Epiphone Les Paul Junior; upgrade or leave stock?

BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,938
France
^ this.
A few years back I picked up a sourly abuse Epi Junior and went the whole nine yars 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 someother 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: View attachment 237314

That's a really cute picture! 😀
 

sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
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 ).
That's not my guitar.
 

radiotech

Squier-Axpert
Apr 23, 2014
11,444
Freedonia
Here’s one I did for my brother four years back.
Adjusted the nut, Chinese Grover’s, Amazon Bada$$ copy, and a Dimarzio Humbucker from He|| I found in a parts bin I bought for $25. Added a split switch, and shielded the wiring cavity.
CD1A1E0A-7099-43DE-A031-1CF74FD36BF6.jpeg
The Dimarzio is not “hot”, as the name would have you believe (5.89K), it’s wound to sound more like a Strat pickup. Clean, it has some absolutely wonderful tone (Dimarzio says “glassy”), unlike the Distortion series it’s Alnico5 (Super distortions and Dual Sounds are ceramic).

Designed as a neck pup, the HFH sounds perfectly at home in this guitar in the bridge position, while you might have to crank it a bit more than a typical Dimarzio to get “crunch”, you can’t beat its cleans.

Someone once told me about pickups (and amps) native tone: You can always dirty-up clean, but you ain’t never gonna clean up dirty.
 

Afrika61

Squier-holic
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.
Oh, I should clarify: that's a Wilkinson cover on a Warman pickup. The cover appeared out of nowhere at a local flea market and I thought that it would be a good match to the Wilkinson tuners and bridge. I've used Warman stuff before(I have a custom Mustang hard tail with a pair of Warman soapbars and Meteora building that will have a Warman Peacemaker Telecaster bridge pickup) and am quite pleased with it, but I should mention that their stuff appeals to me when I'd like something down and dirty, like a P90: I haven't tried any of their HBs yet but I likely will in the future.
The shielding was fairly easy, you just have to take the time to do the job slowly and measure for continuity at every step. I did the pickup cover on this one too and it's one of the quieter P90s that I've heard, even when it's fed into a buddy's 5F1. I shielded my custom Musang in the same way:
1657118559301.jpeg

The Singer is a 1943 Portable that belongs to my sister Carol, and has a unique issue. When it was built natural and artificial rubber was clasified as stratigic assets and were used only for War preduction. Singer of course was still making sewing machines but needed Something to insulate wiring, so they resorted to an old standby, hemp. The stuff has held up over the years but it has an obvious draw back if you're a cat lover like me, because like catnip about one in twenty cats react to hemp. My Ralph does, and this is him after getting a good buzz from Carol's Singer:
1657119506234.jpeg
 
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sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Chinese Grover’s, Amazon Bada$$ copy,
I'm not sure I'd use Chinese Grovers from AliExpress, although one seller claims to be selling original genuine at slightly higher price than the obvious fake ones. I doubt that they are genuine Grovers but anyway, if I was going to swap tuner hardware I'd be looking at something that supports the effort of putting a Gibson P-90 in it.

I have no idea what Amazon Bada$$ copy refers to.

Someone once told me about pickups (and amps) native tone: You can always dirty-up clean, but you ain’t never gonna clean up dirty.
That is exactly the way I see it.
Oh, I should clarify: that's a Wilkinson cover on a Warman pickup.
I was actually asking if you had ever used Wilkinson pickups, and if so, how you found them. I understand that yours is just a cover on a Warman. Does anybody have comment on Wilkinson pickups?

It appears I'll be learning to do some copper shielding some time soon.
 

Afrika61

Squier-holic
I'm not sure I'd use Chinese Grovers from AliExpress, although one seller claims to be selling original genuine at slightly higher price than the obvious fake ones. I doubt that they are genuine Grovers but anyway, if I was going to swap tuner hardware I'd be looking at something that supports the effort of putting a Gibson P-90 in it.

I have no idea what Amazon Bada$$ copy refers to.


That is exactly the way I see it.

I was actually asking if you had ever used Wilkinson pickups, and if so, how you found them. I understand that yours is just a cover on a Warman. Does anybody have comment on Wilkinson pickups?

It appears I'll be learning to do some copper shielding some time soon.
Never used them myself, but a buddy has a set in his Tele that he's quite happy with: at least they're good enough for him to gig with for about four years.
 

radiotech

Squier-Axpert
Apr 23, 2014
11,444
Freedonia
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Michael7

Dr. Squier
Jan 12, 2010
6,305
Virginia Beach, VA USA
I'd recommend this kind of bridge over the Badass kind, and they are less money. The height from the base to the top of the center saddle is 13.8mm vs 16.6mm on the BA type. I've heard of people not being able to get the action low enough with the BA one, but I haven't done the comparison myself.


1657169823869.png
 
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sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Ah, Right!!. Thanks to both. I had heard of some people experiencing intonation problems with the "lightning bolt" set bridge. I've been able to get satisfactory intonation on this instrument with the stock bridge but it's a consideration for future work.
 

DrBeGood

Dr. Squier
Dec 9, 2014
6,088
QC, CANADA
I've heard of people not being able to get the action low enough with the BA one, but I haven't done the comparison myself.
I did and the sharp saddles dig in your hand. That's why I consider it the worst design ever. On one guitar, I couldn't position it so I got intonation on some strings. I used the common lightning bolt as a reference.

Wraparound bridges.jpg
 

sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Well I have to admit that my lightning bolt (stock) is adjusted with quite a significant imbalance but in the end, by simply adjusting the E strings, it did automatically provide good intonation on the other 4 strings. (10-46) The low E string end of the bridge is wound considerably back from the post compared to the high E side. Using an electronic digital tuner it's as close as I'd hope for it to be, bearing in mind that the complete setup was done in an order that meant I wasn't chasing my tail.

That VOX is a good looking piece. It appears to have plenty of adjustment and doesn't look too bad either. I quite like it even if it isn't the Gibson look.
 

Afrika61

Squier-holic
Well I have to admit that my lightning bolt (stock) is adjusted with quite a significant imbalance but in the end, by simply adjusting the E strings, it did automatically provide good intonation on the other 4 strings. (10-46) The low E string end of the bridge is wound considerably back from the post compared to the high E side. Using an electronic digital tuner it's as close as I'd hope for it to be, bearing in mind that the complete setup was done in an order that meant I wasn't chasing my tail.

That VOX is a good looking piece. It appears to have plenty of adjustment and doesn't look too bad either. I quite like it even if it isn't the Gibson look.
Been keeping my eyes open for a used one for a single pup Mustang that I'd like to build in the fiture.
 
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sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Being keeping my eyes open for a used one for a single pup Mustang that I'd like to build in the fiture.
Thought I'd found one but the ad was 5 years old and it was sold long ago.

Edit: I have found it but it's in Indonesia. I've messaged in English so I'll see what happens. I'll see if I can find out how to ask questions about postage in Indonesian? I have a few friends who frequently travel to Indo to surf.

2nd edit: The seller from Indonesia has informed that post to me is possible and is checking on price for me. I have asked if they have more than one so I'll let you know.
 
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sausagefingers

Squier Talker
May 28, 2022
60
NSW
Well the Indo guy sort of fell through on those bridges. I believe he has them but communication and overseas posting was too hard for him.

Anyway, onto a different question. The Gibson P-90 arrived today. The Volume and Tone pots are CTS and actually branded as Gibson (underneath some grounding solder). I'm a bit confused about how it's been wired together, assuming it was all lifted out of a Gibson (which I assume it was). I've looked up the wiring of both 50's style and modern or 60's style and this setup is neither. The basic difference between the 2 styles is the positioning of the capacitor between the volume and tone pots and apparently this difference affects how the 2 pots interact with that placement.

The thing with the setup I've got is that the capacitor is not between the pots. The input hot wire is connected to lug 1 on the volume pot, but it is also then jumped across to lug 3 on the tone pot. The volume output wire goes from lug 2 directly to the jack. Everything is braid shielded wire and the grounding is standard. I can see where the pickup input wire has been cut from the volume pot to pull it out and I can see where the bridge ground wire has also been cut. Both of these are on the back of the volume pot. Lug 1 on the tone pot is empty, and lug 3 of the volume pot is grounded, as normal.

The capacitor is placed between lug 2 of the tone pot and ground, ie: soldered onto the back of that pot. I assume it worked that way but I can't find any diagram showing this configuration for a single pickup Gibson (or even half of a 2 pickup). Any ideas on this, or should I just unsolder everything and put it back together in one of the "usual" configurations? I would have to extend the leads on the capacitor to do so or buy a replacement.
 


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