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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:08 am 
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Walnut
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Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:39 pm
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First name: Ryan
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hey all, New here. hope I'm posting this in the right place, forgive me if not!
A quick background on myself...I have no experience, or schooling in luthierie, but I have some friends who do. and have become interested in it through them.

I purchased a used Les Paul Express with the intention of stripping it, refinishing it, and adding new hardware, however I have a few questions I'd like some input on!

first of all, when it comes to the paint job...I started by sanding it, priming it, and putting the base coat on. no problems there! however, I wanted to add a checker pattern in a section of the body. because it's a travel sized guitar I had to have smaller squares for the checker pattern, and found a roll of masking tape that was relatively thin in width (I believe about 3/4 inch). Now, I know I should have used painters tape but I figured this would do....it did not. the tape seemed to bleed through slightly in sections when I peeled it off. after checking numerous stores I've found that there is no painters tape of this width. my question is...is there any other tape I can use that wont bleed through without ruining the primary coat of the guitar?

my next question is about parts. because I didn't spend alot on this guitar and it's my first project, I'm not looking to spend alot on hardware. I'd like to find pickups that arent too expensive ($60 range) that are good for playing more punk rock / metal (alot of gain and a more punchy sounding tone) I assume I can't find very good pickups for this price but I'll take what I can get. I'd also like to replace the bridge to one that is flush with the body of the guitar (I like to do alot of palm muting and that is difficult with the current bridge). the only other thing I'd like to replace is the volume and tone knobs to red ones...but I assume I can find cheap ones anywhere so that's not much of an issue..


TLDR: Im refinishing a Les Paul Express and adding new hardware to it. I need to know if there is another kind of tape I can use (other than painters tape) that wont bleed through after I paint over it. and I'd also like to know where I can find cheap hardware, particularly a bridge that is flush with the body of the guitar (not lifted like the original bridge that comes with the LP express) and cheap pickups that are good for a punchy, high gain tone!

thanks alot :)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:22 am 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:40 pm
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Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
First name: Roger
State: Oklahoma
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
For cheap but decent hardware, go to Guitar Fetish. Their pickups are actually quite good, and I use their Wilkinson brand bridges on all my Tele builds.

When you say you want to replace the bridge with something that is flush to the body, I don't know of anything that'll work. The saddles have to be at a certain height in order for the strings to be above the frets.



These users thanked the author RogerC108 for the post: Lust (Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Walnut
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Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:39 pm
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First name: Ryan
Last Name: Lustri
RogerC108 wrote:
When you say you want to replace the bridge with something that is flush to the body, I don't know of anything that'll work. The saddles have to be at a certain height in order for the strings to be above the frets.


I did realize that, but my one friend said something about putting something in between the neck and the body before putting the neck back in place, that would angle the neck so the strings wouldnt come in contact with the frets. at least I believe that's what he was getting at, can this be done?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:31 pm 
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Location: Austin, Texas
First name: Dan
Last Name: Smith
City: Round Rock
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I have several sets of Kmise and Musiclilly pickups I bought thru Amazon for under $15 a set.
They sound fantastic. The key is to buy the ones that have many good reviews.
The bridge looks like a regular Tele bridge.
I get those thru Amazon for under $10 a pop.
I'd go with a top string load rather than thru the body strings.
Good luck!
Dan

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These users thanked the author dzsmith for the post: Lust (Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:02 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:15 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

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Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
First name: Roger
State: Oklahoma
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Ok, I just googled an image of one of these. I didn't realize they didn't have the TOM bridge like on standard LPs. You could put a Tele style bridge on it, but it won't change anything since it's the same design as what's on there. And given the style bridge, I'm a bit confused as what you mean by having a bridge that is "flush with the body of the guitar."


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:58 am 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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I'm with Roger on this - from pictures it looks like the Express is flat on top with a 22 inch scale screw on neck. The bridge looks basically like a tele bridge, Epiphone says they use a "FB-601" bridge, whatever that is. Most tele style bridges have a little rim that is the anchor point for top loading strings and is where the intonation screws thread thru - I don't know of anything that eliminates that rim.

Image

The important thing is to have the correct neck geometry relative to the bridge when you are done - you want to have enough adjustment in the saddles to get the action you want for each string. The Epi in the picture has a 12 inch radius - that is slightly flatter than most tele's but you should be able to adjust a tele bridge. The nice thing about a screw on neck is that you can shim the pocket to change the angle if you need to.

It looks like the guitar came with humbuckers - pick something you like and you should be fine.

Last comment on you paint question - I can't answer it but if you go to an automotive paint store they have all kinds of masking tape widths down to 1/4 inch (which they call pin striping tape) - you should be able to find what you want.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Glenn_Aycock (Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:02 am)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:39 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:39 pm
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First name: Ryan
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Freeman wrote:
I'm with Roger on this - from pictures it looks like the Express is flat on top with a 22 inch scale screw on neck. The bridge looks basically like a tele bridge, Epiphone says they use a "FB-601" bridge, whatever that is. Most tele style bridges have a little rim that is the anchor point for top loading strings and is where the intonation screws thread thru - I don't know of anything that eliminates that rim.

Image


right, I forgot that whenever I google this guitar I get a different one. I'm not sure if mine is a slightly different model, or the guy I bought it from changed the bridge on it. but mine doesnt have that bridge..

Image

this is the kind of bridge mine has.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:23 pm 
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Koa
Koa

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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
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Lust wrote:
this is the kind of bridge mine has.


OK, that is a "Tune-o-matic" bridge, standard item on Les Pauls and many other Gibson guitars, with a "stop bar" tail piece. ToM bridges are usually 12 inch radius and usually stand about 5/8 off the curved top of a Les Paul. The neck on a Lester is set at 3-1/2 to 4 degrees so that the geometry works out correctly. The guitar in the picture seems to have an arched (carved) top.

ToM bridges and stop bar tail pieces mount via two studs each which are pressed into the top of the guitar. There are threaded posts that screw into the studs and raise the bridge up and down. One option if you want to eliminate the stop bar is a ToM bridge/tailpiece combination - LP Jr's used them and PRS uses something kind of like that on some of his guitars

http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Par ... ridge.html

You'll have the holes for the stop bar to deal with - if you haven't actually started painting you can fill them.

There have been a few aftermarket bridges that are designed to adapt to the ToM studs - mostly vibrato units but if you are thinking of converting to anything else you will need to do some serious design work to make sure the geometry is correct and then some pretty serious modifications to the body of the guitar. Most of the options will probably be more expensive too (I'm thinking of a Kahler type bridge which runs in the $300 range).

The last comment might be, as I said before, this is the standard LP configuration and it doesn't seem to affect the playing of the thousands of people who play Les Pauls (including me). You might want to consider modifying your technique slightly rather than all the effort to change the bridge



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Lust (Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:38 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:40 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:39 pm
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First name: Ryan
Last Name: Lustri
Freeman wrote:
Lust wrote:
this is the kind of bridge mine has.


OK, that is a "Tune-o-matic" bridge, standard item on Les Pauls and many other Gibson guitars, with a "stop bar" tail piece. ToM bridges are usually 12 inch radius and usually stand about 5/8 off the curved top of a Les Paul. The neck on a Lester is set at 3-1/2 to 4 degrees so that the geometry works out correctly. The guitar in the picture seems to have an arched (carved) top.

ToM bridges and stop bar tail pieces mount via two studs each which are pressed into the top of the guitar. There are threaded posts that screw into the studs and raise the bridge up and down. One option if you want to eliminate the stop bar is a ToM bridge/tailpiece combination - LP Jr's used them and PRS uses something kind of like that on some of his guitars

http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Par ... ridge.html

You'll have the holes for the stop bar to deal with - if you haven't actually started painting you can fill them.

There have been a few aftermarket bridges that are designed to adapt to the ToM studs - mostly vibrato units but if you are thinking of converting to anything else you will need to do some serious design work to make sure the geometry is correct and then some pretty serious modifications to the body of the guitar. Most of the options will probably be more expensive too (I'm thinking of a Kahler type bridge which runs in the $300 range).

The last comment might be, as I said before, this is the standard LP configuration and it doesn't seem to affect the playing of the thousands of people who play Les Pauls (including me). You might want to consider modifying your technique slightly rather than all the effort to change the bridge


I was using the picture as a general example, but my Guitar doesn't have the arched body or the stop bar. just that ToM style bridge. however, I do appreciate all the information!!

it's not so much that I CAN'T okay with this sort of bridge, just if I'm going to be modify8ing the guitar then I may as well replace it with a bridge that's more comfortable to me. but if $300 is what it's going to cost me then maybe not...I don't care how cheap the bridge is just as long as it's compatible with the guitar.

EDIT: I can't experiment with the bridge currently, because its apart from the guitar at the moment. but is it possible to just lower the height of the bridge? and then just shim the neck accordingly? I'm not sure how flush it would be to the guitar but it IS possible right ?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:26 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
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Pictures of your guitar would help a lot. However, here is my rule of thumb for setting the neck angle relative to any bridge I'm going to use. I want the fret plane (ie lay a straightedge on the frets and point the end towards where the bridge will be) to be at about the lowest range of the bridges adjustment. If you think about that, if you put strings on you would have an action of zero at the 12th fret (where I measure everything). When you pull tension in the strings you will get a little bit of relief, a few thousands of an inch and the nut will raise it 10 or 15 thou more. Now to get reasonable action at 12 - lets say 60 to 90 thousands, you raise the bridge twice that amount, it will be roughly an eighth of an inch above its lowest point. Most bridges have that much adjustment. this has worked for me on ToM bridges

Image

and tele style

Image

In both cases the bridge is resting on the top (in the top one there are little wooden shims duplicating the adjustment studs) and the straightedge is just touching the top of the saddles at their lowest position. Shim the neck angle until you get this and the action should be reasonable. Remember that with a screw on neck you can always go back and shim the pocket if you need to.

I always like to have the bridge that I'm going to use when I'm futzing with the neck angle - you can get measurements off of the manufacturers web site but its nice to have the real thing. Use the measurements to see if its going to work before you buy it, use the actual bridge to set the geometry.

Most bridges are far less than a hundred bucks - that $300 price was for a very highly engineered tremolo bridge that is designed to fit on the ToM studs. If you decide to use a tele style bridge you'll just abandon the studs (probably pull them) and drill mounting holes for the tele style (which may cover the holes just fine)



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post (total 2): Lust (Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:31 pm) • dzsmith (Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:15 pm)
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