Finding that Reissue Holy Grail?

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by Watersilk, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    Thank you Retrobob,

    That's interesting! Those pots are instantly recognisable as fifties originals, Central Labs I think the brand's called. I read somewhere that the Gibson Historics have fake Bumblebees, not even reproductions. How would you describe the pickups? How do they differ from the originals? Perhaps this is an unfair comparison, I guess that the originals were covered?

    I applied an aged theme to my Tokai, this was because the Seymour Duncan pickups only came in an aged finish, so they would have looked odd with bright shiny hardware. I aged the bridge and Stoptail myself, then even changed the tuners for a Fake 58 set, their Kluson shrunken button set. I think this was over the top; do you remember as a child, finding a boiled sweet in your pocket, one that had been there for a very long time, it had half melted, stuck to the paper wrapper? Well the buttons feel like that, every time I tune a string, I'm left thinking, what is that? I rubbed the buttons down to take the hard edges off them, but they still feel wrong; I think I will refit the Gotoh SD90 Relic set, they looked right with the guitar and are I believe the same set Gibson fit to Reissues.

    Yes, that's important, have fun, change anything you believe will improve playing and ownership, but always keep the original parts and make sure everything you do can be reversed.
     
  2. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    I have heard about those nylon saddles, is that bridge locking? Bridges, stoptails and nuts, they all make a big difference. PAF type pickups tend to have more treble, I guess that's why Joe uses nylon saddles.

    Thank you for sharing this :)
     
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  3. Redfish

    Redfish Senior Member

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    Funny thing is I've never seen any of Joe's guitars with nylon saddles though I've only seen pictures of a few. It is not locking but it fits snugly enough over the posts that it doesn't move during string changes. I was surprised that it seemed to add resonance while taking a little treble off the top. You would think nylon would kill the tone but I love the difference it made. I understand the comments about buying the perfect sounding Les Paul so you don't have to make changes but I haven't found a way try out a lot of Historics before buying, short of going to Guitar Center and even if I find a keeper there I'm not paying retail+. Most of us buy used off the forums or Reverb and you take your chances and hope for the best. I don't see anything wrong with changing a few things to make an extra bright guitar a little darker sounding or visa versa. Just using a different type of strings can change the sound a lot. A dud is a dud but most Historics I've owned have sounded pretty good and I tweak them to taste. I actually enjoy tinkering with them but many of the mods I've tried HAVE been a waste of money. I would love to get lucky like Swampblues and find my Holy grail Les Paul but right now I'm happy with one of his rejects!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  4. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    Yes, it does seem to do the opposite of what you would expect of nylon. One observation of the Paul Kossoff's stripped Les Paul was that the bridge was a very tight fit; I'm sure that makes a difference.

    I've bought three guitars on eBay, it's really not the ideal way to buy a guitar, I do like to see, feel and play one before buying. Of the three, the Japanese Tokai was the most expensive, I wasn't sure what I was getting because the owner didn't add enough information. Because of this, I offered about £75 less, then asked some tricky technical questions, the seller thought I was about to abort, so he hit the sale button! At £475, I think it was a reasonable price, it was very clean, but the technical questions I asked were about the hardware, which turned out to be Ping Well, so I was so glad I only paid that price. I would not feel comfortable buying a Custom Shop guitar this way.

    In the end we buy guitars to enjoy and play, so they need to be setup in a way that we can get the most out of them; my rule is though, to make any changes, reversible ones and keep the original parts; someone, at sometime, will have to pass them onto the next caretaker.

    There are certainly dud Historic's out there, I know, I had one for a few days; it's an embarrassing story involving Collector's Choice number one, but I was able to get out of jail 'almost' for free, by swapping for the Extra Faded Cherry model at the beginning of this post.

    I think that one expensive mod that I can't see working on any of my currant guitars is the Callaham Stoptail, used with the bridge, it's complete treble overkill. I haven't tried the Faber bridge, however, I can imagine that bridge with a machined ABM aluminium stoptail would be the closest to an original Les Paul's setup; probably the Creamtone one is better though :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  5. Redfish

    Redfish Senior Member

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    For what it's worth, which isn't much, I replaced a Faber locking bridge with the Creamtone and FOR THIS PARTICULAR GUITAR it made it sound worlds better to my ears. I'm sure there are cases where the exact opposite would be true.
     
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  6. guitarded_82

    guitarded_82 Member

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    All reissues have one thing in common with all of the originals: some are better than others, but they're all pretty good. I kind of lucked out with my '01 R9, it sounded the best acoustically of about 6 R9's in the store, by a lot! Aging aside, it didn't really get that magic guitar effect until I put in a set of BKP Mules. I think it's to each either own, every guitar needs the right mods to be an exceptional guitar. Be it luck or fate, half of the Holy Grail might be you.
     
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  7. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    Agree, I know it is certainly worth trying different PU's if you want to improve a fundamentally great Guitar.

    A friend who has owned ~ 24 Bursts told me years ago that it was not uncommon for him & his friends to swap PAF's in their Bursts to get the right Set in the right Guitar to get the tone they were after.

    Food for thought for the supposedly "perfect" Burst.

    :cheers2:
     
  8. retrobob

    retrobob Senior Member

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    The original pickups were 57 classics, which sounded good.
    But I didn't like the fact that they were potted.
    The new set with real PAF mags sound a little more aggressive without covers.
    The central lab pots are really great. They have a perfect taper that opens up
    evenly from 0-10.
    I have the correct value bee in the bridge position, but found a different value I like better for the neck. Its more mid-rangey, and sounds great when rolled all the way down.
    Real happy with the sound of this flamer. I'm surprised everytime I plug it in!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  9. retrobob

    retrobob Senior Member

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    double post, sorry
     
  10. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    Yes, I quite agree, there are far more variables in those models, both originals and reissues, than a complete factory production line model; however, please may I suggest changing the word 'all' to most. When I was shopping for my first reissue, I remember one shop had a real dog, they had no idea how they would sell it, really it was that bad. My own dog had an overlapping maple cap, how can that pass a quality control test, or even be made like that by someone who apparently is a luthier? Happily, in contrast, my Goldtop is beautifully made. I think it does add to the allure of these Custom Shop guitars, that they are all individuals.

    That's my criteria, at least, when my head is in control, not my heart. Refuse a salesperson's offer to plug it in, play it acoustically first, I would then, if possible play through a good acoustic amp like an AER, this will quickly sort out the men from the boys!

    The Bare Knuckle 'Stormy Monday' pickups sound pretty impressive too :) They are Cornish, that skinny little country next to England.

    Hey not every guitar, I have one guitar that is absolutely umoddable! Well, I was only able to make some cosmetic changes! It just hurt, how could a guitar be so perfect in functionality, then adorned with a miss-match of knobs, switch tip and tuner buttons... ???

    I guess by the last part, you are referring to the fingers; yes, if you are fortunate to have a beautiful body in your arms, pull off on the G string, wound or unwound, it's up to you to make the music!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  11. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    "Surprised everytime I plug it in" I think that is fantastic! You have nailed the very reason for making changes, when they work, I mean really work, that's exactly what happens.. magic!
     
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  12. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Senior Member

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    In 2014, Gibson did their first True Historic reissue of the 1954 Black Beauty.
    I'd been waiting for that forever, so it's now secure here at home.
     
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  13. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    Hey, this is the model with the Seth Lover Alnico neck pickup, how does this sound? It's on my wanted list too! I believe that the body is solid mahogany, a bit thicker than other Les Paul models and no maple cap. Is this the one with the low frets, the fretless wonder?

    Is there anything you would wish to change?
     
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  14. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    The reason most people here do mods to their guitars is simple really.

    Because these forums exist, taunting us with all kinds of goodies.

    20-30 years ago, if you didn't like the sound you were getting, you would go down to the local mom and pop and pick up a set of Seymour Duncan's or DiMarzio's. Maybe a pedal to enhance something.

    I can't complain though. I too am guilty as charged when it comes to doing modifications to my historics, or any other guitar as far as that goes.

    I'm usually good for swapping pickups and harnesses. Sometimes plastics if I am going for a certain look.

    In the end, it's all good fun and if we get lucky, we actually do improve the sound/tone of a guitar.

    Sure can get tough on the wallet sometimes though.
     
  15. Watersilk

    Watersilk Member

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    rockinlespaul, how true this is! We are living in the age of global communication, in using these guitar forums we are fueling the after-sales parts industry and the guitar industry as a whole, perhaps being able to share our passion has made possession of ten guitars somehow acceptable :)

    Yes, no doubt about it, absolutely tough on the wallet! However, undeniably fun too :)
     
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  16. screamingdaisy

    screamingdaisy Senior Member

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    My R9 has a JB/Jazz set in it.

    I was frustrated at the time. The guitar sounded great stock... had that big Telecaster kind of sound, but that wasn't the sound in my head. I tried to embrace the big Tele sound for a couple years because it really did sound great, but over time it slowly started to grate on me. I just couldn't get the guitar to go where I wanted it to go and started to feel like it was holding me back.

    In a moment of frustration I stuck an old JB/Jazz set I had lying around and bam!... there was the sound I was looking for.

    The odd thing is that I always hated the JB. There's a reason it wasn't installed in anything; I've tried it in various guitars (including other LPs) and have never liked it. Yet for whatever reason in this guitar it sounds perfect.

    Go figure...
     
  17. Ruthie58

    Ruthie58 Senior Member

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    IMG_20180125_215520861.jpg
    My Holy Grail Les Paul turned out to be a 2014 ES345 TDC 64 RI ...who knew?! More sustain, more tones, more everythang!
     

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