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Looking For Thoughts About My Four Digit Standard


Pelicanus Apparatus
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I have a four digit standard (a 1980, I think). The original bridge was replaced with a Kahler and the bridge pickup replaced with a Bare Knuckle Mule. I’m thinking about trying to take it back to stock, or at least as close as possible. However, I don’t want to do the Microsoft thing and make it worse by “upgrading.” While the installation of the Kahler was an act of heresy, it was done reasonably well. Has anyone had any experience with reversing a Kahler installation, and if so how did it turn out? Presumably, you’d just use a Gibson bridge as a replacement? Also, I have the stock bridge pickup and I’m considering putting it back in. I realize that these both probably fall under the category of “a matter of personal taste,” but if it was yours what would you do? I’m kind of sitting on the fence.

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That's beautiful but the Kahler makes me sad. I've seen some pretty nice removals/repairs done by guys on this board. I'm sure one (or more) will chime in.

Hang on to the stock pickups but run whatever you like until you're ready to sell.

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P.A.,  Nice Four Digit! If your not bothered by the modifications, play it, and enjoy it “as is” like  @hamerhead suggested.  

When you purchased it what did you envision? 

Restoration sure and I agree when you’re ready to sell I would retop the whole guitar as  @Dave Scepter recommends. However, I have seen some every nice matches made to keep the original top. 

I would reach out to @murkat   
about the restoration options for sure. 

Best wishes,

Hamerica 

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I know I'm gonna get some crap, but WTF is wrong with the Kahler, other than doesn't belong their. I played many Kahlered Charvels and Jackson in the eightys that I could hang the guitar off the  bar and slam it till the strings went slack. Always right back in tune. I don't know where it started but Kahlers do the job... nicely!!!

Edited by Dutchman
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20 hours ago, hamerhead said:

That's beautiful but the Kahler makes me sad. I've seen some pretty nice removals/repairs done by guys on this board. I'm sure one (or more) will chime in.

Hang on to the stock pickups but run whatever you like until you're ready to sell.

Yeah, I feel the same way about the Kahler. It's not that it was badly done, it's that it was done at all! Why would someone do that?

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20 hours ago, Dave Scepter said:

Fill the holes and get it re-topped "the WHOLE top"... pricey but worth it in the long run 

That's an interesting idea. How much does a new top affect its value? I'm really trying to keep it as close to its original condition as possible and replacing the whole top would seem to be contrary to that. To be clear, I doubt I'd ever sell it. At the same time, I've seen some gaudy refins that just make me cringe. (There's a four digit on Reverb right now that looks like a granite countertop! Why?!) Again, I'm worried about making things worse with more changes.

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10 hours ago, Hamerica said:

P.A.,  Nice Four Digit! If your not bothered by the modifications, play it, and enjoy it “as is” like  @hamerhead suggested.  

When you purchased it what did you envision? 

Restoration sure and I agree when you’re ready to sell I would retop the whole guitar as  @Dave Scepter recommends. However, I have seen some every nice matches made to keep the original top. 

I would reach out to @murkat   
about the restoration options for sure. 

Best wishes,

Hamerica 

Hi Hamerica,

Well, I've been on the hunt for a four digit standard for a while. This one came up on Reverb for $4,999 over the summer and I was all over it! It's not perfect, but at that price I didn't mind putting some money into it. I have a good luthier who I'm confident can do a good job on whatever I decide. The real thing I've been mulling over is what exactly I should do. One weird quirk about me is that I've never sold a guitar in my life, including the first guitar I got when I was 14 years old. I bond with them for life! So, I can't see myself selling this guitar and resale isn't an issue. At the same time, I don't want to do anything that would diminish its value just out of principle. These guitars are works of art. The Kahler just kinda bugs me, and the pickup maybe a little less so. Since it's just for me and not for resale, it really just is personal taste. But getting everyone's thoughts here has been really helpful and it is much appreciated!

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2 hours ago, Dutchman said:

I know I'm gonna get some crap, but WTF is wrong with the Kahler, other than doesn't belong their. I played many Kahlered Charvels and Jackson in the eighths that I could hang the guitar off the  bar and slam it till the strings went slack. Always right back in tune. I don't no where it started but Kahlers do the job... nicely!!!

You won't get any crap from me! The bridge is just fine for what it is and it does stay in tune. At the same time, it kind of bugs me. It would be sort of like having a Kahler on a 59 Les Paul. I've been going back and forth about leaving it alone or taking it back to stock myself, so I do understand your point. Again, I realize that there's an element of personal taste in all of this.

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27 minutes ago, Pelicanus Apparatus said:

That's an interesting idea. How much does a new top affect its value? I'm really trying to keep it as close to its original condition as possible and replacing the whole top would seem to be contrary to that. To be clear, I doubt I'd ever sell it. At the same time, I've seen some gaudy refins that just make me cringe. (There's a four digit on Reverb right now that looks like a granite countertop! Why?!) Again, I'm worried about making things worse with more changes.

If you're never going to sell it, I'd recommend just plugging and have the patch flame matched as close as possible... I've seen some pretty nice repairs... but resale value will suffer as opposed to a new top "pretty pricey" as it is extensive work with new binding.... but if it was mine, I'd take that route as the patch option would also drive me crazy 

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nice 4D! back 40 years ago, was nothing to mod a not so pricey instrument to your liking. a kahler was a viable alt to the fender types. i like kahlers, i like floyds. i've modded for both and have de modded for both. your guitar now. make it yours. do what you need to do for you to enjoy. congrats! 

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54 minutes ago, Steve Haynie said:

Hamer was retrofitting their guitars with Kahlers for customers in the early 80's.  Your Standard could have been modified at the factory. 

Maybe, but that don't make it right.

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19 hours ago, Pelicanus Apparatus said:

You won't get any crap from me! The bridge is just fine for what it is and it does stay in tune. At the same time, it kind of bugs me. It would be sort of like having a Kahler on a 59 Les Paul. I've been going back and forth about leaving it alone or taking it back to stock myself, so I do understand your point. Again, I realize that there's an element of personal taste in all of this.

Hey, Gilmour put one on his black Strat in the 80s and had it filled in.  Unfortunately, he didn't have Internet forums to tell him his days of good playing and good tone were over.  🤣

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Great looking standard.  The top looks to be in good shape other than the big dugout.  My vote is to patch it.  It wont be perfect but it still would be somewhat original.  You could retop it later if you wanted.  Once you retop it, you can't go back.

Edited by dgstandard
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16 hours ago, dgstandard said:

Great looking standard.  The top looks to be in good shape other than the big dugout.  My vote is to patch it.  It wont be perfect but it still would be somewhat original.  You could retop it later if you wanted.  Once you retop it, you can't go back.

I think that's exactly what I'm going to do. I really want to keep it as close to original as possible. If it doesn't work out, retopping would still be an option. 

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On 9/27/2022 at 8:31 PM, Dave Scepter said:

Fill the holes and get it re-topped "the WHOLE top"... pricey but worth it in the long run 

Yes, and since the top is a veneer, I'd find a veneer that closely matched the original.

Get in touch with BCR Greg.

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On 9/28/2022 at 4:51 PM, Pelicanus Apparatus said:

Yeah, I feel the same way about the Kahler. It's not that it was badly done, it's that it was done at all! Why would someone do that?

Don't mean to take a left turn on the thread, but I know exactly why someone would "do that".  The Kahler was an innovative design.  So was the Floyd Rose.  One required a Strat route and the other did not.  I don't want to get in too deep, but I distinctly remember that there were two "home-teams".  Some liked the Floyd design and some liked the Kahler design.  I "Kahlered" lots of guitars.  I didn't get into Floyd's until much later.  I still have three guitars with Kahler units.  All have been retro-fitted with Kahler bass springs.  They are much tighter.   Both designs are unique and innovative from a long time ago.  What seems stupid now was nothing more than players moving forward with the technology.  It was exciting. 

I'd just leave it as it is.  Maybe get some bass springs.

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The most egregious example was a 1968 Goldtop Les Paul without a volute and a mahogany neck with a narrow headstock!  Routed it for humbuckers too (Dimarzio X2N's).  Exchanged the nut for brass.  Changed the Klusons out for Schallers.  Basically, I fucking destroyed it.

Now, "Get a rope"!!!

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