Considering A Mod On A Custom

GrandJunction

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Long story short - I have long wanted a Gibson 3-pickup Black Beauty Custom. (I already have an Epiphone version, and don't normally care about the name on the headstock, but this is my one 'dream guitar' indulgence.) I have recently considerd saving a couple of thousand dollars by buying a black Custom and having a middle pickup installed by a VERY competant local luthier. I was thinking of having the middle pickup work on a simple push/pull pot.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

p.s. - Not sure what pickup would normally go in the middle position . . .
 

Shelkonnery

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I understand the desire to do so, but I wouldn’t.

3-pickup Black Beauties are greatly associated with the ’57 Reissue, which has many different features than a Regular Custom - Mahogany cap/full body, long tenon, no weight relief, ABR1, to name a few.

So you would wind up with a modded Custom that resembles a ’57 BB esthetically, but completely off in specs. Which would also surely decrease its value in case you ever need to sell it.

That’s not to underrate Les Paul Customs, I love them, but I love them for what they are. I would save up a little more and get the real deal.

PS: I think the middle pickup is usually the same as the neck pickup.
 

Midnight Blues

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Are you looking for an all mahogany body, or one with a maple cap? The latter of course would be lighter.

I would agree with @Shelkonnery re the resale value, but I wouldn't be too concerned about that personally, especially since you've wanted one for so long, which would indicate to me that you're unlikely to sell it, but you never know?

I believe in general, the pups would match, with the middle pup being a bit "hotter" than the neck, but not as "hot" as the bridge.

The push/pull pot idea is interesting. What are you trying to accomplish with that? Is that to activate/deactivate it? If so, you can accomplish the same thing using the Frampton wiring where the traditional bridge volume/tone pots control the middle pup. If it's "On", you can blend it with the respective pup by using the pups selector switch.


:cheers2:
 

GrandJunction

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Thanks both Shel and Midnight for your replies - they are much appreciated.

The general thought behind my modification idea is so that I can still get the standard 2-pickup Les Paul sound with the switch in the middle position - and by adding a push/pull pot to the middle pickup, I can bring extra tonal variations to the guitar which might not be available with a standard 3-pickup model. (My Epiphone Les Paul has been rewired to a similar configuration, and it works very nicely for mel).

So far this is just a vague daydream, and I would have to talk with my luthier to make sure that he thinks it can be properly accomplished; (he is a real stickler for exacting detail).
 

integra evan

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Here's my take on it - when you get the regular 2 pickup Custom, play with it like that for a while. You may just find you like it exactly as is and wouldn't want to make any significant mods to it.
Or, like mentioned above, save up a bit more and get one that already comes from the factory with the 3 pickups. You can always change the switching up on that, and it's easily reversible should you ever need to sell.
Also, if it's a dream guitar, I personally think its worth it to save up a bit more.
 

Midnight Blues

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Thanks both Shel and Midnight for your replies - they are much appreciated.

The general thought behind my modification idea is so that I can still get the standard 2-pickup Les Paul sound with the switch in the middle position - and by adding a push/pull pot to the middle pickup, I can bring extra tonal variations to the guitar which might not be available with a standard 3-pickup model. (My Epiphone Les Paul has been rewired to a similar configuration, and it works very nicely for mel).

So far this is just a vague daydream, and I would have to talk with my luthier to make sure that he thinks it can be properly accomplished; (he is a real stickler for exacting detail).

:thumb:

FYI, with the "Frampton Wiring", you can still get the normal blended neck/bridge tone with the switch in the middle position by simply turning the traditional bridge volume pot off.

full


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As I mentioned though, the push/pull pot is an interesting idea.


:cheers2:
 

Dazza

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There's another recent thread with info relative to your topic.
I typically use the middle position with Gibsons so wanted that option when I acquired a 3 pu Custom. I discuss the wiring in the other thread. While I really enjoy the middle pickup having a few years of experience actually using it I doubt I would invest in adding one to a conventional LP. Having more guitars is always better !


Daz
 
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Slashperryburst

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Or, like mentioned above, save up a bit more and get one that already comes from the factory with the 3 pickups.
It's more like a lot more.

I'm kind of in a similar boat to OP. My "next guitar" is a 3 pickup BB with a bigsby. However, I have two young kids, am about to move my entire family from Japan to Canada and I'm going back to college. Another guitar is not on the cards for a long time. And I also really want an eds 1275 so I can throw some 12 string stuff into my love playing.

I already have three customs.
9eIBDsC.jpeg


And even though I love all of them, I absolutely hate the garbage 490r + 498t set that the two on the left have. So I was thinking of converting the BB on the right. Get a matched set of three unpotted paf types and slap a bigsby on there. I was also thinking of a pair of t top clones for the white custom, which seems fitting given the white customs are kind of a 70s creation.

A pickup swap is definitely on the cards for both of my Hb customs, but whether I go the extra mile and convert the BB to a 3 pickup is up in the air.
 

Dazza

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It's more like a lot more.

I'm kind of in a similar boat to OP. My "next guitar" is a 3 pickup BB with a bigsby. However, I have two young kids, am about to move my entire family from Japan to Canada and I'm going back to college. Another guitar is not on the cards for a long time. And I also really want an eds 1275 so I can throw some 12 string stuff into my love playing.

I already have three customs.
9eIBDsC.jpeg


And even though I love all of them, I absolutely hate the garbage 490r + 498t set that the two on the left have. So I was thinking of converting the BB on the right. Get a matched set of three unpotted paf types and slap a bigsby on there. I was also thinking of a pair of t top clones for the white custom, which seems fitting given the white customs are kind of a 70s creation.

A pickup swap is definitely on the cards for both of my Hb customs, but whether I go the extra mile and convert the BB to a 3 pickup is up in the air.
I'd agree on the pickup swap regardless. Though I did experiment with my 89 Custom swapping out the Bill Lawrence circuit pickups and wiring for CTS 50s style and various PAF types. The end result was less than impressive. I put it back stock and left it alone. 33 years since buying it I much prefer 50's style Historics so it goes unplayed.

The cost of adding a 3rd pickup and buying a Bigsby should be considerable. Replacing that Custom with a used LPC B3 could work out being less. My used '97 was under $5000 Canadian. Just a thought. I'm well aware how attached we can be to our guitars. I've hated selling any of mine.

Daz
 

CB91710

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Long story short - I have long wanted a Gibson 3-pickup Black Beauty Custom. (I already have an Epiphone version, and don't normally care about the name on the headstock, but this is my one 'dream guitar' indulgence.) I have recently considerd saving a couple of thousand dollars by buying a black Custom and having a middle pickup installed by a VERY competant local luthier. I was thinking of having the middle pickup work on a simple push/pull pot.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

p.s. - Not sure what pickup would normally go in the middle position . . .
I would stick with the original BB wiring and avoid push/pull pots.
The Bonamassa Black Beauty used a PB3 in the bridge, and PB2s for the middle and neck.

LPC.jpg
 

truckermde

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It's more like a lot more.

I'm kind of in a similar boat to OP. My "next guitar" is a 3 pickup BB with a bigsby. However, I have two young kids, am about to move my entire family from Japan to Canada and I'm going back to college. Another guitar is not on the cards for a long time. And I also really want an eds 1275 so I can throw some 12 string stuff into my love playing.

I already have three customs.
9eIBDsC.jpeg


And even though I love all of them, I absolutely hate the garbage 490r + 498t set that the two on the left have. So I was thinking of converting the BB on the right. Get a matched set of three unpotted paf types and slap a bigsby on there. I was also thinking of a pair of t top clones for the white custom, which seems fitting given the white customs are kind of a 70s creation.

A pickup swap is definitely on the cards for both of my Hb customs, but whether I go the extra mile and convert the BB to a 3 pickup is up in the air.
I'm gonna keep that picture, dude.

So dreamy...
 

Slashperryburst

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I'd agree on the pickup swap regardless. Though I did experiment with my 89 Custom swapping out the Bill Lawrence circuit pickups and wiring for CTS 50s style and various PAF types. The end result was less than impressive. I put it back stock and left it alone. 33 years since buying it I much prefer 50's style Historics so it goes unplayed.

The cost of adding a 3rd pickup and buying a Bigsby should be considerable. Replacing that Custom with a used LPC B3 could work out being less. My used '97 was under $5000 Canadian. Just a thought. I'm well aware how attached we can be to our guitars. I've hated selling any of mine.

Daz

I also hate selling guitars. If I do go the conversion route, the Bigsby will probably be attached via Vibramate. So if the day comes and I end up getting a 3 pu B7 with bigsby, I can take the bigsby off the custom and have a three pickup with bigsby and a three pickup without.

I'm gonna keep that picture, dude.

So dreamy...

Go ahead.
 

Slashperryburst

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Relatable. I have to hit like every time I see them.
@Slashperryburst what year are these three beauties? (The right one is a '54 RI, right?)
From left to right, a 2014, 2002 and 2019. The 2019 is actually a '55ri. I've no idea what exactly sets it apart from a '54, except that at the same time this "Japan exclusive '55 custom RI" hit the stores, wildwood had a limited run of '54 reissue customs.
 

Midnight Blues

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From left to right, a 2014, 2002 and 2019. The 2019 is actually a '55ri. I've no idea what exactly sets it apart from a '54, except that at the same time this "Japan exclusive '55 custom RI" hit the stores, wildwood had a limited run of '54 reissue customs.

I don't think there's really much that separates the two, except maybe some of the appointments like the volume/tone knobs and macine heads?
 

Christosterone

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A forstner bit, good template and unabashed bravery…
i would do it to every guitar if time allowed

all mine are v-v-v-master tone the middle pup always hot so u can bring it in on any setting…

except the warmoth 12 string…those are splittable…every volume is push/pull

i can answer any questions u have…I’m not a luthier btw…not even a talented woodworker imho…but I am brave and want my stuff to suit me…resale be damned

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Christosterone

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This is the only 3 pup I bought as a 3 pup..
I normally cant find the color I want with 3 pups….plus its tons of fun routing and wiring 3rd pups…

ive had 1 or 2 routed into wood by bryant at Charlie’s in Dallas…think I paid $200 for the wood route…

anyhow, this explanation of wiring is how I do all mine

pictured is my nashville…having a 3rd pup is life changing imho


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joachimlefty

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Have you considered the Freeway switch ? I suggest checking their website, they show a lot of possibilities for a three pickup guitar. The switch is mentioned in other topics on this forum, just search for it.
 

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