"Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Discussion About Other Gear Brands

Moderators: Kevio, ElfDude, JesseM, RockCrue, soundchick, ChrisH, peb, Mike Jones, Bundy

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

"Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:29 pm

I have my first project guitar.

It appears to be an Epiphone but I can only assume because of the headstock shape. There are no markings on it at all.

Anyway...here's the bad:
1. Looks like it's been siting around for some time. The dust is almost part of the finish. It will take a lot of elbow grease to get it off.
2. Most of the metal parts are pretty corroded. Not sure if I'll try to clean what I can or just buy new.
3. It only came with three tuners. Which is a shame because even though they're made in China, they feel very solid.
4. The nut is missing.
5. I have no idea what pickups are in it. The only label is a sticker on the bridge pup labeled 53 and the neck labeled 50. Anyone have any ideas as what they could be?

Here's the good.
1. The body is SOLID! It weighs probably 9 lbs.
2. The neck is straight, the profile feels like a 59 rounded, the frets are smooth, no sharp edges and the fretboard just needed a cleaning and some oil.
3. The plastic pickguard, cavity covers, etc still had plastic protection on them.

Here are a couple of pictures.

IMG_20180406_200250678.jpg

IMG_20180406_200258156_LL.jpg

IMG_20180406_200351829_LL.jpg

IMG_20180406_200423113_LL.jpg


Here's the plan - my 7 year old loves anything electronic with wires. So I suggested we build a guitar. He wanted a red one and I wanted a Les Paul type. I figured he would really like wiring the pickups, etc. And of course he is really excited.

I'm going to get all new electronics. I have a Pearly Gates bridge pickup that will probably get put in. I'm thinking a Pearly Gates for the neck as well but not sure.

I'll give the body a good cleaning and polish.

Probably will get a new bridge.

Here's my only challenge. I really dislike the Epiphone headstock shape. It seems incomplete. I'm going to attempt to add some wood to where the ends were lopped off and give it more of a Gibson shape. I know some people get bent out of shape over that but I'm not trying to pass it off for a Gibson. I'm not even going to put a Gibson logo on it. I want to do a custom name with the Gibson font but not really sure what. I thought about Gibbons Pearly Gates Model...I really have no idea. Maybe just leave it nameless?

This will be a long project as I don't have a lot of free time but I will post updates.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Casual Madman
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 2236
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Garland TX

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Casual Madman » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:32 pm

Pretty close to certain that's not an Epiphone headstock - theirs are not so pinched at the end. Also, the A-string/B-string Epi tuners are set slightly in from the E/D and G/E tuners; these look to be in a pretty straight line.

Pretty body, though. Is that a veneer or an actual solid cap?

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:13 am

Now that you mention it, I don't think it is an Epiphone Look at the "book binding". The Epi comes to more of a point.
IMG_20180407_085026977.jpg

IMG_20180407_084951393.jpg


It looks to me like a solid cap. Here's the pickup cavity. You can see a faint line where the maple cap would be applied. Plus the flame isn't that spectacular, if it was a veneer it would probably look better? I don't know?
IMG_20180407_084910742.jpg



I do want to pull the pups out and put them in something else to hear them.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Casual Madman
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 2236
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Garland TX

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Casual Madman » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:48 am

I think it's a veneer on a cap - you can see there's a demarcation about 1/8" below the finished topwood. Still very pretty.

... If it's not an Epi, though - who knocks off a knockoff? :think:

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:47 am

That was my thought - who fakes an Epi headstock??

I have it cleaned up a little bit. I scrubbed the fretboard with a mixture of soap and vinegar water using a toothbrush. There wasn't a lot of dirt on it. Then rubbed it with lemon oil. It turned out really nice. It's pretty smooth. The frets are kinda tarnished but feel smooth. I may leave them how they are. It looks "vintage"

The body was a bit more work. I used the same soap and vinegar water but scrubbed with a scotch pad. It took the caked on dirt off pretty easy but left a few scratch marks. I then used a wax to polish and the scratches went away. It's not perfect but I'm happy with it.

Here are a few pictures. I wish I would have taken better pictures of the dirt so you could see a bigger difference in the before and after.
IMG_20180409_112312593.jpg

IMG_20180409_112357242.jpg

IMG_20180409_112347063.jpg

IMG_20180409_112326347.jpg


The hardware was also cleaned. I used a toothbrush with dish detergent. The chrome still has some bubbly spots that will have to stay but overall they look ok.

My plan right now is to put a nut and tuners on, string it up and see how it plays. I'm really interested in how the pickups sound as I have no idea what they are. I ordered the parts last night so hopefully by the end of the week I can start getting it together.

I did cut a couple pieces of wood for the headstock reshape but am debating if I want to get that involved. I'm not a woodworker by any stretch of the imagination. It might be way more than I can handle.

Here are some pictures of the back. It has some deep scratches and dings but not that bad of shape.
IMG_20180409_112419725.jpg

IMG_20180409_112427083.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10668
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby ElfDude » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:50 pm

Very cool project!
Looking forward to following this.
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:51 pm

Here's another update but it's also a problem.

I found another guitar project. Same LP style guitar but a bit different.

It's more of a faded cherry sunburst. The back is just clear coated. The flame top is much better looking. It really pops. Not sure if it's veneer And it has more of a Gibson style headstock.

The body is considerably lighter. It could be the wood or weight relieved or both? The back wood looks to be three pieces.

The hard part for my skill set is it needs some fret work. About 4 or 5 frets feel like they're smashed down a bit or ground down. Not sure if a level and re-crowning will do the trick or not. I'll probably take this to a luthier for an opinion. The neck is straight. The fretboard seems pretty good too.

Here's some pictures and I'm excited about this one as well. I'll post more thoughts and pictures when I investigate it a bit more.
IMG_20180412_182839673.jpg

IMG_20180412_182940787.jpg

IMG_20180412_182911801.jpg

IMG_20180412_183047479.jpg

IMG_20180412_182911801.jpg

IMG_20180412_182927292.jpg


This one is going to be more work than the other but I think will look better. I hope I didn't get in over my head. :D
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:01 am

Project guitar #1.
I have some tuners on. I also have a nut but dummy me, I got a 42mm instead of a 43mm. I may string it up with the 42 nut anyway just to hear the pickups and make sure all the electronics work.
IMG_20180413_134552765.jpg


Project guitar #2.
I have the fretboard taped up and started doing a bit of work. The frets didn't seem to be that much out of level. Th really bad part are the three frets closest to the body and two around the 12th. The ends at the high E, B strings are pretty low and flat. I'm going to attempt to shape them. I would imagine at the very least, those would need to be replaced.
IMG_20180413_134056639.jpg

IMG_20180413_134042432.jpg

IMG_20180413_134015680.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:31 am

Project #1 update
I did a little bit of drawing and cutting. I think rather than add word and shape it, I'm going to remove wood from the headstock to get the shape I want. There's enough wood on top that I can remove about 1/2" and it will still look ok. And slim down the sides close to the nut.
IMG_20180416_122135213.jpg

IMG_20180416_122102008.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:36 pm

Project Guitar #1 update

The electronics work and I'm surprised how well both pickups sound. They are warm and smooth. They will certainly drive a tube amp to some nice breakup. I was going to sell them but I'll probably keep them to put in another guitar at one point.

I have everything back out of the guitar and today I started shaping the headstock. For my skill (or lack of) level, it's not that bad. After I did the initial cut it looked very rough but working with some sandpaper is doing a good job. The one side is still off a good bit. I need to get more of a curve to match the opposite side. I'm fairly pleased. I'll give it another go in a few day to see if I can get it better.
IMG_20180428_151932366.jpg


*edited to add*
Before I started cutting I measured the head to get things lined up. I noticed it's cut crooked. One corner is up higher than the other. It took a little bit of time to try to get the new shape centered.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Tue May 01, 2018 1:48 pm

This isn't an update but it relates to my project and it's funny, so here goes....

I decided to get a new soldering iron. I buy almost everything from Amazon because then I never have to leave the house :D
Anyway, it was delivered today and my wife opened the package. She sees what it is and sends my 7 year old to my office to tell me...and he tells me that my "strawberry vine" is here.

All my kids hear a lot of things wrong but this was one of the funniest! :laughhard:

Soldering iron, strawberry vine....I guess they could sound similar :D

User avatar
Casual Madman
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 2236
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Garland TX

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Casual Madman » Tue May 01, 2018 2:29 pm

Brock wrote:This isn't an update but it relates to my project and it's funny, so here goes....

All my kids hear a lot of things wrong but this was one of the funniest! :laughhard:


When my daughter was in braces, she got a little mushmouthed. Over a decade later, we still call hamburger steaks "murder sticks."

User avatar
Doctor Turn
Platinum Carvinite
Platinum Carvinite
Posts: 4776
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: NYC, sans rock clubs and 48th St.
Links/Contact:

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Doctor Turn » Tue May 01, 2018 4:14 pm

Brock wrote:This isn't an update but it relates to my project and it's funny, so here goes....

I decided to get a new soldering iron. I buy almost everything from Amazon because then I never have to leave the house :D
Anyway, it was delivered today and my wife opened the package. She sees what it is and sends my 7 year old to my office to tell me...and he tells me that my "strawberry vine" is here.

All my kids hear a lot of things wrong but this was one of the funniest! :laughhard:

Soldering iron, strawberry vine....I guess they could sound similar :D


Not the craziest thing that she could have said, actually. I love strawberry Red Vines:

Image
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

User avatar
galvin23
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2018
Location: Arizona

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby galvin23 » Tue May 01, 2018 11:05 pm

Hi everyone, lucky me to bump to this forum topic. I have been searching for Epiphone guitars and since I think most of you here know more about the instrument itself can I please ask for your help?
https://musicadvisor.com/epiphone-intermediate-guitar/
https://musicadvisor.com/epl-plus-top-p ... ic-guitar/

I like to know the difference between this 2 guitars and which is better for non pro player? :shock:

User avatar
Doctor Turn
Platinum Carvinite
Platinum Carvinite
Posts: 4776
Joined: Aug 2015
Location: NYC, sans rock clubs and 48th St.
Links/Contact:

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Doctor Turn » Wed May 02, 2018 6:59 am

galvin23 wrote:Hi everyone, lucky me to bump to this forum topic. I have been searching for Epiphone guitars and since I think most of you here know more about the instrument itself can I please ask for your help?
https://musicadvisor.com/epiphone-intermediate-guitar/
https://musicadvisor.com/epl-plus-top-p ... ic-guitar/

I like to know the difference between this 2 guitars and which is better for non pro player? :shock:


I love that shot of vintage Lita Ford in your avatar w that awesome DC150/60.

Hi Galvin.. my advice to you would be, and this is a total no brainer AFAIC... if you're going to buy an "affordable" Asian made LP style guitar at this price point, buy the basic Hagstrom Swede (if you want standard 24.75 scale), or the Super Swede if you want a long scale LP style guitar. (There's also the Ultra Swede which, despite the sound of the name, is the bottom entry level guitar with a basswood body instead of mahog/maple, it also has hotter, ceramic pickups instead of the vintage-modern alnico V pups on the standard Swede or Super Swede) The build quality is miles beyond these Epiphones that you're linking in, and the prices can be in the same ballpark for just the basic model. These guitars are qualitatively far superior to these specific Epis, and are superior to the vast majority of the non custom shop Gibsons as well, at a fraction of the price. But don't take my word for it.. almost unanimous in every thread:

http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/for ... 1/1237989-
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/s ... p?t=507125
http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/for ... 1/1156728-
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index ... ul.896518/
http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/les-pa ... de.206424/

On the other hand if you're dead set on the Epiphone/exact LP body shape, Brock could probably help, and there's also another member here who goes by the name Naked Ape who could probably be helpful as well.. he's picked up a few high end Epi LP's but I'd imagine he could speak to these as well.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10668
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby ElfDude » Wed May 02, 2018 12:28 pm

galvin23 wrote:Hi everyone, lucky me to bump to this forum topic. I have been searching for Epiphone guitars and since I think most of you here know more about the instrument itself can I please ask for your help?
https://musicadvisor.com/epiphone-intermediate-guitar/
https://musicadvisor.com/epl-plus-top-p ... ic-guitar/

I like to know the difference between this 2 guitars and which is better for non pro player? :shock:


In the "Cons" list I see, "Some users have noted that the guitar needed a professional setup"
This is true of Gibsons as well. 8)
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook

User avatar
spudmunkey
Elite Carvinite
Elite Carvinite
Posts: 16006
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby spudmunkey » Wed May 02, 2018 12:59 pm

ElfDude wrote:In the "Cons" list I see, "Some users have noted that the guitar needed a professional setup"
This is true of Gibsons as well. 8)


Image

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Thu May 03, 2018 5:48 am

I don't have a ton experience with Epiphone but I'll gladly share what I do have.

I've owned two Epiphones and played several over the years. One was a Dot which I bought about new about 15 years ago and the other is a Special II, bought used at a pawn shop. I no longer have the Dot.

Here's a common theme I notice about most all the ones I played. 1) they are in need of a setup from the get go. The intonation and string height need adjusting. Both of the ones I bought were fine after a setup. 2) Most all of the pickups sound horrible, as in too thin and too much treble. Tone is a personal taste but I was never satisfied with Epi pickups.

Let me tell you about the good. The Dot I owned was the only exception to good sounding pickups. I may be wrong on this but when I bought it I remember the pups having a Gibson sticker sticker on them and I think they were 57 Classics. Whatever they were, they sounded fantastic.

The necks, fingerboard, etc., have all felt really good. The frets all felt fairly level as well. Of the ones I adjusted, buzzing was very minimal at the most. The Special II being the exception. This one is very good! It feels like it should be on a high priced guitar.

If you do decide to get an Epi Les Paul keep two things in mind. It will need a good setup and you'll probably want to swap pickups. Both tasks are pretty easy if you pay attention to what you're doing. I was VERY nervous about my first pickup swap but after it was done, it turned out nice.

To answer your question on the difference between the two I think the biggest difference is the Plus has a flamed maple veneer top while the other has a plain maple top. It looks the pickups might be different also. But from my experience don't count on them sounding great. Again, pickup tone is a very personal taste. You might like what they sound like like. I don't think one is better or worse. It depends more on do you want a plain top or flame.

Best advice I can give you is if there is a music store close by that has these models, go play them.

If I think of anything more, I'll add it here.

*edited to add*
I remembered about the tuners - some felt solid, some felt ok and others were horrible. But that's an easy fix.

User avatar
Brock
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: south central pa.

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Mon May 14, 2018 7:11 am

Project guitar #1 update

This guitar is mostly finished. It's far from perfect and I have a few things that still need attention but here's what I did

1. The head stock is shaped. I'm not a craftsman by any means but I think it looks pretty good. It turned out better than I thought it would. I painted it gloss black with a can of spray paint from the dollar store. It works. I need to find a stain for where the wood was cut. I found on StewMac a touch up pen that matches Gibson's red mahogany. I might try that. I really don't know how to go about finding a match. I found on Etsy someone selling guitar logos and I had one custom made. I got a "Gibbons Pearly Gates Model." I didn't put the "Gibbons" on because I think I want to leave the "brand" blank.
IMG_20180505_154059031_LL.jpg


2. All the electronics are new. This is the part of the project my 7 year old was really interested in. He likes to see things wired up. I bought the volume/tone pots, selector switch and output jack as a kit from Guitar Fetish. The neck pickup is also from there. It's a GFS Crunchy PAT. For $23 I thought I'd give it a try. The bridge pup is a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates. I bought it used from Reverb several months ago.

I found a wiring diagram online and attempted to get started. I did a few things sloppy/wrong but soon got them fixed. I think my boy learned something as I was doing my best to explain why the wires went where they did. Only problem I currently have with it is when the selector is in the middle position, the volume drops way off. In the bridge or the neck position, they sound fine.

Here's another issue I didn't think about - The bridge apparently has a wider string spacing. All the strings don't line up over the pole pieces. I'll need to eventually get a wider pickup.
IMG_20180505_152255383_LL.jpg

IMG_20180505_152345442_LL.jpg

IMG_20180505_152208249.jpg


3. Hardware. I used the bridge/stop bar that came with the guitar.There was nothing wrong with it and I liked how it a bit rough and looks old. A friend gave me a set of tuners he wasn't using. No idea what brand but they feel solid and hold the strings in tune. I have Aged Amber tophat knobs and pointers I found on ebay for $12. I also found the nut on ebay for $3. I bought 2 of them. I used the pickup rings, and back cover plates that came with the guitar. I bought a new pickguard. This one is more of a cream compared to the off-white one that it came with. I think I paid $8 for it.

4. Setup. This was the most time consuming. I like a low action. All my guitars are setup this way and to some degree they all have some buzz on the heavy strings. This one a a bit more buzz than usual. I thinks it's because I sanded the nut down a little too much. The frets are almost perfectly level. The neck is very straight. Thankfully I bought two nuts. But for now it's not bad enough where I need to change it out. It's playable and the buzzing doesn't stop the strings from vibrating freely. It's more of an annoyance. Plugged in, I can't tell. But at some point I will change the nut or maybe add a shim.

The amp I used with it is my Kalamazoo 1x10 combo. It sounds really nice but it's not my main amp. I have yet to take it to band practice an play through my Marshall DSL15 stack. Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to do that.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. It's my first project and I learned some things along the way. Plus I got to spend some good time with boy doing something he really like - electronics and wires.
IMG_20180505_154047639.jpg


I'll keep this updated as I do more. Probably be a while before I start my second project. I have some house projects to get done first...build a roof over my back deck, paint my front porch railing and build my youngest boy a new bed. I'm gonna be busy for a while!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
ElfDude
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10668
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: In and around the lake

Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby ElfDude » Mon May 14, 2018 10:00 am

Looks great! :applause:
Aries A6H, CS6M, SH445, Contour 66, AE185, DC135, CT4M, Bolt, SH225, LB76F, Nomad, VT16 Head, V410, Pro Bass 100
Midlife Crisis on Facebook
The Tri-Chevys on Facebook


Return to Other Gear

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests