One Les Paul, Four Pickups, Eight Knobs

Too many knobs?   01-Aug-13

One Les Paul, Four Pickups, Eight Knobs


We're trying to trace the origin of this photo, recently posted on the Gear Talk forum. It's splitting opinion, with some people saying it's a versatile workhorse, and others saying it's an abomination of a classic guitar.

The picture shows a Les Paul with four pickups - a humbucker, mini humnucker, single coil, and P-90, and also eight knobs.

It divided opinion in the office too, and sparked a bit of debate about where 'the line' is when it comes to modifying classic models such as Les Pauls, a guitar which seems to get modded much less often than Stratocasters or Telecasters.

It was particularly popular and fashionable to modify strats or even build them out of random parts during the 1980s after the trailblazing Super Strat gurus showed us that the iconic guitars could be used for metal.

But generally, Les Pauls remained quite stable in their design, with few people choosing to modify them to any great extent, and Gibson offering only slight variations in pickup configurations, such as the famous triple humbucker design.

One obvious reason for this is that it is physically difficult to mod a Les Paul, the scratchplate does not conceal the electronics as it does in a Stratocaster or a Telecaster, it's a much bigger task to rewire the guts of a Les Paul or to install a new pickup.

On a Stratocaster, you just have to pop the strings off, unscrew the scratch plate, and you've got access to the whole kaboodle.

So if anyone nows the origin of this photo, do let us know.

Amped Editor
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5 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Nick B    Said...

I saw a recent rockumentary on Prog Rock and King Crimson, there was a shot of Fripp with a three or four pickup Les Paul didnt look like that though

01-Aug-13 05:23 PM


Ted    Said...

It's ugly, but I bet it sounds great!

Best guitar I ever had (tonally, not action-wise) was a 1967 Guyatone Lafayette.

4 single coils, all independent and wired in a strange way. The most natural, varied and fun tone shaping is to be had at the pickup level.

Les Pauls are very pretty guitars and to see one with a grab bag of mismatched PUs is kind of funny. I say right on. Dr. Frankenpaul, I presume.

01-Aug-13 06:11 PM


Q    Said...

That's nothing. From a 1997 interview with Johnny Marr in Guitar Magazine:

By far the weirdest thing in Marr's collection, however, is his nine pickup Fender Strat. 'I got it really cheap,' he excuses himself, feebly. 'Not only are there nine pickups, but there's an on/off and in/out-of-phase switch for each pickup. I'm not making this up, 'cos Noel was witness to that dreadful event. Bizarre! But I just thought, if Kraftwerk played guitar, they'd play this! I used it on the rhythm outro of Electronic's Out Of My League (from Raise The Pressure). I figured it would give some really strange harmonics... and if you just replace the word 'strange' with 'shit', then I was right."

http://foreverill.com/interviews/post87/guitar.htm

02-Aug-13 11:44 PM


joossens    Said...

Two points:

First, I'm not so sure it's a true mod. The two middle pickups & the extra 4 knobs look like they could just be some basic Photoshop work. The extra set of knobs and 3-way selectors in particular don't appear to have any practical use.

Secondly, IF this were a real mod, there's an assumption this is a mod of a GIBSON Les Paul whereas it could easily be a cheap Tokai or Epiphone which wouldn't be quite so abominable.

14-Aug-13 04:14 AM


Kevin    Said...

If anyone wants to question this fellow, he's on Long Island in NY. The extra knobs and switch are explained by the fact that there is also an extra output jack. ...and yes, it's a Gibson ...and yes, what a horrible thing to do. http://longisland.craigslist.org/msg/4341538670.html

21-Feb-14 03:53 PM


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