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Les Paul woes and upgrades!

11/21/2005 9:37 AM
Frank DeSalvo
Les Paul woes and upgrades!
Alrighty, I've decided to live a bit longer with the LP; I love the way it sounds through the DC10 1/2 stack. Here's a list of my dislikes with possible solutions:  
1. She loves popping strings at the bridge.  
Buy a shaller roller bridge or those graph tech string saver saddles.  
2. She loves going out of tune.  
Buy new locking machine heads.  
3. She's a fat, heavy beast. :( x 10  
Put her on a diet!  
What do you guys recommend? I've installed a Graph-Tech nut and the tuning has improved tremendously and gone are thos annoying "pinging" sounds when I tune up. Can you guys share any relevant information or tips?  
11/21/2005 10:08 AM
Steve A.

    I took a Schaller roller bridge off my Heritage H-535 but I don't think that you'd really want it. The only advantage to it that I see is that if you needed a different string spacing from a tune-o-matic bridge. (It tends to rattle but an old guitarist told me about using carpenter's white glue to keep bridges from rattling and buzzing.)  
    Isn't that a new LP that you have? When I get a new guitar that keeps breaking strings, I take out my needle files and smooth off the place where the string is breaking. After a few weeks (and a half dozen E strings) the strings don't break that much any more. Caution: if you file too much the nickle plating can start to peel off (I had a strat saddle do that).  
    As for the guitar going out of tune, I don't mean to insult the former Captain Crunch, but I wonder if you are tying off your strings properly... I played guitar for 30 years before learning the right way to tie off strings (well, one or two of the right ways to tie them off):  
    Off the top of my head, for the skinny plain strings I will run the string through the hole in the tuner and then loop it around 180 degrees to secure the string where it enters the tuner. So it is the loop around the string that actually holds it in place. I will put only one or two winds around the tuner- the more winds the more the string will slip. There may be more complete instructions with pictures at the Kinman site (I learned this method from the booklet that came with a Takemine nylon string acoustic that I bought and returned a few years ago.) BTW I will tug up on the string at the 12th fret to help stabilize the tuning- sometimes so hard that I break the string. :(  
    As for number 3, eat your Wheaties... that's why I use my other guitars! (They are making chambered Les Pauls these days which are a bit lighter but you obviously don't have one of them.)  
Steve Ahola
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11/21/2005 1:59 PM

If you already have graph nut(and it made a difference), why not go all they way and put graph saddles? I put a set on a Strat years ago and I'm not looking back.  
I'd go with locking keys if you don't want to do the string-tie thing. But beware, many people prefer the sound of lighter keys and others prefer the added mass locking keys provide...matter of taste here.  
The weight issue...well...good luck there! ;)
11/21/2005 2:54 PM
[QUOTE]2. She loves going out of tune.  
Buy new locking machine heads.  
3. She's a fat, heavy beast. :( x 10  
Put her on a diet![/QUOTE]  
If you're not using a 0.010 set, bump up for tuning problems. I can't keep any Gibson scale guitar in tune with .008's, and .009's are better but marginal. I have a Yamaha SBG2100 which is essentially the model Santana used in the late 70's. I tried Sperzels and found that they were worse than the stock tuners. I never figured out why and I'm still puzzled. I'm very happy with Sperzels on my strats.  
Heavy LP's...I believe the mahoghany is variable and there are lighter ones out there, along with the chambered ones Steve mentioned. I would guess that you're guaranteed heavy mahoghany with the chambered ones. It's probably a way for them to be less selective in what they buy. Good luck with that one. I hope you bought used. :(
11/21/2005 6:01 PM
Frank DeSalvo

Haha, "Cap'n Crunch"...I can't believe you remember that! :D  
Yeah, I've tied the strings around the posts for the past year and no dice. I am running 10s and have noticed how lousy the lighter guages are at holding their tune!  
I may just end up buying another guitar; this one belongs to my lead singer and frankly, I find it very uncomfortable to play because of the wieght and lack of body contours...but, I love the way the TOM feels. Bah!  
Thanks, guys!  
11/21/2005 6:28 PM
"I may just end up buying another guitar; this one belongs to my lead singer and frankly, I find it very uncomfortable to play because of the wieght and lack of body contours..."
You're in luck then, since it hasn't cost you much. The rear contour thing is bad with a Custom, so-so with the rest I suppose. I'd avoid the Customs for tonal reasons -- too bright imo.  
I had the honor of playing Peter Stroud's '57 Standard for a few minutes. (Very nice guy.) I grew up playing Norlin era LP's in stores but I never bought one because I couldn't stand the necks or the weight. The neck on Peter's is a full one (not the 1960 slim style) however, it's way better than the Norlin era guitars. I wish I could explain it better. Iirc, it's medium weight. I've played a couple 1960 Classic's that were relatively light and I like that neck style. It seems that most people end up ditching whatever pickups come in new Gibsons. ymmv. The marketing guys have mananged to come up with way too many models. You're going to have to try a bunch of them.  
Beyond that, Gibson has some sort of certification system for stores other than GC. There's one near me that gets all sort of models including custom shop guitars and prettier maple than you'll find normally. They cater to yuppies, however, it's not the guitars' fault. ;)
11/22/2005 3:31 PM
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