Life is too short to try to fix/upgrade guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by GuitarIV, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Just something I realized yesterday.

    Picked up my ESP M-II and played it. Happy with the sound, happy with the feel, the playability, weight, neck profile etc.

    Got the thing used, only things I did was to toss the EMGs out it came with, put a set of Duncan Full Shreds in and block the Floyd.

    I have spent so much money on upgrading guitars over the years, sometimes trying to fix issues that would get a bit better but not go away in the end.

    Apart from the knowledge I earned in regards to setup and electronics I feel like it was a waste of time and money in a lot of cases.

    These days I am yearning for instruments I can pick up from the get go and that are already ticking the crucial boxes for me. Playability, tuning stability, core sound, feel, weight and looks as well. If I have to change out actives for passives that's no big deal, I have realized that if the guitar sounds good with a set of EMGs it will sound good with a set of passives of my choice as well.

    But man... trying to turn a guitar into one it could be... life is too short for that in most cases. I still dream about that Maybach DC JR. I played a month ago at my local music store. Plank of mahogany with a single P90, light as a feather, refused to go out of tune and felt amazing.

    1700 Euros... if I count the money I spent on upgrading other guitars I could afford 2 of those.

    My point: finding a truly great guitar that just "has it" takes time. But when you do it'll end up being cheaper and less time consuming than trying to turn a so so instrument into something you think it could be.

    Just my 2 cents.


    Cheers!
     
  2. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Do the best you can . You have gotten this far you must be doing something write
     
  3. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Fixing up "affordable" guitars is a great way to learn guitar tech skills.

    But, speaking as an occasional builder of guitars that I will cheerfully and honestly declare to be in the highest class of workmanship and quality, I can tell you that some guitars are most definitely well worth fixing should something go wrong.

    I build 'em to be utterly awesome right out of the case I ship them in. But I can't keep some components from ever having issues. I trust and hope that the CTS pots won't get noisy or develop dead spots. I hope the Switchcraft switches I use never fail. But these things happen.

    Buy the best you can manage, and all you may have to do in the future is try out different pickups. The perfect pickups for one player may fail to excite another. You have to find your own favorites.
     
  4. justinrhoads80

    justinrhoads80 Well-Known Member

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    What a great thread.

    I dealt with this exact mentality when I had my USA Jackson. It was my first Jackson and it being a USA I viewed it as the holy grail. I was in love with it the moment I popped open the case.

    Over the 2-2 1/2 years I owned it I babied the shit out of it. Always adding upgrades such as: New floyd block, new trem springs, new pickups, and to add, had spent at the very least over $300 in it being put to a luthier to get treatment to be made better.

    Over time it spent more time in it's case. It had a terrible issue where from the 17th fret to the 24th fret on the high e it would die out/ ping. I took it to two different luthiers and no one seemed to be able to fix it and after paying $90 on the last luthier who said they could fix it, but didn't I was done.

    I just was so disappointed about it, but didn't want to sell it. I had made multiple threads on this forum in regards to that guitar. The guitar in general was just dead to me, had absolutely no life to it. It also felt cheap to me. Of course when I bought the guitar I had only owned a squier strat and a fender strat. Now that I have owned and played a few good guitars I know that if I had bought that guitar now I would've gotten rid of it.

    I still like to do upgrades on my guitars, but not complete overhauls like what I have done. I am generally contempt with the pickups my guitars get. I am also too lazy to go through a bunch of work to modify my guitars when I am just usually going down a rabbit hole that leads to nothing but despair and anger. Upgrades that just help the guitar like throwing a tremolno or modifying the pots if they suck are what I stick to nowadays.

    And now that I am doing weightlifting and such I just can't spend all the time in the world obsessing about which new pickups to try and this and that when I probably couldn't point out quite honestly the small differences in the swap.

    I had the same issue with my Schecter solo II. First Single cut guitar and such, but much like the jackson was dead and spent time changing pickups and such. At least with that one I didn't douse too much money with gasoline. I did actually buy a charvel which was the first guitar that I played at a GC and was in love with. I returned it because it didn't have a floyd and the color just didn't do much and I realized that I have to return it before I throw more money in the pit.

    I know what I like and have become smarter in terms of not just buying something because I am in a phase or mood of some sort. Impulsiveness like that has costed me and being that I have matured over the years it is has taught me a valuable lesson before I have even become an adult.

    Great thread @GuitarIV, really strikes a chord within me
     
  5. Nik Henville

    Nik Henville Well-Known Member

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    Ain't THAT the truth.
    Found mine after forty or fifty years fuckin' about with firewood and ferrous.
    Sure - she cost me dear, but now she is my go-to day in, day out, and the rest are slowly being moved on...

    :hippie::pirate::uk:
     
  6. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    No it does not not. You are buying the wrong guitars. I have purchased 13 Carvin axes used sight unseen in the last three years and every one is a gem None have needed anything done to them aside from setup because Carvin sets their action way too low for my tastes. I can't liquidate my Fenders and Gibson's fast enough..............
     
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  7. justinrhoads80

    justinrhoads80 Well-Known Member

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    I feel this way with my schecters. Both of my main players both bought online plays and sound great. Of course I have done some fine tweaking in the setups and such and toying around with different string gauges, but I have never really needed to mod something to the extent to make it better
     
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  8. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    You go with what works for you. I found my go to and i am sticking to it.
     
  9. KISS NATION

    KISS NATION Well-Known Member

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    My point exactly. Instead of finding a guitar that will sound great once you have fettled and upgraded it, find one that sounds great right out of the box. In some cases you might even come to realize that the guitars you have put time and money in to upgrading or "tweaking until pleased" didn't actually need anything doing to them.
     
  10. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    Unless " do overs" are a pleasing, interesting and a fun thing to do for you, I agree. All players are or have been guilty of this since the beginning of the electric rock guitar phenomena.
    BP
     
  11. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Im starting to think this too, I have a dud Strat Ive been fukking with near 8 years or more, it really needs to get sold off and move on.
     
  12. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I have titled this thread wrong, I meant fixing more in the sense of upgrades (updated the title). If an instrument that's great needs fixing, by all means I am for it. If an instrument that's not so great excibits some flaws you don't like and think you can fix by upgrading, you end up investing time and money yet if in the end it still doesn't fix it for you, that's a waste of money and time.

    Yeah I remember the trouble with your Jackson, I have gone down the same path too, unfortunately with a hand made instrument I got for my 18th birthday from my parents. No matter what I do, the days it gives me grief outnumber the days it gives me joy. Never gonna sell it, simply for sentimental reasons, but I have come to the point where I don't have the patience anymore to try make it work.

    I have the same experience with ESP guitars. Some brands do it better than others. But there are duds everywhere, unfortunately a lot of them compared to the few gems you find.

    I do enjoy tinkering. But if all the tinkering leads to nothing it gets frustrating.

    Exactly. Sometimes you just gotta move on.



    Anyway, guess I'm trying to say I'm done with upgrading and tweaking etc. for now. I know the M-II works for me, ticks the boxes, I'll simply play her. I know I will sooner or later go back to working on guitars, but at this point I feel like not bothering for a while. I also feel like it's time to sell some stuff off, make room and some cash. Then I'll see how I'll proceed.
     
  13. stringtree

    stringtree Well-Known Member

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    I'm enjoying this thread also!
    Thanks for it. :h5:

    I think I "fixed" myself out of some really descent guitars that were really not for me.
    Should of just sold them and moved on.
     
  14. Antmax

    Antmax Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy messing around with my guitars. Especially strats and cheaper ones. I have a couple of PRS's, one needed a nut and I considered changing pickups on the one in my sig. But in the end a boost fixed what I didn't like about them. Otherwise both got cosmetic mods as in different knobs because I don't like the clear, dark or amber ones that come with them.

    I stopped buying cheaper guitars and found that from about $1k there are far fewer problems, other than a basic setup I mostly leave them alone. The sub $500 ones usually need some often minor work but can be made to play and sound great. Just don't expect to make any money off of the work you do to them. Pickups seem to make the biggest difference, cheap stock ones always seem a bit weak/flat and less articulate. I always keep the original ones in case I sell the guitar later and swap the decent aftermarket ones between guitars as takes my fancy.
     
  15. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have purchased all of my guitars without playing them and love each one, no issues but they are quality guitars! I change pups but thats about it! Maybe Im just lucky!?
     
  16. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    You have to learn to pick and choose the right ones to start with. It says a lot about the market . How many do not work right ebay is full of guitar parts . What makes a guitar worth a thousand bucks vs a five hundred bucks.
     
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  17. axe4me

    axe4me Well-Known Member

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    Up grades are great if you keep the guitar.

    Resale value is based on original platforms.

    Unfortunately, if it doesn't say Gibson; Martin; Fender or Rickenbacker, you'll most likely take a bath when trying to sell it.

    Early Hamer; BC Rich; G&L; Baker; Dennis Fano and Carvin/Kiesel guitars (and many other makes) are wonderful instruments..................but for some reason, they don't fetch high $'s.

    I'm not going to get in a pissing match over your baby and I think the player is extremely important in making a guitar sound good..................see Jack Pearson and his inexpensive Fender Squier guitars.

    If your upgraded guitar floats your boat, then keep it.
     
  18. Sustainium

    Sustainium Well-Known Member

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    Don’t know if this counts but finally figured out setting up my floating Floyd Rose tremolo. Even with research I spent several semi frustrating hours before it all made sense.
     
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  19. KISS NATION

    KISS NATION Well-Known Member

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    I can honestly say I have never really felt the need to modify my guitars, apart from replacing the locking bridge/tailpiece on two 2016 LP standards for none locking versions. My only other mod was replacing 500k pots for 250k pots in a 2012 Strat in an attempt to kill some of the bright pinging biting treble, which a lot will know is a pain on the bridge pickup. I noticed less bite and treble on the bridge pickup, but also less treble and bite from the other pickups when you actually need/want it. I have bought guitars that come new with different pickups than standard, but I have never felt the need to replace such things myself.
    I remember being obsessed years ago with wanting all my guitars fitted with bone nuts and to have them properly cut for my chosen string gauge. That soon went away after having the nut replaced on another Strat I had before I sold it. It hardly cost me anything more for a bone nut compared to other materials, but I noticed hardly any difference in tone. Having a nut cut properly is more important that the material it is made from.

    I also don't understand people who replace all the components in an Epiphone Les Paul or a Squire Strat for all the same components used in a genuine Fender or Gibson. Obviously the Gibson bridge and tailpiece won't fit an Epiphone but there are Gibson quality bridges and tailpieces available that will fit an Epiphone.
    To me that would be like putting a Ferrari engine in a Peugeot.
     
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  20. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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    they are just toys in the end.
    play with them how you want.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019

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