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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Esseries 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Hello there!

    I have a 1952 Gibson ES-175 that I'm going to convert into an ES-175D (two P-90's). Who can give me some info on which toggle switch to use (long?), which 2 extra pots (short, 500K?) and which capacitor? Any help would be great!!! For the pickup I have a Seymour Duncan Antiquity Bridge P90 dogear in mind...
    And by the way, for all of you in Holland/Belgium/Germany, do you know anyone who I can trust in letting him (or her) do the job???

    [IMG][/IMG]

  2. #2
    Troels
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by 58dutchie View Post
    Hello there!

    I have a 1952 Gibson ES-175 that I'm going to convert into an ES-175D (two P-90's). Who can give me some info on which toggle switch to use (long?), which 2 extra pots (short, 500K?) and which capacitor? Any help would be great!!! For the pickup I have a Seymour Duncan Antiquity Bridge P90 dogear in mind...
    And by the way, for all of you in Holland/Belgium/Germany, do you know anyone who I can trust in letting him (or her) do the job???

    [IMG][/IMG]
    It's matter of taste and money which parts to use ... but one thing is sure: You'll lose a fortune right away. Why not keep it as is and then buy another ES 175 with the number of pick ups you wan't? If it's done wrongly btw the guitar will be destroyed... sometimes people cut thru the top braces in order to make space for the PU route causing the top to sink (a new PU route itself will accellerate the sinking proces as well...).

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Troels View Post
    It's matter of taste and money which parts to use ... but one thing is sure: You'll lose a fortune right away. Why not keep it as is and then buy another ES 175 with the number of pick ups you wan't? If it's done wrongly btw the guitar will be destroyed... sometimes people cut thru the top braces in order to make space for the PU route causing the top to sink (a new PU route itself will accellerate the sinking proces as well...).
    Hi Troels,
    Thanks for your comment. I'm sure I won't sell the guitar so the worth of it is not that important. It's just that I miss a snarling bridge pickup on it! But your story on the braces makes me think...don't know if there are braces in it on that spot???

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member tuberide's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    It would be a sad day if that beauty were cut for another pickup and controls. Please consider selling and getting a '53-'56 double.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by tuberide View Post
    It would be a sad day if that beauty were cut for another pickup and controls. Please consider selling and getting a '53-'56 double.
    Hi Tuberide,

    I won't sell it because I had Gibson track down the shipping ledgers by it's serial number and it appeared to been 'born' on the same day as I was! So I'll NEVER part from it...

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member tuberide's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Yeah that is a keeper for sure, but consider that one day it will pass on to the next owner unless you bury it with you. Keep it unmolested and get another double for that snarling bridge tone you desire....maybe even consider a 330 TD. Whatever you do good luck.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    or ... simply consider and appreciate the guitar for what it is. This is a real beauty. Keep it as is and enjoy it for what it was meant to be.

    The thought of that wood top screaming out as the router saws away the wood fibers is enough to make a grown man cry.

    If you want a screaming P-90 bridge pickup sound ... go with a Les Paul Junior. Now there's a snarling dog !!!! A single pickup LP junior, IMHO, is the only way to go for getting that bridge pickup snarl,,,,

  8. #8

    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    IMO you won't have much tonal benefit, if at all, from a bridge pu in a hollowbody. You have a dream of an ES175 - leave it alone and enjoy it.

  9. #9
    Troels
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by 58dutchie View Post
    Hi Troels,
    Thanks for your comment. I'm sure I won't sell the guitar so the worth of it is not that important. It's just that I miss a snarling bridge pickup on it! But your story on the braces makes me think...don't know if there are braces in it on that spot???
    There are indeed braces running the full lenght of the guitar - glued to the inside surface of the top... and they will end up being very close to the edges of a P-90 route (actually flush with the edges) and only a little bit of with the router - the diaster will appear... Even skilled craftsmen make mistakes with that from time to time. I do know the "not-sell" argumentation - but to me it would be a matter of respect for fine old workmanship and an absolutely high quality musical instrument. Gibson made the absolutely best guitars these years in the early 50s... soooo

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member ES345's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    I am primarily a jazz player, 98% of what i do is on the neck pickup, and i could live without the middle or bridge pup the other 2%, it is yours to do with as you would see fit, but the small consenus is not to molest it. Have you played a large hollowbody with a snarling bridge, i have always found the feedback too much to deal with in that situation. Is the Bigsby original?

    A fine looking guitar that a lot of jazz men used with just the single p 90


    peace

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by ES345 View Post
    I am primarily a jazz player, 98% of what i do is on the neck pickup, and i could live without the middle or bridge pup the other 2%, it is yours to do with as you would see fit, but the small consenus is not to molest it. Have you played a large hollowbody with a snarling bridge, i have always found the feedback too much to deal with in that situation. Is the Bigsby original?

    A fine looking guitar that a lot of jazz men used with just the single p 90


    peace
    Hello ES345,

    I don't know if the Bigsby is original, probably not. It looks old and has been on the guitar for a long time, but I haven't seen that many old ES-175's with a factory Bigsby. I still have the original tailpiece, but it's broke. So that might be the reason someone put a Bigsby on it someday...
    Because of all the reactions here I'm starting to doubt if I should go on with the conversion. I would absolutely die if something went wrong...

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    You have a very nice example there, and if it was a project guitar, I would say yes, but get it back to original, and then save and find a basket case, or project 175 that will have the capabilities of two p90's
    Top carves are sexy

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member professor's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Troels View Post
    It's matter of taste and money which parts to use ... but one thing is sure: You'll lose a fortune right away. Why not keep it as is and then buy another ES 175 with the number of pick ups you wan't? If it's done wrongly btw the guitar will be destroyed... sometimes people cut thru the top braces in order to make space for the PU route causing the top to sink (a new PU route itself will accellerate the sinking proces as well...).
    Get a competent luthier involved and you should have no serious problems with devaluation.
    Regards, Dave Orban

    www.mojogypsies.com
    The Mojo Gypsies on Myspace
    Our Youtube Wanking



    Gear
    '53 ES-175
    '03 Andersen Electric Archie
    '64 ES-330

    '01 L4 CES
    '64 Silvertone Jupiter
    Parts Teles w/ Vintage Vibe or Don Mare pickups

    '96 Matchless Chieftain 1x12 combo
    '54 Fender Deluxe
    '01 Alessandro Beagle and English
    '58 Gibson G8 Discoverer

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member Seoighs's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    58dutchie:

    A couple of points. Your ES175 is a gorgeous piece, made more special by the fact that it is cosmically 'bound' to you at birth. I believe the Bigsby is original, as that was an option offered on all Gibson electrics through 1966, when Ted McCarty left the Company. I think I read that when the Bigsby's were installed, they included the stock tailpiece when shipping the guitar. Regardless of factory or dealer install, a Bigsby is consistent with the
    ES175 model. They will not be maiking any more ES 175's on the same day you are born.

    I would implore you NOT to modify this fine instrument, but enjoy it in its present form. As others have pointed out, there are many options (including a brand new LP Jr. for under $500 US) to enable you to enjoy a stronger 'bridge bite' when you play - please consider those. Naturally, you may do as you wish, but at some level, you want to consider the provenence, posterity, and historical value of the guitar.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member professor's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Gibson made single- and double-pickup 175s based on a guestimate of market demand. They are structurally identical.

    Like I said, having a competent luthier add a bridge pickup would only devalue the guitar to an AVH, most of whom don't really look for 175s int the first place.

    They're too busy stripping parts off of old 175s to put onto their replicas or reissues, so they can pretend that they have "old wood"... LOL!

    If you plan on actually playing the guitar, do what makes you happy.
    Regards, Dave Orban

    www.mojogypsies.com
    The Mojo Gypsies on Myspace
    Our Youtube Wanking



    Gear
    '53 ES-175
    '03 Andersen Electric Archie
    '64 ES-330

    '01 L4 CES
    '64 Silvertone Jupiter
    Parts Teles w/ Vintage Vibe or Don Mare pickups

    '96 Matchless Chieftain 1x12 combo
    '54 Fender Deluxe
    '01 Alessandro Beagle and English
    '58 Gibson G8 Discoverer

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by professor View Post
    Gibson made single- and double-pickup 175s based on a guestimate of market demand. They are structurally identical.

    Like I said, having a competent luthier add a bridge pickup would only devalue the guitar to an AVH, most of whom don't really look for 175s int the first place.

    They're too busy stripping parts off of old 175s to put onto their replicas or reissues, so they can pretend that they have "old wood"... LOL!

    If you plan on actually playing the guitar, do what makes you happy.
    Hi Dave,

    Well, I use it a lot. That's why I would loveto have a bridge P90 on it so it would be more versatile. The neck P90 absolutely roars! Those early 50's P90s sound different/better than lets say an early 60's one (also have a '62 ES-330). I would love to turn it into a 295-like guitar.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member professor's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by 58dutchie View Post
    Hi Dave,

    Well, I use it a lot. That's why I would loveto have a bridge P90 on it so it would be more versatile. The neck P90 absolutely roars! Those early 50's P90s sound different/better than lets say an early 60's one (also have a '62 ES-330). I would love to turn it into a 295-like guitar.
    Ditto on the 50s P90s...

    My '53 175 has been my main gigging guitar for the last 5 years or so. I've tried pretty much all of the boutique P90 pickups out there, and, while some come pretty close, nothing I've played sounds quites as good to my ears as the old ones.
    Regards, Dave Orban

    www.mojogypsies.com
    The Mojo Gypsies on Myspace
    Our Youtube Wanking



    Gear
    '53 ES-175
    '03 Andersen Electric Archie
    '64 ES-330

    '01 L4 CES
    '64 Silvertone Jupiter
    Parts Teles w/ Vintage Vibe or Don Mare pickups

    '96 Matchless Chieftain 1x12 combo
    '54 Fender Deluxe
    '01 Alessandro Beagle and English
    '58 Gibson G8 Discoverer

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by professor View Post
    Ditto on the 50s P90s...

    My '53 175 has been my main gigging guitar for the last 5 years or so. I've tried pretty much all of the boutique P90 pickups out there, and, while some come pretty close, nothing I've played sounds quites as good to my ears as the old ones.
    IMHO the Seymour Duncan Antiquity P90 'dogear' comes the closest. Would you agree?
    By the way, if I decide to do so, to find a decent Luthier that can do the job or has this done before will be the hardest part...

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member professor's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by 58dutchie View Post
    IMHO the Seymour Duncan Antiquity P90 'dogear' comes the closest. Would you agree?
    That has been my experience.

    I'm actually thinking abut retrofitting a Steve Andersen Electric Archie with Antiquity P90s...
    Regards, Dave Orban

    www.mojogypsies.com
    The Mojo Gypsies on Myspace
    Our Youtube Wanking



    Gear
    '53 ES-175
    '03 Andersen Electric Archie
    '64 ES-330

    '01 L4 CES
    '64 Silvertone Jupiter
    Parts Teles w/ Vintage Vibe or Don Mare pickups

    '96 Matchless Chieftain 1x12 combo
    '54 Fender Deluxe
    '01 Alessandro Beagle and English
    '58 Gibson G8 Discoverer

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member Dutch53GT's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    I wouldn't do it, but it's your guitar. I think it's great you know you won't sell it, do whatever you want.

    The hardest part is finding a shop that can do the job, the right way. My '53 needs new frets and I scared as hell some Dutch butcher will F. it up.

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member professor's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    With the level of communication enabled by the internet, I find it hard to believe that anyone couldn't find a competent luthier, through a referral.

    As to frets, pretty much the FIRST thing I do when I get a vintage piece is to have it refretted with 6105s, my personal favorite.

    Just like I wouldn't buy an old car and expect to drive on 40-year-old tires, frets -- like strings -- are meant to be replaced.

    Me, I buy guitars to play them, not to worship their authenticity.
    Regards, Dave Orban

    www.mojogypsies.com
    The Mojo Gypsies on Myspace
    Our Youtube Wanking



    Gear
    '53 ES-175
    '03 Andersen Electric Archie
    '64 ES-330

    '01 L4 CES
    '64 Silvertone Jupiter
    Parts Teles w/ Vintage Vibe or Don Mare pickups

    '96 Matchless Chieftain 1x12 combo
    '54 Fender Deluxe
    '01 Alessandro Beagle and English
    '58 Gibson G8 Discoverer

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member Dutch53GT's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    authenticity?


  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by professor View Post
    Get a competent luthier involved and you should have no serious problems with devaluation.
    I agree. I have guitars that will never leave me and I do as I wish with them. I'm all for a player making adjustments necessary to get the optimum performance out of his instrument....especially if it is one that speaks to him above others and selling is not an option. It's all about making music and if it serves you better with modifications, so be it. Most of the great players had their guitars tailored to their liking. Not too many of the guys we listen to were concerned about keeping an instrument stock. Most of them constantly tinkered with them. Some even created entirely new instruments capable of techniques never heard before with creative mods. What if everyone would have told Clarence White not to dig about a pound of wood out his old Tele Custom? Clapton disassembled several 50's Strat's to create one the most legendary instruments of all time. Page "butchered" his worthless burst and the list goes on. If this is the guitar that has the feel that you like and you can add more colors to your palette to help you create music, go for it!

  24. #24

    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    The Bigsby looks almost certainly like a reissue to me. The castings are way too clean and (in the pics at least) it has little of the patina that an old Bigsby would have.

    I don't recall offhand when the first Bigsby tailpieces were available. The first Gretsch 6120 came out in '54, and it had a fixed arm Bigsby until '56.

    An original Bigsby will have holes drilled completely through the bar on which the string posts are mounted. The reissues are only partially tapped, with the string posts set into holes that don't go all the way through. There are some other smaller distinguishing characteristics, too, that more pics could resolve -- but I don't think there's much of a question.

    In any case, a lovely guitar. Personally, I think the bridge and middle positions really come to life with a Bigsby and an aluminum Bigsby bridge -- though that compromises the fat woody sound of the guitar as is. I have a '55 ES-175D, and I seldom use the bridge pickup alone. For that biting tone, I prefer a different guitar that's dialed in differently -- with a Bigsby and a different bridge.

    You might or might not agree (I'm pretty sure Dave uses his in all positions with a wooden bridge) -- but you might find that installing a second pickup just sets you up for more difficult decisions. I'd be reluctant to do it, since I don't think it's a uniform net gain -- it's just asking for compromises to what the guitar does now supremely well.

  25. #25

    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    There have been a few more posts since I started mine -- and I now see that you're talking about making it more like an ES-295. If that's the direction you're really inclined to move, go for it.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member professor's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch53GT View Post
    authenticity?

    Regards, Dave Orban

    www.mojogypsies.com
    The Mojo Gypsies on Myspace
    Our Youtube Wanking



    Gear
    '53 ES-175
    '03 Andersen Electric Archie
    '64 ES-330

    '01 L4 CES
    '64 Silvertone Jupiter
    Parts Teles w/ Vintage Vibe or Don Mare pickups

    '96 Matchless Chieftain 1x12 combo
    '54 Fender Deluxe
    '01 Alessandro Beagle and English
    '58 Gibson G8 Discoverer

  27. #27

    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    I'd take that home, no questions asked.

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch53GT View Post
    I wouldn't do it, but it's your guitar. I think it's great you know you won't sell it, do whatever you want.

    The hardest part is finding a shop that can do the job, the right way. My '53 needs new frets and I scared as hell some Dutch butcher will F. it up.
    Hi Dutch, don't you have ANY suggestions concerning a decent luthier in Holland?

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member Walter Broes's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    I agree with the Professor - get a competent luthier to do the work and it'll turn out great if the pickups match.
    I would try and find a period P90, but the Antiquities are nice indeed.

  30. #30
    Troels
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Here is a picture (from frets.com) showing what I mean (described in an earlier post) with the tone bars: http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luth...es175top12.jpg As you can see not much should go wrong befores disaster is reality...

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by 58dutchie View Post
    Hi Dutch, don't you have ANY suggestions concerning a decent luthier in Holland?
    I'd take it to a luthier who builds archtops for a living - NOT your standard repair guy..

    Daniel Slaman and Richard Heeres in The Hague, Theo Scharpach in Limburg. Possibly there are more guys. Problem is they usually have a large workload and are not that interested in repairs, but they are the most qualified for the job.

    50s P90s are plentiful on Ebay.

    Here's a useful link:
    http://www.gitaarnet.nl/magazine/art...elen/adam.php3

  32. #32
    Troels
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    I'd take it to a luthier who builds archtops for a living - NOT your standard repair guy..

    Daniel Slaman and Richard Heeres in The Hague, Theo Scharpach in Limburg. Possibly there are more guys. Problem is they usually have a large workload and are not that interested in repairs, but they are the most qualified for the job.

    50s P90s are plentiful on Ebay.

    Here's a useful link:
    http://www.gitaarnet.nl/magazine/art...elen/adam.php3
    Funnily enough... but it's not too difficult for a Dane to read Dutch... interesting page.

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Troels View Post
    Here is a picture (from frets.com) showing what I mean (described in an earlier post) with the tone bars: http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luth...es175top12.jpg As you can see not much should go wrong befores disaster is reality...
    Thanks!!! That's helpfull, also for the luthier...!

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    I'd take it to a luthier who builds archtops for a living - NOT your standard repair guy..

    Daniel Slaman and Richard Heeres in The Hague, Theo Scharpach in Limburg. Possibly there are more guys. Problem is they usually have a large workload and are not that interested in repairs, but they are the most qualified for the job.

    50s P90s are plentiful on Ebay.

    Here's a useful link:
    http://www.gitaarnet.nl/magazine/art...elen/adam.php3
    Thanks a lot Keef!!! Just what I was looking for!

  35. #35
    bharat.k
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Since you were born on the same day as this lovely guitar and are bound with it in this way, I think it's only fair that you have something aditionally surgically attached to yourself as well. Maybe an extra mouth on your stomach? After all fair is fair!

  36. #36
    Troels
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by bharat.k View Post
    Since you were born on the same day as this lovely guitar and are bound with it in this way, I think it's only fair that you have something aditionally surgically attached to yourself as well. Maybe an extra mouth on your stomach? After all fair is fair!
    Maybe it's about time for a facelift for the owner himself... (one year older than me...)

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member Dutch53GT's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    I'd take it to a luthier who builds archtops for a living - NOT your standard repair guy..

    Daniel Slaman and Richard Heeres in The Hague, Theo Scharpach in Limburg. Possibly there are more guys. Problem is they usually have a large workload and are not that interested in repairs, but they are the most qualified for the job.

    50s P90s are plentiful on Ebay.

    Here's a useful link:
    http://www.gitaarnet.nl/magazine/art...elen/adam.php3
    Does the guy who builds archtops for a living ever held or modified an original?

    Vintage and building new are two different things.
    I know a lot of builders who love to change frets, put in a new bridge, nut or tuners because it works better. Which is true. But not vintage.

    (I never dealt with the names you mentioned, I'm not implying that they don't know what they are doing. Just a question..... )

  38. #38
    Les Paul Froum Member
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Oh man, I'm looking at that P90 equipped Gold Top with all that mojo, and then I'm looking at that Strat/Kohler tailpiece, and then I'm looking at that Gold Top and then back at that tail piece, and man I'm crying.

    OK, 'nuff of that.

    if you're going to add the second pickup,I would recommend that you buy a pre-wired wiring harness from RS Guitarworks, with 500K matched super pots, and consider going to one of the pickup builders on Les Paul Forum for your bridge P90.

    Consider Zhangliquin or Lollar or Lindy Fralin.

    Too bad they didn't choose a B7 for that Bigsby.

    How about some more

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member Dutch53GT's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Quote Originally Posted by cherrick View Post
    Oh man, I'm looking at that P90 equipped Gold Top with all that mojo, and then I'm looking at that Strat/Kohler tailpiece, and then I'm looking at that Gold Top and then back at that tail piece, and man I'm crying.

    Too bad they didn't choose a B7 for that Bigsby.

    How about some more
    If you look at it some more you'll start loving it, that's what happend to me.....

    (this is not my thread, no pic's of the GT how about some more of the ES??!!)

  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member 58dutchie's Avatar
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    Re: 1952 ES-175 conversion help please

    Well, you asked for some more pics so here they are!

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    Concerning the last one: the original owner had 'T P' engraved in the pickguard, in pearl (Tom Petty? haha). I don't like it, so I applied a pinup-girl decal on it (don't know if I like that actually...), but most of the time I play it without the pickguard.

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