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Thread: Does buying cheap replacement parts really matter?

  1. #1
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    Does buying cheap replacement parts really matter?

    A long time friend of mine is a Gibson lp special. And I simply just want to switch out all the nickel plated parts for gold plated parts. (Pickup covers, knob rings, toggle switch, bridge, stop bar. Etc...)

    Now I cant afford to buy all gibson made parts. But there are off brand parts that are much cheaper. Can the quality really be considered poor for that price? Like the solid bridge for instance, is just a solid piece of metal, and is not moving, so is that really going to effect anything? Im not buying electronics just cosmetic do-dads.

    Now i can see if anything maybe the quality in tuners might make a difference if I bought cheap tuners....maybe even the toggle switch since it is a moving part. It may fail soon after. Or will a cheap toggle switch be just fine? I don't know

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    The bridge will matter, metals ain't metals.

    The bridge could be die cast spam, as opposed to something like billet aluminum like on PRSes, so it could affect tone, resonance, sustain etc. Not sure what is OEM on Gibson's but you'd assume it would be OK stuff (but not PRS quality!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    The bridge will matter, metals ain't metals.

    The bridge could be die cast spam, as opposed to something like billet aluminum like on PRSes, so it could affect tone, resonance, sustain etc. Not sure what is OEM on Gibson's but you'd assume it would be OK stuff (but not PRS quality!)
    I'm mildly concerned with minor tonal differences so I will take my chances. Plus I can always return them. Most of the resonance comes from the wood but hardware may play a small part in that. If the holes are imperfectly spaced then that would definitely be an issue.

  4. #4
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Anything that touches the strings definitely has an impact. Yes, you can try cheap parts, but you'll probably be disappointed. If it didn't make a difference, there'd be no reason to upgrade parts on a Squire.

  5. #5
    I'm going to venture a guess that there are inexpensive but very good parts, and inexpensive and very bad parts, and everything in between.

    As far as I'm concerned, the whole idea of spending time and money only to switch out the color of the metal parts on a perfectly good guitar, and perhaps get lesser quality parts, or possibly damage the guitar in the process, is a head-scratcher. But to each his own.

    So...whatever works for you. But in the end, it'll still be the same damn guitar only with gold hardware.

    As Popeye The Sailor said, "Leave well enough alone..."
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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  6. #6
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    If tonal differences are least of your worries, all that matters are solid parts. If you're putting in flimsy parts that looks great, it won't hold up for long. Cheap metal parts tend to rust very quickly. I had seen my friend's ESP LTD EC-10. He played it for about a year, had to look for new parts because the low quality metal parts gunked up and rusted . Another friend of mine had the same problem with a low-end ESP LTD. I had put on some pretty cheap tuners on my SE because one of the stock machinehead was getting rough and hard to turn. I tried looking for single replacement tuners around but cant find any around, so I went for a Taiwanese-made whole set. Turns out it felt more solid, but there's one rough edge at the high-E tuner post hole. Used a tiny file to smoothen it up and voila.

    It's not that cheap parts are always bad, it's just the amount of R&D they put in is obviously less than the real deal companies like Schaller or even PRS themselves. Therefore, price differences are justified. If you want cheap parts, check for their background and make sure they are decent and solid. If you want expensive parts, you get all the best qualities in overall build and tone as well. That's why I said, if tone isn't what you're worrying about, you can put on decent cheap parts (GFS etc.). As always, check for dimensions, unless you're prepared to file, ream, fill or drill.

  7. #7
    Sparty On hoofarted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I'm going to venture a guess that there are inexpensive but very good parts, and inexpensive and very bad parts, and everything in between.
    Bingo. There's going to be a premium for buying factory parts. Gibson, PRS.....General Motors, you name it. It's the premium paid by the type of customer for only when "the best is good enough." Having said that, I couldn't imagine putting anything other than PRS speed/lampshade knobs on my guitars. $30 for a 2-pack is tough to swallow, but then again, nothing else would "look right" to me either.

    How much are you willing to compromise?

    I've always had great luck with Tonepros products. I feel they are well made, deliver on quality, and won't break the bank. I have a TP's adjustable stoptail on my STD22. It sounds great, works well, and I'd highly recommend it. Yes, it doesn't look *quite* the same as the PRS stoptails, but then again, the retail price is less than half.....

  8. #8
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarfan85 View Post
    A long time friend of mine is a Gibson lp special. And I simply just want to switch out all the nickel plated parts for gold plated parts. (Pickup covers, knob rings, toggle switch, bridge, stop bar. Etc...)

    Now I cant afford to buy all gibson made parts. But there are off brand parts that are much cheaper. Can the quality really be considered poor for that price? Like the solid bridge for instance, is just a solid piece of metal, and is not moving, so is that really going to effect anything? Im not buying electronics just cosmetic do-dads.

    Now i can see if anything maybe the quality in tuners might make a difference if I bought cheap tuners....maybe even the toggle switch since it is a moving part. It may fail soon after. Or will a cheap toggle switch be just fine? I don't know

    What do you guys think?
    Quote Originally Posted by Egads View Post
    Anything that touches the strings definitely has an impact. Yes, you can try cheap parts, but you'll probably be disappointed. If it didn't make a difference, there'd be no reason to upgrade parts on a Squire.
    If cost is your only consideration, buy what looks good to your wallet. But Egads is right - anything that touches the strings affects tone directly. Just because a part appears stationary does not mean it isn't moving and resonant and either adding to or subtracting from the tone.

    You can see this by a simple example. Imagine that the bridge was made from hard rubber instead of metal. Would that affect tone and playability?

    The wrong choices could turn your guitar into a dull, thudding doorstop.
    Thbbbbbt...
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