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Old 02-17-2017, 01:13 PM   #1
badly drawn les
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'56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I've always liked Goldtops & have owned several over the years but I've been GASing for a vintage style P90/B7, so I thought I'd have a go at converting a 2013 Studio. I've always thought Studios play & sound pretty good but look a bit odd. I bought one for 380 on the day we left the EU, yikes, I didn't see that coming. I'm sure you all know what they look like but here's the starting point.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:26 PM   #2
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I see Mr Beef does similar makeovers, I have no intention of stealing his thunder, he does great work. Just coincidence. So, strip her down & have a look. First impression is that the top curve is much closer to a 50s than my 2002 Std, which is too tall. BTW it's a 50s Tribute, cos I prefer a fuller neck profile.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:29 PM   #3
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I like it. I look forward to seeing this progress.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:31 PM   #4
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

The P90s were mounted on a threaded metal base, which is screwed into the wood, that will have to go, I want it as vintage correct as I can, within reason (& budget) so I'll fill those holes.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:35 PM   #5
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

OK, let's make some sawdust. I'm putting a Bigsby on, so the TP lugs will go. That means I have to earth it to the bridge posts. I need a hole from the control cavity to the post holes.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:48 PM   #6
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

The headstock needs re-shaping to make it more vintage correct. I don't have a 50s GT or Burst to copy but I do have a couple of Juniors, a '56 & a '59, so I made a tracing of both (they're different of course) & took an average shape that looked right to my eye. I left the curve on the long sides the same, as I need the tuner holes to be the same distance from the edge. I just used a step router blade that I use for binding to take about 1 mm off. I did half, then flipped it over to do the other half.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:51 PM   #7
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I used a drum sander bit in the pillar drill to shape the end.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Time to strip the finish. I use a heat gun & scraper. At least I didn't need to worry about melting the binding. Once stripped I have to remove the 'board, to install binding. Steam iron & kitchen knife.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:00 PM   #9
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

'Board off. I was thinking about pin holes through the fret slots to keep it from sliding about when I glue it back on, however it has small plastic locater lugs, which saves me a job.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:04 PM   #10
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Very cool project and looks like a solid Studio to start from.

Regarding earthing the tailpiece - wouldn't drilling a hole for an earth wire from the bridge pickup cavity have been simpler/shorter to drill? Or is the angle of doing that really asking for fouling the top!
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:06 PM   #11
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Regarding binding, I don't like the colour of the Stewmac one, which is a shame as I have Stewmac router bits to match the size. I used Rothko & Frost, here in the UK, as the colour looks more vintage correct to me. However the size is a bit out of whack, so I need to rout it to size.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:10 PM   #12
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tolm View Post
Very cool project and looks like a solid Studio to start from.

Regarding earthing the tailpiece - wouldn't drilling a hole for an earth wire from the bridge pickup cavity have been simpler/shorter to drill? Or is the angle of doing that really asking for fouling the top!
Thanks, I did consider that but there's not much angle to drill from the pup rout. I thought I may miss the post hole (too low) Plus I didn't want to mess up the edge of the pup rout with the drill bit. It just seemed simple to go through the OP jack hole. Plus, no extra wires near the pup.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:13 PM   #13
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I have to remove the frets, a first for me.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:22 PM   #14
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

All out.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:24 PM   #15
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Rip down the sides to the thickness of the binding.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:28 PM   #16
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

To do my faux Braz 'board I open the grain a bit with a Stanley blade, then darken it with Feibings dark brown leather dye.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:40 PM   #17
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Frets back in & file the fret ends flush.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:43 PM   #18
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Glue the binding on. I think I used CF Gel glue.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:45 PM   #19
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Done.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:47 PM   #20
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Rout off the excess with a flush router.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:49 PM   #21
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Ready to clean up with a file.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:49 PM   #22
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Yes, I like where this is heading. Well done so far.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:52 PM   #23
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I made a little jig to drill the side marker holes.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:53 PM   #24
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Dot markers in.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:56 PM   #25
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

I thought it best to remove the headstock face before the 'board goes back on. I want a MoP logo & it's easier to work with removed.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:04 PM   #26
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Off.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:08 PM   #27
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

MoP logo in. I used Gorilla branded epoxy with black pigment & it was crap, just didn't harden properly. I picked it all out with a scalpel & re-did it with araldite, much better.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:16 PM   #28
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Before the 'board goes back on I have to do the body binding channel. A bit easier when it rests flat on the router table, well, as flat as you get with a Lester. I measured the height of the arch from the body edge & made a donut the same height.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:18 PM   #29
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

And off we go. A steady hand helps.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:19 PM   #30
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Re: '56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

Something like that.
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