#1
Hey guys, I have an early 90's Gibson Les Paul Studio and I was wondering what are some things that I can do to it that would upgrade the feel and give it a little more life? I've heard that getting new studs helps. What's the validity of this and what are some other upgrades that may similarly upgrade the playability, overall?
#2
Getting a good setup (and any maintenance such as fret dressing or w/e) if that hasn't happened already. You could sand down the finish on the neck if you don't like the gloss finish (I'm assuming it's gloss). Nothing more I can think of that would really change the playability.
#3
Studs, huh? Been spending too much time on MLP forums, I think. Things said over there ought to be taken with a grain of salt, they get very serious about things that by most sane measures ought to be trivial. A lot of this depends on how much money you have to burn.
You probably would hear a small difference but you'd have to go through a long list of far more legitimate mods and huff a decent amount of glue before the studs became a priority. Again, if you've got money to burn there's no harm in trying new parts wherever you like, but if you want to be effective with your time and money there's a long list of things to try first.

I don't know where "life" resides in a guitar but I'll assume you want it to sound better, or are just itching to do "something" to your guitar but don't actually have anything specific in mind - we've all been there. Here are some things to start with, in extremely rough order of decreasing effect on sound:
-New pickups.
-New pickups.
-New pickups.
-Volume and tone pots
-New strings
-High quality bridge and tailpiece; Bigsby or other aftermarket tailpiece
-Tone pots.

And here are some general quality of life mods beyond sound quality:
-Locking tuners
-Locking bridge and tailpiece
-knob pointers/indicators
-Straplocks
-Upgraded nut
-New knobs
-New pickup selector switch, if the original is dirty/crackles
-New pickup selector switch tip, especially if the original is cracked

And of course if you want to get spiffy you can always get some new pickup covers, truss rod cover, pickup rings, pickguard, etc.

I would, and have personally done, everything on that list before I even thought about studs, and I've done my homework on those, too. If you get to the point where you think your studs are holding you back, you might want to take a few deep breaths and assess your life choices.

As far as feel, there aren't really any parts you can add to improve that, you just need to make sure that the ones it has are working properly. Frets would be the one exception, I guess, but in most cases that's still a maintenance and not a replacement issue. A guitar feels bad if it's been beaten up or worn too badly, or if it just inherently sucks. Early 90s Studios were pretty good for the most part, so I'll assume you just need a proper setup and cleaning to be in tip-top shape there. Honestly, a good setup from a good tech, and a new set of strings, are all any good guitar should ever need. The rest is gravy.
#4
I've had my frets superglued (here are the basics, though I had a tech do mine):

http://www.stewmac.com/tsarchive/ts0043.html

And I've had four of my LP type guitars PLEK'd (frets leveled, crowned, polished). That, new strings and a good setup have been great for the playability of the guitar.

If you have an early '90's guitar, you don't need to do any sanding on the neck -- there should be more than enough microscratches on that neck from the past two decades of playing to reduce or eliminate any perceived "stickiness" due to paint issues.

Forget "new studs." There's a mapleflame modification that's gone the rounds, but honestly there's just not all that much to it. Chances are good you don't need new pickups, either.
#5
Well, things that I've done to my Les Paul are:

- Bone nut. Very important. If you've got a decent guitar, shove a well cut bone nut on there. Increases sustain (maybe not by much, but it does), tuning stability and clarity.

- Pickups. Although with a crap amp there's no point.

- Properly cut saddles. Try different materials as it affects the sound differently,

- Upgraded pots and caps. This was the thing that made the biggest difference. It was like someone had taken a blanket off of my amp. So much more note clarity and definition. Cheap and easy to do.

- 50's wiring. Changes the way your tone and volume controls respond. Some folks like it, others don't.

- A decent set up. Basic, but effective.

If I'm not happy with a guitar's sound, they are the first things I'd do.
#6
Make sure that any bone nut that you buy has been dried properly. If its been made from old rovers last cow bone and been left in the back yard for a month to dry out then over time all of those lovely oils will leech out and root your guitar.

http://www.bearmeadow.com/build/materials/bone/html/bone-clean.html

Have a bit of a read of this before you go nuts paying a 'luthier' to make you a bone nut.
#7
Why do people use bone nuts? Wouldn't it make more sense if the nut was a harder material than bone, so that the open strings sound more like the fretted ones?
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
#8
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Why do people use bone nuts? Wouldn't it make more sense if the nut was a harder material than bone, so that the open strings sound more like the fretted ones?


Honestly, I don't think there's a point in using bone, but it's as usable as anything else. Some folks attribute magical properties to it. Mostly, it's just a traditional material.

Frankly, if I've got a choice (especially on an LP), I'm going with a nut made of a teflon-impregnated stuff to help reduce tuning issues.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 3, 2013,
#9
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Why do people use bone nuts? Wouldn't it make more sense if the nut was a harder material than bone, so that the open strings sound more like the fretted ones?

brass nuts were popular for a long time but have become less popular over the past decade or so.

a lot of the 80s guitars i search from japan have brass nuts.


TS - if you want to make improvements to your guitar, first tell us what it's lacking.
#10
Quote by dspellman
Honestly, I don't think there's a point in using bone, but it's as usable as anything else. Some folks attribute magical properties to it. Mostly, it's just a traditional material.

Frankly, if I've got a choice (especially on an LP), I'm going with a nut made of a teflon-impregnated stuff to help reduce tuning issues.

Exactly- TUSQ nuts are better than bone in pretty much every way.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
#11
Quote by dazza027
Make sure that any bone nut that you buy has been dried properly. If its been made from old rovers last cow bone and been left in the back yard for a month to dry out then over time all of those lovely oils will leech out and root your guitar.

http://www.bearmeadow.com/build/materials/bone/html/bone-clean.html

Have a bit of a read of this before you go nuts paying a 'luthier' to make you a bone nut.

That's an article for early-music luthiers, it's not relevant for our purposes. Guitar techs are going to cut you a nut from a blank from a commercial source. Nobody's going out to the butcher and getting an actual raw bone to cut you a bone nut. Even the author of that article says that he uses commercially processed bone, and only makes his own when he needs an unusually large part. This is an article for a completely different demographic. If you're making a lute by hand according to 16th-century practices it is probably a lifesaver.

That article is interesting but there's no point trying to scare people out of getting a bone nut by insinuating that it's a realistic scenario. You might as well tell people to make sure the guy winding your pickups mined the metal legally.
#12
I replaced my Burst Bucker Pros in my Gibson Studio with a Seymour Duncan Sh-1 '59 and a SH-12 Screamin Demon. It is now a pleasure to play. A pickup change is not permanent and can be put back. Also there is a bunch of custom winders out there that will make a pickup specifically for your sound direction.

I use mainly Seymour Duncan, but dimarzo and others have great pickups.

Good Luck!
#13
Quote by Roc8995
That's an article for early-music luthiers, it's not relevant for our purposes. Guitar techs are going to cut you a nut from a blank from a commercial source. Nobody's going out to the butcher and getting an actual raw bone to cut you a bone nut. Even the author of that article says that he uses commercially processed bone, and only makes his own when he needs an unusually large part. This is an article for a completely different demographic. If you're making a lute by hand according to 16th-century practices it is probably a lifesaver.

That article is interesting but there's no point trying to scare people out of getting a bone nut by insinuating that it's a realistic scenario. You might as well tell people to make sure the guy winding your pickups mined the metal legally.


Maybe where you live, all of your techs use professional quality bone from commercially available blanks etc etc, I had the misfortune of going to a 'tech' for a bone nut and the guy ACTUALLY DID use a bone from the backyard that his dog had been gnawing on. Shit like that DOES happen from time to time. Don't rule something out of hand JUST BECAUSE you yourself have never come across it.
#14
Quote by gregs1020


a lot of the 80s guitars i search from japan have brass nuts.


...because they had a lot of Mecha-Squirrels scattering those things all over the place to have food during the winter.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#15
Quote by dazza027
Maybe where you live, all of your techs use professional quality bone from commercially available blanks etc etc, I had the misfortune of going to a 'tech' for a bone nut and the guy ACTUALLY DID use a bone from the backyard that his dog had been gnawing on. Shit like that DOES happen from time to time. Don't rule something out of hand JUST BECAUSE you yourself have never come across it.

Fair enough, but that's a pretty crazy thing to have happen. I've never heard of anything like it, and not just in my area - I've never heard of it on UG either, and that's the sort of thing people people would talk about. It's something to be aware of but I still don't think it's a likely scenario just because one hack did it one time. If we had to tell people to watch out for every dumb or shady thing a tech has ever done the list would never end.
#16
That's true. I still know the guy, he did do one hell of a good job carving the nut from scratch, and to be fair, its on my Epi, so Im not overly concerned about it damaging the guitar as the thing has already had a broken neck etc... That page I showed is more for someone who is going to build a guitar from scratch themselves I think. Someone who is going to build their own pick ups and is less likely to buy parts so much as make them. Its good info to have stored in the back of the mind anyway.
#17
Quote by Roc8995
Fair enough, but that's a pretty crazy thing to have happen. I've never heard of anything like it, and not just in my area - I've never heard of it on UG either, and that's the sort of thing people people would talk about.

It is a pretty big world- the sheer force of statistical probability means some pretty weird sh...tuff happens on a daily basis.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#18
All my LPs get straplocks, my preferred strings (D'Addario XLs) and a good setup. Nothing more required.
New PUs will change your sound but "better" is a subjective term. It really depends what sound you're after. If you play with volume and tone controls a lot while playing there are some changes you can try but again better or not is up to you.
Moving on.....
#20
I paraphrase Josh Homme, here - "Buying a guitar and then modifying it is a bit like meeting someone for the first time and buying them a nosejob."

I kind of agree to a degree, but if you haven't the disposable income that he has to buy a variety of different sounding instruments then go ahead and mod away. I do, myself although very rarely do anything that can't be returned to original spec.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#21
What about the guitar don't you like? New pickups and strings are always a solid place to start
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#22
Quote by Roc8995
Fair enough, but that's a pretty crazy thing to have happen. I've never heard of anything like it, and not just in my area - I've never heard of it on UG either, and that's the sort of thing people people would talk about. It's something to be aware of but I still don't think it's a likely scenario just because one hack did it one time. If we had to tell people to watch out for every dumb or shady thing a tech has ever done the list would never end.


I think u see UG as a bit too big.

There's so much stuff I have seen, music heard, and people met that makes Ug look as diverse as my bathroom.

Have you travelled (outside america) much?

You should try it, then you will also see how the internet as you know it is still a relatively small portion of the real diversity out there.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
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[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Oct 8, 2013,
#23
While I have not the slightest clue as to UG's membership numbers or its overall demographics, I know from personal experience that there are Americans, Canadians, English, Irish, German, Dutch, Aussie, Indian, Indonesian, Polish, Thai, Turkish, New Zealanders, and Japanese UGers. That's not too shoddy.


...though it sometimes seems as if most of them are teenaged metalheads!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#24
Quote by dannyalcatraz
While I have not the slightest clue as to UG's membership numbers or its overall demographics, I know from personal experience that there are Americans, Canadians, English, Irish, German, Dutch, Aussie, Indian, Indonesian, Polish, Thai, Turkish, New Zealanders, and Japanese UGers. That's not too shoddy.


...though it sometimes seems as if most of them are teenaged metalheads!


I didn't mean it in that way.

Nationality is irrelevant. There are a lot of people/musician's not on forums, and have their own circles just as big if not bigger than the forums/youtube w/e.

Social circles did not get invented 20 year ago with the internet.

I've come across amazing musicians who you'd think should be more known, but they are perfectly fine in their own environment.

Another anecdote, some guy told me about a party, and there was no FB page, or any advertising anywhere, nothing.

When I came there, there were about 800 people. when I had talked to some of them noone had any connection through the internet/social media

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Oct 8, 2013,
#25
I got ya. Yes, those who post in Internet boards on a given topic have been statistically shown to comprise less than 20% of the community involved with that topic. That number includes the exceptions that drive up that number tremendously, like computer programmers and other tech/science oriented boards, and so forth. For things like guitar, cats, etc., the numbers are typically 10% or less.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#26
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I got ya. Yes, those who post in Internet boards on a given topic have been statistically shown to comprise less than 20% of the community involved with that topic. That number includes the exceptions that drive up that number tremendously, like computer programmers and other tech/science oriented boards, and so forth. For things like guitar, cats, etc., the numbers are typically 10% or less.



Oh nice, do you perhaps have a link to this? I'm quite interested in seeing those per field.

It's true though, cause for example the whole internet seems to hate Justin Bieber, but somehow is top selling artist. Is one example of the real world being much "bigger" and more influential than the internet.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
#27
Nah- I got that from some research discussed in marketing class I took a while ago. They pointed out that, although people are on the Internet all day event day, the actual numbers of people posting in forums is actually quite small.

However, they were still worth marketing to since they had many of the same qualities as "First Adopters",- another small but vital group- especially in their willingness to communicate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a product, service or company to others.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#28
There are over 5 million members of UG. That's a bigger sample size than you're ever likely to meet in person

I get that there are demographic biases, but we've got an enormous sample size here and it is a pretty good resource. It is not a particularly diverse sample (never said it was) but it is a large and knowledgeable one.

So yeah, there's probably some guy out there somewhere cutting his own bone nuts, and he's not on UG. But if he were, he'd be an outlier; we can acknowledge that he exists, but if you try to shoehorn these outlying experiences into every conversation it gets completely impractical. If someone asks what tubes to use, we can suggest going on Thomann or Tube Depot and buying some JJs. There's one dude in France who makes his own tubes by hand, blows the glass and everything, but does that need to enter the conversation? I'd say no. It's interesting, but it doesn't help the guy who just wants a $50 retube so he can go back to playing. It's junk information.

There are some sacrifices that get made in the name of practicality. I'm sorry I did not acknowledge that someone, somewhere, probably cuts their own bone nuts, but I don't think it was a particularly valuable statement for 99% of the people who will ever read that, and if they are that 1%, they'll know already.
#29
There are over 5 million members of UG. That's a bigger sample size than you're ever likely to meet in person


Not too shabby!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#30
If UG were a country we'd be the 119th most populous in the world, between Norway and Lebanon
#31
...and would probably scare the...stuffing...out of the Eurovision Song Contest organizers & participants.


...would probably suck at the Olympics, though.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#32
Quote by Nikon87
Thanks guys, there are some useful responses on here.

what is your guitar lacking?

if we knew that we could actually be helpful.
#33
Wow, still going on about the hack who cut the bone nut hey, I can chuck a picture up of it if you like. Its very well made, sits correctly, intonates beautifully and has a super low and consistent action right along the fret board with no dead frets. The low action is actually a pain in the arse because that makes it difficult for me to bend strings... But either way, its well made, cost me $25 aussie dollars which is pretty damned good. The only thing he didn't do was treat the material properly first. The actual quality of the job is excellent. Hell, even the strings are spaced equally and true.
Just think Roc, if everyone went and forgot all that 'junk' information, all of the internet would think Bieber was ****ing fantastic too and he'd be a billionaire... THANK GOD for junk information because that's what makes us all different.
#34
I didn't tell you to forget the junk information. It seems you didn't understand my point. I never said I didn't believe you, and I never said it wasn't useful in some context. I said it was junk because such information confuses and adds little when you insist on introducing it for the sake of compulsive inclusion.

Junk is junk because it does not belong in the place where it is. If it existed in another context, it would not be junk. Your experience with a bone nut is interesting, but in this thread it was not a useful addition. Do you see how it's become a distraction, and has not answered any portion of the original question? That's why it's junk. I'm sorry I offended you but you don't seem to understand what I'm trying to say.

Your experience is valuable but it is not valuable in every single circumstance. Sometimes less information is more helpful.
#35
Ok, lol, lets answer the question in typical UG fashion then... U need a new amp. Get a Vyper or a 5150...