NU9

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Looong list of mods//upgrades done to my Tribute 1960 plain top, through the years (pics following). Had lots of fun working on this. Great playing instrument!

I recently finished installing the new coil split, 50's style wiring, Bumble Bee caps, solderless harness from Arty's Custom Guitars. Great quality an craftsmanship.
IMG_8579 2 copy.jpg
IMG_8577 2 copy.jpg


The plain top Tribute has Alpha pots, so a bit of work needed to be done.

I started out by taking everything off my guitar (pickups, toggle switch, old wiring, etc).
While doing this, I saw this weird thing - the '57 pups labels are almost unreadable (they were perfect some years ago). They look like they have been dipped in oil. Is this expected to happen?


I then added the new Switchcraft toggle switch/Switchcraft output jack and braided cables (the Tribute has the exact same toggle switch, but this came with the wiring kit, with MUCH better wiring and soldering work).
I changed the poker chip some years ago with one that is a bit more yellowish, with gold letters ( Guitarpartsresource).


I then started enlarging the pot holes with sandpaper wrapped around a pen.


It took a LONG time, as I constantly had to check with a caliper, and with another pen exactly the size of the CTS pots, to make sure I didn't go to much..
I managed to have a great result, as I did not to have any chips or dents in the surface finish.


The wiring harness itself was pretty difficult to install, due to the little space available (I should have not installed the toggle switch before the wiring harness, as the cables coming into the cavity were in the way).

The worst part, strangely, was screwing the pickup wires into the terminal connections of the solderless wiring kit (the wires are so tiny and fragile, it was actually far more difficult than I imagined).
The end result is a nice looking cavity, with high quality wiring, PIOs and pots. The red and red/black connectors are part of the solderless kit - they connect the wires coming from the toggle switch to the ones soldered to the harness.


I went with Philadelphia Luthier Tools gold top hats, for the CTS pots. They are a bit darker than the Guitarpartsresource ones. Also, they have the embossed numbers, as opposed to Guitarparsresource ones that are painted.



The back covers are modded to be held in place by magnets. They are black, replacing the old cream ones that were very ugly looking. I found a pretty good fit (although not perfect), from an online vendor from Holland (I don't remember the store - it was some years ago). Below you can see the cavity cover with scew heads glued directly to the cover (I cut the threaded part of each screw). Each screw head ”sticks” to a tiny magnet inserted into each screw hole in the cavity (see the above cavity pic, and you can clearly see the magnets). Each magnet has two layers of shrink tube on it.
IMG_9347.jpg

After modding the back covers, I pondered of doing the same with the truss rod cover, and I ended up with a pretty easy and cheap solution. I searched online for a magnet about the width of the truss rod channel. Also, I searched for a thin magnet about the width of the channel, that would go on the truss rod cover itself. Here they are:


This is how it looks inside the channel (the magnet is wrapped in three layers of shrink tube - I ended up cutting half of the outer layer, so that it would fit better - it is just wide enough that you would have to press it inside the channel, but could be easily taken out with pliers if I need to mess with the truss rod inside).


For the truss rod cover, I wanted to go with a modded Gibson one (I cut the bottom part and added holes), as the wider white layer looks WAY better:


However, it ended up just about 2mm shorter than the original, which meant a bit of the top hole on the headstock was exposed, so I reverted to the old one :(, until I will find an Epiphone fitting one that has a wide enough white layer). Do you happen to know a source selling Epiphone style TRC with thick white layer?

This is the back, with the thin magnet glued to it:


This is the front, with Gibson style screw heads (I cut the threaded part, and glued the heads in the holes). The bubble shaped screw heads look much better IMHO.


And this is the whole headstock.

The magnetic hold is incredibly strong, there is no way it will fall.
The tuner buttons seen in the pic are Hipshot, they are a perfect fit on the Grover tuner shats and are awesome. The nut is bone.

I also refined a set of Guitarpartsresource pickup rings that I installed some time ago (I sanded them before, but there was a bit more work to be done). They are also darker/yellower than originals:


I did the sanding on the body of the guitar, covering the body in cling film, so as to have something transparent and very thin.

I am quite happy with the result, although it is not 100% perfect.

Other mods/upgrades:
- Gotoh bridge and Gotoh aluminum tailpiece - done years ago.
- Crazy Parts knob pointers and vintage toggle switch washer.
- Buffed out the writing on the truss rod cover, as I like the blank look.
The aluminum tailpiece and bone nut gave it brighter sound.

This is a recent glam shot of the guitar, after a few days of work put into it.


I did not change the tuners, as they are very good. I also did not change the jack plate (I had to sand the original though, as the hole is not round, but proprietary to Epiphone).

The wiring harness is killer - the sound seems a bit more crisp, clear and defined. I ended up using the coil splits a lot (they sound really good - way better than the old series parallel). Overall, a more transparent, bright tone (although not thin). I still have to get used to interacting with the 50s style controls, as I used modern wiring for so many years, but I am happy with the result.
 

Davis Sharp

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While doing this, I saw this weird thing - the '57 pups labels are almost unreadable (they were perfect some years ago). They look like they have been dipped in oil. Is this expected to happen?

I've seen this on a semi-hollow, so fading must be normal. Good thing that you have a photo to prove taht they are 57s, in case you want to sell them.

Nice work.
 
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NU9

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I've seen this on a semi-hollow, so fading must be normal. Good thing that you have a photo to prove taht they are 57s, in case you want to sell them.

Nice work.
Thanks!

I even have pics from when they were brand new :).
 

Noodling Guitars

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That's some nice work! Love the magnetic pickup covers - I wish more makers would go with that.
 
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