F%*#CK them, I'll do it myself.

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F%*#CK them, I'll do it myself.

Postby 1four5 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:15 am

Well, I did it. Probably destroying my National's mint "original" resale value...but oh well, it just went WAY up in personal value to me.

First of all I love my radiotone. It's perfect in every way from size to weight to fretboard width, string spacing and neck shape...everything is just where it should be. I don't know if it's because it's just perfect, or if I play it so much I've molded to it.

I've had a lot of GAS, especially when it comes to the swamp stomper and it's kin. I've wished my radiotone was more versitile, because I've played a TON of stuff in the shops and just haven't liked the skinny necks or fit and feel. You see...The more the band strays away from country/bluegrassy stuff, the more I want to put down my banjo and plug in a guitar. I've mic'ed the National, but wasn't really happy, and what a pain.

I've tried the schatten undercone pick-up and hated it. I tried the lace sticky-on jobby, and it was better but not very strong and I'm certianly not into wires and crap hanging on my guitar.

All said and read here on the road convinced me that a P90 was exactly what I wanted. To chicken to cut on my good guitar, I was willing to pay to have it done right. So yesterday morning I took off for the local music/service/luthier shops with my National. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP. I spent from 9 am to 2 pm crisscrossing the city, visiting 6 shops. Here are some of the thing's I was told: We'll do the install, but we don't do woodwork. I'll do it, but I don't do wireing and soldering. Sure...it will be $300+parts. Would you like to leave it with us, it will be about 3 to 6 months. Sorry, if you want a P90 you'll have to take it to a Gibson dealer.

I ran out of shops to go to, and still had my National and a very pissy attitude...pissed enough to just say screw it, I'll do it myself. So I did. I went to Guitar Center and got a SD-P90 phat cat and an end pin jack and went home. Armed with a drill, a dremel and assortment of files...it took about two hours to cut and drill the holes and get em perfect. I got up this morning and installed the stuff, and put my guitar back together. I kept it simple, not adding the volume and tone knobs...I can always add them later if I think I need them. I also put the jack on the front (probably further decreasing it's value) because I have a habit of busting tail piece jacks with my elbow, and stepping on and pulling out side mounts.

Anyways...I been playing all afternoon. I'm loving it! My radiotone is gonna get a lot more action in the future, and it's as versitile as I could ever hope for. Man that pick up shoots the juice...and REALLY sounds good through my acoustic amp. I aint got GAS no more, and now that I done it, I wonder why I waited so long!

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Postby juke_boy_bob » Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:56 am

Looks like a factory installation. Nice work!!
Yes, it will probably cost you a few hundred if/when you try to re-sell it, but you have increased the guitar's value to YOU, and that's what counts.
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Postby ricochet » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:19 am

Way to go! :D
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Postby guitarslim101 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:41 am

Sweet.
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Postby mickeypainless » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:09 am

Looks like a damn fine job Dean!
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Postby stratman_27 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:56 pm

I like it. So what if you devalued it. A guitar your happy with is not going to be for sale anyway. Looks great, good work.
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Postby bosco » Sun Jun 11, 2006 1:18 pm

Git-R-Done !!!

8)
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Postby allanlummox » Sun Jun 11, 2006 1:26 pm

Well, it looks great.

I've wanted to put a pickup on my Delphi forever, but I don't want to mess with the unplugged tone AT ALL. At some point, I'd like to get another National - a wood bodied one - and electrify it.
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Postby 1four5 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:26 pm

Thanks a ton you'all! 8) 8) I was so happy when I plugged it in and it exceeded my expectations. I really didn't have a clue how it was going to turn out. I really don't know much about the physics of sound waves, and certianly not pick-ups...but what is really cool is that it doesn't have a solid body pure electric tone...I'd say more like a fat toned archtop jazz guitar...and somehow just a smal hint of reso (but that could be the acoustic sound blend). Unplugged, I can't tell any difference from before.

BTW, I can also add that it's the first time I've had my National apart, and I'm blown away at the workmanship in there. It's also interesting that the cone well is metal. It's incredable...built from 1/4" thick wood, with even more doublers in there...a through block with front and rear mushrooms, and column blocks around the cone well. It was also interesting that each major piece was signed and dated by the guy who made it.

A guitar your happy with is not going to be for sale anyway


Yesereee!!! That's a lot of the reason I did the mod...it's been my baby since new a year and a half ago...and I've come to the point of being pretty sure it will never be for sale. We've got a lot of music stores + guitar center in our city, and I get to play a lot of guitars...a lot that are way more expensive than my radiotone, and I still haven't found anything even close to being something I would trade it for. I love the aircraft carrier fretboard, and I play up the neck a lot so I love the cutaway. Medium jumbo frets and you can drive a Mac truck between the strings...everything is just perfect for a clutz like me.
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Postby NEONMOONY » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:33 pm

Hey 1four5, interesting coincidence. I spent Saturday evening putting a single space Seymour Duncan humbucker in my cheap reso. got her done about midnite and tried her out . (no volume or tone controls just yet I wanted to make sure it worked first.) Sounded great. I put the plug in the traditional bottom location. After I played for a while, I checked in on the forum and saw your post. I Laughed cause I had just done the same basic thing. You took greater risk than I, however. More power to ya. I didn't have any pics until today.

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Postby trguitar » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:36 pm

Now that reso looks familiar ......... Rouge possibly? You guys both did professional jobs. I bet they sound as good as they look. One guitar the pickup possibly lowered the value, the other the pickup doubled the value as a Duncan cost almost as much as a Rogue. lol Well, my Rouge reso at least came on sale for $129. I got a couple of those Duncans on my Strat and Tele and if I remember I paid about $89 each for them.
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Postby NEONMOONY » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:54 pm

Yeah, that's about what I paid for that Rogue. Bought it specifically to modify so I didn't want to get a lot wrapped up in initial cost. Originally, I had the pickup on my Strat and I changed it again, so I already had the pickup sittin around. Even so, I was a little goosey at first about cuttin and drillin a guitar. Amazingly, it retains some sound qaulities of the reso, as compared for instance, with playin' slide on a Strat or a Bluesbird..
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Postby 1four5 » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:33 am

Way to go NEONMOONY! At east I'm not alone! I've also done the same thing to a cheapo Gold Tone Reso several months ago...putting a cheap squire strat pick-up in it. It works geat, and gave me a little confidence. It's a Seymour Duncan in my national as well. I didn't even know they made a P90 but they do. The only Gibson place in town had one, cream colored...but no cover or mounting stuff. Guitar Center had a bunch of pick-ups...man, it was a choice fest. The soap bar I got (all mounting stuff included) was $79 and labled as a P90 phat-cat spicifiaclly for blues/jazz...been playing all afternoon, loving it more and more and more 8)
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Postby NEONMOONY » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:42 am

That puppy should really sing!
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Postby grady » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:16 am

I think you guys did a great job.
The pickups look centered and I'm sure they sound great.

I'm all for Modifying a Guitar to make it suit me.
If a Guitar doesn't make me happy, I either fix it or sell it.

Good job guys !!
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