#1
So, my friend has a Gibson Les Paul, and I freakin' love it. I thought my guitar was pretty good until I played it, but now it's just "meh" in comparison.

So, I know Gibson guitars are expensive, and even if I sold both kidneys, I'm sure I'd still fall short of enough to buy one. That being said, I was considering modifying a cheap Epiphone version until it's near that quality. I figured that I've replaced pickups and an output jack before, surely nothing will be much harder, right?

So, here's what I'd be starting with:
Epiphone Les Paul II Special

By the reviews alone, I can tell I'd need new machine heads (or tuners, whatever you like to call them). The highest reviews are for these two, and they're both fairly cheap, can anyone comment on them or suggest better ones (preferably under $50)?
Grover Trophies
Gotoh Tuners

Next, I'd be replacing the pickups and strings. I'm sure that one lower-end Epiphone products, the factory stuff is going to be crap. So I'm going to put this in:
EMG 85 (neck)
EMG 81
Elixir Nanoweb .12-.52 Strings

All in all, I figure it'll cost about $475. I'm sure I'll be able to find the stuff used cheaper (or maybe on sale at GC), so maybe even as cheap as $350. Much, much, MUCH cheaper than a Gibson (that is, assuming this turns out OK).

Is there anything else I should think about replacing? Or is there some kind of guitar I don't know about that would save me money? Anything else I need to know before I start? I'm hoping to start within a few weeks, so any advice or suggestions would be very welcomed now.
Gear:
Guitars: ESP/LTD EC-400, Ibanez GRX20, Washburn D-10 M/TWR
Amp: Peavey Vypyr 75
Pedals: Digitech Whammy, Boss DS-1, Boss CH-1, Sanpera I

YDG!?
#2
starting with a special 2 isn't a great idea. for 475 maybe pick up a used custom? or even a standard, it would give you something much better to start with
just give me a fender and let me rip
#4
Aren't you going to need passive pickups though? Unless you can rewire it.
#5
You are better off buying a new guitar.

For $475, you can get a high end Agile (rondomusic.com) or an Epiphone Les Paul Standard.

Even if you won't be able to afford a Gibson any time soon, it would probably still be a better idea to just get a better guitar.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#6
I haven't personally tried any of the guitars you mentioned, but if the Special II is really that bad, then I might just get a different used guitar.

That being said, I guess there is no more reason for this thread. When I have the money, I'll look into the guitars in the $500 price range. Thanks for the help!
Gear:
Guitars: ESP/LTD EC-400, Ibanez GRX20, Washburn D-10 M/TWR
Amp: Peavey Vypyr 75
Pedals: Digitech Whammy, Boss DS-1, Boss CH-1, Sanpera I

YDG!?
#7
Quote by YDG?
I haven't personally tried any of the guitars you mentioned, but if the Special II is really that bad, then I might just get a different used guitar.

That being said, I guess there is no more reason for this thread. When I have the money, I'll look into the guitars in the $500 price range. Thanks for the help!

Even if you swap out the main parts of the Special II, it will still have low-quality woods, and low build quality.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#8
Definitely don't do that, it will result in a terrible guitar...
Instead go look at the ESP EC range

sorted.
#9
Quote by YDG?
So, my friend has a Gibson Les Paul, and I freakin' love it. I thought my guitar was pretty good until I played it, but now it's just "meh" in comparison.

So, I know Gibson guitars are expensive, and even if I sold both kidneys, I'm sure I'd still fall short of enough to buy one. That being said, I was considering modifying a cheap Epiphone version until it's near that quality. I figured that I've replaced pickups and an output jack before, surely nothing will be much harder, right?

So, here's what I'd be starting with:
Epiphone Les Paul II Special

By the reviews alone, I can tell I'd need new machine heads (or tuners, whatever you like to call them). The highest reviews are for these two, and they're both fairly cheap, can anyone comment on them or suggest better ones (preferably under $50)?
Grover Trophies
Gotoh Tuners

Next, I'd be replacing the pickups and strings. I'm sure that one lower-end Epiphone products, the factory stuff is going to be crap. So I'm going to put this in:
EMG 85 (neck)
EMG 81
Elixir Nanoweb .12-.52 Strings

All in all, I figure it'll cost about $475. I'm sure I'll be able to find the stuff used cheaper (or maybe on sale at GC), so maybe even as cheap as $350. Much, much, MUCH cheaper than a Gibson (that is, assuming this turns out OK).

Is there anything else I should think about replacing? Or is there some kind of guitar I don't know about that would save me money? Anything else I need to know before I start? I'm hoping to start within a few weeks, so any advice or suggestions would be very welcomed now.

Im going to ignore all other posts and just answer OP . I have that guitar too. I would get a new bridge, refret the neck, get a new nut, paint it, and sand down the neck joint then glue it on. It's probably cheaper to buy a cheap gibson studio?
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-Les-Paul-Studio-Electric-Guitar-100010154-i1149139.gc
this for 800??
Or you can get a Jr. or melody maker and mod that. Either way... HAVE FUN
#10
Yeah, it would be better to get a new guitar. I used to be like you thinking that I could upgrade a cheapo guitar and make it comparable with a 1 grand guitar. It is just not possible. It's the wood that matters the most. Plus refretting is a big job. Might as well just get a new guitar rather than wait for the refret job to be done.

Check out Schecter Locking machine head tuners though. I never liked those locking nuts that show up on Jacksons and Ibanez, they make the strings go out of tune when you tighten them and the fine tuning on the floyd bridge never got the job done for me. In the end I never used the locking nut.
#11
Dude, checkout agiles. They are def better than epis and could probably be as good as a les paul with proper mods.
#13
Agile Les Paul copys are probably the best you can find apart from Gibson itself. 2000, 2500, and 3000 series are all really nicely built and have good hardware for the price.

www.rondomusic.com
#14
if you have 475, save up another 75 and buy a used LP studio. You can get them $550 off the GC used website.
2012 Gibson Les Paul Custom Classic
2001 Schecter C-1 Classic
2007 Yamaha APX500
Vox AC15CC1 w/ Eminence Tonkerlite
Assorted Pedals!

All for sale!

Call me Matt!
#15
Musicians Friend is gonna start selling the new Gibson 50's Studio LPs for like, $800 or something. P90s, nice finishes.


Also Raw Power SGs and LPs are about $900-1000


save for a new guitar. $500 worth of mods is hardly worth it.