Why Modify - On the Ledge

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by solacematt, May 19, 2014.

  1. solacematt

    solacematt New Member

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    So I gotta admit, I've been on the ledge on purchasing the new Zach Myers SE. From a few of the reviews I've seen on youtube and on the forum the general consensus is that it's a great guitar. I own three PRS electrics (USA) and one of the first runs of early run Angelus acoustics. The only thing that I've changed on the guitars is the strings with absolutely no want to change out the pickups, nut, bridge, anything like that, unlike my past Gibsons (that I no longer own because when you use PRS, why :p ) where I had to change the pickups out at the least. I always see people talk about changing all the mentioning things out, many within like the first week of getting the guitar. If the instrument is so great though, why change all of that stuff out? Each of my guitars, with the exception of the acoustic, I fell for as soon as I played it and have never had the urge for a second to change anything out on them. Just curious.
     
  2. NomadMike

    NomadMike New Member

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    Sometimes you just want a guitar that's very playable to sound different. I've been modding my MIJ LP for decades as it's always played wonderfully but my tastes in what I want it to do have changed over the years.
     
  3. Whitecat

    Whitecat Goes home to Starla

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    PRSh has said that he feels that modding is cool if it makes one of their instruments exactly the one you want. It's generally his response to the "why-don't-you-guys-make-a-blah-blah-blah-with-some-tiny-little-detail-that-only-matters-to-me?!?" question that comes up at Q&As fairly frequently. He'll say "just do that yourself if it makes you happy." He's not terribly precious about it!
     
  4. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    I've had SE's that I haven't modded at all. I have others that I've changed when I thought it helped. I've found all my SE's to be playable just as they were but could be more stable with a better nut for example. It is likely that a new ZM will be what you want with no mods whatsoever.
     
  5. vox801

    vox801 New Member

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    For the most part i usually won't mod a guitar... unless it's something very minor. I'm purchasing for what it is, not what i want to turn it into.... In the case of the ZM, I considered it a well made guitar with a price point low enough to make it a perfect base platform for the specific mods i had in mind. I knew prior to purchasing what i wanted to do with it. Out of the box, it looks good, has a good feel to it and plays well... not knocking it at all. The mods were just a personal preference, and the cost with the PRS quality allowed me to make the changes i wanted.
     
  6. gball

    gball New Member

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    I consider mods a sort of "fine-tuning" so I always want to start with a guitar that doesn't actually need any mods, then live with it for a while and decide what, if anything, could be just that few percent better. In the end, I almost always end up changing out pickups, sometimes things like saddles, nuts etc, but it is always for that last couple of percent of performance, not to make any radical changes to an otherwise good/great guitar. I've found over the years that I am more likely to mod a great guitar than a mediocre one because it is more rewarding in the end.
     
  7. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    First guitar I modded was my MIM Strat. It was all I could afford so I hunted around for one that had great build quality and played well. Wasn't hard to find one as I was pretty impressed with most of the ones I played. I think the main reason I chose the one I did was I liked the look of the maple neck and finish compared to the rest.

    What I hated was the sound of the pups. Just harsh and not what I was after at all so I knew I'd change them before I left the shop. In went a pair of SSL-1's and an SSL-5 and I got exactly what I was looking for. I swapped the electrics for higher quality parts whilst I was at it and I now have a Strat that gives me everything I need to the point where I don't hunger for a US one.

    The Bernie was just great out of the box so to speak. Looked great, played great and sounded very good too. The one issue that was apparent right from the start was I was getting binding issues with the nut. The slots were cut poor and I wanted the spacing widened. In went a Tusq nut. After a while I started to think the bridge pup wasn't quite delivering the tone I was after and I also wanted nickel covers. In the end I swapped both pups and again I've got what I was after. Made a few other minor chages to the guitar but most of them weren't needed if I'm going to be honest. I could easily have lived with the stock pups but I felt it was worth seeing if I could get the sound I wanted with a pup change, and I did.

    Another reason I mod is that I want a somewhat unique guitar. Something a touch different from all the others out there. It makes the guitars even more precious to me as I've invested in them my time and money to make them near enough exactly how I want them.

    However... If I was paying a lot of cash for a core PRS then I would hunt for a guitar that I didn't feel I needed to mod. It would have to be perfect out the box. With a mid priced guitar I can overlook any minor issues knowing that (top me) it's worth spending that bit extra money on getting it how I like it. Of course if you're thinking about resale value it may not make much sense and If I was unsure about a guitar and whether it was a keeper I wouldn't mod too much unless it was needed as you'd increase your loss. The Bernie and Strat I knew where keepers so I'm happy to spend whatever's needed to make those guitars as good as possible... Even if I spend more on mods than the guitar cost!

    The only thing stopping me from shipping the Bernie over to PRS in the US is the cost. If I had the cash I'd do it even though the final bill would be as much or more than the guitar cost. To me it's worth it.
     
  8. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    "Fine Tuning". Good way of putting it. I'd agree.. If you love the guitar but can eek out those fine improvements it feels good!
     
  9. tolm

    tolm New Member

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    I've modded a lot of guitars over the years - it's part of what makes your own guitar a personal item rather than the same as something anyone could have 'off the shelf'.

    The most successfully should have been my Firebird (which got a Bigsby and three BKP P90s) but over time I just had to admit that the neck was too skinny and I didn't think I could mod that! Every cloud, though ... two of the P90s plus the Bigsby got transferred to my '61 reissue SG and that thing absolutely kicks a** now. And has a super neck!

    My Les Paul has also been modded but I bought it for the feel, construction and look: I knew the ceramic pickups were probably not gonna be for me. They lasted a lot longer than I thought but ultimately some BKP Abraxas humbuckers and Jimmy Page wiring got put in and it's great, classic sounding but very flexible Lester now.

    My new PRS Paul's Guitar? I'll admit, i'm curious as to how those P90s would sound in it but I'm pretty sure that'd be non-reversible so I'll be leaving well alone. Looks and sounds pretty darn close to perfect already. But then, I tried probably 6 or so different PRS models until I settled on this one being right for me.
     
  10. generation zero

    generation zero New Member

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    I always mod SOMETHING on any guitar I buy, even if it's just a set of straplocks or a new custom truss rod cover. I have an issue with anything of mine being bone stock, for some reason, and if I end up with an instrument like my current Fender American Deluxe Jazz bass, where there is absolutely nothing I am inspired to do to it cosmetically or functionally, I generally end up getting rid of it pretty quickly. I don't truly bond with an instrument until I have done something to it to make it "mine". Sometimes that's pickup and hardware swaps, other times it's wiring, other times it's a new set of knobs and a truss rod cover... sometimes, like with my Cu22, it's all of the above, a few times over. End result, it ends up being my own personal instrument, instantly recognizable as such, and THAT is what makes me happy... regardless of how much I spent on the guitar/bass and how much more I spent customizing it. But that's just me... I'm definitely not the norm, by any stretch... LOL!
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I had my '65 SG Special modified in 1970. Of course, I destroyed its collector value, but I have gotten nearly 50 years of use out of it so... ;)
     
  12. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Depends on the guitar, but sometimes I have a particular vision for a guitar that a stock model doesn't quite reach. Therefore: buy said stock guitar and mod to get closer to the vision. Otherwise, I just make changes as I discover things I don't like.
     
  13. John Beef

    John Beef Opaque

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    I think it's the mark of a truly spectacular guitar that you buy it and don't want to modify anything.

    My black Custom was like that until I tried DGT pickups (which hadn't been invented yet when I bought it). My current Mira has covers added to the pickups, but it was like that when I bought it. Those two are keepers. Even my SE Santana sounds and plays great completely stock. I have swapped out the bridge pickup just to get it to be a closer-toned backup to my Custom during live shows.

    Of course, I don't consider things like strap locks to be a real modification. I put strap locks on every guitar.

    But then, my MM baritone is far from stock, as will be my Lowery as soon as free time presents itself.
     
  14. Raymond

    Raymond New Member

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    I just cancelled the ZM Limited pre-order because I was going to mod it, not mod it to my liking, but mod it to like a core PRS. Thought might as well put money towards a new Core PRS instead.
     
  15. Tosca

    Tosca Death by a million mini-toggles...

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    Nobody has a better idea of what you want from an instrument than yourself. I have a new nut, gotoh vintage locking tuners, two p/p tone pots for SC/HB switching and a pair of brushed gold covered #7's just waiting for my Brian's LTD Zach SE to arrve. My guitar, my rules.
     
  16. gush

    gush She said "huge bag of dibs".

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    I would rather purchase a guitar that doesn't need mods but that's not so easy. My cu 24 and cu 22 will be left as stock. Both of my CEs got phase II tuners becaused I just don't like winged tuners. CE 24 came with HFS/VB which I didn't like but knowing how much I just LOVE the ce22 I wanted it and was able to strike a deal. I knew I would have to switch pups but was OK with that. After trying several different pups I ended up with a pair of 5708s and boy am I happy. The bridge pup in my McCarty wasn't doing it for me any more so I put a 5909 squabbin in there and holy cow does THAT sound good!!!!!

    So what I have is 5 prs guitars that play well and sound fabulous in their own special way. I could pick any of the 5 and go do a show without any regrets. I am more satisfied today with what I have for guitars than I have been ever, period! Well..........OK, I won't really be satisfied until I have 10......or maybe 15.............
     

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