11/05/2016

Workshop: Electrified Gibson L-4





The owner of this guitar came into the shop a week or two ago asking my opinion on newer Epiphone Les Pauls -- he was interested in picking something up to fiddle around on electric-wise. Knowing that his tastes run in the vein of classy, upmarket, vintage guitars, I had to lay it out straight -- stay away!


After sampling various electrics (that banana Harmony and that DeArmond-equipped Epiphone among them) and pickup types I steered him towards a P90 as the ideal choice for his fingerpicking, country-blues style. The tone he was getting off of the Harmony sounded right at home!

He came up with the idea to mount a P90 on his old L-4 that I fixed-up last year and, after receiving supplies, I wrapped-up the project just before closing yesterday. 


Parts included a nice L-5-style pickguard made by Paul Fox, a vintage-style (50s-looking) knob, 500K volume pot, endpin jack installed through the tailpiece hanger, an Alnico-magnet P90 registering around ~8.4k ohms, and a P90 "mount" of the type that Gibson used on ES-300s and the like to jack-up the height of the pickup off the body.

The idea was to make this install look a bit like something a harebrained Gibson employee might have done to help a player electrify in the late 40s. I think it came out grand and, well, it sounds awesome.


Sorry for the blurry shot -- it was too dark to take a pic outside when I snapped this. The cool thing about using the pickup mount is that I was able to attach the pickup to the soundhole without drilling anything. I rigged up a couple of bolts with spacers and washers to the mount and then attached the mount to the soundhole. After that I screwed the pickup into the mount. This way it's all reversible in about 5 minutes of fussing.

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