Well it was a pretty long journey to this guitar. It all started because of a single P90 pickup. That sparked a guitar build project that took on a life of it's own. Here is a journal of how this guitar was conceived and created: 01-27-2012 06:24 PM 1 LP Body, 3 P90s and a Bigsby
So here is what I'm thinking: Black Les Paul style body 3 P90s - GFS Mean 90 6 way switch or 3 volume knobs and 1 tone or push pulls B70 or B7 Bigsby All chrome hardware (not gold) Chrome knobs Chrome trim rings Chrome locking tuners GFS roller bridge I'm basically going to pull everything off and rewire/rebuild the whole thing.
01-29-2012 11:23 AM Here are some Photoshopped mockups I have made:
02-10-2012 12:33 AM I have decided the Gibson '60's Tribute had everything I want - flat laquer black paint, chambered body, routed for two P90s, perfect candidate for a Bigsby and Vibramate and it's a real Les Paul! I purchased one site unseen from a shop off the web and I'm hoping for the best!
03-04-2012 03:00 PM So The Bigsby is done. I ebonzied the neck to get it closer to the black body. I ground down a mexican peso until it was thin enough to work as a poker chip. Next week I'm supposed to get my dogear routes. I may go soapbar is the dog ears are going to be a pain to adjust but I love the look of dogears. Some photos (the peso pic is before i dyed the neck)....
Painted the Bigsby red:
My mock up with dogears:
After I ebonized the fret board to get the neck to be as black as the body:
My Peso poker chip. This was a coin my Dad brought back from one of his many Mexico trips: [hr]
Also - I was wanting some silver/chrome for the poker chip and could not see paying someone $15 for a chrome washer. After I had the peso idea I was on ebay and it hit me that after my Dad died I found a bag of coins in his closet. I dug it out and found a nice peso in there. So now there is part of my Dad in the guitar. Nice.
03-05-2012 10:49 AM Pickups I'm pretty firm on going with the VintageVibe P90s set of three. I like the whole magnet concept:
03-07-2012 02:18 PM Routing the LP Where it's at! So I dropped her off at Glasers today. 3 soap bars coming up. About to order the Vintagevibeguitars p90s.
I just got back from Glasers Instruments - the best luthiers in Nashville! They said it would be 2 weeks but it was only one day. The only thing left is for my VintageVibe Guitars P90s to show up. I'm going to bolt on the Bigsby and start the wiring this weekend.
03-09-2012 12:55 PM Nick from Glasers did the routing:
The LP with the P90 covers slid in. I had to route the existing holes corner radius for the non Gibson P90s to fit:
There is no sign for Glasers but the mailbox gave them away: Wiring (Les Paul, 3 P90s, 6 way rotary switch from Stewmac, push pull pots: So Deaf Eddie came through again! I know I like P90s but I have never had 3 to play with before. Deaf Eddie hooked me up again! Go check out his site. Here is the schematic:
and here is what it does ala Deaf Eddie: PULL the bridge volume, and it puts the bridge pup out of phase. This will affect throws 2, 3, & 4, you can make them spikey and/or sweet, but also nasally and thin, DEPENDING on how you balance the volume of the bridge pup with the other volumes. Lots of tonal variations here from working the volume knobs.
PULL the tone control, and it puts the bridge pup in series with the neck pup. This is a "brute force" tone (usually). This will affect throws 1 and 2, and the series combo should be BIG and FAT, and probably a tad louder - some players think they hear a little high-end rolloff, but it's just the bass coming on gangbusters. A side effect of series combos is that the bridge pup will "disappear" from throws 3 and 4, as it is shunted by the presence of the neck pup.
PULL BOTH, and the bridge is in series/out of phase with the neck pup. On almost all the axes I have - single coil or humbucker - throw 1 will be a stinging solo voice, and I like it a lot. Sounds best with some overdrive/crunch. Throw 2 will be a tad mellower, and the other four throws will again be missing the bridge pup.
The red chicken head will point down at the neck pickup. With this wiring here is how that works ala Deaf Eddie: "the sweep is all on the "neck" side of the arc, with "up" as the neck and go clockwise "down" as the bridge"
03-10-2012 10:48 AM I put the Bigsby on and the knobs just to see how she looked. I think the Bigsby bar looks better than the Chet bar but I have found a Bigsby with Chet bar is a lot more controllable for me. It comes close to Strat trem with the Chet bar. The Chat bar also stays in the perfect place for me. I don't have to go hunting for it when I need it.
03-15-2012 10:02 AM 1. She looks killer! 2. For the first time ever I got the wiring right on my first try! (I had one ground that popped off but after a resolder all was good!) 3. Where the Gibson P90s were like, "that sounds pretty good!", the VintageVibeGuitars.com P90s were like, "WOW!" 4. I got to play it for a while with some throw away strings and now it's off to my friend and luthier JFK at Virginias Music Center. He is going to make sure the frets are good and round them off, do a setup and make her right. 5. I'm going with .10s
I should have her back tonight!
Changes - The volumes are dependent so I think I will rewire it to be independent this weekend.
To do: If I can bring myself to do it it still needs to be pinstriped but man it's looking good the way it is!
(She isn't fully put back together in this photo but she is fully functional!)
03-25-2012 12:41 AM She is finished just in time for guitar night. The only thing left are the pinstripes and I'm going to have to warm into that idea. I like so much right now I don't think I can stripe it just yet!
It was passed around quite a bit at my guitar pull last night and even the guys that didn't want to like it ended up playing it for a long time. The chambered body of the '60's Tribute seems to really add to the tonal characteristic of the guitar. You can almost get an acoustic sound out of it but it will also get severely gnarly as well. I was afraid after all the thought, time and money I put in the guitar I might end up not liking it but man do I love it. The action is also great - super fast. The B70 with Chat bar is also very smooth and responsive. And totally by accident the balance is perfect. I don't know the actual weight but after adding the extra p90 and Bigsby it is still lighter than my Epiphone Pro FX but now feels substantial like an LP should. My luthier commented that the combo of the chambered body and the Bigsby somehow really opened up the sound. Audio clips soon but today I have to do my first mow of the season!