Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul – Pt.2

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - Fret levelling & crowning

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - Fret levelling & crowning

You can read the first part – Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul – Pt.1 here.

One of the biggest jobs when upgrading an old guitar revolves around the frets. Often a number of them are found to be scratched, chipped or simply worn down. In the worst case scenario the guitar may need a new fret job but fortunately in the case of the Epiphone Les Paul above, the frets aren’t in too bad a shape. A quick check with the fret level tool shows that some are higher than others so the whole set of medium sized frets will need to be levelled followed by crowning, finishing and polishing to make them as good as new.

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - New Pickups

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - New Pickups

The stock Epiphone pickups aren’t bad, a touch sterile sounding due to their tightly machine wound coils but perfectly useable. They do get a touch muddy so a new set of Creamery Alnico 5 Humbuckers are in order. These will give the guitar a looser tone with balanced mids, snappy lows and a top-end with room to breath.

Note also the clean cavity routs the humbuckers sit in. This is a well made instrument with careful consideration as to how the wiring loom sits inside the guitar.

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - Cracked Pickup Surround

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - Cracked Pickup Surround

As mentioned in pt.1, the pickup surround is cracked and will need replacing. The question that this raises regards the parts, should the guitar be treated to a whole new set of gold hardware to restore it to the original Epiphone Les Paul Custom look, or should it keep its relic’d vibe?

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - Cracked Controls

Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul - Cracked Controls

With this in mind a decision needs to be made about the kind of controls the guitar has. As you can see, one of the current knobs is cracked internally and has come loose but should the guitar keep its speed knobs or have a more vintage Gibson styled bell knob?

Next up is to replace the pickups and electronics. I’m planning a couple of push/pull pots to enable coil splitting. Stay tuned.

You can read the first part – Upgrading an Epiphone Les Paul – Pt.1 here.

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. I upgraded an Epiphone LP and it’s now a rock machine!
    http://twitpic.com/2hyvtn

  2. They can be great guitars with a little spot of time & effort. Great weighty guitars. The neck on mine is just great.

  3. Edward

     /  29/12/2010

    Make the Epi have Speed Knobs they match the black paint.

  4. Pavlos

     /  01/01/2011

    suggestions as to which wiring upgrade to buy, so many on the market at varying prices

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