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Old 07-17-2012, 09:38 AM
jasonsguild jasonsguild is offline
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Location: Brooklyn
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Question Loar LH309-VS Mods/Upgrade Suggestions


The other day I scored a Loar LH 309-VS with the intention of using it as a knock around gig guitar. Iím rather surprised how decent it is straight out of the box, but Iím still taking it over to my guitar tech this week to see if I can make it just a bit sweeter.

Iíve never had an archtop acoustic before, and Iím curious if any Loar 309, or any acoustic archtop owners, have any mods/part upgrade suggestions that they found really made their archtop shine? Iíll mostly be using this in a ragtime-ish finger pickiní group, through a tube amp (fender silverface champ).

For starters Iím thinking about having the bridge base sanded down a bit to open up the option of lower action, right now the action is not that bad, but the stock saddle is bottomed out with no option to go lower. And I have a Lollar P90 around that I was thinking of replacing the stock pickup with. The only thing Iíve done so far besides changing the strings is putting felt strip between the tail piece and the bridge to tame the sympathetic string ringing a bit.

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:49 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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if that bridge is bottomed out and the action is still high, that guitar has some serious neck angle issues.

that said, archtops really shine with medium and higher low do you really wanna go?

try a nickel wound string if they're not on there already...i'd go with a set of .12's.

my loar ( which i'm going to sell...not bonding) needed some fretwork...check every note every fret before you take it in so you can point out any issues.

that neck thing really concerns me though.
Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:59 AM
jasonsguild jasonsguild is offline
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The action is good, it actually is really close to what I have on my Guild F30, and it's lower than my classical guitar. I don't know much about floating bridges though, perhaps it's just not placed correctly on the body and that's why there's no room to go lower.

Right now I have D'Addario phosphor 12s on it as they were what I had lying around. Neck seem to be decent to me. No fret buzzing and I get clean chord voicing and octaves all over, so it's at least in tune with itself.

I just figured if it turns out that I use this thing 90% of the time through an amp instead of acoustically, then I'd take the action down lower since I wouldn't need it for volume.

Again, I'm a nob with Archtop Acoustics though, so I may certainly have my head in the sand.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:30 PM
slappy645 slappy645 is offline
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Default Recent mods to my LH-309

I know this thread is a little stale, but I have just completed some modifications to my LH-309. I added a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece and replaced the original P-90 pickup with a Lollar Gold Foil dogear mount.

The Bigsby B-60 tailpiece ( is designed for full hollow-body archtops like the Gibson ES-175. The lateral mounting holes on the B-60 align perfectly with those from the original tailpiece, but had to be enlarged 1/64" to acommodate the new larger screws.

I had to fill the hole left by the stock wood plug strap button with a tapered dowel to install the standard screw-in strap button needed for the Bigsby.

I also replaced the original bridge with a roller bridge, and had to reduce the base significantly to get satisfactory action.

When I installed the Lollar Gold Foil pickup ( (standard height), I also replaced the rest of the electronics (as recommended by Jason Lollar): CTS 500K pots, a .015 cap and a Switchcraft jack. I also replaced the knobs with amber "speed knobs," just because I think they look cool. All the parts came from Stewart-MacDonald.

I removed the original P-90, volume pot, tone pot and output jack as a unit through the pickup hole. I soldered all of the new electronics together as a unit using shielded, cloth-bound wire.

The holes in the top of the guitar had to be enlarged for the new pots, and the output jack hole also had to be enlarged, just slightly. I found it easiest to do a clean job on these by using successively larger drill bits turned by hand. The more experienced might just take a drill to the job, but I was too chicken.

The two mounting holes on the dogear-mount Gold Foil aligned perfectly with those for the original P-90.

I have been very pleased with both modifications. The Gold Foil is a phenomenal pickup, clean, quiet, clear as a bell, and I love having the Bigsby to warble around with.

Some photos:

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Old 01-28-2015, 11:32 PM
lumena lumena is offline
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Posts: 75

Nice I love my loar and it looks like your are really enjoying yours.
I would love hear a soundfile I have been eyeing that pickup for my loar lh650.
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Old 02-07-2020, 05:12 PM
Kaschko Kaschko is offline
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Posts: 1

Originally Posted by slappy645 View Post
I know this thread is a little stale...
And here I come even 5 years later.

I know this is a long shot but maybe you still check out this forum. I own the same guitar and want to upgrade it with a Lollar pickup.
However, the different size options Lollar offers are driving me crazy. Did you pick a tall pickup with wide spacing or a medium/short one with narrow spacing?

Our loar stock pickup is somewhere in between the Lollar options, closest to a tall pickup / narrow pole piece spacing combination - a mix that Lollar doesn't offer.

Anyhow, I would HIGHLY appreciate it if you still read this and maybe remember which pickup format you ended up choosing. I need to import the pickup from the States to the EU so I really don't wanna make a mistake.
Thanks a lot!

Last edited by Kaschko; 02-07-2020 at 05:17 PM. Reason: grammar
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