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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Inexpensive Guitars revisited

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Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 19th, 2019 04:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

RAGPICKER - I've modded two Epi LP Special II's before. One was a 2009 MII I bought used, the other a 2017 MIC model I bought new.

Despite their price, they are both very good modding platforms and great for "upskilling" (don't you love millennial buzz words?)

As expected, the hardware and and switch are pretty rubbishy (pots were okay imo) but necks & bodies are a great foundation. (and you don't feel anxious about experimenting on them)

The one below got the most "customisation" of the two.

the other one is also in my profile

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:09 PM, Mar 19th, 2019)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 19th, 2019 04:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

Gaukdawg - FWIW, I haven't had any significant movement on the two mahogany neck guitars I mentioned above.

I live in a subtropical region on the east coast of AUS which gets pretty high humidity most of the year.
However I do keep them in their cases and in a cupboard. They will spend a couple weeks out on a stand when they're put into rotation though.


RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
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ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 19th, 2019 05:08 PM   Edit   Profile  

Mick Reid , I have read nothing but good reviews on these Epi's and figured I can't really go wrong.Expecting to immediately change tuners and do a fret end dress. After that I will play for awhile to see what else needs improvment. What do I need to know to replace the tuners? I see you used Wilkensons on that blue baby. It should be here Friday. Im actually stoked about a $149.00 guitar !

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 19th, 2019 07:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

RP - That guitar was the used 2009 MII model and it had quite crappy stamped steel case tuners and the plating was really pitted, so I upgraded them.

However, I think you'll find the tuners on the new VE to be quite good actually. I would wait and see see what you think, before rushing out and buying replacements.

The stock tuners the other LP Special II in my profile were quite good. The only reason I changed them was because I wanted to put "keystone" button ones on it. Purely aesthetic.

I put the stock ones for sale online at 15 bucks and they sold really quickly.

As for doing the replacements, The standard holes in the headstock are 8mm, so depending on make & model of tuners you choose, the holes may need enlarging.

The best way to do this without significant risk to damaging the finish, is with a tapered reamer. A little bit at a time from both sides until the tuner just slips in.
Don't go at it with a power drill or I can almost guarantee you'll chip the finish (or worse) at the edge of the hole. A drill bit just hogs out to wood too fast.

Be sure to post a pic when you get it!

edit to add:
the attached pic is the 2014 with the keystone button tuners (Gotoh, I think).
I also stripped the poly finish and re-finished it with Tru Oil. These were both self-indulgent mods that did not *need* to done. It's just what I do ;^)

the epitome of unnecessary...

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 09:42 PM, Mar 19th, 2019)

RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
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ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 20th, 2019 10:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Mick. This being retired stuff is requiring me to fill the day with projects and this axe is one of them. Yes the reviews say the tuners are fine so I will wait and see. These have the "vintage" finish so I dont know what that will look like close up. Oh well, I need things to do. Thanks !


RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
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ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 22nd, 2019 06:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

I am not used to the feel on this type of guitar, do you think they ship them with 9 or 10 ga. Strings? The guitar is here and the strings are really bad so I'm wondering. Tomorrow it gets new strings and I'm not sure what to put on. Overall I am really happy with this guitar. It is incredibly light and resonant. The pickups are hot and it has the locking tuneamatic bridge hardware. Will wait to judge tuners till it has decent strings on it.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 22nd, 2019 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think they probably ship with 9’s but can’t state that unequivocally. 10-46 is my preferred gauge on pretty much everything I own. (I do go heavier for slide guitar set up)

It’s been a while since bought a “new” new guitar, but I usually don’t keep the original strings on them unless I know they’re fresh.


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 22nd, 2019 09:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

RAGPICKER, the strings that ship on offshore guitars (especially most MIC units) are often tagged as D'addario, etc., but are really counterfeit. And they do feel really crappy. Even if they're pristine and gleaming, cut them off and toss them.

If you like 9s on a Fender, install 10s on Gibson scale guitars and they'll feel the same as the 9s on the Fender. Likewise, if you like 10s on a Fender, go with 11s on the Gibson/Epi/PRS/etc.

The reason is the shorter Gibson scale requires the strings to be slightly reduced in tension, compared to strings on the longer-scale Fender Strats and Teles. The softer feel of the reduced tension allows you to bump up the string gauge.

RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
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ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 23rd, 2019 08:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

Peegoo,Mick, thanks. I think the existing are 9s but I'm going with 10s as suggested. OEM strings are always terrible and feel like they are rolling when you bend them. Feels like the wrap isn't secured around the core, weird. I am going to raise the stop tailpiece a little to reduce the break angle and that will make the bends a little easier too. Suprisingly, the fret ends are almost perfect with just a couple bad sprouts. Again, for the price, an amazing guitar. I think back to my first guitar which was a Teisco Del Ray and how really terrible it was. Probably cost about the same as this EPI. Beginners today have so many great options.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Mar 23rd, 2019 11:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

It's been said before, but we are truly living in the Golden Age of cheap guitars.

The link shows what a cheap guitar was like when I was a lad. I have nightmares thinking about how hard those were to play. The strings were set about a quarter inch above the first fret and were apparently pre-rusted so as to cut into your fingertips like little saws. The tone could be likened to a rubber band stretched over a steel garbage can. The horror.

Stella

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 23rd, 2019 04:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

"The strings were set about a quarter inch above the first fret and were apparently pre-rusted..."

Hah! That's funny.


RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
*******

ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 23rd, 2019 06:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ok. Got up this morning and after coffee with Ms. Ragpicker started to do a string change and found out that the bridge and stop bar on this guitar aren't of the locking type. Went to Epiphones web pages and verified that indeed all epi electric guitars with Tune a matic type bridges are supposed to be locking.I have an Email in to Sweettwater to try and resolve this. Already had the old strings off and did a quick setup so I don't think I could send it back as new. It's not the end of the world of course but I love the Locker on my Es-339 Pro and want this to be the same. Will see what my guy at Sweetwater has to say Monday. Any opinions???

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Knuckleheading
Mar 23rd, 2019 06:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would have been surprised if it was locking at this price point.

RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
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ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 24th, 2019 07:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well, I was surprised when I read that they were lockers and that prompted me to get it. It's a good enough guitar that I can accept it but I'm a little Po'd at Epiphone for incorrect information on their website. It's not Sweetwater fault but I'll wait and see what they say. I have never had a problem with Sweetwater.

RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
*******

ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Mar 25th, 2019 07:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well I agreed that Sweetwater wasn't responsible when I talked to them today. Inexpensive guitars rule the day !!

Roger Ball
Contributing Member
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Canada

New guitars and old amps, baby!
Mar 25th, 2019 09:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

"The link shows what a cheap guitar was like when I was a lad."

Te 52, I have the same Stella except in a natural finish. I bought it in 1969 for $20 from a guy at school. Over the years it's been well used to the point that there's only one string on it to keep the bridge in place.

The way the body is disintegrating, a full set of strings would probably do it in.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 26th, 2019 04:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a real cheepie ($25!) around here somewhere...it's branded Glen Burton, made in China. I got it at a garage sale, and it was in pristine condition, but the frets were horrible...and I'm pretty sure it came from the factory like this because the ends were unfinished and the tops looked like it had scooted across a concrete floor.

But the fret wire was huge, so I was able to grind and polish 'em. I pulled the crappy humbucker out (it's a one-pickup/Les Paul Junior sorta beast), stuck a Filtertron in it and made a new pickguard for it, and it is a rocking little guitar that plays really well and sounds like rock and roll is supposed to.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Inexpensive Guitars revisited




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