upgrades on epip les paul


New member
hmm lets say if i wanna upgrade my epip lp to something lasting, wat should i change? the pots, tuner, nut, bridge? yeah pickups tat a sure thing but not too sure about those pots and bridge. anyway pickups im getting breed humbucker ( neck ) and super distoration ( bridge )
+ change the pots (audio pots for volume, linear pots for tone, 500k). if they're already good for you, no need to change.

bridge - can tryo looking at the offerings by Graphtech (www.graphtech.com)

i think changing the tuners (if u find the plastic ones bad) and nut would also be good ideas, but i'm not a LP user so i have no idea about these 2.
mine got the PUs, pots n switch changed......may change the tuners too..
i think the above is enuf.....

bridge n nut i'm not sure, does it make a huge diff if they're changed..?
i think it's about $20-30 to change all 4 to quality CTS pots.

i think the bridge does make a huge difference in terms of sustain... IF the original bridge was poor to begin with. again, i'm not a LP user, so i have no idea.
ciel21 said:
upgrade your epi to something lasting?

get a better guitar. Im serious.

An epiphone lp is a good enough guitar. With appropriate modifications and upgrades, it can sound as good, if not better than some high end stuff.

Btw, for the bridge, you could get the ones with roller saddles. Pretty good stuff.
My recommendations for upgrades in order of effect on sound:

1. Nut - you would be surprised the improvement in tone with this small improvement on all guitars. I prefer bone, but even a TusQ nut will make people ask if you've changed the pickups.

2. Good Setup - Will bring out the best in the guitar and make ift perform better acoustically. If it's good acoustically then the pickups will perform their best and may not sound too bad after all.

3. Pickups- Once the guitar is sounding good, now the pickups can shine.

Changing the pots to an audio taper for the volume (the tone is supposed to be linear) will not improve the tone as much as make it eaasier to adjust the volume level. The bridges and tailpiece are adequate on Epis and not worth upgrading.

You will find that the two things which improve the tone the most (nut and setup) are actually cheaper than the one that has the small effect (the pickups). Think about this before you go ahead and upgrade to Seth Lovers or others.


mudmechanic said:
Changing the pots to an audio taper for the volume (the tone is supposed to be linear) will not improve the tone as much as make it eaasier to adjust the volume level. The bridges and tailpiece are adequate on Epis and not worth upgrading.

they never do... :) in fact, i do put disclaimer sometimes because some people just hate audio pots. they prefer controlling the volume via pedals.

that said, i seriously think audio pots are an important upgrade for me, and for those who use it to switch from overdrive to distortion (rhythm to lead kinda thing). i can't stand the linear pots.. they just don't work out for me because I can't dial the tones when the volume is somewhere middle and not at the maximum.
mudmechanic said:
1. Nut - you would be surprised the improvement in tone with this small improvement on all guitars. I prefer bone, but even a TusQ nut will make people ask if you've changed the pickups.

woah didn't know a nut would make a big difference on tone...

Mark, could u elaborate on this?
i try...

basically our human ear perceives volume in a logarithmic (audio) manner. ie for a 15W speaker maxed out, you need roughly 150W to get twice the volume. (assuming same specs).

A audio (logarithmic) pot follows a log curve so you will dial in 50% of volume at 5, 60% at 6, 100% at 10. It soulds like a constant volume increase to the human ear.

A linear pot follows a normal striaght line. You'll roughly get about 80% volume at 5, then about 90% at 6, 95% at 7 and 100% at 10. This sounds like a sudden increase, then followed by a slow increase up to the maximum volume.

this would be similar to the graph on the article "The Secret Life of Pots":



hope this helps... and correct me if i've made any boo-hoos on this topic. :oops:
Irregardless of whatever parts your epiphone came with. The stock (original parts) that it came with should be sufficient for what its suppose to do.

When you buy a Epi LP, you must already know that it's the tone, controls and feel that you are expecting. Apart from a strat, tele, ibanez...etc, it cater for it's distintive style, so if you have not covered that when you buy it, better chuck it and buy what suits you, serious.

It's in a price bracket, where any major mod or overhaul really outweighs with respect its original value already. But it by itself is a workhorse status, to bring to you extremely good value in performance with regards to it's brand status.

With the above said, I must say the most important issue is that you must not have bought a lemon in the first place. For one thing, it is meant to be a quality instrument but consistency is not it's strong point. So if you have bought a lemon in the first place. Be prepared to fork out maybe half its worth to fix it or just live with the defects.

By defects, I don't mean blemishes or physical damage. Even electrical faults are easier and less costly to rectify. But if the neck has problems to begin with or the intonation cannot be adjusted to acceptable level, you got a problematic instrument.

Hardwares & electronics - tuners, bridge, stoptail, pickups, controls, switches, jacks & wiring. These items comes stock is pretty fair quality, I won't say they are poor quality. What you pay is what you get, my suggestion is that : Don't change any of these unless they really have problem or until they wear out or break.

The pickups are suppose to give you the tone they are suppose to give, so if you are cool with that, no need to upgrade (especially to a same tonal output, just more branded). Else it's an acceptable change to get that special tone you require.

By far I feel the most important thing you need to do is to get it professionally serviced and setup before you do anything else. Get the guitar properly prep for your own needs. This exactly mean the whole fretboard to the intonation and action adjust to your personal need. Normally cost between $40-80 in reputable shops. Get it done by a professional, it's worth it. This is a fixed bridge guitar, So a setup could last a very long time.

Along the way, there will be plenty of minor fixes required to keep it servicable. My experiences are that most of the fixes are pretty cheap anyway. It's only expected, groussing and griping about it is not cool.

Apart from with, the price bracket of this guitar build, makes it a guitar often in the most rugged use situation and ownership. So must give it the due respect it deserve.
+1. agreed. simply what i really wanted to convey on a lot of threads... try out the guitar and don't get a lemon.
For Stillborn:

The energy of the string is supposed to be (ideally) transferred to the body through the bridge and the nut. To make this transfer as efficient as possible you want a steep agle of the string after the nut (towards the machine heads) and after the saddles (towards the bridge).

As well as this you don't want the nut to absorb the energy, and plastic is very good at this as it has low density. Bone has a nhigh density, like metal, but transmits sound evenly across the sound specturm unlike brass which transmits high frequency better (so sounds bright and harsh). TusQ does this as well which is why it us used as saddles on piezo systems. In the end, the best guitars (especially acoustic) will use bone for it's advantages outweigh it's downsides like inconscistent density in poorer quality ones.

Hope this helps.


but Mark, won't the tonal qualities of the nut only come into play when open strings are struck? For that reason, I feel that the bridge is an even more impt upgrade than the nut, because whether open or fretted strings, the bridge will affect the vibration of the string.
correct me if I'm wrong pls.
I felt that this would be the case too, that the nut would be removed from the equation as soon as you fretted the string.

This was disproved by experience when it was found by myself and all of the clients who had the nut replaced that the sustain, clarity and response of the string improved at all frets as well as harmonics and open string. One reason that could explain this is that the string still passes energy to the nut even when fretted. I will try and find more out about this and get back to you as there must be some basis on the use of different materials for the nut.

With regard to the importance of upgrading the bridge assembly, on acoustics this is easily achieved by improving the material for the saddle. For electric guitars this is often achieved by setup alone as the energy is transfered through similar metals and it is more important that the string sits properly on the bridge than the bridge be made of better material. For example, Graph tech saddles improve the movement of the string that could have been also achieved by polishing and lubricating the saddle. Some people also change the saddle materials as in Teles.

Hope this helps.