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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Another Ugly Duckling Story

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Mar 10th, 2019 05:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Going through my spare parts locker recently, I found that over time I had accumulated a lot of Les Paul-ish parts, including a nice pair of used Seymour Duncan 59 PAF-style pickups. Hmm, what to do with all this stuff? Just then, an Epiphone LP Studio at a head-turning lowball price showed up on my local craigslist. Went to have a look -- it was filthy and corroded, with lots of chips and scratches, but it had a straight neck, decent frets, the electronics worked, and at 8.5 lbs wasn’t too heavy, so I talked the seller down a bit more and bought it.

As is common with my projects, once I got started, I may have gotten a little carried away. Here’s what I ended up doing:

• Total disassembly, thorough deep cleaning with naphtha
• Replaced corroded bridge and tailpiece
• Replaced every screw (there are 37 on an import LP!)
• Fret level, crown and polish
• New bone nut
• Replaced pickups with open-coil SD 59s
• Replaced one functional but gritty-feeling Grover tuner
• Installed keystone tuner buttons (never did like those Grover lima beans)
• Drop-filled big chip/gouge on back of neck with CA
• Foil-shielded rear cavity covers (cavities already had shielding paint)
• Made new 5-ply B/W/B/W/B pickguard
• Added knob pointers
• Complete setup (nut slots, relief, intonation, action height, pickup & pole piece heights

And I have to say, as far as playability goes, I would put this guitar up against *any* LP, whether Gibson, clone, whatever, of any price. This thing is just a joy to play. Tone? The SD 59s are maybe not quite in ’57 Classic or SD Seth Lover territory, but they are darn close. Total out of pocket: $200.

I'm beginning to see cheap guitars as kind of like stray dogs: take them home, clean them up a little and show them some love, and you might be surprised at what stars they turn out to be.

Ugly Duckling

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 10:59 PM, Apr 23rd, 2019)

Contributing Member


Toxic Humility
Mar 10th, 2019 05:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Great outcome!

I like the SD ‘59 a lot. I only last year first put a set in one of my guitars.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Mar 10th, 2019 07:37 PM   Edit   Profile  


Ya gotta love guitar rescues!

Contributing Member

San Diego, CA USA

Mar 10th, 2019 08:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Looks great- and what a great story!!!

Contributing Member

Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 11th, 2019 11:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

NICE work! Saving a guitar from the dumpster is a holy endeavor. Turning an unplayable guitar into a player (and getting it into the hands of someone that will play it) is fun and meaningful.

"but it had a straight neck, decent frets..."

These two things are the start of a successful rescue, unless you like replacing frets.

I think that's not necessarily an ugly duck. It looks great!

Contributing Member

Pueblo, Co

I qualify!
Mar 11th, 2019 01:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

It looks great! Theses Epiphones are made very well for the price anyway and getting this end result for the small investment is a major plus.

It is worth every minute (or actually hours you put into it) those speed knobs are pretty cool on it too.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Mar 11th, 2019 05:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

"...I think that's not necessarily an ugly duck..."

Ha, you should have seen it the day I bought it. It looked like double rubber gloves and a hazmat suit should be required before coming in contact with it =8-0

Contributing Member

Buckeye Country, USA

Tone is in the lingers
Mar 16th, 2019 04:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

Great job!

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Another Ugly Duckling Story

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