Story of My Conversion (52-59)

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by amused, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Bend'n'Slide

    Bend'n'Slide Senior Member

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    This is just like some kind of sensual Les Paul striptease!!

    — only in this case it's about what goes on rather than what comes off!!

    Still, it's all in the antici...











    ...pation (!).

    :p
     
  2. mxk116

    mxk116 Senior Member

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    Wow, that is a magnificent piece of mahogany!

    Congrats to you on this wonderful project and thank you for sharing in such detail. It is a joy, for me at least, to vicariously share in this effort. :cheers2:
     
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  3. GuitarMechanic

    GuitarMechanic Senior Member

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    Very VERY cool
     
  4. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    Guys, before showing next batch of pictures, I wanted to talk about a very important subject when it comes to vintage guitars, electronics, and in particular pickups.

    When Tom received the guitar, he found those in the case:

    [​IMG]

    Those are just PAFs replica from the 70's, I think they wer not even working properly so it was time to look for good PAFs.

    We all know the best possible choice is usually vintage PAFs from the late 50's, and it was an option, but an expensive one. I almost did a partial trade for my original silver Klon Centaur, but I decided to stick with my centaur, and install repro PAFs from a boutique builder.

    I heard a lot about Wizz lately so it was my first choice. At that time, I heard that Alek (From Wizz pickups) had found vintage wire to build a special batch of his pickups, which would have been expensive but the most vintage correct appart from original ones.

    Long story short, I was about to order those but then I heard about Roger Daguet great job on his crestwood guitars, and especially the reproduction of mini-humbuckers. Talking to him, he told me he had done a small batch of humbuckers using his own experience with magnetic fields, magnetic losses and he chased magnetic transparency and cutting on magnetic losses that are inherent of the original (and repros) vintage PAFs.

    His page for the curious one: http://www.daguetguitars.fr/

    So, after listeneing to his theory and the upside of his way of building those PAFs, I told him the story about my conversion and I asked him to build a special set of his humbuckers for my guitar, those pickups:

    [​IMG]

    Just keep one thing in mind, they are not built with the vintage correct method in mind, but more like how original should have been done in the first place, best choice of materials, magnetic transparency and no losses ...

    I asked Roger to come by and answer your questions if you have any guys... I am not the expert here, just happy to share his special participation to my story :)

    [End of part 5]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  5. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    I agree, the back of that guitar is one of the most beautiful piece of mahogany I had seen before, the wood figure is really nice ;)
     
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  6. Mayo5

    Mayo5 Senior Member

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    I don't understand your choice on the pickups but it's your guitar. You can always change them out later for other snake oil brands.

    Looking forward to the end build.
     
  7. zappa1777

    zappa1777 Junior Member

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    I'm also fascinated by your choice of pickups. I would have thought you would want real pafs or the closest thing available. In my opinion grateful would be something from Dave Stephens. Daguet says on his site that he doesn't like pafs. That alone would keep anything of his away from a conversion in my mind. I'm not saying anything bad about his pickups as I've never tried them. Just seems like a strange choice
     
  8. jeggz

    jeggz Senior Member

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    I'd get "whatever" pickups, you can go legit PAF at anytime down the road.

    One at a time even.
     
  9. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    I understand your points, but pickups are easy to swap and in fact I asked Tom to install them and tell me his thoughts. Tom played a lot of guitars, lots of good high boutique PAFs and he said they were great so I am satisfied...
     
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  10. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    As would I, I'd use a Super Distortion in the bridge, and a T Top in the neck.

    NO Bigsby either!!
     
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  11. Roger the engineer

    Roger the engineer Junior Member

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    Hello Zappa1777, Mayo 5 and everyone here,
    everything is not totally black or totally white... when I say "I don't like PAF" it doesn't mean "I hate PAF", it only mean that most of the PAF I've heard sound mostly muddy in the bass area of a neck pickup and mostly not that pleasant in the treble side of the bridge pickups which most of the time on the usual PAF I've heard, sound quite poor on the bass too...
    I have listen too some PAF that sound great, not a lot to "my" ears...
    So as I am quite an "individual" kind of human and as I make my own instruments for quite some years now (first in 1974), I've prefered to try to make my own ones, based on my experience, until I find something that sing to me. So using the same kind of construction that has work fine with my mini humbucker, my "D"90, my bass pickups and some others, I have tried to make an humbucker which would sound "equilibrate" and dynamic, and close to the music I use to listen (mostly 60's and 70's rock bands, blues, jazz too!) that was my "only" goal, I don't want to be considered in any way as an ayathola of the perfect PAF because ...in this case... If I would say this... you could have reasons to consider me as just another "snake oil brand" (mayo5) and beside this, speaking of the perfect "PAF" is quite meaningless, considering that 1) everyone seems to have his own feeling about and 2) when you're thinking about how originals were done, it's really a matter of snake oil dealer to be able to chronologize what was done, when it was done and how was the sound they produce 60years or so ago... hope my english was good enough for you so I didn't mess too much with my "explanation" ;-) or sound rude or "stupid" to you.
    have a nice day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  12. zappa1777

    zappa1777 Junior Member

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    Hey Roger it was in no way an attack on you or your work. There's more than one way to make a humbucker and I can totally see why you would be after something other than a perfect paf clone. My comment was no more than a symptom of my vintagitis. This seems to be a condition that many of us have on this forum.
     
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  13. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    Thanks Roger to clear up on those comments, I also am a vintage lover and would love at some point to add vintage PAFs to that conversion, but I also think that what sounds the best is what I want on my guitars, so I decided to give a chance to Roger, and it seems to be a very good decision.

    I will tell you more when the guitar is released from customs... also tonight I will try to add pictures about the painting we have chosen.

    Stay tuned guys !!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  14. lord-humongous

    lord-humongous Member

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    Keep this thread going guys! I'm checking back 4 times daily with anticipation. It's the most exciting thing on the internet! And to the OP - I really appreciate you taking the time to share this story with us. It'd be just as easy to commission a build or conversion and then pack it away or play it & keep it all to yourself, but taking the time to post pics and write out a thoughtful post with 'serial' updates (like Charles Dickens) is very generous of you, so thank-you!
     
  15. Sickboy1020

    Sickboy1020 Junior Member

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    I know I'm late to the party, but this is how I feel. It's far from a museum piece and hasn't been for a long long time. It's been in a closet and unloved. While I can see both sides of the aisle, the closer to original goldtop/p90, or goldtop/burst/humbucker route. The truth is unless you do something really really dumb (like make it a double cutaway) I fee like whatever you do to love it and play it again is fair game with me.
     
  16. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    Thanks a lot, I have been waiting 2 years for this guitar project to be finished and hopefully soon the guitar will be in my hands, so I am quite excited as you can imagine.

    The idea to share is very natural I guess, I love to see similar threads and I think it can be important to have more information about those conversions, because they are not THAT usual.

    I am happy you enjoy it, and I hope you keep reading and commenting here :)


    This is the idea, it can't go wrong because this guitar was unplayed, unloved, and now it is in great form again...
     
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  17. Roger the engineer

    Roger the engineer Junior Member

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    Thank you for your answer Zappa1777, in fact...I am baddly ill too from vintagitis... when I start making pickups, it was for two reasons, as said hunter thompson I am basically a music freak, I love SOUND and I wasn't satisfied with most of the pickups I used to fit my guitars and basses.
    I had no chance at the time to get bisonic pickups (hagstrom/guild) to get that jefferson airplane/Dead/Allman's bro bass sound so I had to find one, study it and make mines, it was the first one.
    Later Deniz Tek from radio Birdman asked me to make a reissue of his crestwood deluxe (around 1993) I first used original old epi (older than 1965, nickel plated square angle cover, big magnetA2 with full loaded bobins (old epi minis are usually wounded over 7 kOhms) then more people asked me to reissued them (Hellacopters, peter greenberg and so on to make the story short) so I was quickly short of originals and their price were becoming ridiculous, so with the experience of the bisonic AND the D90 (my version of a P90 but done as a bisonic was) I did it again, but the way I've learned how bisonic work, and once again it was a nice improvement... the sound remain what I wanted from a mini and more sensible, more dynamic ...
    About one year ago, though I didn't had a particular feeling on the PAF (I've explained this...) friends and customers ask me for it... so I did it once again... like I did the minis... so yes , I am definitively NOT period correct, but we had compliments from mister Bartlett and soon I hope we'll read here the feeling of Amused himself ... hope he won't consider I occupied his subject too much... for those who could be curious I give you hereunder the links to a couple of video where you 'll have a good hearing on my work, thank you, now I leave the place to the great guitar of Mika amused and tom bartlett

     
  18. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    Are you READYYYYYYYYY for paint job guy???

    ok ok so this is part 6 I guess, I was very undecided between a very faded lemon, and a more classic 50's sunburst.

    I have to admit that I was leaning toward the sunburst because I already have a fadd lemon with my replica, and because it was a 59 conversion here.

    But I also wanted the guitar to look old, to be aged to a certain point because she already have scars, original aging, original holes, the broken neck,... and Tom told me something pretty true: a sunburst would suggest a "newly built 59 guitar", while mine doesn't look new, so the faded burst was maybe a better option.

    We decided to spray the first layer as a very faded sunburst and decide where we would go from there.

    This is the result:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So, Tom asked me if I wanted to add the red layer to get the original sunburst or to stick with this faded burst, what would you have done at that point??

    [End of part 6]
     
  19. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    Roger, you are always more than welcome to express anything you want here, this is also the object of that thread, share your knowledge of pickups, your feeling about PAFs and everything related with that conversion.

    I will give my opinions when I get the guitar, I am from no way a professional player, I am just a simple Les Paul lover, I love guitars in general, I love beautiful instruments, but unfortunately I play less and less lately, which is a shame... but I will tell you what are my humble thoughts about the guitar, the pickups, the overall felling, and probably will try to record short video clips to put some sound on those comments ;)
     
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  20. neozecat

    neozecat Senior Member

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    I would have stick with this faded burst.
    It is more in the spirit of the guitar
     
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