Building 2 Les Pauls From DIY Kits

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Mazerius, May 22, 2018.

  1. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    Some have the LP buying fever and some the building fever... I have both!

    Here is my new project: building a LP from a DIY kit bought for about $200!
    The basic kit is $199 (includ. shipping) butI asked for custom options :
    - one piece mahogany body (basic kit was 2 pieces)
    - ebony fretboard (basic kit was rosewood)
    - solid flamed maple top (basic kit was flamed maple veneer)
    - no hardware (as I already have a lot of things and want quality pieces)
    - no holes on the headstock (because historic tuners have smaller holes than the modern ones)
    Total (incl. shipping) is now $359

    I have also some spare stuff from my previous LP mods:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see on the above picture, I have two brand new '57 PU that were on my SG. As they are Quick Connect equipped, I plan to use a Quick Connect Gibson Standard board with the 4 CTS push-pull pots.

    As for the guitar finish, I still don't know what I'll do. It will depend on the wood that I'll discover when I receive the kit...

    May 25, 2018

    A little communication bug happened between the vendor and I. He already sent me the basic kit. Therefore I will receive 2 kits instead of one :
    - the basic one ($199) with a 2-piece mahogany body, a flamed maple veneer on the top, and a rosewood fretboard
    - the custom one ($359) with a one-piece mahogany body, a solid book matched flamed maple top and an ebony fretboard.

    There is 99% chance that the basic kit mahogany body pieces don't match in the back. So, I'm thinking of a dark finish.
    Some weeks ago, I discovered the ES-339 2018 Vintage Blues Burst, and really loved its finish. But I already own a 339 and don't need one more. So, why not inspiring from its finish for the basic LP kit?

    Conclusion, for the basic LP kit I'll try to mix the finishes of:
    - the ES-339 2018 Vintage Blues Burst :
    [​IMG]
    - and the Les Paul Standard Limited Edition 2004 Manhattan Midnight:
    [​IMG]

    June 1, 2018

    I just received today the basic kit for the first guitar.

    Opening the box :
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty fine, but let's have a closer look.

    The maple veneer looks nice and is quite regular :
    [​IMG]

    ... but it's super extra thin indeed:
    [​IMG]
    I will have to be very careful when sanding it to remove the glue residues before applying the color.

    Regarding the body/neck junction, the two pieces show the same number and fit pretty well at first sight:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I still have to check the alignment.. and sand a bit of wood.

    I will also have two small dings to take care of behind the neck:
    [​IMG]

    The trussrod hole doesn't have the Gibson shape, but it will be hidden behind the veener and the nut needs to be replaced, which was already scheduled:
    [​IMG]
    The trussrod is really basic.

    The body is made of two mahogany pieces:
    [​IMG]
    Their colors are quite different but the fibers are pretty aligned. A dark blue color die will minimize these differences.

    Regarding the pots cavity, I will have to cut a bit of wood to let the Gibson Quick Connect board fit in:
    [​IMG]

    At last, good surprise, he hole to ground the stop bar is already drilled:
    [​IMG]

    This basic kit corresponds to what I expected. I will see how things go on during the assembly.

    I won't talk about the cheap hardware that comes with this kit as I will use much better quality stuff.

    June 2, 2018

    Today was quite productive!

    First, with the re-cut of the control cavity in order to let the Quick Connect board fit in:
    [​IMG]
    I had a heavy hand with the Dremel, and bit some wood but I am sure it will be invisible after the finish.

    Then, I put on the a first layer of blue dye to raise the grain and sand it with 400 grid, surprise, surprise : the body is full of glue!
    [​IMG]
    And it's even worst at the top book matched junction:
    [​IMG]
    Fortunately everything disappeared with the sanding and the veneer is still here.

    And at last: the burst !
    First layer to set the colors in place (blue, dark blue and black):
    [​IMG]

    I took a little break and then...
    One Antique Blues Burst, one !!!!!
    [​IMG]

    Wet, the burst has a lot more colors. I am HAP-PY !

    And now, let me have a beer! :cheers2:

    June 8, 2018

    #2 custom kit neck is done:
    [​IMG]

    ... and the maple top is on its way:
    [​IMG]

    I stop reporting every step in post #1 because this too many pictures to load at once. To follow the guitar building, scroll down the thread. ;)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  2. fretman_2

    fretman_2 Senior Member

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    Good luck with your kit. I built one of the cheap-o Les Paul Jr kits and it turned out great. Switches and pots weren't the best quality, but the basic body and neck were great.
     
    Mazerius likes this.

  3. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    Thanks. I read a guy on a French forum that said this kit was great (mahogany body and neck, flamed mapple top and rosewood fingerboard). I think it will be nice. As for the electronics and hardware, I already have some Gibson's in stock and ordered the rest (bridge, stop bar, etc) at Gibson's too. I also plan to replace the nut by something better.
     

  4. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Make sure you do a test fit for hardware and the like before you commence. A lot of the basic kits do suffer from bad routing and different hardware sizing.
     

  5. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    what brand is the kit. when are we gonna see pics? huh? pics? when?....you know, pictures? good luck. oh, and post pics. we like pics.
     

  6. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    That's the plan. I'll set the neck, put on the bridge and stop bar to check the alignment and the scale before gluing the neck. I have tools if adjustments are needed.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018

  7. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    No brand.
    As always, I'll will post pictures all along the project an update post #1 so that anybody can see the progression at once. The kit will be here in about 2 weeks. Stay tuned!
     

  8. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Do a test/dry fit of the neck first just to make sure of the neck pickup + ring and how it fits in relation to the end of the fretboard.

    This should allow you to check out scale length too.
     

  9. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    This is part of the plan too. :yesway:
     

  10. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    sounds good, but now i'm even more curious..........no brand? i'd like to find the tree them kits grow on. :) looking forward to this one.
     

  11. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    OK, let me clarify this point. As most LP kits this one is from Asia. The basic kit is $199 (includ. shipping). I asked for custom options :
    - one piece mahogany body (basic kit was 2 pieces)
    - ebony fretboard (basic kit was rosewood)
    - solid flamed maple top (basic kit was flamed maple veneer)
    - no hardware (as I already have a lot of things and want quality pieces)
    - no holes on the headstock (because historic tuners have smaller holes than the modern ones)
    Total (incl. shipping) is now $359
     

  12. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    just funning a bit, but most come in with some type of brand/dealer affiliation. sounds nice.
     

  13. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    I have seen the Harley Benton kit, but the bolt on neck system is not for me.
     

  14. w666

    w666 Senior Member

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    Mazerius likes this.

  15. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    A little communication bug happened between the vendor and I. He already sent me the basic kit. Therefore I will receive 2 kits instead of one :
    - the basic one ($199) with a 2-piece mahogany body, a flamed maple veneer on the top, and a rosewood fretboard
    - the custom one ($359) with a one-piece mahogany body, a solid book matched flamed maple top and an ebony fretboard.

    There is 99% chance that the basic kit mahogany body pieces don't match in the back. So, I'm thinking of a dark finish.
    Some weeks ago, I discovered the ES-339 2018 Vintage Blues Burst, and really loved its finish. But I already own a 339 and don't need one more. So, why not inspiring from its finish for the basic LP kit?

    Conclusion, for the basic LP kit I'll try to mix the finishes of:
    - the ES-339 2018 Vintage Blues Burst :
    [​IMG]
    - and the Les Paul Standard Limited Edition 2004 Manhattan Midnight:
    [​IMG]
     

  16. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    I just received today the basic kit for the first guitar.

    Opening the box :
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty fine, but let's have a closer look.

    The maple veneer looks nice and is quite regular :
    [​IMG]

    ... but it's super extra thin indeed:
    [​IMG]
    I will have to be very careful when sanding it to remove the glue residues before applying the color.

    Regarding the body/neck junction, the two pieces show the same number and fit pretty well at first sight:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I still have to check the alignment.. and sand a bit of wood.

    I will also have two small dings to take care of behind the neck:
    [​IMG]

    The trussrod hole doesn't have the Gibson shape, but it will be hidden behind the veener and the nut needs to be replaced, which was already scheduled:
    [​IMG]
    The trussrod is really basic.

    The body is made of two mahogany pieces:
    [​IMG]
    Their colors are quite different but the fibers are pretty aligned. A dark blue color die will minimize these differences.

    Regarding the pots cavity, I will have to cut a bit of wood to let the Gibson Quick Connect board fit in:
    [​IMG]

    At last, good surprise, he hole to ground the stop bar is already drilled:
    [​IMG]

    This basic kit corresponds to what I expected. I will see how things go on during the assembly.

    I won't talk about the cheap hardware that comes with this kit as I will use much better quality stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018

  17. Billy Porter

    Billy Porter Senior Member

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    Looking forward to see your progress.
    I've gotten the 335 kit though can't start till August (Birthday pressie) which looking at your packaging appears to be from the same source. The quality of the woodwork seems really good and like the OP, I'm not going to use any of the hardware.
    Good luck with your build
     
    Mazerius likes this.

  18. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    The quality of the wood is quite good it’s true and well cut. I just check the sizes and they are very close to an actual Gibson LP.
    I think the second one I ordered will be even better.
    As for the hardware, I won’t use it either.
    And good luck for your project too! I am very curious to know about the quality of an hollow body kit. If you started a subject on MLP, I’m eager to follow!
     

  19. Mazerius

    Mazerius Senior Member

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    Today was quite productive!

    First, with the re-cut of the control cavity in order to let the Quick Connect board fit in:
    [​IMG]
    I had a heavy hand with the Dremel, and bit some wood but I am sure it will be invisible after the finish.

    Then, I put on the a first layer of blue dye to raise the grain and sand it with 400 grid, surprise, surprise : the body is full of glue!
    [​IMG]
    And it's even worst at the top book matched junction:
    [​IMG]
    Fortunately everything disappeared with the sanding and the veneer is still here.

    And at last: the burst !
    First layer to set the colors in place (blue, dark blue and black):
    [​IMG]

    I took a little break and then...
    One Antique Blues Burst, one !!!!!
    [​IMG]

    Wet, the burst has a lot more colors. I am HAP-PY !

    And now, let me have a beer! :cheers2:
     
    lakeburst, smk506 and pshupe like this.

  20. allwheelz

    allwheelz Senior Member

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    I get super jelly when I see forum brothers building these, looks like a ton of fun, and i'd love to try to color one. Maybe someday i'll grow the balls to build one, i'm a mechanic, I can't work wood to save my life.lol.

    Always wanted to route and try to bind also, kind of a bucket list thing. Guess i'll never learn till I try. Thanks for sharing!!!
     
    black sheep likes this.

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