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  • #16
    I'm in L.A. too, born and raised. I know Neely. Actually, I had him do a warranty pickup replacement on my near new Les Paul Standard back in 2004. He replaced the nickel covered original with a chrome covered one. Stood out like a sore thumb once I realized it. Inspired me to dig out the original and open it up, before driving back nearly to West Hollywood. Turns out the internal coil wire that solders to the pickup baseplate had come undone. Resoldered it, put the cover back on, and put the original pickup back in, where it still sits.

    So, instead of doing a simple diagnosis and quick fix, he just replaced the component. The way my mind works, and coming from a high tech mechanical background myself (mechanical operator on nuclear power plants), that's not a good way of handling a repair problem. You surgically diagnose a problem, or at lest attempt to, before just taking the shotgun approach and throwing parts at it. The latter is what bad mechanics do. But it's still somewhat understandable, knowing how the lazier and less academic approach is often the order of the day when actually running a business, and jumping straight to a replacement part would indeed fix the problem quickly. But the really bad thing to me is that he did the replacement with a non-matching part.

    So, I don't endorse him. Based on that simple lack of attention to detail, I myself would never take a rare or vintage instrument to him. I'd be afraid that he'd be operating out of rote, not really paying attention to the specific individual problems of the instrument. It's not that I am calling him a bad craftsman; I really don't know. It's just that I have reservations based on my own experience.

    I was thinking somebody more like Dan Erlewine for your re-fret, who is specialized in restoration and repair of antique instruments. He did some restoration on my '27 Martin, and he is unbelievably great.

    How is it that Dunlops aren't as durable as Jescars? I've never noticed particularly fast wear with Dunlops or particularly slow wear with Jescars.

    If durability is your aim, just go with stainless. If I was doing a fretless wonder re-fret, and bothering to custom file frets down to .070" by .025", and deciding to have frets that low on a frequently played instrument, I'd sure as **** use stainless to do it, so I'd never have to do it again. Despite wive's tales, they don't sound any different in the end.

    Leveling is usually done to smooth the board after the fret pulling creates problems in that regard around the fret slots. It's not necessary unless you have a severely warped neck, or you've really butchered the areas around the slots during pulling. You can level just enough to give the frets some narrow "flats" – no wider than 0.1" – to seat into after gluing your chips back in, but you don't need to sand into your inlays. Then you steel wool the edges of the flats to transition them back into the board.

    As for the fret nibs, on a guitar that's already that modded, I wouldn't even sweat losing them. Maintaining them makes the re-fret much more painstaking, and the results not necessarily any better, from a players perspective.

    Good luck. It's an awesome guitar.
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-26-2020, 11:26 AM.
    Originally posted by LesStrat
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Originally posted by JOLLY
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    • #17
      P.S. For standard re-frets, I go to Eric Chaz. He is excellent, and I have been a customer of his all my guitar playing life, since he first opened his shop, pretty much. But as much as I endorse him, I would not send a valuable vintage guitar to him, because he does not specialize in vintage restoration, and he is not widely known. You want the person doing such major work on a guitar like that to be someone who restores old instruments day in and day out, and who is a "celebrity" of sorts in the world of luthiers. You want to be able to say, "This work was done by this guy," down the road. It matters, even if the guitar in question has been modified quite a bit from original.
      Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-26-2020, 11:28 AM.
      Originally posted by LesStrat
      Yogi Berra was correct.
      Originally posted by JOLLY
      I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

      Comment


      • #18
        Doesn't seem like Dan Erlewine does his own work anymore. At least from what I'm seeing and reading. I would be hesitant to ship the guitar out for a refret just because of COVID and the way packages are being handled. My fiancée ordered a pack of clorox wipes from Costco and UPS managed to break the containers despite having packing material. I do have a lot of experience shipping guitars however.

        My luthier up in North Hollywood, Randy (RWR guitars) does stellar fretwork and he's worked on my vintage guitars: '69 Les Paul, '56 Les Paul Junior, and '60s Melody Makers. He's worked on a '52 Les Paul that I've seen on the bench. He's actually repairing a 1950 Fender Lap Steel for me right now lol. A part of me just says to trust him and the other says to do it "right" and send it to Gruhns/Dan/Kim at Historic Makeovers. I will say that Neeley does put off a vibe that he is right and the customer isn't informed. So what he says goes. I do agree that guitars should be evaluating for their specific issues and not have cookie cutter repair methods. Especially old guitars like this. Randy would be more than willing to go thr extra mile on the frets if I request it. He knows I'm particular about keeping things vintage correct/appropriate.

        Regarding Dunlop versus Jescar, a lot of my previous long term dunlop necks required a lot of work in the beginning and end of owning them. The Jescar necks have been one and done long term. All of this is IME, ymmv.

        Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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        • #19
          Frets measure approx. .0700" and .0145". SS are tempting as I love the smooth bending and feel them have.

          Will post an update when the p90 arrives. Its shipping from Laguna Beach, CA. However the seller has a particular shipping schedule and availability.

          Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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          • #20
            P90 arrived. Read 6.09K yesterday. I had some issues converting it from a dogear to p90. The retaining bar was not drilled for the height screws that go between the pole-pieces. The alnico bars aren't original and different sizes. I have some alnico 3 bars enroute and will be drilling the retaining bar soon. Throbak cover looks pretty good with the original pickguard/p90.

            I had to play with the height if the p90 to match the bridge closely. So far, it really does not push or drive the signal much. Clean tone is very twangy, but soft spoken at times. I'm hoping the replacement magnets will bring the output up just a touch. Will double check to see that I didn't reverse the polarity of the wires when I changed things. The original p90 in the bridge position is killing it. Wow, I did not expect it to sound so well there. It really puts the Lollar in its place, although it isn't much of a fair comparison.


            Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk


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            • #21
              That thing is just gorgeous, and I love the wraparound setup. I would be playing that thing constantly!

              For frets, you might want to do some research to figure out if Dunlop 6250/6270 is available in stainless. It's the closest you'll get to a direct fretless wonder fret these days. It's .005" wider, and about the same higher than fretless wonders were when new.

              That said, 6230s definitely are available in stainless, and if you were to actually mill them down to the correct dimensions, you'd get a more accurate repro of the fretless wonder frets. This is because they start out wider and taller than 6250/6270. Fretless wonder frets have very straight sides and no crown across the top. Their profile was rectangular, basically. The "corners" were slightly softened, and that's it. If you are starting from a fret that is .078 by .042, you have more meat to allow you to shape them into the correct rectangular profile, compared to 6250/6270, which have to low a crown to allow that.

              Instead of modifying the original retaining sheet, have you considered purchasing a modern equivalent, and setting the original aside? You can get most P90 parts at Mojo-Tone Music. Here's the part in question for $2.50. https://www.mojotone.com/guitar-part...el-Silver-50mm

              If you want more oomph from the pickup, A3 is probably going the wrong direction. I would consider A4, A5, or UOA5.
              Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-30-2020, 10:39 PM.
              Originally posted by LesStrat
              Yogi Berra was correct.
              Originally posted by JOLLY
              I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

              Comment


              • #22
                Sorry, I meant the keeper bar. I'm not able to screw in the wide flat screws to keep the baseplate and bobbin together. I purchased a throbak baseplate, the original is safe and sound.

                Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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                • #23
                  OK.

                  You can get those too. 65 cents each. https://www.mojotone.com/guitar-part...49-2mm-2115500
                  Originally posted by LesStrat
                  Yogi Berra was correct.
                  Originally posted by JOLLY
                  I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    NOS A3 magnets arrived. Wow, what a difference quality magnets can make. I was ready to give up on this pickup, but the magnets proved to be a saving grace. P90 has a more lively and assertive voice. Similar to the bridge up despite the DCR. I actually may have to lower it a bit, but its matching the output from bridge.

                    Night and day difference. The magnets that came with the p90 were for sure not original. If I had to guess, they aren't properly charged and the size difference may have made an impact.

                    I've also changed some hardware to include the bridge studs and stoptail. The guitar is really opening up and chords sound better to me. Feels like I took a blanket off the les paul. Sounds what you would expect a good old guitar to sound like. The refret should take playability to the next level as well. Can't believe I thought this guitar needed a humbucker lol. Not a chance.

                    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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                    • #25
                      It is strange how magnet swaps can make such a big difference on some winds (this example above, or a Custom 5) and not so much in others (JB). But experimentation certainly pays off.
                      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                      • #26
                        Amen to that. I'm glad that experimenting allowed me to do this myself. I'm saving so much money rather than spending $350-550 for a vintage p90 from 1952-53. This is also a good example of DCR not meaning everything. Let your ears decide what sounds good and doesn't.

                        Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk


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                        • #27
                          When I bought my 50's p90 set+harness I sent them off to James at Rewind. He determined that amongst other things, the (in my case, original) magnets were severely discharged.....such that 1 mag had almost no charge left.
                          Its an 'occupational hazard' of buying old p90's..........you really do need to look out for the magnets. Its like filter caps and old amps.

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                          • #28
                            I haven't thought about it that way AlexR, but that's a good point. Will keep that in mind moving forward.

                            Speaking of James at Rewind Electric, I actually just received my '50 Lap Steel Pickup. It went in for a repair and conversion. The pots/cap were turned into a tele harness. Killer work as always. I have 3 pots (2x 500k and 1 250k) dating to 1953 for this les paul. I'm going to send this in for a harness once I find another 500k pot.

                            Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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