Upgrades to my Epiphone ES-335 Pro (scraping, pickups, pots, caps, hardware)

Discussion in 'Other Epiphones' started by meyer335, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. meyer335

    meyer335 Member

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    Hello again fellow forumites! Some of you may have read my other thread where I am upgrading/tweaking my Epiphone '56 Les Paul. Last year I purchased an Epiphone ES-335 Pro. I happened upon this guitar by accident, and as the neck reminded my of my Gibson Historic '59 ES-335, I purchased it to be an alternative to bring to gigs….when it would not be so wise to bring my Gibby. I have been in the tweaking/upgrading mode lately I thought I would give my 335 Pro an overhaul.

    I started by gutting all the guitar's electronics…pickups, wiring harness, jack. I made a wiring template, including the location of the F-hole, this way I could make sure to route the wiring appropriately. Here is a pic of the harness wired up….

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    I also deglossed the finish. I brought it all down to a matte finish, and then buffed to back up to what I call a vintage "soft gloss." Looks much less plastic than before. Some colors (like black) I don't mind all high gloss, but the natural finish almost looked fake under the super high gloss of the poly.

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    I then scraped the fretboard, steel wooled it, and oiled it a couple times. Again, the removal of the "brown goo" made the board look much much better, cleaned up the binding, and revealed some nice looking wood.

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    So now that the finish work is done, it's time for my favorite thing (insert sarcasm emoticon here)…installing the wiring harness in a 355…via the F-holes. I also replaced the stock pickups (which I am saving for something else) with some Budz "Soap on a Plate" hum-size P-90s. These are Alnico 4 mags and wound fairly low, much like the early 50's style. 6.7K neck and 7.7K bridge. They sound fantastic, very clear and articulate without being sterile or strident.

    Before:
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    After:
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    I upgraded the bridge using a Gotoh Nashville style I had in a parts drawer, that was a direct fit to the existing posts. I also added a Gotoh lightweight aluminum tailpiece, and some TonePros locking studs. I had some leftover spacer collars from my Faber order for my LP, so I used them in conjunction with the TonePro locking studs. I did this so the threads of the studs when adjusted to height didn't show (looks cleaner), and it seemed to made it even more solid. I may upgrade the bridge and tailpiece bushings to Faber steel ones in the near future…maybe a locking bridge too.

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    I also prefer a plain truss rod cover, so with a little naphtha and a q-tip I was able to get the screen printing off fairly easily. I like it.

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    Here are a couple shots of her all together. I'd like to thank my wife for her donation to my work towel pile…the flowery sheet…haha!!

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  2. Norton

    Norton Senior Member

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    Looks great!
     
  3. dCi_king

    dCi_king Senior Member

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    Very good work!. Beautiful guitar.
     
  4. howardlo

    howardlo Senior Member

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    Really nice!
     
  5. vomer

    vomer Member

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    Very nice. Glad to see you upgraded to amber knobs :)

    I did similar work on my Sheraton a while ago, I should get pics up.
     
  6. irie

    irie Senior Member

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    Looks great man, how did you go about doing the finish?
     
  7. old mark

    old mark Senior Member

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    Good work! I REALLY like the GOTOH TOM's and I generally replace the bridges on my Epiphones and Gibsons with them. REAL improvement for little money. AND I agree Epi used some nice rosewood for fingerboards when it's clean and oiled.
     
  8. meyer335

    meyer335 Member

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    1.) I first started by knocking down the mirror high gloss poly with an "Ultra Fine" grade of 3M synthetic steel wool…it's like a finishing grade of scotchbrite. I did this dry and brought the whole body down to a uniform matte finish. That poly is pretty durable and resilient so it took a bit of time and effort.

    2.) Next I used a small black of wood (probably 2"x1" or so) and using some double stick tape attached a piece of the same grade of 3M synthetic steel wool. I sanded over the entire body again this time with baby oil as a lubricant. Why oil?? Because it lubricates better than water, and won't make the wood swell up if it gets in any screw holes. (That sounds kinda dirty…but lets stay professional.) Wet sand the whole body. After you are done with this step it has a nice smooth, matte finish.

    3.) Clean off the oil residue from the guitar using some naphtha and a cotton cloth.

    4.) Burnish the body with a cotton cloth, or denim square.

    5.) I use 3M rubbing compound to bring it up to a vintage "soft gloss." I don't like to bring it up to a higher sheen than this.

    Doing this will give you a nice warm gloss, and not have the poly/plastic-y look as it did beforehand. Hope this helps someone.
     
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  9. Victek

    Victek Senior Member

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    The guitar looks great, and documenting the process with pics was kind as well. I'd be interested to know how the guitar compares "before & after". I know you've gone from humbuckers to P90s so that's a bit apples to oranges, but whatever you care to share. I have an Epi ES335 Pro and think it sounds quite good stock, but I might get motivated one day to upgrade it.
     
  10. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    I just ordered an Epiphone ES335 Pro this morning. It should be here Monday.
     
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  11. meyer335

    meyer335 Member

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    Very nice! They are fantastic guitars, even when left stock. I just modded mine because I wanted some P90s in a semi-hollow. What color did you get?
     
  12. irie

    irie Senior Member

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    Thank you for sharing, yours turned out great. If I ever get brave enough this is how I would like my LP to look. At the very least I would imagine a poly neck finished like this would feel incredible.
     
  13. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    I got Ice Tea Burst. The first mod I do is going to install a set of Gold Reflector Tops 2 Volume and 2 Tone. I will also convert it to 50's wiring with 0.022uF PIO caps.
     
  14. shupe13

    shupe13 Senior Member

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    Beautiful guitar!
     
  15. holymoly

    holymoly Junior Member

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    What cap and pot values did you use with your P90s?
     
  16. Victek

    Victek Senior Member

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    I like that Iced Tea Burst a lot. I would have had it over the Ebony if it had been available at the time (like my Ebony just fine though). How about a NGD thread with some pics when you're ready?
     
  17. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    I could take photos, but I have no idea how to post them on the forum.
     
  18. meyer335

    meyer335 Member

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    I used 500k pots, they all measured at least 500k and not above 550k. I used .022 paper in oil caps. I played a few gigs this week with the modded guitar and those values are working well in a live situation.
     
  19. meyer335

    meyer335 Member

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    I didn't know they made an iced tea burst now....just looked it up...very nice!
     
  20. meyer335

    meyer335 Member

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    Anyone notice the new Epi 335 Pros come with black knobs? Yes...BLACK knobs. ( I'm getting hip to the amber knob jokes around here. Good ol' dry humor.)
     

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