'56 Goldtop from Les Paul Studio conversion project.

badly drawn les

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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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badly drawn les

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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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jdto

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I like it. I look forward to seeing this progress.
 

badly drawn les

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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.
 

badly drawn les

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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.
 

badly drawn les

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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.
 

badly drawn les

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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.
 

badly drawn les

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'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.
 

tolm

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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!
 

badly drawn les

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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.
 

badly drawn les

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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.
 

badly drawn les

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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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