Mike Watt’s Les Paul Signature Bass

26 04 2010

Les Is More. The Mike Watt Les Paul Signature Bass.

Every now and again, when he’s not on tour, my old friend Mike Watt either goes flying down the steep hill in front of my pad ringing his bicycle bell while simultaneously shouting my name to see if I’m home, creating a wild swirling Doppler Effect….or sometimes he’ll just foist and come up to the door and we’ll drink coffee and I’ll be served a history lesson of all things from Pelicans to the Indigenous Indians who inhabited San Pedro before the Spaniards killed them off.  History Lesson Pt 3?  To the point.  He’s been busy touring with Iggy & The Stooges in France and soon the rest of Europe.  In the mean time I’ve been entrusted to bring his Mid 70’s Les Paul Signature Bass up to running order.  This thing has been bouncing around his practice pad for at least nineteen years without a case and has a multitude of rattles, bowed neck and a tailpiece that’s just about as tight as a prick in a shirtsleeve.  No problem, I’ll fix her right up!  We’ve decided to go with a Hipshot 5G400C replacement bridge that requires no modification and has better features all around including individual saddle height adjustment!  How novel is that?   Normally I’m not one for aftermarket parts but the original OEM Bridge leaves a lot to be desired.   After figuring out where some of the rattles were coming from, ie:  loose truss rod, the low impedance electronics hanging loose beneath the selector knob and worn out bridge saddles with lateral (sideways) movement.  ( I forgot to mention this rare guitar has two outputs.  One for Low Impedance for recording and a High Impedance for live applications.)   The rattle continued and after much head scratching I found that all of the washers under the tuner ferrules were loose from the ferrules not being flush with the face of the headstock. It was maddening because the rattle caused by these washers seemed to transfer down the neck to the body.  You could put your ear to the body and it sounded like the rattle was coming from within.  Anyway, I think I’ve got it licked.  Two more things of mention…the pickup bezel is not original to this guitar.  When Mike bought it, the original was cracked and he asked me to fabricate something…I chose a piece of Mahogany and it’s been installed there ever since.   The autograph at the tail end is none other than the man himself, LES PAUL, who duly imparts the message…”To Mike,  Keep Pickin’,  Les Paul”.   Lester Polfus, Rhubarb Red, Les Paul… Rest In Peace and Keep Pickin”!

(Click on the photo for super fun detailed action…)

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