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  1. #1

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    Hi everyone

    For several weeks now, I have been focusing on Gibson models equipped with CC pickup and as some of yours seem to have an incredible experience, I allow myself to submit my dilemma to you:
    I am now in contact with a guy who can sell me an ES 175 CC and with another seller of an L50 .
    I will try them both in the next few days but my idea if I buy the L50 is to convert it to ES 150 with CC pickup UK so difficult to really compare the 2 guitars and the final budget because I do not know how much can cost this conversion.

    my focus on CC pickups comes from my discovery of Miles Okazaki who plays on Es 175 CC and whose music I love, on the other hand the comments on the forums are not always good on this guitar.
    I wrote to a luthier in paris to have an estimate of the cost of the conversion but no answer for the moment,

    Do you have an opinion to share concerning the 175 cc Versus L50-> Es150 and the price of such a conversion?

    Best regards
    Julien

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  3. #2

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    Bonjour Julien
    If the ES-175 is within your price capability, my recommendation is that you buy it in preference to converting an L50. Why?
    1. Most L50s come with a fingerboard that is flat with the body, so strings are very low in relation to the body, which will make adding a pickup more complicated
    2. There is no guarantee of what the converted L50 will sound like until the conversion has been completed.....

    Out of interest, which Luthier in Paris did you have in mind for this conversion work, and if you have discussed it with him, what was his opinion?

  4. #3

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    Bonjour Ray,
    thanks for you mail.
    the l50 i am thinking about has a elevation and should normally accept a pickup with or without big modification of the guitar (if cc pickup it means big mod but i may start with a floating one).
    i have written to Guitar Garage yesterday without success until now and also to my current luthier, Christelle Caillot. She is a very good luthier but she does not manage electronic stuff. She gave me the Guitar Station contact but i did not contacted him yet.
    do you have any recommendation for a luthier in Paris ?
    Budget wise it is clear that it is easier for me to first buy the l50and then later make the mod that to buy the 175 upfront, even if i don't know how much will cost the mod
    thanks

  5. #4

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    Hi there,

    In Paris, you should ask to Jérôme Casanova who is now carrying over the shop previously owned by François Charle (Galerie Vérot-Doda near Le Louvre). Jérôme is a talented luthier and has done a great restoration on my '38 ES-150.

    icr forum member has done this type of mod for his prewar L-50.

    Best.

  6. #5

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    The CC pickup used in the 175CC is quite a bit different than the pre-war unit. Different gauge wire for sure, and I'm fairly sure the magnets aren't cobalt. In my experience, they're a different animal altogether.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by customxke View Post
    The CC pickup used in the 175CC is quite a bit different than the pre-war unit. Different gauge wire for sure, and I'm fairly sure the magnets aren't cobalt. In my experience, they're a different animal altogether.
    Yup, having played ES-175CC's and my 1939 ES-150, I would agree they are not the same thing.
    If you like Miles Ozaki and his ES-175CC tone, just get one of those.

    L-50's converted into ES-150's can sound and play great, however, you really have to find the right luthier, specifically one who has already done it before successfully. But it's hard to find the right L-50 and then risk irreparably damaging it to convert it. If you dig the ES-175CC thing, why go through the trouble.

    It's not like finding a suitable L-50, and buying the pickup, and paying for the conversion is cheap. That said, there's at least one already converted on the market right now, so do your thing.

  8. #7

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    No offense to 175CC owners but I haven't played or heard one that sounds quite like the original CC equipped guitars. Something about the prewar cobalt magnets customxke mentioned that has the magic. But 175CC's look cool and Gruhn has a blonde prototype on their list now for $ if you're really set on one.

  9. #8

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    When I had some major restoration work undertaken on my 1961 ES-175D a few years ago I did the rounds of about 10 luthiers in Paris (including François Charles) and to be honest none of them inspired the confidence I needed to confide my guitar to them. As (at the time) I travelled regularly to London for work so I went to see Gordon Wells at Knight Guitars in Surrey - excellent luthier, but a with 9-month waiting list (unless your name is Macartney or Knopfler). He suggested contacting Philippe Dubreuille (yes, a frenchman) who at the time had a small workshop in Denmark Street across the road from Rare and Vintage Guitars - he's now in Campden. Despite Philippe's reputation being principally for building "exotic-looking" guitars he is an excellent luthier and was pleased to have the opportunity to work on my ES-175D. He was very much in demand too, but the wait was only 2 months, and was I delighted with his work.

  10. #9

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    Thanks all for your feed-back,
    I am trying thé es 175cc today and thé L50 tomorrow.
    Is There any detail to Check on thé L50 to validate it is a good candidate for thé mod ?

    Is thé floatting CC pick that Fred Archtop is using a good option to convert a L50 without risk ?
    Thanks


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  11. #10

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    I played a 157-CC and it was so good that I almost needed a defibrillator! I couldn't afford it but it was the best 175 I ever played.

  12. #11

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    This is the prototype at Gruhn’s. That’s a lot of maple!

  13. #12

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    I havé just played thé es 175 cc, and i havé to admit i like it a lot but unfortunately someone else is supposéd to buy it tomorrow....
    In the other hand, i played before testing for 2 hours my 1960 es 330 and...thé p90 are so good that finally i should maybe buy a much more different guitar as... a L50 for exemple !
    Let’s see tomorrow


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    Last edited by Zheul; 10-23-2020 at 05:06 PM.

  14. #13

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    I havé just received this picture of thé L50 i am trying tomorrow. I knew the guitar is not mint but what do you thing about this « default « ?
    Quick riminder, it is from 1935 .
    Saler said me it does not affect thé Sound but...
    Thanks


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  15. #14

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    Gibson L50 to ES-150  Versus ES-175 CC-img_1443-jpg
    I finaly choosen thé L50. It is my first acoustic archtop and i love thé sound, Very roots, not as easy to play that the es 175cc but with a great and différent vibe.
    It will be maybe difficult to cut an hole for a pickup and not loose thé accoustic beautifull sound, no?


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  16. #15

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    congratulations on the guitar! The photograph of the guitar from the front makes it look like the fingerboard is sitting right down on the top of the instrument. That will make it difficult to put a pickup in, but a pick up mounted in the traditional CC style can be set flush with the top and that might make it work. To do the conversion, the luthier will probably have to take the back of the guitar off to gain access to the bracing of the top plate. That would also allow them to fix the other issue that you showed in your photographs. It will not be inexpensive; here in the US I would expect that would cost at least US$1000. There are excellent Charlie Christian reproduction pick ups being made in the UK, by reputation, so sourcing that would probably be the easiest part. As for finding a luthier to do the work, I think it would be very much worth contacting Daniel Slaman as he has a lot of experience with building guitars with those pick ups.


    As for the floating pickup used by Fred Archtop that you asked about a few posts back, they sound excellent. They are not necessarily a perfect reproduction of the Charlie Christian pickup, but they sound very good. Fred has a video on YouTube where he compares real CC pickups with some of the reproductions and that is very instructive; for the most part, within the limits of sound resolution provided by YouTube, they are more or less indistinguishable from each other. I have a Pete Biltoft (vintagevibeguitars.com) floating CC style pickup on my archtop; it is mounted with a neck bracket Johnny Smith style and the sound is wonderful. It probably would not fool a discriminating listener compared with a real 1930s Charlie Christian ES-150, but it's close enough for the sound I want.

    as for the acoustic sound, cutting the hole in the top is less the problem than attaching the massive weight of one of these pickups to it. The acoustic sound of the instrument will be unavoidably altered.

  17. #16

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    Gibson L50 to ES-150  Versus ES-175 CC-img_1445-jpg
    Cunamara,
    Thanks for your post. Fred shared with me thé name of à luthier close to my location who proposes me thé total conversion for about 1500€ ( pickup+pickguard+ working hours).
    As you can better see on thé picture there is thé élévation so i guess it will be possible to use à floating pickup .
    As i said in a previous post i was not expecting a real good accoustic sound and it is my only pure accoustic guitar ( except a nylon one) so now i am thinking as à first step to use a floating CC pickup and i will see later for a Deezer tranformation.
    Thanks again for your inputs.


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  18. #17

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    Bonjour Julien,
    Miles Okazaki here. Thanks for checking out my music. There's no particular reason I play the 175CC except that it was the first archtop I got 25 years ago and I just got used to it. So now I have an L50 quite similar to yours, and recently finally got an ES 150 (1940), which I've sent to the shop for a fretjob so I can put it to work. They are all different and great. Those CC pickups - I've liked and hated them - they are quite different from guitar to guitar, you have to try them and see if you dig it. I've tried a lot of ES 150s, and often times the sound is too volatile for me - I like it clear and bright, but not brittle or piercing. I might advise against the conversion, as you never know what the result will be and you might end up with a bit of a Frankenstein instrument. Here's some pics of my guitars if you are curious:
    Gear | MILES OKAZAKI

    Best,

    Miles

  19. #18

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    Hi Miles, just wanted to say I recently got your Monk for Guitar masterclass lesson and it’s great, really inspiring!

    I also like the way you exploit both the acoustic and electric properties of the guitar, I think that really works well for Monk tunes.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zheul View Post
    As you can better see on thé picture there is thé élévation so i guess it will be possible to use à floating pickup .
    Pete Biltoft at Vintagevibeguitars.com was able to make the pickup to a custom size to fit under the strings of my guitar.

  21. #20

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    Hi Miles,
    thanks a lot for your inputs and for your music !
    I am now convinced to use a floating pickup on my L50 and the cc one that Vintage Vibe Guitar is proposing seems to be perfect. Next steps, visit my luthier to adjust the guitar, then take the measurements and communicate them to VVG and order the rigth pickup...and then play!
    thanks all for your help, i will share pictures and maybe vids once the pickup will be there.
    have a nice week!
    Julien

  22. #21

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    Well, my L50 is in luthier 's shop since 2 weeks (he too busy!!) for first adjustments and we are now talking about the next step: the pickup!
    i shared with him some company names well known on this forum but he advised me to work with the french company Benedetti. As we are here in France in a difficult situation because of covid-19, especialy small companies, i agreed with him. He will directly contact their custom shop to design a special CC floating pickup.
    Any feedback about that company and some CC pickups they could have already produced ?
    I also would like tone and volume controls on the pickguard and my luthier told me that i will need a mini Jack to plug the guitar. Do you know why i cannot get a standard jack plug ?
    thanks
    Julien

  23. #22

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    It’s Benedetto, a well-known winder in France. He makes great mini humbuckers but I’ve never heard about CC PU from him.

    Ne careful that CC units can be more or less trustful to the real sound.

    Although you’ll never get a real CC sound out of a floating CC PU, I think Pete Biltoft is probably the best in this world for getting close to it.

    Best.

  24. #23

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    Some L-50's will have a very pleasing acoustic sound and many not so much.

    If you like the way this one sounds then feel fortunate to have found a good one and think of a floating pickup as a good decision.

  25. #24

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    Hi Fred,
    it s well Benedetti , based in south of France. They are currently producing the cc-rider in a humbucker format or more classic cc single coil design. They are also producing JFL floating pickup, a single coil, kind of p90.
    i remember that i read somewhere that cc-rider pickup has some good result also. the question is can they transform standard cc-rider to a floating one ?
    Without the original big magnet, is there a big difference between a CC pickup and a P90 except the look?
    thanks

  26. #25

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    You are right, he is based in Marseille. As for your last question, there won’t be much difference between a P90 and a CC PU in humbucker format. I experienced this with my ES-300 which was equipped with an EH-150 CC million years ago by previous owner (J. Geils). The sound wasn’t satisfying. Very muddy and nothing to do with a real ES-150 PU. I swapped it for a J. Lollar CC in humbucker format. Sound was nice but typically on the P90 side. Then I finally swapped it for a P. Biltoft which was more trustful to a CC sound, although not exactly what you would get with the real thing. That’s a long story...