Epiphone Les Paul Junior; upgrade or leave stock?

hrstrat57

Squier-Nut
Aug 18, 2020
899
Rhode Island
Thanks Spin . With the original Gibson LPJ having P-90, that was a consideration. I've read that drop in P-90 are not all they're meant to be. Can anybody comment to that or suggest one that is maybe? The dogear would mean the irreversible mod, not that it would matter if it's a big improvement. You can always use a pedal for distortion.

Humbucker sized P-90s

That's +1 for the P90.

View attachment 236923

Genuine Gibson P-90 with controls (2019) LP Junior. Not a bad price and would still be a very cheap guitar.
This

Maybe upgrade tuners and nut

Done
 

Michael7

Dr. Squier
Jan 12, 2010
6,305
Virginia Beach, VA USA
Or you could go crazy like I did with mine and build a Junior Plus.



1656952207489.png
 

BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,938
France
Do you play with distorsion a lot ? If so, you might prefer P94 pickups. Otherwise, there's a good chance you will like P90 tones and won't mind the 60 cycle hum.
 

sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
I've been reading a lot and it all seems to say that humbucker sized P-90s aren't P-90s. P-94 is close, as are Fralin and Lollar. I think I'll be going the Gibson P-90 when it arrives, mainly because the original junior was built that way.
 

sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Yes Dr, and thanks for the reminder. I think you are again correctly pointing out exactly what I'm learning both here and elsewhere. A P-90 is a P-90 and the others aren't. Is that what you're telling me?

Some of the HB sized emulations might be getting close, but not quite, simply because they are physically different. I'm not that fussy to be honest. Everybody is worried about the P-90 hum. I'm not too concerned. If every other P-90 on the planet has a 50/60Hz hum then so be it, and mine can too. Of course I'd still be hoping that the sound is better than the 700T. By all accounts the 700T is quite a harsh pickup and that is pretty much how I'd describe it as well.

Bluesquirrel, I'm nearly 62 and prefer BB and Eric over the likes of Death, Corpse, Entombed or Carcass, if you get my drift. :cool:

The other consideration, which I didn't mention along with Fralin and Lollar is of course the Dream 90. However it appears that Guitar Fetish ships almost everywhere in the world except Aus / NZ. If I add the Dream 90 to my cart and try to do checkout, Australia is not an option.

Dr, I refer to your mention of adjusting pole heights. Isn't that for individual pole / string balance adjustments more so than actual pickup height? There are pretty standard P-90 shims available for lifting them as required. With the Junior being a "flat top" body there shouldn't be too much difficulty in attaching a P-90 and adjusting the height if it's too low. Again, I haven't actually put my guitat on the table and measured it yet.
 
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DrBeGood

Dr. Squier
Dec 9, 2014
6,088
QC, CANADA
Yes Dr, and thanks for the reminder. I think you are again correctly pointing out exactly what I'm learning both here and elsewhere. A P-90 is a P-90 and the others aren't. Is that what you're telling me?
Yep
Dr, I refer to your mention of adjusting pole heights. Isn't that for individual pole / string balance adjustments more so than actual pickup height? There are pretty standard P-90 shims available for lifting them as required. With the Junior being a "flat top" body there shouldn't be too much difficulty in attaching a P-90 and adjusting the height if it's too low. Again, I haven't actually put my guitat on the table and measured it yet.
Adjusting pole pieces for each string is very fine tuning. I don't hear it. So yes, more for getting everything higher. But you're right that spacers would do that. Then again, there is a subtle tonal difference in both adjustment. For you to see/hear.
Of course I'd still be hoping that the sound is better than the 700T. By all accounts the 700T is quite a harsh pickup and that is pretty much how I'd describe it as well.
This what you can aim for with P90s.

 

BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,938
France

I agree with you that P94s don't sound quite the same. They are an approximation, but a lot of people are satisfied with them given that they are truly humbucking and humbucker-sized, so why not try them?
Many people dig the Seymour Duncan Phat Cat, for example.

At the same time, I personally really like the sound of Gibson P90s (still the best imho with Epiphone a close second).
I don't think all P90s sound exactly the same, I think Gibson / Epiphone have a bit more "raw" character and often slightly less treble than for example Lollar / Fralin / Seymour Duncan which, to me, often sound a bit sweeter and less 'bluesy" or "raging" with light overdrive / light fuzz (we are talking nuances here). I've heard that Gotohs are nice too.

I suppose that with an EQ pedal, you could get almost the same sound with all of them, though.
It reminds me of an episode of That Pedal Show. I'll try to find it.
 
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AxelMorisson

Squier-Nut
Nov 15, 2021
812
Fagaras, Romania
The P90 and the Gibby guts seem like a nice upgrade option. Now let's talk about hum...
Get some copper foil- the kind people use to keep snails out of the garden- (hint, can find it in good gardening shops) or proper guitar shielding kit (from ..almost everywhere now, including online). Take the cover down from the dog, and wrap a strip of said copper tape around the insulation that's on the coil. You don't need to close the loop, in fact you don't want to, because you can lose signal like that... but get it pretty close to closing if you pardon my saying so.Leave a small gap between the ends of the foil. Then solder a bit of wire to this foil...and take it to ground somehow. Then replace the dog's cover (and its ears) and there, you have a grounded and silent dog that does not bark unless so instructed (no buzz). It is paramount to have decent shielding and if you do,(do the inner electronics bay of the guitar too if you still have foil) no noise even under rather harsh neon lights... If more shielding is needed, do the inside of the cover (I suppose it is the plastic kind) with the same foil , and ensure it touches the ground somehow, if not easy then put in another grounding wire, go from that to the ring around the bobbin and from there to the outside star ground on the back of a pot or somewhere (I know some folks that do the star point on the output jack, I don't like it like that, it's too messy but if you got the space, it's electrically better).
On chiseling, space around the dog, etc. There's always an option to make a custom pickguard or to paint the inside of the newly dug out pocket (don't call electronic bays and pockets "cavities" guys, we're not (all) dentists here)...
 

DrBeGood

Dr. Squier
Dec 9, 2014
6,088
QC, CANADA
... given that they are truly humbucking and humbucker-sized, so why not try them?
They are not hum buckers, they are simply an overwound single coil that could fit in a Strat if you crammed it under a thin plastic cover. As they are floating in a way too big cover, they look like a humbucker. Do you see any P94 builders that show you the entrails of their creation ? They don't want you to see the physical difference with a full wound P90 coil.

You would need stacked coils to buck the hum. That's what's called a single coil size humbucker.

I am not saying that P94s sound bad, they sound good, but not like a P90.
 

sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
OK. This is moving along. Great info. Thanks. The Gibson P-90 is on the way. I'll keep an eye open for a humbucker sized (or better humbucker) pickup while I wait.

The problem is if I like it when it gets here. The Epiphone LP Studio has the same 700T hb in the bridge and the 650R in the neck. Although I'd probably do that one with an upgrade set of humbuckers. That's a different thread for a later date.
 

Afrika61

Squier-holic
Yrs back, I did a post on the conversion of a humbucker to a dogear P90. Hopefully you can find it. It shows the entire process, pics, wiring, and the modified rout. It's the only way to go with a Jr and you will never want to reverse it. And, you don't have to spring for a Gibson pickup, a standard "dog" with 500 pots will get the job done.
^ this.
A few years back I picked up a sorely abused Epi Junior and went the whole nine yards with it as nearly everything that the previous owner had installed was garbage. I got a deal on a Wilkinson wraparound& Rotomatic tuners, the Alpha pots and orange drop cap were left-overs from another project, and the Tusq nut was traded for some other stuff. I did splurge on a pickup, a dogear from Warman in the UK and I was glad I did because it has some serious P90 snarl to it(I even manage to scrounge a Wilkinson dogear cover for it to coplete the look). It's a funny thing because in the past I read hear and elsewhere that the Junior is 'only' a single pickup guitar and I would out grow it soon enough: but it's such a blast to plat that it's a definate keeper: 1657065942064.jpeg
 
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Afrika61

Squier-holic
The P90 and the Gibby guts seem like a nice upgrade option. Now let's talk about hum...
Get some copper foil- the kind people use to keep snails out of the garden- (hint, can find it in good gardening shops) or proper guitar shielding kit (from ..almost everywhere now, including online). Take the cover down from the dog, and wrap a strip of said copper tape around the insulation that's on the coil. You don't need to close the loop, in fact you don't want to, because you can lose signal like that... but get it pretty close to closing if you pardon my saying so.Leave a small gap between the ends of the foil. Then solder a bit of wire to this foil...and take it to ground somehow. Then replace the dog's cover (and its ears) and there, you have a grounded and silent dog that does not bark unless so instructed (no buzz). It is paramount to have decent shielding and if you do,(do the inner electronics bay of the guitar too if you still have foil) no noise even under rather harsh neon lights... If more shielding is needed, do the inside of the cover (I suppose it is the plastic kind) with the same foil , and ensure it touches the ground somehow, if not easy then put in another grounding wire, go from that to the ring around the bobbin and from there to the outside star ground on the back of a pot or somewhere (I know some folks that do the star point on the output jack, I don't like it like that, it's too messy but if you got the space, it's electrically better).
On chiseling, space around the dog, etc. There's always an option to make a custom pickguard or to paint the inside of the newly dug out pocket (don't call electronic bays and pockets "cavities" guys, we're not (all) dentists here)...
I got lucky with mine, it was one of the oddballs that has the trapazoidal-shaped cavity:
1657066255927.jpeg
 

sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Wow, and that's some serious shielding!! Did you do that? Looks like you got a body that was supposed to go on a 2 pickup model. A much easier upgrade if you wanted to make a John Lennon copy!!!

I can see why it's only got 2 strings. Teddy has no fingers.

So you were happy to use the Wilkinson bridge and pickup cover. Have you used their pickups and if so how do you rate them? They are as cheap as chips over here, (out of China I presume)? I've actually got a set of Strat singles in my box of gear and I have no idea where they came from. Still new and unused but must be at least 10 to 15 years old I'd guess.

PS: nice to see a lovely old Singer on the table. My daughter collects vintage sewing machines and she'd love that one.
 
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AxelMorisson

Squier-Nut
Nov 15, 2021
812
Fagaras, Romania
I got lucky with mine, it was one of the oddballs that has the trapazoidal-shaped cavity:
View attachment 237315
Yup that's the way! Now please remember that all that shielding must go to ground at the jack somehow. And do the inside of the plastic cover too- same recipe. Then when the pickup arrives first try it without any supplemental shielding but make sure the back of it is grounded properly and if not... time to go full monty. Nice install and if you keep this up there would be no noise in the finished guitar. You can also apply this inside the pickup rout - but wait to see if needed...
There is at least two ways you can go about shielding the pickup: the obvious one being shielding the pickup itself and grounding that shield! and the other, shielding the rout , and don't forget to connect all shields to ground (to each other and the last to ground works well ).
 

BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,938
France
Yep

Adjusting pole pieces for each string is very fine tuning. I don't hear it. So yes, more for getting everything higher. But you're right that spacers would do that. Then again, there is a subtle tonal difference in both adjustment. For you to see/hear.

This what you can aim for with P90s.


They are not hum buckers, they are simply an overwound single coil that could fit in a Strat if you crammed it under a thin plastic cover. As they are floating in a way too big cover, they look like a humbucker. Do you see any P94 builders that show you the entrails of their creation ? They don't want you to see the physical difference with a full wound P90 coil.

You would need stacked coils to buck the hum. That's what's called a single coil size humbucker.

I am not saying that P94s sound bad, they sound good, but not like a P90.

Great information here, thanks a lot !
 


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