Do You Upgrade/Mod Your Guitars?

Do you upgrade/mod your guitars?

  • No I leave my guitars stock.

    Votes: 22 13.7%
  • Yes I upgrade all my guitars.

    Votes: 35 21.7%
  • I do with some guitars, others I leave stock.

    Votes: 104 64.6%

  • Total voters


Senior Member
Jan 31, 2011
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My only personally modded guitar is my old Vantage that I put Dimarzio's in back in 1981. My new R8 came pre modded. PU's & caps.


V.I.P. Member
May 19, 2010
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I used to be mod crazy. I had a Gibson SG a few years back that I modded every single aspect of that guitar. The only thing left stock was the wood. I believed that it would sound better if i upgraded everything. In reality it just sounded different, not really better.

Today for the most part, I dont mod/upgrade my gear. Im not against it because modding/upgrading can be a lot of fun, and in a lot of cases the instrument will sound better. Take my MIM telecaster for example. The stock pickups were ok, I had James at Rewind wind me a set of custom pickups for it, it sounds much better.

My new SG 61 RI is currently all stock. Am I tempted to upgrade? Kinda, but not really. I really like the stock 61T and 61R pickups. They sound great, so Im gonna enjoy them for what they are.

My USA Fender American Professional Stratocaster has Tim Shaw pickups in it, and honestly they are some of the best strat pickups Ive ever heard.

I notice my trend of modding is that if its a foreign guitar ill usually upgrade the pickups. I find that USA models already sound great from the factory. The put some research and design into them, so I enjoy my USA guitars for what they are.

Will I never mod another high end guitar? I honestly dont know. But for now im enjoying them for what they are.
I voted "No leave them stock" but it's only mostly true. I switched out the pickups in the LP Custom. I didn't do it to mod or "hot rod", it was more a repair.


Senior Member
Jan 4, 2009
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Most of my guitars are modded, some a little, some a lot. My main player these days is my bone stock 2015 traditional. My old main player is a faded sg special that’s all stock except the knobs.

How do we measure the originality of kit builds and partscasters


Senior Member
Sep 30, 2012
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Only thing I had done was to finally change out my original Grover tuners for a new set that weren’t worn out .


Senior Member
Apr 25, 2011
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Mass guitar manufacturers have to skimp somewhere to make their profit margins... it’s a business. Usually, it’s in parts like tuners, plastic nuts, wire, switches, jacks. Other times, it’s pickups, bridges, tailpieces, posts, bushings. We live in a time where there are so many aftermarket parts available that are unquestionably higher in quality than what comes stock. They cost more too. I mod guitars because I do believe there are stock parts that can be replaced with better parts and I can do these mods and setups myself.

That said, most of our guitar “heroes” from the 60s-90s used stock gear to make legendary recordings and live performances.

Bobby Mahogany

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2012
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1992 Les Paul Standard:

I changed the original 498T when it started to squeal.
I put in a SD '59 double black that I had put on a MIJ Les Paul because those pups were crap.
I also changed the TRC for a blank one, because... vintage!
Amber Bell knobs because I found the speed knobs were so ugly.
And many many years later I changed the neck pup to a SD '59 double black because a friend of mine gave it to me
and I always found the original 490R didn't sound that good.
I already have pointers for it. But I never got to install them.
Maybe when I get rid of the amber Bell knobs for gold ones or even Reflectors, à la 1960's.

I would be curious to go Aluminum TP and nickel shit on that guitar.
50's harness, PIO caps and stuff.
Bone nut.

That guitar is already a tone monster (my friend's evaluation).
What would the planned mods do?

1978 Les Paul Custom:

Bought it transformed for a lefty so I had it transformed back to righty:
Had a new nut (bone) cut.
Saddles were done too so I bought some new Gibson ones.
Had it re-fretted because it really needed it. I guess I got tall and narrow's frets.
I don't remember the exact part number. Didn't save the nibs, it was about playing at the time (!).
The original pups have a tendency to feedback when pushed in overdrive.
So there might be some changes eventually.
Only on a need to basis.
Again, eventually, I might go for 500K's and 50's wiring on that baby.
And have those pups looked at by a professional.

1993 SG Standard:

Put in a bridge SD '59 pup because I didn't like the 498T!
That was a very good move.
Neck pup had been replaced already when I got the SG.
Has a DiMarzio Paf 4 conductors split through a toggle switch the replaces on of the tones.
That mod might be retrofitted, again, eventually.
Would go with 50's harness and shit (PIO's, etc.).

All others are originals.


Senior Member
Jan 29, 2012
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My main axes are: Gretsch 6120 (added a 3rd pup in the middle), '94 Standard LP (rewired a dozen times - '50s wiring with ToneRider Rebel 90's in it.....for now), Epi Custom (has had more pups in it than I can count. '50's wiring) and a Gretsch Jet that has been converted to p90's (I added the Deathproof motif lol).


Senior Member
Nov 9, 2012
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I’ve replaced the bridge and tailpiece on my Standard for tonepros and changed the speed knobs for tophats but that’s it. I loved it from the moment I played it so there’s no point in changing anything else. Oh and the pickgaurd came off too.


Senior Member
Jul 16, 2009
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My acoustics and classical are bone stock. Not sure what I would mod if I wanted. My R8 is stock except for strap locks. I had a strat a while back that I modded the crap out of to try to get it where I liked it. I eventually just sold it.


Jan 15, 2013
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The only thing I change is the strings. My personal philosophy in life, is that something is either good or it isn’t. I very, very rarely change anything on my guitars. Unless something breaks or fails, I love things for what they are and accept them for what they aren’t.
the money is in the hardware / electronics . olike I said __ even some of the better guitars have things that I would want to replce

good example : the new American Strats that have the tortoise shell pick guards . ugly as hell photo finish . VERY fake looking . something like that would be swapped out right away . can't even imagine what was going through their minds when producing that :facepalm:


Senior Member
Jan 20, 2015
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I make them "mine." Not sure if that necessarily means an upgrade. But I very rarely leave well enough alone.

Tim Fezziwig

Senior Member
Jan 20, 2010
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Rarely, usually let the guitar be itself. I did add Page wiring to my Esp Ron Wood and put an Iommi bridge pup in my Sg. Rest are stock- oh yeah, added a 4way switch to my Fender Tele and Hamer, that is all.


Senior Member
Apr 30, 2009
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Most of mine are box stock. Less than 10% have had something done.

But when I've done it, I've seriously done it.
Three have moved controls, sustainers, drastically changed pickups ( including a single-coil size 'bucker in the neck pickup ring with the sustainer driver), controls switched from standard 2T 2V to master volume, master tone, active sweepable mids boost on a push-pull and a sustainer intensity knob, plus a PLEK job plus superglued frets plus a kill switch and speeds added. Oh yeah, and an amber pickup switch knob and a poker chip that says "Bitch/Moan."

A couple of recent ones have had pickup swaps (to Suhr Aldrich pickups) and a PLEK/superglue jobs.

A couple of them have been returned to original because the idiot modder previous owners screwed up the wiring, and I worked hard to polish the back and sides of one guitar that had been scoured with some kind of Brillo pad. Idiot. One of those guys who said, "I'll never sell this guitar." And then did.


Senior Member
Oct 29, 2008
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i had a bone nut put on my first Les Paul. the stock one broke after i did a really big bend and the string popped out of the nut, wrecking it

newer Les Paul, nope

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