Eliminate stop tailpiece from Epiphone LP

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by vcmdooq, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. vcmdooq

    vcmdooq New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I have an Epiphone Les Paul that I bought around 2008.

    I was looking at the bridge recently and it occurred to me that I could probably simplify the hardware by eliminating the stop tailpiece (and its bushings) all together and replacing the tune-o-matic with a wrap around bridge. This would shave off a few ounces too.

    From what I can see the matter is complicated by the fact that unlike a Les Paul Jr, my Epi LP has a rounded top with a bridge pickup that sits higher than the neck pickup. So the wraparound bridge would need to be height adjustable like a tune-o-matic, right?

    I also wonder if the string tension would cause the new bridge posts to bend over time towards the fretboard.

    I'm sure this isn't a new topic, but what I'm looking for is a detailed step by step guide on how to accomplish this with the least amount of modification. It would be ideal to pop the new bridge into the existing bushings.

    Oh and what hardware do you recommend? TIA

    Here's how things look now:

    IMG_7694a.jpg IMG_7692b.jpg IMG_7691c.jpg

    TIA!
     
  2. Rick Davey

    Rick Davey New Member

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    Beautiful guitar.

    Are you doing the work yourself?

    I'm skeptical about the potential improvement you hope to accomplish. All that work and new hardware just to simplify the hardware and save an ounce or two. Would you be planning to refinish the top after you remove the stop tailpiece bushings and plug those holes?

    Honestly, I think if it was mine I'd just buy a different guitar.
     
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  3. vcmdooq

    vcmdooq New Member

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    I envisioned taking out the stop tailpiece and the posts and then leaving the bushings. I don't mind having two chrome holes on the body. I think that would be kinda cool. I like the idea of having a single piece that functions as bridge and tailpiece.
     
  4. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunatly impossible without repositionning the bridge bushings. A metric bridge like on the Epiphone has 73.5 mm spacing, a wraparound is 81.5 mm.
     
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  5. vcmdooq

    vcmdooq New Member

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    Well that's that. Thank you for the info.

    I bought the Gotoh Aluminum tailpiece since it's lighter and apparently it improves tone.
     
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  6. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    I bought a brass one since it's heavier and apparently improves tone. YMMV :cheers:
     
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  7. 3tripnote

    3tripnote New Member

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    Yes, hello. In 2014 Stew Mac made a video with Dan Erlewine demonstrating something similar to your issue, and how it could possibly be done with a Luthier's skill set.
    Sounds and looks interesting :-)
     
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Active Member

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    FWIW replacing the bridge and studs with Faber Steel components added some snap and clarity to my Gold Top. Not exactly an inexpensive upgrade but I feel I got enough benefit for a guitar I bought right.

    I'll eventually do the same with my ES339 using the savings I got when I bought to put back into that level of an upgrade. My feeling is if a guitar is a "keeper" making it as good as it can be isn't a waste.
     
  9. TheKat

    TheKat Member

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    If you decide on changing the guitar, I would record "before" and "after" samples for comparison, if it's not too inconvenient. Always interesting to have that as a reference.

    Regarding the company Faber, you may find this interesting.
     
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  10. soulman969

    soulman969 Active Member

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    Regrettably my only home recording device is my ears. I have friends with full bore recording studios and I've never been an at home recording junkie myself. The quality difference between the pot metal used on the stock builds and the milled steel inserts is significant and IMHO where much of the improvement comes from but I also wanted the locking bridge feature. It helps too.

    Faber has increased prices a bit since but at the time I did the Gold Top the locking bridge and studs were only about $20 more than the same Tone Pros others often use and that's not a locking bridge. Now that same upgrade would be about $40 more but the discount I received on the guitar itself would more than cover that cost and it will still have cost me less than the normal retail price.

    If I can buy right I'm always looking to upgrade in ways that may benefit the guitar and I've done it with many of mine. These are not guitars I intend to ever sell however I do keep the stock parts safely stored away so I can return one to stock if I do and a buyer is unwilling to pay more for the upgrades. Some will and some won't but expect you to accept their offer with the upgrades left intact. LOL

    I have some very nice parts and pickups in my storage closet right now I'll either use somewhere down the road or sell online once I realize I have no further use for something. I know what many say about upgrades and resale value but I'm a hard line "ain't no free lunches" guy. If I had to pay for material to upgrade something it will add to the resale price if you want it otherwise I'll return it to stock for ya'.

    As for the pedal mentioned in that link I have no frame of reference. I've only purchased one Caline pedal ever and it went back. I own quite a few pedals but now that I already have what I like I'm not tempted by the next flavor of a Tutti Fruitti reverb or overdrive to come out tomorrow. I'm the one whose standing around willing to take yesterday's flavor off their hands for 50% of retail.

    I buy day old bakery and gotta grill it like today or tomorrow steaks at half price too. ;) LOL
     
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  11. Scott Campbell

    Scott Campbell New Member

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    I have an Epiphone Les Paul that I bought around 2008.

    I was looking at the bridge recently and it occurred to me that I could probably simplify the hardware by eliminating the stop tailpiece (and its bushings) all together and replacing the tune-o-matic with a wrap around bridge. This would shave off a few ounces too.
    ########################################################################
    You are the only person I have ever heard of who wanted to replace the stop bar (known for its sustain) for a lighter, cheaper wrap-around tailpiece. You COULD get a LP Junior or Special is you are concerned about weight. They are much cheaper guitars. You could also drill a lot of large holes in the back of your guitar if you don't mind destroying the value. Otherwise, I suggest you sell your Les Paul and buy a much cheaper guitar with cheaper hardware. Use the money left over for psychotherapy. 61EPImelomakr.jpg
     
  12. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, no. I get great sustain out of my wraptails and vibrolas. As for
    Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.
    www.nami.org
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases...onality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662
    Please get help and take your aggression out elsewhere.
     
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  13. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    Consider this. You have just heard from someone who has a different opinion about modding his own guitars. Now there is one fewer entry on your list of people you "have ever heard of who wanted to..." In my experience, the shorter that list is, the more open my mind is.
     
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  14. Kostas Kritsilas

    Kostas Kritsilas New Member

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    Just as a suggestion, you may want to have a talk with the people at Ferro Guitar:

    http://www.ferroguitars.com/menu.html

    They machine all of their bridges, and make Les Paul bridges and tail pieces, as well as wrap around bridges, so they may be able to make a wrap around bridge in the dimensions you are looking for. As well, they make a lot of of stuff out of 6061 alloy, so you may be able to get a 6061 wrap around beidge. which should maximize weight reduction.
     
  15. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you could find or have made some off-set studs ?
     
  16. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    I'm just going to say it, and this isn't a shot against you or anything, but this is a LOT of effort and outside work for what amounts to a used Epiphone. I'm all for mods and hardware swaps and stuff, but once you start having other people design and manufacture custom parts in an effort to reinvent the wheel... for an Epiphone. I gotta wonder if that energy and money might be better utilized. That said, if a guy had access to the necessary machine tools and had sufficient ability to do the work themselves I'd be impressed. At that point the main expenditure would be their own time. It's still gonna be a used Epiphone with a $1000* bridge, but you only live once.

    Also, did anyone else notice that the OP already dropped from the conversation? :cheers:

    *number pulled from nowhere but it wouldn't be cheap
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    You know, I have probably dumped $200 into a G-400 I bought for $200 to add over-wound pickups and custom hardware, I got the money back when I sold it BTW, but that would pretty much be my limit on a Non-USA Epi.
     
  18. Kostas Kritsilas

    Kostas Kritsilas New Member

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    The machined from solid aluminum billet Fbrro Bridges are less expensive than other third party bridges, like the Faber, so no $1000 bridge. On the site itself, it shows a video from Big D guitars, and he is saying that the bridges are between $80-$100 (builders get a discount). It may cost more to have a custom bridge made, but there doesn't seem to be any alternative. I have paid almost as much for a Tonepros bridge, and as I said before, a Faber costs more (close to twice as much).The advantage of the Ferro bridge is that it is completely milled out of a solid block of aluminum, so making a custom bridge is far easier for Ferro (change CNC program) than it is for a manufacturer using castings and presses.

    It is obvious that the number you quoted was pulled from nowhere, because the number you quoted is completely unrealistic and has no logic behind it. It is also obvious that you never visited the site, or viewed the video.
     
  19. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    You didn't read what I wrote at all did you? Yeah, I know the number is pulled from nowhere - I even said so.
    Regardless, you have to pay for someone to design the thing, pay for someone to prototype it, then pay some other guy to machine a finished version then they have to plate it or polish it or whatever- each step costs money. This isn't some off the shelf part were talking about here. Also, no I haven't been to this mythically epic website of which you speak - partly because I've never heard of them - partly because you didn't provide a link - but mostly because I'm not the guy trying to reinvent the wheel.

    I expressly said that I wasn't taking a shot at you or anyone and I meant it. I just think it's more time money and effort than it will ever be worth, and I don't just mean monetarily.
     
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  20. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I went to the site, but was not impressed by the goods or his pitch. From my perspective, 50+ years playing 48 professionally, professional tech for 30, I think it's probably three times as likely that a project like you propose damages the body irreparably rather than succeeds. For $180-200 you can buy a used Epi with a wraptail and play it that day. That said, like Raiyn I have been at this awhile and just want to share the benefit of my experience, feel free to ignore it.
     
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