Getting ready to do some work on my #1

metalmike222

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
28
So, I've been wanting to do some work on my #1 guitar for a few years now. It's a 79 Les Paul Standard and I've absolutely loved it since the day I bought it in !994.

20191231_162950b.jpg


Here it is in all it's glory. It's a fairly typical Norlin era natural finish Standard, but for me it's pure magic. The DiMarzio X2N in the bridge was actually in it when I bought the guitar, and because of that, the X2N is now pretty much my favorite aftermarket pickup. The first thing I did to it after buying it was replace the Kluson tuners with Grover tuners (unfortunately lost the Klusons years ago...), hoping to relieve some of the tuning issues. It wouldn't be until MANY years later that I learned about pinching string paths through the nut and things of that nature. I also removed the toggle switch poker chip and the pick guard, because it's just SEXY! It's also had a refret in the last 5 years or so. Now it's time to move on to some other items.
I plan on replacing most of the electronics, from the toggle switch, to the pickups, to the pots. I just got my new pickups delivered on Friday.
20200620_110029b.jpg

Surprise, surprise! It's a new DiMarzio X2N and a matching D Activator-X for the neck position. I'm replacing the bridge pickup because I've been playing it for so long, the plastic on the high E edge of the bobbins is wearing away fairly significantly. My OCD also wants the pickups to finally match, which is what's prompting adding the D Activator-X this time.
I've also picked up a new bridge to replace the 41 year old original that has seen better days.
20200621_221149b.jpg

Among the not yet purchased parts are the toggle switch and pots. I'm also strongly considering a String Butler to further address the previously mentioned tuning issues. I've seen some pretty promising video reviews of them so I'm really curious.
The final thing that I'm still on the fence about... Being a 79, there is no ground wire from the bridge to the electronics cavity. From what I have read, the original pickup cover was part of the grounding system of the guitar, and since mine has never had the original pickup since I've owned it, it's always been pretty noisy on the bridge pickup. Especially since I play loud, distorted rawk! Now since I'm going to be replacing the neck pickup as well, I worry that the noisiness might get worse, or at least it will be noisy on both pickups, not just the bridge. So... I'm considering pulling the stud for the tailpiece and drilling into the electronics cavity to run a ground wire. REALLY nervous about it, so I'm also considering just get a noise gate for it, but if I can manage it without completely wrecking my baby, I would rather just fix the issue as opposed to cover the excess noise.
Anyway, that's where I'm at with it. Sorry for the really long post. I'll order the rest of the parts in the next few weeks and work on all of it at once. Let me know if anyone thinks I'm crazy! :)
 

VictorB

Formerly LZF
Super Mod
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
40,092
Reaction score
98,542
The X2Ns are Fender spaced?

Also, with a properly cut and lubed nut, there’s no need for a string butler.

Nice upgrades though!
 

Side Burns

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
1,813
Reaction score
3,130
Good MF choice there. Have you ever used a Bill Lawrence pickup? DiMarzio was Bill’s apprentice back in the day.

Heres the X2N on my ‘13 Standard that matches the Gibson Historic rings pretty well

heres the L500XL that inspired me to try the DiMarzio.


Hope you don’t mind the derail pics.
 

metalmike222

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
28
The X2Ns are Fender spaced?
Yeah, F spaced are the only option for those pickups. DiMarzio lists them as "universal spacing" on their website. I was also looking at Big Bends Nutsauce, so I might try that before I try the string butler.

Good MF choice there. Have you ever used a Bill Lawrence pickup?
Those are some awfully pretty fiddles! I actually HAVE a Bill Lawrence pickup in a cheap parts guitar that I got from a pawn shop years ago for $150. That was the guitar I bought to try new things like refinishing. The refinishing job I attempted was pretty terrible, but the pickup itself was probably worth the money I spent on the guitar. Maybe I'll pull it out one of these days and slap it into a real guitar. I have enough of them laying around to try. :D
 

Side Burns

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
1,813
Reaction score
3,130
Those are some awfully pretty fiddles! I actually HAVE a Bill Lawrence pickup in a cheap parts guitar that I got from a pawn shop years ago for $150. That was the guitar I bought to try new things like refinishing. The refinishing job I attempted was pretty terrible, but the pickup itself was probably worth the money I spent on the guitar. Maybe I'll pull it out one of these days and slap it into a real guitar. I have enough of them laying around to try. :D
Thx,
if you have a guitar to install pickups on, 1 of the BEST setup is the APH-2 in the neck and Dimebucker in the bridge. The Dimebucker got me to try the OG L500XL, & that got me to try the X2N

ok ill stop blasting pics after this... I promise:fingersx:
 

metalmike222

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
28
I have an LPJ that I picked up for about $400 at the beginning of the year that still has stock pickups. Maybe I'll try that Bill Lawrence in that one. Pretty sure the one I have is an L500, but honestly I haven't even looked at it in years. That LPJ is really bright sounding with the stock pickups and I was already wanting to swap out the pickups, so maybe the BL will be a better fit for it.
 

metalmike222

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
28
@Side Burns, here's a couple of pics of my Bill Lawrence.

20200622_180741b.jpg


20200622_181220b.jpg


It's definitely seen better days, and I'm not really sure what model it is. I thought I remembered seeing L500 stamped on it somewhere, but I don't see anything on it now. I haven't even touched the guitar it's in for probably close to 10 years, so it may just be time to strip the guitar and keep it as a donor/experiment guitar. I don't even know what kind of guitar it is, and I can't explain why I bought it other than to say I was looking for something to experiment on. The finish was the pink/purple You can see under the bridge so I figured I couldn't make it any more ugly than it already was.
 

Roxy13

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
8,100
Reaction score
22,792
Why not take it to a luthier for the ground wire and the nut? I think you'll be happy if those get addressed.

I've only drilled one so far and it was nerve wracking. Although since I want to build I'm going to have to continue doing it :)
 

metalmike222

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
28
I want to start getting into building as well. Thinking about starting with the StewMac mini strat kit for a fun project to build with my son.
I have thought about taking it to a luthier for the ground wire though,and I might end up doing that. The nut was addressed when it was refretted, and it helped a bit, but the tuning has just never really been THAT great.
 

metalmike222

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
28
I actually reached out to the guy I bought it from back in 94. He's be working as a professional guitar tech for national acts for probably close to 20 years now. He's going to drill and run the ground wire for me. Might have him go ahead and do all the work. I've known him for a long time and really trust him.
 


Latest Threads



Top