Creamtone vs. Pigtail for Les Paul Parts

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by MasterEvan07, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    I've tried TonePros, Faber, Callaham, Pigtail, Schroeder, stock Gibson, and maybe one or two others I can't recall off the top of my head. Unsurprisingly, I've hit a point of diminishing returns on my aftermarket LP parts experimenting.

    The lads at Creamtone seem like nice guys who're passionate about what they do and I've read positive things about their products. My favorite to this day has been Pigtail, but I'm curious about Creamtone and I'm wondering if there's anyone who's tried both.

    What I preferred about the Pigtail was an immediacy, snappiness, mild compression with a nice attack. At the recommendation of a friend, I tried Schroeder and it was softer, less defined, though more sustain but not quite what I wanted. I'll probably go back to Pigtail, but I'm curious about Creamtone before I make a decision.

    Please share your thoughts and experiences!
     
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  2. TM1

    TM1 Senior Member

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    Lonnie's parts are as close to vintage/original as you can get. The stuff that Steve(RIP) made was great. I think his wife overseas all the production these days. But I can't see where it would be much difference as both most likely use the same materials. Having dealt with both, I'd be inclined to go with Lonnie's stuff with the amount of research he puts into them making sure they're right.
     
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  3. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Or just go directly to PLT.
     
  4. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts, Don. Could you elaborate on his research? I don't know much about him.

    PLT?
     
  5. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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  6. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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  7. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Price being a biggie, plus I prefer NOS parts. :D
     
  8. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    It is very likely that PLT parts are actually Kluison parts, but without naming the brand/make. And it is very likely that a lot of the aged LP hardware parts on the market are aged Kluson parts. The issue here being how much should the same part cost if it is aged and then sold by the third party without disclosing the origin of those parts to a customer. Surely, it might be that Kluson (actually, WD who owns the Kluson brand name) sells large quantities for lower price to a third party/distributor with a condition that Kluson name can not/must not be used, therefore at play it is not an intention of the third party to conceal the origin but simple contractual obligation towards WD, owner of the Kluson brand.

    Nevertheless, end result is that a customer is buying aged Kluson parts without knowing these are Kluson parts that are - aged, and therefore he/she is unaware which part of the cost is for a brand new part and which part is for - aging. Or customer is buying new parts, also without knowing they are Kluson parts, without brand.

    This business decision easily explains how come/why Kluson ABR-1 has no sign/text/whatever on the bottom, unlike originals and (I think) all copies, to make it possible to sell them without the brand name. What the marketing expert/genius who's got that brilliant idea has missed is that no brand on bottom is actually equal to putting a brand as no other ABR-1 with imperial/inch measurements has nothing on bottom. Funny, right?

    If there is any other reasonable explanation, please share it. I might be mistaken with all this and I would really like to know if I am.

    note: hardware on Gibson CS is also very likely made at the same place, with the difference that Gibson branded Historic wireless ABR-1 is different and body, screws and saddles all sound worse, each separately or put together, than body, screws and saddles used for Kluson no-name wireless ABR-1. Even funnier, but that is a Gibson, corporation making profit while selling lifestyle, not guitars. It looks the part, so it is a job well done.
     
  9. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    ..and MANY of the parts sellers source from there too.
     
  10. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    Makes determining the veracity of proprietary parts pretty difficult. Definitely don't need/want to pay a premium for no reason.
     
  11. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    I can guarantee you with 100% accuracy that Philly. Luth. aluminum tailpieces are absolutely not made by Kluson. Neither are Gibson USA or Gibson Custom.

    I know why you are coming to that conclusion, but you should trust me that it's not the correct one. You have my word and I'm not making a guess on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  12. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    Is that good, bad, or otherwise?
     
  13. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    Just stating a fact. Not an opinion. Good/bad are personal preferences with sound/feel.
     
  14. CreamTone

    CreamTone MLP Vendor

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    Hopefully, I can help clear up some of the confusion on what's available. First, both Kluson and PLT are fine pieces of hardware. Both are great quality and made in the USA. We have both of their pieces in our shop (along with most every other brand) because we like to see what other vendors are doing. We also have original pieces from the 50s that we use for reference.

    For 2017, we decided to take some steps to make our hardware more authentic. What sets CreamTone apart from everyone else is copper. Looking at the aluminum tailpiece and all the brass and steel parts, we found that everything out there had a copper plate under the nickel. Copper fills in the tiny imperfections in the base metal and creates an ideal surface for the nickel plate to bond to. It cuts costs and saves time on labor. But there are two issues:

    1. Over time nickel is going to wear away. I've had customers contact us for replacements because the stock tailpieces and studs on their reissues are turning pink. That's the copper showing through.

    2. Gibson didn't use copper in the 50s on their aluminum, steel and brass. They polished the base metal and applied the nickel directly. On the old Bursts, you'll see black spots where the nickel has worn away, not pink.

    So we pulled the trigger and got rid of the copper on our tailpieces, studs, thumbwheels, bridge saddles, and screws. It's more labor intensive but we thought it was worth it.

    So if your goal is to put the most vintage-correct parts on your guitar, we're here.

    Cheers!
    Lonnie
     
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  15. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    I've been enjoying the parts I got from you!
     
  16. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    Thanks for the excellent clarification! Does this mean that all the metal hardware parts you sell are different from Kluson metal hardware parts? And if I might also ask - are they different from parts being sold by Philadelphia Luthier Tools?

    If I understand correctly, the same manufacturer eg Advanced Plating http://www.advancedmusicproducts.com/advanced_music_products.pdf (http://www.advancedmusicproducts.com/index.html) may produce the aluminum tailpiece for Kluson, Creamtone and Philadelphia Luthier tools. The tool used will be the same, but actual raw materials and plating might differ. Therefore, we, customers, will have 3 nickle plated aluminum tailpieces that pretty much look exactly the same but because of difference in material and/or plating will actually sound different. Am I wrong with this line of thinking?

    And we also have the hardware used on Gibson Custom Shop guitars (since 2009 and 2011), which also looks pretty much the same. Surely, their ABR-1 bridges do have 'Gibson ABR-1' on the bottom, but it does not mean they are not made at the same place, only using different tool. What we do know for sure as the customers is that all 4 companies declare hardware as 'Made in USA'. Making all of it at one manufacturer is the most effective way for anyone interested in making these parts, since the tools are already made, right?

    I am not trying to imply any wrong doing on anyone's part. I just think that we as customers need better understanding what we are actually buying and I hope you might be willing to share at least some info that might help us chose more wisely - more informed before purchase.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  17. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    I like your question. @CreamTone - your thoughts would be most appreciated!
     
  18. CreamTone

    CreamTone MLP Vendor

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    I can't speak for Kluson or Philadelphia Luthier because I'd only be speculating, but we have 4 different machine shops that we quote out our parts to for the initial production, all of which are in the USA. We don't buy anything off the rack, instead we send drawings, along with specific dimensions of what we're after and have the parts made especially for CreamTone. I often use the analogy of a recipe. We send the recipe to the chefs to whip up the dish.

    The best example of this is our ABR thumbwheels. We used a shop in Seattle to produce those. Mark Bishop and Charlie Daughtry worked with us on those and we spent several months and a few thousand dollars on tooling to make those perfect. We had new tooling made that we own, but it lives in their shop. Here's the link:

    https://www.creamtone.com/collectio...s-gibson-abr-1-thumbwheels-and-posts-les-paul

    I do believe that Advanced Plating makes Gibson parts, and we have used them for some of our hardware in the past, and I wouldn't hesitate to work with them in the future, but it's far from the truth to say that they make all of our parts. And regardless of who we use for initial tooling, all of the finish work and aging is done in our shop.

    Cheers!
    Lonnie
     
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