#1
Alright, I have an epiphone les paul from a starter kit (yes i know its garbage) that I'm curious to what, if any, cheap mods are out there for it. I'm NOT getting rid of it no matter how cheap it is, considering it was my first guitar and a birthday present from my grandmother (who passed away some years ago) about 10 or 12 years ago. Sorry for the back story but I don't want to keep getting posts saying throw it in the garbage and stuff lol. It's a decent looking guitar, all the electronics still work in it. I adjusted the action so it would play better. That being said, what ideas have y'all got that wouldn't cost to much?
#2
The pickups are usually the first target for modders, so can you hear anything about the current ones that you think could be improved?

If the pickups are covered, the first thing I would try is taking the covers off. My expereince with dpickup cover removal is that it will get rid of some mud. Higher value pots and smaller caps can also help to add brightness.
#3
Quote by Tony Done
The pickups are usually the first target for modders, so can you hear anything about the current ones that you think could be improved?

If the pickups are covered, the first thing I would try is taking the covers off. My expereince with dpickup cover removal is that it will get rid of some mud. Higher value pots and smaller caps can also help to add brightness.


Doesn't have pickup covers. The pickups sound decent but i could go for some more vintage rock tone in it. Has a muddy sound to it but what do you expect in a 100$ epi lol. Finding a good pair of pickups cheap would be the problem.
#4
Cheap doesn't necessarily mean mud. Have a look at GFS pickups. Not expensive, and I like them. For example the Memphis are low output and have a nice Gretsch-like twang. They also do a range of P90s in humbuckers size; I have the now-defunct Brooklyns, and they are nice and bright.

However, a lot depends on the amp.
#5
Quote by Tony Done
Cheap doesn't necessarily mean mud. Have a look at GFS pickups. Not expensive, and I like them. For example the Memphis are low output and have a nice Gretsch-like twang. They also do a range of P90s in humbuckers size; I have the now-defunct Brooklyns, and they are nice and bright.

However, a lot depends on the amp.


Il have to check those out. Compared to my other guitar with EMG's they seem dull but unless i pick my other guitar up it sounds good lol.
#6
A lot of inexpensive pickups do come as 4 conductor, meaning you can - with the appropriate pot - wire them up for coil splitting which will give you a bit more tonal versatility in the guitar.

As an alternative, depending on how you use it, you could also pop a killswitch or something in, though that might require you to lose a pot or drill a new hole.
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#7
the best cheap pickups I have found are GFS from www.guitarfetish.com

I have the Fat Pat in the bridge of a LP clone and it sounds very good and it was <$30 new and it is 4 conductor so coil tapping is available if you want it. I actually replaced a Dimarzio Super Distortion that was in it for 20 yrs and I like the GFS better.

I have also used the VEH which is nice, but a hot pickup and I have a tele style with their lil' punchers hot lead set which sound good also
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#8
Tonerider pickups sound great and they're still fairly cheap. They've gone up quite a bit since my last order. If you're looking for a bright rock tone, though, I second the GFS p90 recommendation.

You could also get a set of Grover tuners if the stock tuning machines have trouble staying in tune. If you don't care for the way the neck finish feels, or just want to try something different you could try the steel wool trick. Run a really fine abrasive along the back of the neck to get a smooth satin finish. New tone caps were mentioned, and that's practically a free mod that can make a big difference to your sound. Pick up a few cheap caps between around .0047 to .047 and see which one works best for you.

Depending on how the fretboard feels, you might look into cleaning up the fret edges. If it's a rosewood fretboard you can condition it with lemon oil to make it feel much better to play.
#9
Thanks for the ideas guys! Will probably try the GFS p90's in it, modify a pick-guard to fit, do les paul style vintage tuners, and vintage style knobs. That's my plans so far.

And do the GFS p90's sound much better than the cheap epi's that came in it?
#10
Quote by HarleyDC
Thanks for the ideas guys! Will probably try the GFS p90's in it, modify a pick-guard to fit, do les paul style vintage tuners, and vintage style knobs. That's my plans so far.

And do the GFS p90's sound much better than the cheap epi's that came in it?

yeah the GFS P90's are pretty nice sounding, much better than the stock epi pickups. The GFS mean 90 is my favorite because it is a little hotter.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#11
While you are changing pickups you might aswell upgrade your pots, cap and switch.

A graphite/bone nut is always a cheap and effective upgrade too.
My Gear:
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Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#12
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
While you are changing pickups you might aswell upgrade your pots, cap and switch.

A graphite/bone nut is always a cheap and effective upgrade too.


Where do i even start on figuring out what pots and switch do i need to get? I understand different caps present different tones (brighter and darker) though.
#13
Full size CTS pots are what you need, they are the same as what Gibson uses in their guitars.

I'm not sure if you need long shaft or medium shaft, the best bet would be to take out your old ones and measure them before purchasing the new ones, you also may need to do a slight bit of sanding/round filing the widen the holes to fit the thicker shafts through the holes.

For the switch you want any good quality 3 way toggle switch. Switchcraft are good.
My Gear:
Ibanez Jet King 2
Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#14
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
Full size CTS pots are what you need, they are the same as what Gibson uses in their guitars.

I'm not sure if you need long shaft or medium shaft, the best bet would be to take out your old ones and measure them before purchasing the new ones, you also may need to do a slight bit of sanding/round filing the widen the holes to fit the thicker shafts through the holes.

For the switch you want any good quality 3 way toggle switch. Switchcraft are good.


alright thanks man!
#15
CTS pots are not needed at all unless your one of those guys who does uses the volume and tone knobs all the time while playing. If you leave the knobs "parked" in the same spot most of the time they are a waist of money.

Full sized Alpha pots work absolutely fine and they even have a nice taper to them
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#16
Quote by Stickymongoose

You could also get a set of Grover tuners if the stock tuning machines have trouble staying in tune.

Meh.

Tuners are almost never the cause of poor tuning stability. The only reason you might want new tuners is either for looks, you want something that feels a bit smoother to use, or you want locking tuners because you're too lazy to stretch strings properly.

Just stringing the guitar up properly and fully stretching the strings in will solve a lot of problems with tuning stability. Even cheap tuners will stay in tune fine if you do this.

Having the slots in the nut be cut properly on the other hand, DOES make a big difference. The material the nut is made from can help a bit too, but not as much as simply having the nut slots be well-cut. Get a Graphtec TUSQ one. They're better than bone in terms of hardness and they're self-lubricating.
Quote by Robbgnarly
CTS pots are not needed at all unless your one of those guys who does uses the volume and tone knobs all the time while playing. If you leave the knobs "parked" in the same spot most of the time they are a waist of money.

Full sized Alpha pots work absolutely fine and they even have a nice taper to them

This.

Not to mention that CTS pots are made with imperial dimensions as opposed to metric. The pot shaft sizes are larger than your average metric one. And so you'll also require enlarging the existing holes in the guitar with a reamer to get them to fit. You'll also need to buy new knobs as well, as metric ones will not fit.

If you always turn your tone control up to 10, the tone capacitors you're using is not going to matter either. So don't worry about that if that's the case.

Getting a new switch is a good idea though. Those cheap switches on Epiphones break all the time. Get a decent jack too. Switchcraft ones aren't too cheap, but they'll last forever.

I think the biggest upgrade you can make to a guitar like this is to simply level and crown the frets. Cheap Epiphones like those almost never have level frets and it really compromises the playability of these guitars.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Feb 13, 2016,
#17
Just so you know I suggested CTS because they will almost literally last forever and are about £1 more expensive than Alpha pots. I also like to fiddle around on the volume and tone pots to change between clean and crunch, volume swells, take a bit of edge off if I am using bridge pickup for cleans.

I agree on the nut having more of an effect on tuning stability than tuners though, tuners are more of an aesthetic thing, and I like locking tuners on guitars with tremolos but no locking nut, just to give me a greater piece of mind.
My Gear:
Ibanez Jet King 2
Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#18
Hey,

I just finished modding my Yamaha erg 121 and the results are here https://youtu.be/YFqLwmhTF8c
I used "warman" pickups off eBay. They sound great & I recorded what they sounded like on the vid. They were only about £20 for 2x humbuckers plus about a fiver postage.
I got some cheap pots off eBay and they sound great. Same with the 5 way switch (which I assume would be a 3 way in your case)
Anyway, hope this gives you some ideas
#19
Quote by HarleyDC
Where do i even start on figuring out what pots and switch do i need to get? I understand different caps present different tones (brighter and darker) though.


Use Google and find a generic (or even a specific) wiring diagram online. The resistance might even be written on the back of your old pots. Mine are 500k A's
#20
My EPI LP 100 has been gutted.

SD Hot rodded humbuckers and a full set of new POTs/ internals. I don't think I will ever get rid of it now - sounds great and plays really well.

The neck/ frets on this is great - I just had to get my newly acquired Epi Casino frets completely leveled due to high action and buzz all over the place.
Fender HRD - LTD.
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Fulltone OCD
EB VP Jr.
#21


If you already have a soldering iron then the cheapest mod you could make is to switch to vintage wiring.
There are pros and cons to each style but I found that I prefer vintage.
#22
+1 on the GFS pickups. They are fairly inexpensive and sound good. I put them on a Chibson LP copy and they sound nice. I also can recommend Giovanni/Artec pups.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Feb 19, 2016,