Belated NBD: Les Paul Jr. DC Tribute

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SidNitzerglobin, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    I actually grabbed this one last weekend as a bit of a project but figured I'd share it here anyway:
    5WWmWAj.jpg SNcXDht.jpg
    It's a 2019 Gibson Les Paul DC Tribute in pretty near mint condition aside from a couple of issues w/ the tuner mounting alignment & the combo of too loose of bridge bushing holes w/ the cantilever bridge.
    It's definitely a new & unique voice within my current pile of basses, all stock it's kinda big & lumbering w/ a lot of tonal variation to the attack dependent on right hand position & a nice growl when digging in some:
    I'm loving the neck on it. It's got a fairly chunky D shape with a good increase in peak at the narrow nut that works out very nicely for me. The finish is drag free as well, enhanced over the similarly finished mahogany Gibsons I've had by the tighter grain of the maple I think:
    I've never met a Hipshot product I haven't liked so far so I ordered a replacement from them earlier in the week & pulled then securely reseated the bushings w/ a bit of maple veneer shim & mounted it up today.

    The bridge is one impressive billet of aluminium, I'm guessing at least 175% the mass of the stock one:
    it mounted up nicely flush to the top & I strung it up w/ this set of Labella nickel round wounds:

    The mismatched knobs aren't a fashion statement, I just couldn't locate a second Gibson reflector knob ;):
    Relief adjustment has the top 6 frets of neck staying pretty straight so I think I had to compromise a bit on action height in the interest of minimizing fret buzz on the higher ones but it's not all that far off from what I've been feeling was ideal (usually around 6.5 -7 thousandths):
    Hopefully my luthier friend will have time to do a bit of progressive fret leveling for me on the last frets in the time I've got w/ him to make a bone nut for it & clean up the fret ends tomorrow. It's the rare instrument that spends any amount of time on his bench that doesn't come back feeling at least a bit more awesome to me.

    The bridge seems great so far: rock solid feel & flush fit to the top, super smooth adjusting, boosted resonance through the body significantly, & it sounded a good bit more focused through the GVT-15 & the bass board at my bench. It seems to have shifted the weight balance for the better, not all that drastically, but noticably & it's feeling very stable & comfy on the pictured strap. I think the bridge looks pretty great on there too :)
    Thanks for taking a look!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
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  2. redstrand


    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    I did the same with mine by going the immediate project route, these are great beasts to mod. Enjoy the new bass!
    MCF and SidNitzerglobin like this.
  3. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I haven't had the urge to change anything , I have a couple of other basses with the three point bridge , so I'm used to them . Gotta say I seriously love the DC Jr bass . I recently purchased some clean transparent power and the Jr shines .
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  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Awesome. Looks ready to rock.
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  5. starjag

    starjag Supporting Member

    One of these days, one of these days. I do like that bridge better than the stock. Congrats.
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  6. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    Thanks! It got some time w/ my luthier friend today & he did an amazing job on a bone nut, progressive fret leveling 13-20 to counteract the persistent straightness there, & dressing the fret ends.
    He got it to 5/64" on the low side & 4/64" on the high (!), buzz free until I'm thumping a good deal harder than I ought to be. It feels fantastic, just about as smooth as the Wattplower w/ TI Jazz Rounds but w/ a touch more resistance to over enthusiasm.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2020
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  7. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    I think I could have just reseated the bushings & put the stock bridge back on & got the fret leveling done & it likely still would have been an awesome bass for me. I've got a fixation on nice bridges & bone nuts I think :) That being said I don't think I've ever regretted changing them from a functional perspective on an instrument to date.

    I had ideas about trying a Bartolini T4CPC in there but the stock one seems pretty darn good to me so far & I've got no first hand experience of what I'd be getting w/ the Bartolini so this bass is probably safe from future tinkering, for a little while anyway.
  8. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Looks great.

    If I ever get one, I’ll do that same bridge swap. And the reflector knobs are a nice touch - I never thought of that
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  9. starjag

    starjag Supporting Member

    Can you compare, contrast this one and the wattplower? I know, different price points, but since you have experience with both. Thanks.

    nonohmic likes this.
  10. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    Thanks! For some reason the reflectors just do it for me on just about any Gibson.

    I think it's a very fair comparison if you include the Hipshot bridge & a TKL hardshell case for the Gibson myself, pretty darn close in price if you were buying new anyway.

    Trying to remove myself from any Watt fanboyism that could color an attempt at objectivity, I think they're on fairly even footing for me for overall in regards to the perceived value to price for my tastes.

    The Reverend is a bit better balanced & comfortable ergonomically. They both seem similarly light. I feel it was fairly noticably better assembled & setup from the factory than the few Gibsons I've encountered to date.

    I've got more experience at this point w/ the Naylor P-Rail pickup in the Wattplower but so far I think the Gibson might be eating its breakfast in sounding like the Minutemen era sounds through my stuff. The P-rail sounds a good bit more modern/hifi & maybe a touch scooped to me & while it's got some good lumbering boom to it, the Gibson seem a bit more rude & muscular in some way & the growl when driven seems more organic. Either seem to do a great job for cleaner jazz, funk, rock, dub, surf. etc. for me.

    Both having Hipshot bridges on securely mounted bushings & bone nuts now they're pretty even in the perceived resonance in the body while I think the Reverend has slight advantage through neck. Either feels great in this category IMO.

    The finishes on the Reverends are much more substantial & wear resistant & are all pretty great looking to me. Don't get me wrong I really like the ungrainfilled super thin nitro on the Gibson & am actually looking forward to the battlescars & wear accumulating on this one when they come, but if you like "near mint" looking finishes I don't think that will last for long on the Gibson (for me any way).

    The necks on the two work equally well for me, the Wattplower is maybe a bit more of a C profile w/ wider nut to the LPs narrow 1.6" wide D. Both finishes seem effectively drag free even in hot & humid environments & feel great to me.

    I think after minor preference tweaks the Wattplower was basically "done" for me when I first took it it out of the case. It was a really great bass literally right out of the box & felt like a premium instrument. The Gibsons in my local market have seemed like they needed work sold new & by design are more of a stripped down/ bare bones approach (which is much of the attraction to them for me). This one feels in parity w/ the Wattplower after the work done to date, given their different personalities. They're both a joy to play & I don't think anyone could go wrong either way.

    Sorry if that was a bit over wordy, I tend to get that way.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2020
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  11. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    @SidNitzerglobin I have the same bass, with same hipshot bridge and love it. I've never been a fan of the Gibson 3-point, so to me, the Hipshot bridge is a big improvement. Its a blast to play. Light and fast and tone forever. I know not everyone feels this way, but I love the satin nitro "worn" finish. Its super fast and feels good under your fingers. I can't say enough good things about this bass! If there is anything negative about this bass, its the lack of a forearm contour. But if you play standing up, and hang it relatively low, its a non-issue. Can you tell me where you got those knobs? They look great.

    View attachment 3867466 View attachment 3867466
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  12. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
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  13. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    Thanks! I'm liking it more & more the more I've played it :)

    To the best of my recollection they're a Boss style knob I believe I got from Mamoth Electronics. I managed to dig up a set of Gibson reflectors too but the Boss knobs are a little easier to operate (especially for the push/pull of the volume) & surprisingly seemed to hook up better w/ the rest of the bass for me aesthetically.