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  1. #1

    1969 humbucker questions

    So I've got a '69 custom that I almost never play. I really just don't love the tone compared to my '85 standard (with Tim Shaw's in it) or my '65 SG (with a p90). Is it totally sacrilegious to switch out the pickups? I'm honestly not even sure that they're original. The neck has a pat number sticker and the bridge has pat number stamped into the metal. there is also a slight difference in the way the screws are cut through the covers. The guitar plays and feels great and id like to get more use out of it. is it always wrong to replace? Can I just put them back if I ever want to sell it, or is the fact that they have been tampered with permanently devalue the guitar? what are some good replacement options if I chose to go that route?

    thanks.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Patent number decal gold Ttops are correct for that guitar. Stamped number no.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member corpse's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    First have you tried having it set up? No disrespect to your skills but a good set up is definitely worth it.
    But there are literally a hundred different pu's that would work.
    A custom is a different animal than an SG or a STD. Bigger sounding and bassier.
    I have used OX4's. I liked them a lot. Keep the originals and don't install anything that requires cutting or drilling.

  4. #4
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Reissue LP customs have a maple top just like the GT's, so they really don't sound all that different from the converted GT's (somewhat due to the ebony fingerboard mostly).

    50's and 1960 customs were all mahogany and do sound different, darker etc (I had a 69 LPC back in the day, and currently have a all mahogany LP Studio for a similar sound to that of the < 1960 LPC's).

    Wish I still had my 69 LPC, though for some reason it was a lot heavier than the 69 GT I replaced it with (and still have)?

    Quote Originally Posted by corpse View Post
    First have you tried having it set up? No disrespect to your skills but a good set up is definitely worth it.
    But there are literally a hundred different pu's that would work.
    A custom is a different animal than an SG or a STD. Bigger sounding and bassier.
    I have used OX4's. I liked them a lot. Keep the originals and don't install anything that requires cutting or drilling.
    Last edited by djd100; 08-09-17 at 09:14 AM.

  5. #5

    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Thanks guys. I just bought a Pat number sticker humbucker online. i'll have my guy throw it in there and see how it sounds. I figure I should start with everything "period correct" before I start shopping for more modern solutions.

  6. #6
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Patent number decal gold Ttops are correct for that guitar. Stamped number no.
    Big Al , this reminds me of a question/issue that I have always had with my Les Paul Custom which if truth be told I really don't play that much because of the tone of the Custom compared to my R9 .What are the pros and cons of switching out the circuit to a Les Paul Standard circuit ? Which then would give it better tone and more bite ? I do have the Gibson 57 classic in the neck and the Gibson 57 classic + in the bridge .Also is this something to do at all with the wiring harness ? I guess I am trying to get the sound closer to the Standard tone as opposed to the way a Custom sounds .

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    Big Al , this reminds me of a question/issue that I have always had with my Les Paul Custom which if truth be told I really don't play that much because of the tone of the Custom compared to my R9 .What are the pros and cons of switching out the circuit to a Les Paul Standard circuit ? Which then would give it better tone and more bite ? I do have the Gibson 57 classic in the neck and the Gibson 57 classic + in the bridge .Also is this something to do at all with the wiring harness ? I guess I am trying to get the sound closer to the Standard tone as opposed to the way a Custom sounds .
    If it has the 300k/100k pot harness upgrading to the 500k all around pot value should get you what you want. I've found the 57+ too dull for my tastes, but then I like brighter/twangy bridge tone.

    You might find the 500k pots do the trick. If not, then maybe a brighter pickup with the new pots will be in order.
    The older I get, the better I was.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    If it has the 300k/100k pot harness upgrading to the 500k all around pot value should get you what you want. I've found the 57+ too dull for my tastes, but then I like brighter/twangy bridge tone.

    You might find the 500k pots do the trick. If not, then maybe a brighter pickup with the new pots will be in order.
    Is there a way to tell from looking in the control cavity if it has the 300k/100k pot harness ? Sorry for the dumb question .

  9. #9
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    Is there a way to tell from looking in the control cavity if it has the 300k/100k pot harness ? Sorry for the dumb question .
    I did find one of the orginal pickups for the guitar last night and it was a T top ,Patent # ( I think it was 2737 )

  10. #10
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    I did find one of the orginal pickups for the guitar last night and it was a T top ,Patent # ( I think it was 2737 )
    and it was gold patent # decal (2737 was the # if I remember correctly ) I remember taking them out and replacing them with Seymour Duncan's PAF neck and a Duncan distortion .This was around 1980 ? because the gold T top, Patent was in the Seymour Duncan plastic box and the Seymour Duncan pickups are in the Gibson 57 classic plastic case which is in another box of parts in the spare room with all kinds of parts ad stuff .That would be some archeological dig .

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Sometimes you can see a value stamped on the back of the pot. You can measure with a multi meter if you have one. I would assume 300k.

    FWIW I find the Duncan 59 SH1 humbuckers outstanding and would make a great choice if the Ttops aren't hitting your target tone after the harness upgrade.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    In terms of getting "more" from a T Top in a solid body, I have had good success in putting a throbak magnet in them. Really makes a significant difference in depth, strength of sound and more in line with the PAF tone in my head. Just my experience.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Sometimes you can see a value stamped on the back of the pot. You can measure with a multi meter if you have one. I would assume 300k.

    FWIW I find the Duncan 59 SH1 humbuckers outstanding and would make a great choice if the Ttops aren't hitting your target tone after the harness upgrade.
    Thank you for your help Big Al.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by latestarter View Post
    In terms of getting "more" from a T Top in a solid body, I have had good success in putting a throbak magnet in them. Really makes a significant difference in depth, strength of sound and more in line with the PAF tone in my head. Just my experience.
    You can buy a Throbak magnet from Throbak ?

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Yes. It's on their web site , under accessories or something similar.

    Edit: here we go

    http://www.throbak.com/alnico-magnets.html
    Last edited by latestarter; 06-23-17 at 12:49 PM.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Thank you Latestarter so much for your info and help .Mucho Gracias
    Last edited by El Gringo; 06-26-17 at 09:16 AM.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Just on this - my comments were in relation to Pat No decal T Tops...haven't tried it with stamped. Probably similar results.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member Kris Ford's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by latestarter View Post
    Just on this - my comments were in relation to Pat No decal T Tops...haven't tried it with stamped. Probably similar results.
    I would think so.
     photo norlin_logo.jpg

  19. #19
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    I've "pumped up" many T-Tops by using the magnets from a P90. One P90 has two magnets.

    Almost any will do as they are stronger and are the long size used in PAFs. IMNSHO, they make a change for the better.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Sometimes you can see a value stamped on the back of the pot. You can measure with a multi meter if you have one. I would assume 300k.

    FWIW I find the Duncan 59 SH1 humbuckers outstanding and would make a great choice if the Ttops aren't hitting your target tone after the harness upgrade.
    Big Al, I wanted to ask you about the wiring harness in my Les Paul Custom, it will be the short shaft pot's ? The reason I ask is I am seriously thinking about replacing the wiring harness and I want to make sure I get the right one . Also is this a job that my Les Paul could or might get nicked/dinged or scratched or gouged ? I hate to be anal but I can't help it .
    Last edited by El Gringo; 07-07-17 at 07:31 AM.

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    Big Al, I wanted to ask you about the wiring harness in my Les Paul Custom, it will be the short shaft pot's ? The reason I ask is I am seriously thinking about replacing the wiring harness and I want to make sure I get the right one . Also is this a job that my Les Paul could or might get nicked/dinged or scratched or gouged ? I hate to be anal but I can't help it .
    El Gringo muy Amigo, it depends on the year of manufacture, but I would guess it is long shaft pots you need. Does it have the metal grounding plate that all the controls mount to? I like them but if you want a more vintage look, who's gonna see?, you can remove the plate and then check to see if a short shaft will work. Some will clear the top and on others they won't extend far enough up to attach the washer and nut. The only tricky part with the long shaft is setting the individual height by using the two nuts on the shaft. The flat bottom control rout along with the carved top means each pot has it's own setting to fit right.

    It isn't as scary as it sounds but it takes time and patience to do right.
    The older I get, the better I was.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    El Gringo muy Amigo, it depends on the year of manufacture, but I would guess it is long shaft pots you need. Does it have the metal grounding plate that all the controls mount to? I like them but if you want a more vintage look, who's gonna see?, you can remove the plate and then check to see if a short shaft will work. Some will clear the top and on others they won't extend far enough up to attach the washer and nut. The only tricky part with the long shaft is setting the individual height by using the two nuts on the shaft. The flat bottom control rout along with the carved top means each pot has it's own setting to fit right.

    It isn't as scary as it sounds but it takes time and patience to do right.
    Big Al, Over the weekend I took off the backplate to get a look inside and My guitar does not have the metal grounding plate that the controls mount to .I was able to read the numbers on one of the pot's R1379223 after that there was solder and it might have covered more # I am not sure .Then there were two little beige colored caps which had the # 207 on top with # 100 beneath it . This is like a forensics investigation to determine some facts on the age of the instrument and this harness (to determine if it's short shaft pot's or long shaft pot's) my goal is to replace the harness with the 500K harness and make this Les Paul Custom scream like my R9. I have been looking at Throbak's website and others for the new harness .

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Good news, I was finally able to get the wiring harness that I wanted with the CTS 500K pots and Bumble Bee caps all vintage from Marks Guitar Loft .Big Thank You to Mark .

  24. #24
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    R1379223

    "R' = Resistor

    137 = CTS

    92 is the year

    23 is the week.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    R1379223

    "R' = Resistor

    137 = CTS

    92 is the year

    23 is the week.
    Thank you kindly good sir .This explains some of the mystery for me because in March of 1992 my beloved Gibson Les Paul Custom was packed up and sent to Roger Gissin at the Gibson West Hollywood Custom Shop to have it overhauled and gone over with a fine tooth comb and I can guess that is how those pots and caps wound up in there .Well now with my new (vintage ) harness on it's way from Marks Guitar Loft ,my Les Paul Custom will be rocking again really soon .I have to say a mega big Thank you to you Wilko for this most helpful information and knowledge .Also a very mega big thank you to the most super Awesome Mark Bishop for my new (vintage ) wiring harness .
    Last edited by El Gringo; 07-28-17 at 09:01 AM.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    R1379223

    "R' = Resistor

    137 = CTS

    92 is the year

    23 is the week.
    You are very very good . this really blows my mind in a good way

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    All Gibson two pickup guitars up til 1976 should have 500k pots. Sometime in 76 they started using 300k pots which I think make the guitars sound dark & dull. If it were my guitar I'd make sure it had 500k pots and 50's wiring and a set of Throbak Pre-T 301's or had Throbak A-4 magnets in the T-Tops. The A-4's really make a T-Top come alive!

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    +1 on the 500K pots, and 50's wiring as well IMO, though that's not a huge issue like the pot values are (i.e. wiring schemes are subjective and up to the owner).

    That said, 50's wiring will give a lot more versatility etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by TM1 View Post
    All Gibson two pickup guitars up til 1976 should have 500k pots. Sometime in 76 they started using 300k pots which I think make the guitars sound dark & dull. If it were my guitar I'd make sure it had 500k pots and 50's wiring and a set of Throbak Pre-T 301's or had Throbak A-4 magnets in the T-Tops. The A-4's really make a T-Top come alive!

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by TM1 View Post
    All Gibson two pickup guitars up til 1976 should have 500k pots. Sometime in 76 they started using 300k pots which I think make the guitars sound dark & dull. If it were my guitar I'd make sure it had 500k pots and 50's wiring and a set of Throbak Pre-T 301's or had Throbak A-4 magnets in the T-Tops. The A-4's really make a T-Top come alive!
    In fact, they switched to 300k pots earlier, in 1973 definitely together with farewell to black Sprague caps.
    My diagnosis is: Hiwatt and Norlinphilia


    1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom
    1972 Hiwatt DR103, 1972 Hiwatt SE4122

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    Good news, I was finally able to get the wiring harness that I wanted with the CTS 500K pots and Bumble Bee caps all vintage from Marks Guitar Loft .Big Thank You to Mark .
    Update , the Les Paul Custom is being worked on as I write this and soon I will have good news to report with photos .

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Well now it is going on 5 weeks that my two instruments are out for this work and now I am starting to have major headaches whether this work is going to get done .I am starting to reach my discomfort zone after 4 and half weeks of my two precious guitars sitting untouched out of town in a forum sponsors store who I have purchased from a mega awesome Custom Shop guitar .I would feel like I had a better read if I knew what the normal timeframe was for this establishment and by no means is this a dinky store either .I have touched base twice very politely and was just told the other day that they are very backed up and they apologized but I am still at a loss and my comfort zone has disappeared and now I am having anxiety .So I m thinking of pulling the plug on the six week mark and just asking to have my instruments shipped back to me and what kind and good advice would anyone that has been in a similar situation been in and WHAT SHOULD I DO PLEASE .HELP .

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    Well now it is going on 5 weeks that my two instruments are out for this work and now I am starting to have major headaches whether this work is going to get done .I am starting to reach my discomfort zone after 4 and half weeks of my two precious guitars sitting untouched out of town in a forum sponsors store who I have purchased from a mega awesome Custom Shop guitar .I would feel like I had a better read if I knew what the normal timeframe was for this establishment and by no means is this a dinky store either .I have touched base twice very politely and was just told the other day that they are very backed up and they apologized but I am still at a loss and my comfort zone has disappeared and now I am having anxiety .So I m thinking of pulling the plug on the six week mark and just asking to have my instruments shipped back to me and what kind and good advice would anyone that has been in a similar situation been in and WHAT SHOULD I DO PLEASE .HELP .
    Maybe ask them for a firm date...over the phone...noting the person you spoke with. Then send an email politely minuting the conversation and the agreed completion date. If possible, send a copy of the email cc to the manager. Polite and understanding is the way, but you do have a right to expect your instruments to be processed in a timely manner.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by latestarter View Post
    Maybe ask them for a firm date...over the phone...noting the person you spoke with. Then send an email politely minuting the conversation and the agreed completion date. If possible, send a copy of the email cc to the manager. Polite and understanding is the way, but you do have a right to expect your instruments to be processed in a timely manner.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me out with some advice as I go back in forth with trying to be more patient and not hassle them for fear of pissing them off and then they take it out on my guitar with hacking a hole in the finish or some type of ding , then I resign myself to having to suck it up and make the call that this is not going to happen and work out and just politely asking for my 2 guitars to be shipped back to me without having the work done .For the life of me I guessed maybe 2 -3 weeks .Which this coming Monday the 11th will be starting the 6th week .All because I had my 1993 USA Fender reissue 52 Butterscotch Telecaster which had noise in the Volume and tone pot's and needs a setup , and My first ever Electric as a kid my most Beloved early 70's Gibson Les Paul Custom which has the Gibson 57 classic in the neck and the Gibson 57 classic + pickup in the bridge ,for a wiring harness replacement with vintage Bumble Bee caps and 500 K pots courtesy of Mark's Guitar Loft who is a fine upstanding man who I look forward to making more purchases from as I already have my eye on some more goodies from his fine shop .I think I will take your advice and contact them next week and keep my fingers crossed that this will come to fruition and I will be happy and ready to rock out some more on these guitars. Once again thank you kindly for your much needed advise and counsel .

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Wow... 5 weeks? I normally turn around guitars in my shop in 7-10 days tops..
    500k pots and a couple of Throbak A-4's in those stickered T-Tops and you should be there! Maybe a set of Pyramid Nickel Classics for strings and it'll give your guitar the sound of the late Sixties!

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    I am royally pissed off about the whole mess and I feel very badly all because I wanted to get some work done and this has turned into a fools errand with yours truly a FOOL .Today I am calling them up and asking to have my 2 guitars shipped back to me and I bet nickels to dimes my 2 guitars have not even been unpacked from the shipping boxes I packed them up in . Live and learn I guess as I did not seek out information up front about a estimated completion date and THAT'S TOTALLY ON ME because I did not want to seem pushy and obnoxious, and I did not even inquire about an estimated cost .Stupid me and here I thought I was cultivating a working relationship as I have a total of 11 guitars, which all need to be worked on from time to time (which is no small # and I most certainly have GAS for more ) and I envisioned myself making more purchases from them and even having some Fender Masterbuilt Guitars built( 3 Teles and 1 strat) for me .I feel like such an idiot . Now I think I will concentrate my purchasing efforts on some very lovely used Guitars .I would like to solicit peoples opionins on what I did wrong ? and what I should have done ?

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    I am also at a loss to understand how I could be so blown off .Let me put another way .Do you think there tech is so busy with just new purchases for customers shelling out for instruments from the store and my stuff was not a priority because I had not made a new guitar purchase from them in a year and a half ? In another words because I had not spent money in the store in a year and a half my 2 guitars did not matter to them ?

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    So after I got home from work yesterday I called the shop and I spoke to my contact in the store and I politely asked him that I wanted my guitars whether they were done or not and I asked him why this has been taken so long ? and he replied that the tech has been very busy as this is there busy time of the year .So he asked me to hang on so he could speak with the tech and then he comes back and tells me that he is working on my 2 guitars as we speak and I was told that he should be done with them either this Wednesday of Thursday and that he would be giving me a call to tell me they are completed .I was also told that he was sorry for the delay as the tech had some very complex repairs .I asked if the tech was just flat out busy with customers who are making new purchases from the store and that is where he is tied up and he said this is there busy time of the year .Which is all fine and dandy as I am a doughting Thomas on anything and everything .I also followed up with an E-Mail this morning .So I don't know what to believe about anything and I will anxiously await to hear from him in a couple days . Lesson learned I guess because I could do the work myself but as I do not have the skilled hands of a master luthier I would be afraid of butchering my precious and valuable instruments with ding dents and gouges I have the knowledge but not the finnese ,so I don't trust myself .I can do a very basic set up but techs are some much more skilled and have the touch which I do not .

  38. #38
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    he's working on them now, but won't be ready for more days? WTF.

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member corpse's Avatar
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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    "You can't shit experience". A saying belonging to my father.
    To me it has several meanings, one of which is the only way to learn to do something is to do it.
    When I work on my guitars I use several towels to protect the top from accidental drops- but the biggest thing is to get comfortable working on expensive guitars.
    This summer I opened up a burst- sweated profusely- no joke- but I fixed the thing.
    Buy guitar tools- mine seem to be lighter weight. Don't use vises, hammers (well unless you are doing frets) chainsaws or blow torches around your nice instruments. Don't wear long sleeved shirts with buttons, or loose fitting stuff. Arrange your tools, and pick them up deliberately. Learn to solder- get good at it. It's easy.
    And realize shit happens.
    It's amazing the bonding that happens- and it leads to bolder actions...

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    Re: 1969 humbucker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by corpse View Post
    "You can't shit experience". A saying belonging to my father.
    To me it has several meanings, one of which is the only way to learn to do something is to do it.
    When I work on my guitars I use several towels to protect the top from accidental drops- but the biggest thing is to get comfortable working on expensive guitars.
    This summer I opened up a burst- sweated profusely- no joke- but I fixed the thing.
    Buy guitar tools- mine seem to be lighter weight. Don't use vises, hammers (well unless you are doing frets) chainsaws or blow torches around your nice instruments. Don't wear long sleeved shirts with buttons, or loose fitting stuff. Arrange your tools, and pick them up deliberately. Learn to solder- get good at it. It's easy.
    And realize shit happens.
    It's amazing the bonding that happens- and it leads to bolder actions...
    Thanks for your encouragement . I actually have several really good books at home that explain how to do everything , one of them by Dan Erlwine who I have so much respect for .I have seen classes and seminars for Luither and tech work and that is something that I have always been interested in but with a full time job the time is hard to manage to get and utilize the best results and outcome . So this morning I get an E-mail telling me my guitars are all set .So after work today I will make arrangements for payment and to have them shipped back home to me and then it will be NGD X 2 for me .

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