someone in here could tell us what they are.

    But a new harness should be on your list of things to get your sparkle factor up..

    BTW Tone man is a vendor here on the forum. I just bought a parts kit from him for my 82.

     
  13. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    I think you're right on the alder. I have franken-strat with a natural sort of finish (it's kind of a screwed up home refinish to tell the truth). 30 minutes before I saw your post amendment I spent about 20 minutes with a flashlight comparing grain and looking at unfinished "hog" online.

    Haha! I've had his 50's wiring kit in my ebay cart for a week! I literally just ordered one an hour ago for my strat because I maaaayyyy have spaced out and screwed my tremolo arm in too tight and smashed my volume pot shaft, my bottom tone shaft and my 5 way switch; it's a good reason for an upgrade ....sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.

    I will post a picture of my pots as soon as I can figure out where I put my leatherman.
     
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  14. bufbills

    bufbills Senior Member

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    looks like alder body and top to me. My 94 is.

    The OLD dirty fingers are great pickups. Very high output and will cover all of you pinch harmonic and palm muting needs. They clean up nicely as well.

    I am also a fan of the 490/489 combo but have not tried them i a studio standard
     
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  15. bufbills

    bufbills Senior Member

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    Heres mine. Alder top and body. Look at the grain.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    :doh: BTW... :welcome: to the forum Josh! :applause:

    Where oh where have I put my manners! :facepalm:
     
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  17. MSB

    MSB Senior Member

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    I know its not the super cool mod, but you can always get an ABR from PLT for $20ish bucks and a set of either nylon or ABS saddles for $7 and drill the bridge post holes to fit the nashville studs.

    what exactly is wrong with the current bridge?

    I'll second ToneMan harnesses, got one in my GT and am heavily contemplating putting one in my '87 SS to swap out the 300/100k pots since it needs an output jack anyways
     
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  18. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    20180108_030734.jpg

    Here's a look inside the back plate. My lighting sucks. Are these the non 500k pots?
     
  19. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Hey @Kris Ford , sorry to bother ya, but I was wondering if you could pull one of your famous pot detections on the pic above...

    EDIT: I enlarged and brightened it below..

    20180108_030734.jpg
    Thanks again! :cheers2:

    Of course any other knowing folks can take a crack at it as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  20. JoshB

    JoshB Member

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    The saddles are toast. If you look at the pics I posted you can easily see the low E is particularly visibly trashed. The seats are all notched and burred. I'd just replace them but the chrome finish is corroded and bubbling.
     

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