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Upgrading my Chibson Les Paul. And Squier Telecaster ideas?

posted Jul 03, 2014 21:39:12 by AdamLondon
Had my Chibson a couple of weeks now. It's a much nicer instrument than expected.

I'd have played it a lot more but things like getting married sort of prevent that :)

I swapped the strings to some super slinkys but ever since then quite a lot of buzzing from the strings. Can't seem to stop it. But it's not effecting my playing. Am going to get it set up by a tech soon but not sure to replace the bridge or not. I already will get him to replace the nut, pots and pickups and they will check the frets. So I was thinking is it worth to buy a new bridge. I have the converter pins for a abr1 bridge. But if there are better ideas please let me know. Really not keen on this notching stuff.

It might end up cheaper if I had bought a real les paul!
I am not confident to try the jobs myself.

One last thing on the chibson front the tuners seem decent apart for one that's a bit loose. If I get some real version of the same tuners should they fit the holes ok? I don't want to drill it at all!

That advise I have a squier telecaster laying around. I want to put some new pickups on it myself. Any ideas for a decent set of pickups but not too pricey (considering it's just for a squire) I am going for a classic tele sound. Any other ideas what I could do with it would be great too. Here is a pic of it
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9 replies
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AdamLondon said Jul 03, 2014 21:49:57
Forgot to put the pic. sorry!


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MichaelWamback said Jul 04, 2014 14:47:25
I have a Gibson style roller bridge on my Tele - and there are some issues you are going to run into. The ABR-1 is a lot higher than the fender saddles, which means that you will have difficult adjusting it for action height. You have to shim the neck to get a decent action, and that's with the bridge all the way down with no adjustment wheels. In your case, you don't have a trem, so I wouldn't bother with the ABR-1 bridge. Really no advantage to it.

The best mod can do to the Tele is the 4-way switch. This lets you choose either series or parallel when both pickups are on. This gives you a darker tone with a bit more volume, almost like a neck humbucker. It's a very usable tone, almost a George Harrison sound.

To do the mod, you get your hands on an Oaks Grigsby 4-way switch (about $15 on Ebay) and download a good wiring diagram from the net. You have to wire jumper wires on the switch - and be careful because there is definitely a front and back to the switch. The second part of the mod is to remove the neck pickup and unsolder the little jumper wire to the pickup cover tab. You then solder a dedicated ground wire to the pickup cover tab and ground it to the ground circuit (back of a pot).

The reason you have a dedicated ground to the pickup cover is that when you switch the switch to the new position, you reverse the polarity of the pickup - so ground becomes hot and hot becomes ground. If you don't have a dedicated ground wire to the cover, it will no longer be grounded and will introduce a lot of noise to the circuit.

It's a simple mod, but should be automatic for any Tele in my opinion.

Once you have it finished, you should hear 4 distinct tones. All the way back (like in your photo) is bridge, next click is bridge/neck in series (regular Tele tone), next is neck, and all the way forward is bridge/neck in parallel (your new tone).
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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stanton.kramer said Jul 05, 2014 23:18:12
Had my Chibson a couple of weeks now. ... (1)I swapped the strings to some super slinkys but ever since then quite a lot of buzzing from the strings. Can't seem to stop it.
It might end up cheaper if I had bought a real les paul!
I am not confident to try the jobs myself.

(2)One last thing on the chibson front the tuners seem decent apart for one that's a bit loose. If I get some real version of the same tuners should they fit the holes ok? I don't want to drill it at all!

(3) That advise I have a squier telecaster laying around. I want to put some new pickups on it myself. Any ideas for a decent set of pickups but not too pricey


Hi Adam...
Think I'll work backwards...
3) I can unequivocally recommend the Bill Lawrence noiseless pickups for your Tele.

Here is a video (not me playing) comparing my Tele, a MIM Tele with an American Standard and a short bit with a Squier CV. The video will tell you (IMO) all you need to know. I changed the scratchplate after the video was made. Also flipped the control plate. I like it better with the switch on the bottom.

link here...

2) Tuners. Wait til you get the nut installed before you take the time and expense to replace tuners. I have the originals in my Chibson and they hold tune as well as real Grovers, or Klusons or Shaller/Fender. Not sure about the fit. I will guess that you may have to fill and redrill. Hence, wait until you feel you *have* to replace them.

1) If you want a bridge that just works and isn't too expensive, try the Wilkinson Roller Bridge. In full disclosure the stud centers were a couple 10ths of a mm off and needed a bit enlarging. But it works great and is very comfortable on your picking hand when you rest it there.



[Last edited Jul 05, 2014 23:24:44]
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MichaelWamback said Jul 06, 2014 00:29:32
I think the best quality bridge for the money is still the Gotoh/Tonepros. Roller bridges are great if you have a trem, but I'm not a fan of them otherwise. They are definitely comfortable to rest your palm against, but you won't have an easy time convincing me (and several of my player friends) that they don't cost you a bit of sustain. If you have a trem - the added tuning stability may well be worth the cost of the sustain - tradeoffs being what they are. It's why I have one on my guitar with the Bigsby.

Gotoh/Tonepros have a pre-notched bridge, so you won't have to do a lot of setup work. The large bushing/metric bridges should be a drop on replacement for your existing bridge. It's then a simple case of setting the intonation and action height - and we can easily talk you through that (no tech required.)

I'm guessing the rattle/buzz could easily be the bridge. I've leveled the frets on my EDS Chibson, and I know all the buzz I hear is the bridge. I'll swap it out eventually. Well worth the effort.

If you have a good solid and stable bridge, and a good quality nut - your tech should be able to do a great setup for you. So long as the frets are level, you can also do it yourself. It's actually fairly easy to set up a Les Pual.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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stanton.kramer said Jul 06, 2014 02:29:47
I forgot to mention it... String buzz when you change strings is often due to a different tension on the neck. Often a simple truss rod adjustment is all that's needed. If you don't yet know how to do that yourself it is easy enough to learn. All you need is a capo and a wrench for the truss rod (which usually come with the guitar). Chances are all you have do do is loosen the truss rod 1/4 turn and it will reduce the tension just enough to allow the neck to settle so that their is a bit more neck relief allowing the strings to vibrate without the buzz.
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MichaelWamback said Jul 06, 2014 04:28:24
You should also use a set of feeler gauges. Most guitars play well with about .010 inches of relief. You put the capo on the first fret, press the string to the last fret and measure the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the 7th fret. Then tighten or loosen the truss rod as required from there.

You will find the neck will change with different string brand, since they can exert different tensions on the headstock. But it can also change with weather. I had set the neck on my EDS-1275 when I got it from REG in October. Checked it again the other day when I noticed it looked almost straight. Ended up taking about 1/5 turn off the truss to get back to .010
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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stanton.kramer said Jul 06, 2014 17:21:10
Sorry I've been dribbling in my reply. Been away and working off the phone and iPad lately.

You will find the neck will change with different string brand, since they can exert different tensions on the headstock. But it can also change with weather.


Regarding the weather thing, in Chicago, particularly in the winter, the temperature, humidity, barometric pressure change so frequently that sometimes I might have to adjust the neck relief as often as once every week or two.

YouTube has plenty of instructional vids on guitar setups. Les Pauls are the simplest to adjust (once you have a properly cut nut) as you can only adjust the truss rod and bridge height and intonation.

Good luck.
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MichaelWamback said Jul 06, 2014 19:57:25
If the guitar has a double action truss, they will tend to be more stable in changing weather. Virtually all of these Asian guitars have a single action truss though - and weather will influence those a lot more.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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AdamLondon said Jul 07, 2014 19:26:27

Thanks for the tips guys gonna start to make the upgrades soon. I spent some time on the weekend putting a decal on the headstock. Was very awkward but it has came out quite nicely in the end.

Removed the squire logo with nail Polish sanded it down stained the wood slightly then applied the decal. Just waiting for a bit of spare cash to do the rest of the bits. I plan to make these 2 guitars really nice.






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