Worthwhile upgrades for my Traditional Zebra


Senior Member
May 26, 2014
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Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone had any ideas on worthwhile upgrades for my Les Paul Traditional 1960 Zebra?

I have heard the bridge and nut could be upgraded and the electronics too, but is it worth it?
Here is the link, I have the honey burst one.

Gibson.com: Gibson Les Paul Traditional 1960 Zebra

Cheers, fellow Les Paul owners.

Orange Lester

V.I.P. Member
May 22, 2009
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Major thing I swapped on mine was the pickups. I also installed historic rings and changed the knobs and the pickup selector to Mary Ann /Ginger... The electronics are fine...


Senior Member
Apr 22, 2011
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Custom pickup selector ring.


Possibilities are endless!

...or you could tinker with the pickups/pots/caps. I guess that'd be cool too. :D


Senior Member
Aug 28, 2010
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Throw some covers on them pickups! Or maybe not...

I agree on Historic rings as well.


Senior Member
Nov 10, 2013
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swap out the volume pots for 500k, rewire to 50's wiring


Senior Member
Jul 24, 2011
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i have a gloss teaburst trad '60.
throbak pickups with covers
dimarzio pickup rings
martin6stringcustom jimmy page wiring
callaham stainless steel abr1 bridge and tailpiece
faber steel bushing, inserts and studs.
loxx straplocks
mojoaxe pickguard
kluson single line double ring tuners
flexguitar aged gold speedknobs

so you can swap out anything. if you dont particularly like the sounds it is making, there are about a million 3rd party pickups to pick from. thats what i would do first. and iirc, the honeybursts are satin finish. so you can get some virtuoso polish and put some shine on it.

IMG_0192 by politenessman, on Flickr

Shawn Lutz

Senior Member
Mar 26, 2012
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They are good guitars so if you are happy with it then no need in upgrading unless there something currently that you don't like.

I have a 2012 Traditional Plus that I modded for the classic 59 look. Some visual, some tonal but all improvements to my ears and eyes. I'll list them for your consideration but keep in mind these are not necessary of you are happy with the tone, playability and look of your LP.

*tuners with ages Vintage style from a R9
*TRC with historic plain one
*new nut with a TUSQ-XL
*amber switch tip
*historic pickup rings
*dual cream DiMarzio 36th Anniversary pickups. original bought uncovered and since covered with aged nickle covers.
*Wiring, bumblebee caps, toggle from an R9 (ripped out metal mounting plate)
*Faber Locking ABR1 w/raw brass saddles + studs and inserts (removed old Nashville studs)
*Faber ToneLock TP studs
*Callahan steel Tail piece
*Top hats and pointers
*Cream output jack

I didn't do all of that once, I did it over time. I had this sicne March of 2012 and a couple of things I recently did that made a pretty big difference was replacing the nut. I got pre-cut TUSQ-XL one form Stew Mac so spacing as depth is correct, I just sanded down the bottom for the proper overall height. This solved a lot of intermittent tuning issues with the G string. Then it was the Faber inserts for the ABRL, when I originally changed the bridge I used the existing whimpy Nashville ones as I thought it was a pain to remove them. The Callaham TP makes me believe the lightweight aluminum ones everyone raves about are not too goof for your tone. Any these recent changes make it seem like a totally new guitar from tone and playability stand point and will put it up against any LP out there...CS or production. I'm going to make some changes to my R7 and BB7 too to see if I can make them even better.

Here is the trad + One other thing I did was thin up the lacquer. I felt it was way too thick and had the dipped in plastic look to it. I sanded it down with 1500-2000 wet and didnt buff to the super shine gloss so it has more of a faded or VOS kind of vibe.

With the PU's covered



Apr 29, 2014
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Just sell it too me CHEAP & buy the guitar your really after my son..
Virtuoso = Oh Yeah!!
Enjoy that Honey Burst, Play it often, change the strings often, & enjoy the tone that it produces.. Don't RUIN the poor thing..
If your fingers bleed use superglue..


Senior Member
Mar 17, 2011
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swap out the volume pots for 500k, rewire to 50's wiring

This! I swapped my 50s wiring for Jimmy Page push pulls after a few months but 500k pots are a must for altering tone with volume/tone knobs.


Senior Member
May 28, 2013
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You can do a number of upgrades to that guitar. HOWEVER, that might impact your ability to sell it as people tend to prefer stock guitars instead of modded guitars when buying used. Plus you won't get your money back on the upgrades!

With that being said, here are a few upgrades you could do...

1. Tuning heads - some people like the traditional 14:1 Kluson Deluxe tuners while others like a more modern 18:1 Grovers turners. This is a preference upgrade and if you keep the original tuners, you can easily reinstall them if you sell it.

2. Pickups - the 57 Classic/Plus set is a very popular set, but are still based on Alnico2 magnets. Consider a magnet swap or a different set of pickups if the guitar doesn't quite give you the tone you want. Magnets are a cheap upgrade, but new pups will be expensive and you wont get your money back if you sell the guitar. But you could sell your existing pickups which would offset some of the cost of the new pups.

3. POTS & Wiring - this is a very popular upgrade and one that probably wont impact its resale value much if at all, especially if you go to 50's wiring and use better quality 500K pots. Gibson uses 300K pots, but many feel the 500K pots work better for humbuckers. Plus the tolerances on Gibson pots is not that great, so their values could be all over the place. I would suggest a matched set of CTS 550XL's and use Orange Drop .022 caps, all wired 50's style. Parts wise this isn't a costly upgrade, but unless you are really good at soldering, I would suggest getting someone to do this for you.

4. Shield your guitar! If you play any high gain music, shielding your control cavity will all but stop any background noise you get. It's simple and cheap, but generally done only when you rewire the guitar. Not really needed if you mainly play cleans or low gain music, but is something that does pay off in the studio.

That's pretty much it for the upgrades. I wouldn't bother with a nut or bridge/tail-piece upgrade as the difference is minor at best. It's not like Gibson uses cheap nuts or bridges to start with.

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