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  1. #1

    Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Most importantly…

    I hope that everyone reading this is well and healthy, as well as their loved ones, of course. Right now, more than ever, it is important to take care of the people around you and to make sure that everyone stays safe.

    I would love it if you accompanied me on my journey towards the transformation of my Les Paul ´56 Historic Reissue, and chimed in on the many decisions that lie in front of me regarding the makeover. It is very important to me that you give feedback and share your ideas, because the devil always lies in the details and constructive criticism gives me the support I need to solve issues that will present themselves in the course of this project.

    Also, this is my way of saying thanks for sharing your projects with the LPF, by sharing my project with you

    Most of all, however: if this thread provides some slight diversion from the current grim circumstances and lightens your daily load just a little bit, I will have succeeded in what I set out to do here.

    Stay healthy and support each other!

    …and I do apologize for all the long-winded and meandering ramblings you will no doubt find below. Feel free to just skim through any them or skip any of them entirely.



    I) Where the guitar comes from…

    The guitar was made in 1996, one of the early historic reissues. I do not know if it is rare or not. There have never been as many ´56 reissues around as, for example, R9s, but back then, the number of historic reissues …issued (sorry!) altogether was even smaller. All the information I could get from Gibson Customer Service was that mine was originally shipped to a dealer in Hamburg, no case candy included whatsoever, just the standard brown Gibson case with lush pink interior That was the way things were done in the 90’s. I bought it in Hamburg from the original owner in 2006 or 2007 and it has been with me ever since. I decided a long time ago that this is the one electric guitar I would keep for good. Other guitars come and go. This one stays.

    The guitar is very resonant and the stock pick-ups (which are still in there) sound huge. I swapped both the pots and caps for an RS Modern Electronics Kit and the stock tuners for RS aged Grovers, almost immediately after purchasing the guitar, enjoying the vast improvements in dialling in the right tone and actually getting it. It stayed like that for a while, a bone nut being the only major update. Around 2010 I had a B7 put on it and that suited the guitar to my preferences even more. The neck is quite bulky, but not uncomfortable. The back of the neck, however, has a rubbery feel that I would like to see changed. There are a few dings in the finish here and there, that have accumulated over the years, but nothing major.


    II) Where I come from…

    At one time I bought a set of vintage 1950s P90 pick-ups from Kim LaFleur (I think…) and I was going to have them installed in my R6 to get closer to that elusive vintage sound/vibe, but somehow I never got around to it. Having a makeover done to this guitar made sense to me, since it already possessed the resonance and tonal character that I needed as a starting point. I wanted the guitar to feel, to smell, to look and to sound more like a vintage Les Paul – MY personal vintage-vibe Les Paul. I know that each instrument has its own character and sound. Getting a makeover would never net me a real vintage one, but in terms of authentic feel, smell and, most of all, vibe something akin to the real thing. This guitar already felt great to me and I wanted to build on that, ending up with a personalized instrument that is both unique and a work of art, – an instrument that feels great to pick up and play even before I pick it up and play.

    The historical inaccuracies that you find on the early historics have never been anything I was anxious to keep. Rather than being a nuisance, they made this otherwise wonderful guitar an outstanding candidate for a makeover in my book, since they offer more room for development than recent Historics that are more accurate in adhering to vintage correct specs.
    I have been a long-time lurker on these forums who has especially enjoyed following the makeover threads, both by HM and Florian. Around 2010 or 2011 I had been on the brink of signing up for a makeover on my guitar, but it just did not come together for me back then.

    However, reading and following the awesome and entertaining threads about restoring and embellishing the beautiful Gibson guitars of fellow forum members continued to be an inspiration to me. I never abandoned the idea and I held onto the vintage P90s…

    Now, I feel the time is right to take up the old project as kind of a reward for having made it thus far. In fact, it was my wife who encouraged me to reboot this project!!! With that kind of support I contacted Florian Jäger, with whom I had already got in touch ten years before, having been completely blown away and won over by the many examples of his art posted here, once again. I called him up and he instantly remembered me from the one or two tentative e-mails we had exchanged ten years ago! I was completely hooked not only by Florian’s outstanding memory, but also by the gut feeling I got about 10 seconds into the conversation with him. It felt like, within seconds, we were on the same page about what I wanted my guitar to become. Basically, the project began for me right then and there.

    I feel like things that have been in limbo for the last couple of years, are now coming together, at last. The stars are in alignment, so to speak. Adnuit coeptis, if you know what I mean


    III) Things are already set in motion…


    Florian and I talked about the scope on which we would perform the makeover, in general terms only. We did not discuss any finer details at this point on purpose, because we wanted to remain open and unbiased for anything the guitar will present us with over the course of the makeover process.

    The two things I am already committed to are that (1) the guitar would receive a Brazilian rosewood fretboard, i.e. the Bavarian Makeover II and that (2) the vintage P90s would be installed. I am also strongly considering keeping the B7, since my kids are very fond of it ALL other options are on the table and up for discussion.

    Here are parting pictures I took the morning before I sent the guitar off to Florian, where it would wait for the makeover proceedings to commence:





    For me, a goldtop at sunrise is something magical…my limited abilities to take photos notwithstanding.

    Here is the guitar having arrived safely at Florian’s, disguised as a MIM Taylor acoustic:



    I can't wait for Florian to start working his magic...


    IV) Where I would like you to join in…

    As mentioned above, I would love to read your ideas and receive your feedback in this thread. My goal is to keep you up to date – and, hopefully, reasonably entertained – during the entire project. As Florian told me, to make this project succeed, he will need my full participation which I would like to share with you as much as possible. It would be great to discuss the different stages of the project with you and ponder all the different courses of action, as they present themselves.

    For example, which kind of nut material should I choose? What will we find underneath that factory Goldtop? Should the guitar have a stinger? Should it be a darkback?

    You see, there are many questions that need answering.

    I will keep you posted and I hope that you will enjoy this thread as much as I do!
    Last edited by ununtrium; 04-05-20 at 03:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Ace139's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    YES keep the Bigsby!

    Upgrade the harness to go with the vintage P90s
    Low to medium level relic - more finish check with a few minor dings
    Adjust for less color aging under the pick-guard, switch-tip, jack plate, ...etc.
    Slight wear through the finish for arm wear and mild greening
    Don’t finish check the front of the headstock just some aging treatment
    Get a case to go with the vibe of the guitar - aged.

    I have a CC #24 and Gibson started doing the aged cases after I got it, wish I had one. I know I could get it done, maybe someday. I think it’s the cherry on top.

    All that being said - it’s yours not mine. Thanks in advance for the ride!
    Last edited by Ace139; 04-04-20 at 10:24 AM.
    Some people call me old fashion - but fire scares me

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member Hamerfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    .
    Last edited by Hamerfan; 04-04-20 at 10:32 AM. Reason: double post

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Hamerfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Hi, fellow p90 player from Bavaria here. I would love to see some pics of you vintage P90s. Preferably a shot of the back and from the side were the wires come thru the backplate.

    I like a light dark back with black grain filler looking thru the finish.

    image.jpg
    Last edited by Hamerfan; 04-04-20 at 10:45 AM.

  5. #5

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Many thanks for your advice. I will collect all suggestions and discuss them with Florian, when we come to those stages. I do like the aging details, indeed! Will definitely consider them when the time comes.

    The aged case would definitely be the cherry on top.

    I will post some information on the pots and potis tomorrow. Have to check my mail box first...


    Quote Originally Posted by Ace139 View Post
    YES keep the Bigsby!

    Upgrade the harness to go with the vintage P90s
    Low to medium level relic - more finish check with a few minor dings
    Adjust for less color aging under the pick-guard, switch-tip, jack plate, ...etc.
    Slight wear through the finish for arm wear and mild greening
    Don’t finish check the front of the headstock just some aging treatment
    Get a case to go with the vibe of the guitar - aged.

    I have a CC #24 and Gibson started doing the aged cases after I got it, wish I had one. I know I could get it done, maybe someday. I think it’s the cherry on top.

    All that being said - it’s yours not mine. Thanks in advance for the ride!

  6. #6

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Hello there!
    I will try and oblige you as much as I can. They were "dog ears" originally, but Kim was kind enough to mount them on brass plates for me, to be installed in my guitar. He also provided me with the original plates.

    I will post pictures of the pick-ups tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamerfan View Post
    Hi, fellow p90 player from Bavaria here. I would love to see some pics of you vintage P90s. Preferably a shot of the back and from the side were the wires come thru the backplate.

    I like a light dark back with black grain filler looking thru the finish.

    image.jpg

  7. #7

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Can’t wait to see this happen. But I would ditch the bigsby and never think twice about it.

    But I hate those things and the way they alter the feel of a guitar.

  8. #8

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Just like Ace139 I thought that vintage P90s required a different electronics kit. I, therefore, ordered one through Charles Guitars, the UK distributor for RS Guitarworks. I was happy with their modern kit over the last decade, so I figured I wasn't likely to go wrong with their RS Premium Vintage Electronics Kit!

    Charles Guitars were very helpful in answering all my questions and provided excellent service, throughout.



    The kit contains:
    (2) 500K RS Short-Shaft SuperPots®
    (2) 500K CTS Short-Shaft Audio taper pots
    (1) Vintage RS GuitarCap Paper In Oil .022
    (1) Vintage RS GuitarCap Paper In Oil .015 (This is the same GuitarCap as above, just in .015 microfarad. This is best used for the neck tone control, according to the distributor)

  9. #9

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    While waiting for things to start, I have been busy and sent my vintage P90s to Andreas Kloppmann, another miracle worker who is especially proficient in restoring vintage pick-ups as well as producing his own line of boutique pick-ups.

    Because the P90s had been lying around for a decade, I asked him to check them out and to make sure that they are in working condition, which they, fortunately, still are He was also very kind in providing me with aged pick-up covers. In addition, he told me a lot about vintage P90s and their tonal characteristics, which helped me understand and appreciate the ones I have all the more.







    ...and here are the aged pick-up covers:



    Cheers everyone!

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member Hamerfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Quote Originally Posted by ununtrium View Post



    What did Kloppmann say about the brass plates?

    Its very sad to see vintages pickups with unplated brass plates. The original dog ears can easily converted to soap bar. You just need a rubber grommet for the bigger hole, two small holes and cut off the tabs.

    If the hookup wires are both black and the phillips bottom screws are original and the magnets are long, your pickups were made between 1957 and 1962 - with short magnets between 1962 and 1965.
    Last edited by Hamerfan; 04-05-20 at 06:29 AM.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member Hamerfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    .
    Last edited by Hamerfan; 04-06-20 at 12:10 PM.

  12. #12

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    I completely understand your concerns. When I received the pick-ups I was surprised to see the brass plates, but figured they were there for good reason. I never gave it a serious second thought.

    Well, they may not be pleasing to the eye, but Mr. Kloppmann assured me that they both are fully functional and do what they are supposed to do. According to the expert, they should sound like any other vintage P90s. The bottom plates being what they are and looking the way they do, should have no discernable impact on how the pick-ups sound. YMMV, but that is good enough for me.

    I never took the magnets out to check whether they are the long or the short ones. I do remember, however, buying them from Kim as P90s from the ´50s and I have never had any reason to doubt that I was sent anything other than what I've bought. Again, Kim's professional expertise was and still is good enough for me there.

    It will be much more interesting to me, whether they will be pleasing to my ears, when they are installed together with the new pots and caps. That is the one essential aspect for me.

    That is also why I will definitely hold on to the stock P90s that came with the guitar, as well as the modern electronics kit. That combination sounded excellent and may be an interesting tone alternative to come back to in the future.

  13. #13

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    .
    Last edited by ununtrium; 04-06-20 at 10:08 AM. Reason: double post

  14. #14

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    What a wonderful way to start the week...


  15. #15

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    A new day, new pictures!

    Here is the guitar with all the bits and pieces removed...now there is only the finish between us and its natural beauty



    Here is the headstock. The 'Gibson' will be moved to its vintage correct position.



    Here are the stock inlays which have the rounded corners and wrong pattern which both are typical of mid-90s historics. You can also see how I did NOT take proper care of the Indian Rosewood fretboard. I should have cleaned it properly before sending it to Florian... Sloppy me!



    At least the inlay material was correct...

    Cheers, everyone!
    Last edited by ununtrium; 04-18-20 at 12:04 AM.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    is it me or the binding on your guitar is bigger than vintage les pauls and current historics?

  17. #17
    Formerly Lefty Elmo Steve Craw's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    The binding got thinner a few years ago in an effort to make the guitars more vintage-correct.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Craw View Post
    The binding got thinner a few years ago in an effort to make the guitars more vintage-correct.
    Yeah, they went from ABS to the original celluloid.
    Yeah, the brass plates kinda bother me. You can buy two original style bottom plates from ThroBak!. The plates should always be Tin plated Brass.

  19. #19

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    The inlays have been removed...



    Enjoy the Easter holidays, everyone!

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Interesting, why are the inlays removed if the guitar gets a new fretboard anyway?

  21. #21

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    The inlays being removed first is part of removing the fretboard itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by fakejake View Post
    Interesting, why are the inlays removed if the guitar gets a new fretboard anyway?

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Thanks!
    I also see that the old finish already has some checking going on next to the control knobs. If that happened naturally then that's quite rare.

  23. #23

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    IIRC, the checking around the controls started after the pots had been changed. The other checking just ...happened.


  24. #24

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    The fretboard has been removed!





    I wonder what the truss rod looks like. Does it have the "condom", too?

    I also make out the two grommets for positioning the fretboard, when the guitar was put together in the factory.

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Ditch the awful Bigsby , do a dark back , & please don't do neck set !
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    The myth :The most disturbing thing about buying a fake Les Paul is how my research after the purchase is received by Forum members ??? 2020

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

    The Myth: If I would have lived with MOM & mooched till I was 48 I would play like Clapton !
    Think about it
    won't you ...... Please !

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member ArthurS's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Quote Originally Posted by AA00475Bassman View Post
    Ditch the awful Bigsby , do a dark back , & please don't do neck set !
    +1

  27. #27

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Ditto x3

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member goldtop0's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Ditto x 4...............that is unless you're a big Dick Dale surf fan

    I'm a big fan of P90s and look forward to the end result

  29. #29

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Thanks for sharing your Bavarian Makeover!

    Guys, if one wanted a change in the bridge height, especially if it was an R4, for example, would a neck reset be worth it at that point?

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member Hamerfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    The neck reset to a higher pitch changes the tone, when you use a stop tailpiece. You get a brighter tone and little more sustain. But the OP uses a bigsby with a roll. Then and if you dont want a tone change, it is wasted time and money.

  31. #31

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamerfan View Post
    The neck reset to a higher pitch changes the tone, when you use a stop tailpiece. You get a brighter tone and little more sustain. But the OP uses a bigsby with a roll. Then and if you dont want a tone change, it is wasted time and money.
    Can you explain why? I know the greater the break angle over the bridge may change tone and sustain, I keep my stop bar all the way down for this. But does just the neck angle in itself change tone and sustain?

  32. #32

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Keep the faith and the Bigsby, make it special

  33. #33

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Quote Originally Posted by harrie0492 View Post
    Keep the faith and the Bigsby, make it special
    Bigsby good

  34. #34

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    I hope everyone found some rest and relaxation during the Easter holidays despite the surreal and horrific circumstances. Stay safe!

    Now - judging from previous makeover thread discussions - we have come to one of the more controversial sections in a makeover thread...

    Before you peruse the pictures, please note that I already discussed the pictures with Florian who was very happy to make the time and answer my questions in great detail. The gap you can see in the pictures has, in all likelihood, been there since the time the guitar was put together, the "tolerances" in the production of the neckpiece allowing for a faster and easier assembly, ensuring that everything aligned properly quickly etc. Other causes, e.g. that the gap has formed over time, are theoretically possible but very unlikely. The gap had not been filled with glue or else.

    Please note, however, that the gap was not created by the removal of the fretboard!







    The main question is what to do about it. Should (a) everything be left as it is now or (b) the gap be filled/removed using any particular material/method etc., or (c) the neck be reset altogether?

    I think we can safely rule out (a) Something has to be done about the gap.

    I am leaning towards (c) simply because these are THE two pieces of the guitar that have to fit perfectly. This is the most important connection in the instrument and to get this one completely right, I knew that a reset might be necessary. Actually, I am not really distressed by the fact that such a gap is there, because it gives me ample justification for a reset. If the fit between body and neck had been perfect, it would have been almost impossible to justify resetting the neck just in order to get the correct glue

    (b) would be a lot more attractive, if the neck had already been set with hide glue. Since that is not the case and having a makeover done is rather an all-or-nothing proposal to me (it just feels right this way), I believe (c) to be the option that stays true to the whole vibe of the project the most.

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    I assume you played the guitar before this project how much did this gap impede tone & sustain ? Would this gap be as hindering as the Bigsby ? I struggle with hearing the difference in my Titebond guitars VS my hide glue .
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    The myth :The most disturbing thing about buying a fake Les Paul is how my research after the purchase is received by Forum members ??? 2020

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

    The Myth: If I would have lived with MOM & mooched till I was 48 I would play like Clapton !
    Think about it
    won't you ...... Please !

  36. #36

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Yes go with c). Knowing the gap is there, or have been filled with something would make me focus on that wrong things while playing.

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member KR1's Avatar
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    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    c) simply due to the scale of the work that is available at this point..

    Each to their own, but I would never take a project his far, unveil a deviation from the desired result, and then not fix it.

  38. #38

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    I would fill the gap with glue and call it a day, however it's your money so have fun

  39. #39

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    Many thanks for your feedback thus far!

    I believe, KR1 hit it home with the statement below. That is my sentiment exactly. Because of this I am not dealing in absolutes. Every discussion about a decision to be made at any given time will be an open-ended one (so, yes: the jury is still out on whether to keep that B7 or not; I now realize that a Bigsby might be more closely related to Marmite than I thought...).

    One step at a time.


    Quote Originally Posted by KR1 View Post
    c) simply due to the scale of the work that is available at this point..

    Each to their own, but I would never take a project his far, unveil a deviation from the desired result, and then not fix it.


    ...speaking or Marmite, I'm off to breakfast.

    Have a nice weekend, everyone!

  40. #40

    Re: Bavarian Makeover II 1956 Historic Reissue by jaegerguitars

    As of April 18, the neck is out!!!


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