Epiphone 'Inspired by Gibson'

Les Paul '59 Standard

I was really pleased to get the chance to try one of these guitars recently. There's been a lot of noise about Gibson's new management, and it's been great to see them bouncing back with a stripped down line. They've turned their attention to Epiphone, announced at Winter NAMM 2019 for 2020 with this beautiful Les Paul being one of the jewels in their crown. In short, it didn't disappoint. It lived up to the hype completely. The owner wanted a set of 10 gauge strings and a full setup, making the action as low as possible. I found the fret board a little dry, so applied some lemon oil, and the ends of the nut were a bit sharp, so I rounded these a little. Using my digital depth gauge I was able to get the action VERY low - and when the customer collected the guitar he was instantly pleased! A little while later he sent me a message (see below). Safe to say, he is pleased with the result. Check back in the not too distant future for a review of his Eastman semi-acoustic when it arrives!

Customer feedback

'Managed to have a play tonight, top notch job as usual :) Thanks.

Every guitar has a story

here are some more that have come my way....

Squier 'JV' series P Bass


It's always nice to get an older instrument in for some TLC. This Squier Precision Bass was bought new in 1982/3 and has stayed with the original owner since then (he also owns the Bronco that I modded- see below!). He thought it was an old, cheap bass but it needed some tweaks here and there so asked me to look at it. On looking at the serial number my suspicions were confirmed; this is an original 1982/3 'JV' series P Bass, from when Fender first started making Squier guitars. It was made in Japan, and the JV serial number guitars are very highly sought after as collectable instruments. At the time, Fender wanted to sell these to the Japanese market only, but demand from the west soon meant Squiers were being sold all over the world. 

My customer was pleased and very surprised to find out the origin of his bass, and also that it is worth more than he thought.

It only needed a bit of a service on the frets - light polish, I also cleaned an oiled the fret board, cleaned the body and gave the electrics a clean with contact cleaner. Good as new!

I’d not played my Squier Precision for years so it was feeling, and looking, neglected. Dave gave it a good spruce up and cleaned the electrics. Fallen in love with it again! Plays beautifully. As an added bonus Dave did a bit of research and tells me it’s worth much more than I thought.

Bronco Bass

Brief - 'as many tonal options as possible'

That was the starting point for this modification. The owner (and many more besides) loves this short scale bass. They have a lot of admirers across the guitar community, whether it's a bass guitar in the rack for occasional use by a guitarist, or as a main gigging instrument, Squier Broncos are the go-to for so many. The owner told me he was looking to upgrade and, as the title suggests, get as many tonal options as possible. He ruled out a second pickup (for now) which left me with a challenge...how many tonal options can you get from one pickup? 

The answer is of course to fit a humbucker, and offer a coil split. But  I started to think about further options, using push-pull pots and concentric pots, and finally came up with the idea to use a blend control, so that the humbucker could be dialled from full double coil to single coil and anywhere in between. I wanted to push this further for the owner and so I used a push-pull pot with two different capacitors to give two different ranges for the tone pot.

Once the electronic upgrades were done, I checked and levelled the frets, then re-crowned them and gave them a thorough polish working from fine to ultra fine wet and dry, finishing with polishing compound and a wool felt rotary polishing mop. 

I set the intonation after reassembling the guitar and tested it. What a massive difference! This is a great upgrade if you've got a single pickup bass or guitar and you want more than just one set of tones!

Customer Review
I asked Dave if he could give me a greater tonal range on my Squier Bronco bass. He talked me through the options and offered great advice. As soon as I got it back I could tell it is a massive upgrade. I’m absolutely delighted. I’ll definitely use Dave’s services again and will be recommending Cygnus to my friends. Friendly, professional service 
Ian, Bramhall

PRS SE "Pauls Guitar"

Rescued from the used sales market

 I was contacted by the owner of this really lovely PRS SE who told me that he really liked the guitar, and couldn't quite get it set up to his liking. I took the guitar and checked the neck relief with a notched straight edge, then checked the frets. There was no wear at all, as the guitar is only a few months old, however all along the neck there were high and low spots. I contacted the customer to ask if he wanted me to level, crown and polish the frets before I then carried out a full setup and service. He asked me about the nut, which was fine. Interestingly, the nut on these guitars is made from a type of plastic similar to some plectrums (the ones with the tortoise on them!). Despite being plastic, it is quite a resonant material, so no worries there.

The customer contacted me after he had a chance to play the guitar and was over the moon - you can see his review below. Another guitar saved from the used market, and spending many happy hours doing what it was intended to do!

Hi Dave, just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for the amazing job you did in setting up my PRS. I must admit, I was considering letting it go as I just couldn’t get on with it so taking it to you was its last chance before heading to the used guitar market. However, since you’ve set it up it plays superb! I cannot believe the difference! The neck now plays fantastic, and it just sounds so much better. Would recommend you to anyone. Thanks again

Sam, Wilmslow



Sourced battery cover

Ovation Celebrity electro

Repaired and refreshed

This lovely Ovation came to me without strings, missing the battery holder and the nut, the jack socket loose due to a missing nut, and had years of play wear on the frets and fingerboard.

I fitted a new bone nut, levelled, crowned and polished the frets, scraped and refreshed the fingerboard and re-instated the loose wiring.

I found it difficult to source a battery holder, as this is not a standard replacement part. The top os concave to match the body contours. I managed to source an original via Reverb.com in the good old USA!

After a new set of strings and a quick setup it now plays beautifully!

Customer review

I'm delighted to have my Ovation playing again. It was gathering dust so I contacted Dave and he was able to sort it. I'd drawn a blank trying to get the battery holder but Dave persevered and got hold of one! Thanks Dave, another top notch job!

Ian, Bramhall

Seagull dulcimer mod

Brief - install a 'Cigar box' single coil pickup 

When I was approached about this modification I was intrigued to do the job. This is a little unusual, but it was very interesting. I decided to make some templates, and spoke to the customer via Zoom to work out the best place for it to be fitted. As the instrument is very shallow-bodied it is impossible to put your hand inside, so the hole had to be cut to allow the whole pickup to be placed from the outside, which meant I need to make a custom-designed scratchplate. I also made the aluminium mounting plate for the jack socket.

The top of the dulcimer is mahogany, which is quite a brittle wood, so after drilling the basic outline shape, I trimmed the hole to fit using a sharp scalpel working with the grain.

The pickup is adjustable (like any scracthplate mounted pickup) via two screws. The customer opted for no volume or tone controls, but these could always be added at a later date.

Customer Review
I record a lot of music, using a very wide range of instruments. I bought this seagull dulcimer about a year ago and have wanted to have a pickup installed so that I could record it through an amplifier, or to add different effects. I contacted Cygnus guitars and spoke to Dave about what I wanted. He kept me informed at each stage and made sure I was happy, which I certainly am! What a superb job he's done! I am now talking to Cygnus about making a new box dulcimer for me, from scratch based on the quality of this job.

Peter, Alderley Edge

Two of a kind! A pair of PRS SE Santanas for mods!

Electronics upgrades

Tuner upgrades

Full setup

Tone Twins!

A pair of PRS SE Santanas

Well, they're both red and you don't see many and then two come along at once! No, not buses, these beautiful PRS SE Santana models. These guitars already punch well above their weight (and price point) but I decided to upgrade mine, and my friend who owns the other agreed to the same mods. Locking Gotoh tuners certainly help the stability of the guitars. The electronics were upgraded to CTS push/pull pots and both pickups now have partial coil splits for extra tonal versatility. A treble bleed circuit was added, along with an upgraded tone capacitor. Following that a new set of strings and a good setup has made these guitars into tone monsters. Double trouble indeed!


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