Les Paul Studio lefty complete upgrade with P90 (Phat Cat) and solderless harness


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Aug 2, 2014
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Just completed a long planned upgrade for my 2012 Les Paul Studio.
This is my first and only but I never was completely happy with stock humbuckers (I think 490 and 498) -- overtime I've tried a lot of different settings but never was taken away by the sound of it, a muddy, sometimes muffled, overall heavy.
I read it could come from the pickups, it could come from pots.... after hours and hours of reading, researching etc. I decided to upgrade.

I wanted clean sound -- I went for Seymour Duncan Phat Cat pickups
I wanted simple system - no push pull or anything, just straightforward good sound, I went for 50s harness
I have no experience soldering, I didn't want to burn the guitar or myself, I went for solderless harness
I wanted nice, complete gold tuners, I went for Kluson Revolution Series
I hated that even though guitar was old gold parts, the pup selector and output jack where silver (cheap shortcut from Gibson) -- I went for Gold switchcraft switch and jack

Being a lefty, it's really hard to find consistent information out there, about what to get, how to setup etc.
But here is what I've learned:
- For Gibson Les Paul, go for standard potentiometers – no need to look for lefty version. Volume and Tone swell/go up when you turn clockwise, no matter the orientation of the guitar (I think that it matters more for Fenders)
- If you are DYI there are layouts out there that show you how to put together your harness in lefty configuration. I went for a pre-made harness and Charilie from Charlie's Gear on eBay (or Reverb) did a fantastic job.

It took me about 2hrs to take the guitar appart and put it back together – I have to admit, when the guitar was free of everything, completely naked, I asked myself, for a second, what crazy thing I was doing. But I have now a brand new guitar: The Phat Cat coupled, I guess, with the new harness, gives an amazing life and sound, musicality to the guitar, I couldn't be happier!

that's the guitar before:

that's the guitar after:

and that's the process:

1-taking apart the guitar

These are all the extracted parts -- will keep it for a rebuilt or maybe sell it at some point, maybe it's worth a couple of dollars.

Naked Guitar: (the off-balance and weight surprised me)

2- installing the new parts:
preparing pickup wires




Et Voilà! I have to say overall solderless solution takes a lot of stress away from the process!
Bonus, I also switched the switch cap to a gold piece.



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