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Old 09-11-2012, 12:39 PM   #1
woad_yurt
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Any very, very, very cheap Epi SG mods?

I have an Epiphone Proline Special SG Model, the one that says Gibson on the truss rod cover. I know it's about as cheap a guitar ever made, plywood body and all, but, this thing is ergonomically perfect for me. It feels great, fits me like a glove, and I can play the snot out of it. So, I'd like to make it a little better, hardware-wise. I want to boost the sustain as much as possible. It's ok now for banging out bar chords but I'd like to hold a note for more than a moment.

I've already removed the neck and aligned/seated it properly. There was a plastic shim in there; now it's got full wood-wood contact. Once I get everything else installed and situated, I'm thinking of gluing it solidly to the body in addition to the screws.

I've already found a Washburn 423 bridge pickup for cheap; I love the way they sound in my Billy T so I got one for this. I don't care about neck pickups because I never use 'em anyway. If anyone reading this has another W423 sitting around, PM me & I'll buy it, too.

The tuners are lousy but this guitar never goes out of tune so I'm leaving them alone.

Can anyone suggest a decent yet low-priced bridge & maybe tailpiece that'll give me some more sustain? Remember, I'm not looking to spend a lot of money so, please, no top dollar suggestions.

How about a replacement nut? Any suggestions?

Also, dimensionally, is this guitar the same as a real SG? I ask because I don't want to end up with a nut or bridge that isn't a good fit if possible. I'd also like to get a single bridge pickup pick guard somewhere further down the road if they're available so the dimensions are important.

Thank you!

Last edited by woad_yurt : 09-11-2012 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
Arab_Philosofer
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Tusq nuts are great.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:17 PM   #3
Robbgnarly
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The plastic shim was most likely to get the proper neck angle.

Why don't you look for a used Epi G-400 faded? they are <$200 everywhere. And they have Grover tuners stock, better bridge/tail piece, and set neck.

www.guitarfetish.com

To mod the one you have your gonna need new:
tuners ($36 and thats for diecent cheap ones)
Bridge/Tail piece ($30ish)
Nut ($7ish but then your gonna pay some one $20ish just to make it right for your guitar)
New electronics/3way Switch/input-jack/capacitor ($21 ish and add $50 if you have a tech do it)
Throw in a GFS Fat Pat bridge/neck ($33ish each)
You will get a better guitar if you get a used Epi G-400, and it is nothing to pick them up for $150 used.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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First, thank you both for your input.

Arab_Philosofer:

Thanks for the Tusq nut tip. I never heard of them before today and they're only $13.65 a piece, definitely within my budget.

Robbgnarly:

Well, since I re-seated the neck, the action is way lower without any buzzing and the neck is no longer cocked to the side. Now the strings sit exactly over the pole pieces on the pickups and it also resonates a bit longer unamplified.

Regarding the electronics, I only ever use the bridge pickup when I play and I leave the volume all the way up and the tone all the way to the treble-y setting. I will turn the volume off at times if I want to sit the thing down or whatever so it's only function is that of a kill switch. For the little bits of lead I may do, when I get some extra cash I'm going to get an EQ pedal that I can set a few db higher to use as a boost.

All I really play are my own compositions and they're all very elementary rock and roll, kinda like Link Wray meets early Steve Jones meets The Stooges, so versatility isn't a primary concern. I found a slightly dirty, edgy pickup I that I like and with which I'm familiar, the Washburn 423, this morning on eBay, so I'm set there. If my tone and volume knobs are always on ten, would new pots and stuff make a difference?

Any recommendations for a particular bridge from Guitar Fetish?

With the nut, I can fit it myself. I used to have my own cabinet shop, have rebuilt engines, do my own gunsmithing, etc, so I have the tools and am good with them. If it'd get the guitar to ring some, I could make one out of a chunk of bronze or steel if need be. It'd be nicer to find one already 90% there, though.

Note: I do have a very high quality but nameless older* set-neck SG copy, probably Japanese, that is way better than this one in finish, wood quality, etc, but this cheap-o feels so good to me. The other is a really nice guitar but I can't play it as well as I can this Epiphone. It's like a tease. If I could get the Epi to perform better, I'd sell off the nicer one. The Epi has the same playing feel as My Billy T so I'd be good to go in case I broke a string somewhere. I can't switch to different feeling guitars without quite a bit of acclimating so I wanna keep things as similar as possible. I have handled a few additional Epi SGs, the 400 included, but the suckers just don't feel as good as this one does in hand.

Anyone wanna trade me a Washburn Billy T for a really nice SG copy with a Bigsby-esque vibrato bridge? Then, I'd really be set.

* I say that it's older because the white binding has begun to yellow with age.

Last edited by woad_yurt : 09-11-2012 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:18 PM   #5
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I have bought the Large bushing black bridge and Black stop tail for a Dean EVO I redid a while back. Not bad for $26ish.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
woad_yurt
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This morning I snipped the wire to the tone pot and the whole sound of the the guitar just opened up. It was like taking a blanket off the speaker. Would I get more of the same if I bypassed the volume pot as well? I'd be perfectly happy with a simple kill switch instead for any breaks in the action.

Seeing as how I have a wholly different sounding guitar now, I'm going to wait on the bridge until I get that new pickup here. Another bridge may be unnecessary as that dullness is virtually gone.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #7
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You could try installing a higher value pot like a 1-Mohm pot. That will seriously open up your tone.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:02 PM   #8
woad_yurt
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Somebody just told me about no-load pots, which are like $6.00 or so. I think I found a solution within my budget.

I think I'm going to get a few for all of my guitars.

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Old 09-12-2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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Cheaper yet, you don't have to buy a new pot, just modify yours!
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
woad_yurt
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An update:

My Washburn 423 bridge pickup is in and now it's far from dull sounding. I'm going to bypass the pots and install a kill toggle switch in place of the pickup selector toggle.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt
First, thank you both for your input.

All I really play are my own compositions and they're all very elementary rock and roll, kinda like Link Wray meets early Steve Jones meets The Stooges, so versatility isn't a primary concern

Right on, Link is the king man! I have a cheap ibanez that I put that nut on and man it reall made it "sing" as they say. It's a really nice feeling guitar, for what it is.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:02 PM   #12
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My customized SG....

Here it is, ugly but a real screamer.

I bypassed all the pots and neck pickup. I wired the bridge pickup to the jack with only an on-off toggle switch in between (mounted where the pickup selector was.) I cannot believe just how much of the sound had been muzzled. This thing sounds freakin' fantastic. With the W 423 pickup, it sounds really close to my Billy T, but just a hair more woody, I guess. I'd recommend that pickup to anyone who likes a good old rock and roll tone. It's sharp, distinct and a little dirty. The stainless 52-11 strings help some, too.

It's a little liberating, having a beater, and not worrying about appearances, dings, etc.

Note to Arab Philosopher: You know how Link's lead sounds in Robert Gordon's Flying Saucer Rock and Roll? This POS SG nails that type of lead to the friggin' wall. No joke. I'm happy as a clam.



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Old 09-24-2012, 04:41 PM   #13
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Paint the living hell out of it!!!

Why??? CAUSE YOU CAN!!!
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:27 PM   #14
woad_yurt
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I was thinking of that.

I think I'm also going to put two bolts with chrome cap nuts in the empty pot holes, too.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:17 AM   #15
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I Love the idea of a brass nut. I have been thinking about doing it myself. Basic physics says that the heavier and harder the contact points are for the strings, the less vibration will be absorbed, leaving the energy vibrating in the string. I would not glue the neck in. There are often reasons to take the neck off. Yeah, neck through is cool and probably sounds better, but they are less fixable.
Congrats on a nice salvage!

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Old 09-25-2012, 04:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt

Note to Arab Philosopher: You know how Link's lead sounds in Robert Gordon's Flying Saucer Rock and Roll? This POS SG nails that type of lead to the friggin' wall. No joke. I'm happy as a clam.

Oh cool man, that's a great sound. Cool setup indeed, I could imagine the raw tone. I might have to do the same if I come into a cheap guitar.

Last edited by Arab_Philosofer : 09-25-2012 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woad_yurt
I was thinking of that.

I think I'm also going to put two bolts with chrome cap nuts in the empty pot holes, too.


That's a very rock n' roll beater! Looks awesome. If your going to paint it, I would suggest just plugging those holes before-hand. Bam, it's like they never existed.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebuildIt
I Love the idea of a brass nut. I have been thinking about doing it myself. Basic physics says that the heavier and harder the contact points are for the strings, the less vibration will be absorbed, leaving the energy vibrating in the string. I would not glue the neck in. There are often reasons to take the neck off. Yeah, neck through is cool and probably sounds better, but they are less fixable.
Congrats on a nice salvage!

Brass is on the soft side.
If you want something hard for a nut, roller nuts are stainless steel but require mods to fit.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:00 AM   #19
woad_yurt
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Quote:
I might have to do the same if I come into a cheap guitar.


Check out those Washburn 423 pickups if you like a dirty Link Wray sound. Yes, bypassing every resistor on the guitar opened it up a ton but that pickup is where the dirty comes from. My Billy T has all its stock pots installed and working and has that same grit. Browse eBay for a while and one will pop up. They're cheap and you can install it onto one of your existing guitars.

Oh yeah: I've thought about it and I'm not painting it, folks. Sorry. I like not having to worry about dings and scratches. If it works well, I'm happy. If it works well and I don't have to coddle it, I'm even happier. You should see my old truck.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:52 PM   #20
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I'll keep my eye open on the net, nothing comes around locally. I actually have a great crunchy sound on the stock pickup of my cheapo HSS ibanez. But I wouldn't mind upgrading or even replacing the single coils. Good call on not painting it, it's got a certain charm that way.
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