Sunday, October 16, 2016

Long time no see


Wow has it been five years since I've touched this blog. That's kind of scary.

Recently a friend reached out to me asking if I had any guitar stuff I would donate to a community music project he works at. It's pretty obvious that given I've barely touched my guitars in the last 3-5 years that I don't need all of them. So I thought what the hell I'd dig him something out to have.

It's at this point that I had to make a choice and that became kind of hard.

I suffer from collecting mania, which is why I've quite a few guitars, and the flipside of this is you don't want to get rid of them. I had a few project guitars left unfinished but putting one back together would delay my having something for him massively.

Finally I've settled on this 70s Columbus 'lawsuit era' Les Paul copy. It's the exact same model as the first guitar I ever owned, although the actual first guitar was sold off years ago so this holds no real attachment for me. I bought it in a fit of nostalgia cleaned it up slightly then did little with it.

Better examples of these Japanese copies are slowly morphing from 'firewood' to 'collectible' but this isn't the latter. With a plywood body and numerous finish chips and scrapes it's just old.

Nonetheless it plays pleasantly and nobody will miss it if it gets trashed so it's a good donor instrument.

One thing that does suck about it however is the pickups. Unlike the better copies this has quite basic single coils stuck on a humbucker baseplate and fitted with a cover under which it's 50% air. There's no vintage mojo, just cheap old pickups that sound grotty especially once you up the gain.

From my guitar modding days I've got a ton of pickups sitting in boxes including some taken from an Indie Les Paul so I've quickly swapped these over this evening. Indie fitted quite decent Korean made hardware and these Alnico magnet medium output pickups have transformed the old Columbus. The pots are still scratchy but it's 40 years old, what do you expect. If I thought I could get the original witch-hat knobs off without breaking them I'd swap them too.

There may be the odd bit of guitar fettling in the near future, I can hear those unfinished projects calling to me.