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Thursday, March 17, 2011

J&D Brothers Les Paul LS-1

 To kick off my eldest sons guitar collection I bought him a J&D Gothic style matt black guitar with satin nickel finish. Cool looking guitar with 2 humbuckers and at a price around 2000 swedish kronor, I felt a lot of guitar.
However, having played it a few times I realised the neck was more like a whammy bar and it was impossible to play. I looked at the neck plate and to my utter surprise it only had 2 bolts fitting the neck to the body.Impossible , I thought, nobody could be this stupid.
I took it back and immediately got my point across to the local tech in the shop.They were also rather surprised how such a mistake could be made. Lets just say they're not in the catalog anymore..

As I always get a decent discount it wasn't a case of money back, but a another guitar. My son mentioned something about wanting a Paul rep , so after a few calls an LS-1 was dropped off at the shop and dusted down.
A few things surprised me immediately about this Made in Taiwan/China guitar.
First of all, the weight.It had a decent weight and seemed to be made from some fairly solid wood.Then the actual sunburst looked really good and it had a proper maple cap. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but this was a 4000 kr guitar.
I was sceptical about the bolt on neck, but everything else was fine for my kids second guitar.
A few months went past and there were some complaints about a buzz on the G-string.I tried to move the saddle in the bridge and the gold screws head just came off.Untreated marshmallow by all accounts.
The local tech gave me a replacement and I tried again.But nothing helped. My Charvel Custom shop was loaned to the boy and the LS-1 came down to me.

The neck came off and I tried out the truss rod.It worked.It just didn't need any truss-rod adjustment.
I then tried several variations of cardboard under the neck to get a better angle.With some adjustments at the bridge and the neck to body spacers*, I finally managed to get something remotely sounding correct.
But the G string still buzzed.
Ahhhh...the nut.I had a gander and noticed the cuts on the nut were rather interesting.So I cut 5mm from an older b string and stuck it in the slot and then restrung. She worked! No buzz. Basically to get the guitar optimum would be to replace the nut with another.

And I have to say, for the value of the guitar, its a great buy! I don't think they make these anymore with the same headstock design as it was rather close to the original Gibson open-book headstock. But it really looks good with this headstock design.
The electrics are all fine and the pickups are apparently ceramic magnet pups which also do the job.
You can get various different sounds from the guitar which really comes into it's own when pushed through a good distortion pedal ( Ibanez SM9), probably helped by the solid body weight.

So, really pleased to get the guitar sounding okay and staying very much in tune.Intonation hasn't be looked at as yet.I'm actually toying with the idea of sticking some other  pickups into this body and use the set of four push/pull pots I was given when I purchased the Peavey EVH. Better buy some extra solder and start looking at schematics!

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