#1
So....I picked me up a epi les paul standard. It played good. Just this week I got seymore duncan pickups installed and omg it sounds so awesome now now I want to upgrade the tuners to locking tuners and also the bridge and I would like suggestions on what to get also after I put on the bridge will I have to have my guitar setup again? Or is it something simple that I can do? Thank you in advance!
#2
Depends on the year but if your guitar is newer than I think...2008? it's already got Gotoh hardware and Grover tuners. Obviously the sky is the limit and you can always find nicer stuff out there, but since you don't have any clear goals in mind you might be surprised to learn that the hardware on your guitar is quite good already, and you'll have to spend a fair amount of money to get noticeably improved parts. I don't see any reason to spend money on some vague upgrade if you don't have a specific need or issue concerning the current hardware.

Locking tuners are a different story, they'll certainly make string changes quicker so there's no argument there. I assume you know that they won't do anything for tuning stability, though, which is a common misunderstanding. If your tuning stability is bad you need a nut setup, not new tuners.

A new bridge will require some dialing in to get the setup right. It's easy enough to do yourself.
#3
yeah you will have to get the guitar setup again if you go with a new bridge or tuners because the strings are off the guitar. Luckily trussrods and intonation aren't too hard to learn if you ask the right person on here or see the right youtube video. Just make sure you use the right tool(s).

locking tuners make it easier to re-string that is about it. Regular 18:1 tuners are what I recommend. Grovers are what a lot of guys swear by. If not sperzel, schaller or Gotoh come up a lot. 18:1 means that it takes 18 twists on the knob of the tuner to make its way fully around. So the pro to this is precision.

for tuners there are 10mm and 9.14mm
10 is pretty universal. I call it modern hole sizing as almost everything on the market fits them. The nut and washer is a dead giveaway.

9.14mm is vintage style. There is less options for upgrade parts outside of kluson and grover. So same rule applies though 18:1 I recommend. With vintage tuners besides it being a smaller hole they use grommets. Grommets are like inserts that never come out for average players.

when buying tuners one last thing to consider. Most guys are terrified of drilling holes in their guitars no matter how mass produced they are (wow 10,000 guitars made that year they will be worth a fortune!!). Anyways there are some tuners that will have holes that line right up with your tuners and ones that don't. One key example is grovers you have full sized which are 3x3 that point directly down where as the "minis" are not pointing directly down. So be aware of this.

for a nut it makes a difference too
either go bone (expensive)
brass
or graphite - cheap and easy to get. Graphtech many players swear by. They are like 10$ american roughly.
hopefully the shop can help determine which one is right for your guitar.

bridge wise..
bigsby if you want a whammy bar
tonepros has a magnetic tuneomatic I highly recommend
schaller has a roller bridge I highly recommend for less string breaks
schaller has a fine tuning one too if memory serves me right

after market knobs and strap locks.. besides ebay I recommend qparts.com or guitarheads.net. However I love schaller strap locks. Even the knock offs are good. If you go with schaller or grover tuners you can get aftermarket knobs for your tuners too.

wiring is a whole different story though. So much can be done with a les paul from adding a gain to a 3 band EQ to really shape the guitars sound. Even string and pick material can help shape the guitars tone. I use pure nickle strings on my bc riches for more darkness and so forth. The good news is you've got seymour duncan pickups so you may be able to coiltap and all.

oh and for a les paul one thing to try is the backwards re-stringing of the stoptail apparently you get more string control and sustain. Oooh I said the S word everyone boasts about. I've been meaning to try it but my next 2 projects I have coming in have tremolos. You put the stoptail all the way down for the best results. Gibson did an article about it and other ways to re-string guitars and so forth they feel is best.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Apr 10, 2015,
#4
If you don't mind me asking.. Why a new bridge? It plays fine, right? If you're going to try a different style bridge keep in mind it's an advanced project.

And yes you can do the final set up yourself. With a TOM bridge you just need a small flat head screwdriver to set the intonation and if it's a Gibson style truss rod you might need a special wrench to adjust it (pretty cheap online), but most truss rods are hex key.. Basically with the strings tuned up, somewhat rough in the intonation (if it's not already), adjust truss rod for a slight relief, set action, fine tune intonation (in that order) - There's all kinds of good tutorials online that will go in depth and show you exactly what you need to do.

You should never have to pay somebody to set up your guitar - unless there's something wrong - for the price you pay for the setup you might as well just buy the tools and learn how to do it
Call me Dan

Gear:
2015 Les Paul Studio - Wine Red
Ibanez SA120 (black)
Marshall MG100HDFX
Custom Les Paul (work in progress)
About 10 other guitars and a big pedalboard. lol
Last edited by damirault at Apr 12, 2015,