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 Post subject: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:28 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:59 am
Posts: 4
First name: Ali
Last Name: MacKenzie
City: Bristol
State: Somerset
Zip/Postal Code: BS4 2JJ
Country: United Kingdom
Hi, New to OLF.
Looking to start a new LP build. Currently sourcing some tone wood.
Would be good to know people's thoughts on the perils and pitfalls of the process, the best models, tonewood combos. I'm new to guitar making but have completed a lot of woodworking projects in the past.
Considering swamp ash/bubinga/padauk body with a carved maple top. Mahogany/sapele/maple neck. ??Fretboard. Something that covers all tonal ranges without extremes at either end.
Taking the process slow and not investing thousands on wood and tools until necessary. Starting with body and top then neck and beyond...
Some incredible work on these boards and no doubt hundreds of combined years of expertise.
Based in the UK so may need to find alternatives to some suggestions.
Good to hear from anyone wishing to impart wisdom.
Cheers
Ali


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 Post subject: Re: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:59 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1955
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Welcome Ali and good luck with your lester. I have built two and several other solid and semi solid electric guitars, I'll give you some opinions but remember what they say about opinions.

First, if you are new to electric guitar building get Melvyn Hiscock's book. Melvin recently passed away and was working on a new book, but thousands of guitars (including mine) were built from his present one. He literally covers everything you need to know and shows the construction of three kinds of electric guitars (screwed on neck, set neck like a LP and thru neck). Pay particular attention to his chapters on shop safety and geometry.

Second, a lester is a rather difficult guitar for a first time builder. Everything that Gibson does is based on their history and is somewhat tricky to duplicate. The beautifully shaped arched top body is infinitely harder to make than a simple flat body like a Fender, Gibson's neck is glued on at an angle - you only get one chance to get the geometry correct (unlike a Fender's screwed on neck) and shape and carving of the neck is more difficult than what Leo brilliantly came up with. Therefore if you have little experience it might be worth your while to make a simple slab bodied screw on neck guitar like a telecaster.

That said, my first electric was a les paul clone. I got a good set of plans from StewMac (which are no longer available, I believe there were legal issues) and I had built quite a few acoustics so neck carving and geometry was not new to me. I did a build thread at a different forum and while some of the links may not work it would be worth your while to look thru it

https://www.harmonycentral.com/forums/t ... -les-paul/

I built a second les paul style guitar a couple of years later and did a thread on it but it varies more from the true LP

https://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chamber ... ng.874641/

I'm going to make two other suggestions. As much as I love this forum and we have some incredible builders here, it moves rather slowly and electric guitars don't see as much activity as on others. The MyLesPaul forum is dedicated to Gibson style guitars and while it name is the telecaster forum, TDPRI.com sees a lot of activitie for all kinds of builds.

A couple more comments. LP's were traditionally mahogany bodies and necks with maple caps, but frankly the wood doesn't matter. I think necks do, stick with traditional materials. A common complaint with lesters is their weight - I have started chambering ((hollowing) my guitars and I recommend it. Spend a lot of time getting to understand the geometry of the guitar - reread Hiscock several times and I have written an article on the subject. Don't think you are building a guitar to save money, you can buy a nice PacRim guitar for less than the cost of materials and you will end up making a sizable investment in tools.

Enjoy the journey, let us know how we can help.


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 Post subject: Re: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:33 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:31 am
Posts: 187
First name: Bob
Last Name: Orr
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
[quote="Alimack04"]Hi, New to OLF.

Hi where in Somerset are you? I am in Nailsea just south of Bristol. Give me shout if you need any help.


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 Post subject: Re: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:11 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:59 am
Posts: 4
First name: Ali
Last Name: MacKenzie
City: Bristol
State: Somerset
Zip/Postal Code: BS4 2JJ
Country: United Kingdom
Freeman wrote:
Welcome Ali and good luck with your lester. I have built two and several other solid and semi solid electric guitars, I'll give you some opinions but remember what they say about opinions.

First, if you are new to electric guitar building get Melvyn Hiscock's book. Melvin recently passed away and was working on a new book, but thousands of guitars (including mine) were built from his present one. He literally covers everything you need to know and shows the construction of three kinds of electric guitars (screwed on neck, set neck like a LP and thru neck). Pay particular attention to his chapters on shop safety and geometry.

Second, a lester is a rather difficult guitar for a first time builder. Everything that Gibson does is based on their history and is somewhat tricky to duplicate. The beautifully shaped arched top body is infinitely harder to make than a simple flat body like a Fender, Gibson's neck is glued on at an angle - you only get one chance to get the geometry correct (unlike a Fender's screwed on neck) and shape and carving of the neck is more difficult than what Leo brilliantly came up with. Therefore if you have little experience it might be worth your while to make a simple slab bodied screw on neck guitar like a telecaster.

That said, my first electric was a les paul clone. I got a good set of plans from StewMac (which are no longer available, I believe there were legal issues) and I had built quite a few acoustics so neck carving and geometry was not new to me. I did a build thread at a different forum and while some of the links may not work it would be worth your while to look thru it

https://www.harmonycentral.com/forums/t ... -les-paul/

I built a second les paul style guitar a couple of years later and did a thread on it but it varies more from the true LP

https://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chamber ... ng.874641/

I'm going to make two other suggestions. As much as I love this forum and we have some incredible builders here, it moves rather slowly and electric guitars don't see as much activity as on others. The MyLesPaul forum is dedicated to Gibson style guitars and while it name is the telecaster forum, TDPRI.com sees a lot of activitie for all kinds of builds.

A couple more comments. LP's were traditionally mahogany bodies and necks with maple caps, but frankly the wood doesn't matter. I think necks do, stick with traditional materials. A common complaint with lesters is their weight - I have started chambering ((hollowing) my guitars and I recommend it. Spend a lot of time getting to understand the geometry of the guitar - reread Hiscock several times and I have written an article on the subject. Don't think you are building a guitar to save money, you can buy a nice PacRim guitar for less than the cost of materials and you will end up making a sizable investment in tools.

Enjoy the journey, let us know how we can help.


Hi, Thankyou so much for all of your information. I'd definitely like to get hold of Melvyn's book tho first one I found in UK was £200!
I did wonder about the difficulty of the carved top, especially with a wood as hard as maple.
The neck is the thing that scares me as if I mess that up it'll be unplayable so good tip about the lp needing a super precise cut.
I do like the simplicity of the telecaster shape so something to consider if that'll be a lot easier. .
Not too bothered about spending some money on it, just don't want to jump in with both feet and start buying everything if I never make it past the neck!
Will definitely check out your other posts and guitars and take a look at the other forums. I'd love to make an acoustic (that was originally my plan) but I already have one that I like playing and the electric process seemed simpler.
I'll keep posting my process and thanks again for all the advice. Ali

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:12 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:59 am
Posts: 4
First name: Ali
Last Name: MacKenzie
City: Bristol
State: Somerset
Zip/Postal Code: BS4 2JJ
Country: United Kingdom
Bob Orr wrote:
Alimack04 wrote:
Hi, New to OLF.

Hi where in Somerset are you? I am in Nailsea just south of Bristol. Give me shout if you need any help.
Hi Bob, I'm in Bristol too, Knowle. Will definitely give you a shout when I get started. Thanks.

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:15 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:40 pm
Posts: 455
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
First name: Roger
State: Oklahoma
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
The best place to get very specific on building a Les Paul is Les Paul forum: https://www.mylespaul.com/forum/. Since it specializes in that particular design, it's very detailed.


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 Post subject: Re: New Les Paul Build
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:24 am 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:59 am
Posts: 4
First name: Ali
Last Name: MacKenzie
City: Bristol
State: Somerset
Zip/Postal Code: BS4 2JJ
Country: United Kingdom
RogerC108 wrote:
The best place to get very specific on building a Les Paul is Les Paul forum: https://www.mylespaul.com/forum/. Since it specializes in that particular design, it's very detailed.
Thanks Roger. Good shout, I've had a look. Some really good stuff on there.

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