Building A Les Paul

Andy475

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Hey everyone!
I'm only new here (as you may be able to tell). I'm still figuring out how the website works and all that jazz. I'm in my final year of school and building a Les Paul guitar and I'm very excited but I want to get all the help I can get too! I have already cut the Mahogany in half and I will soon be cutting the inlays. I would like to start this first post as an introduction and then hopefully post any questions or struggles I might have in the hopes that I can receive some awesome advice!

I have done a lot of research previous to this post but I am more than happy to learn and receive any tips/advice with making a guitar. I hope you are all safe and well in these tough times!

Huge thanks,
Andy
 

ARandall

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The best thing to do is research the build threads on this section of the forum. Thats basically better than anything else as its a visual step by step of 'how-to'. There are even some video builds by Freddy G
Then you need plans - and with those you will have every dimension of 'what to'.
 

Andy475

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The best thing to do is research the build threads on this section of the forum. Thats basically better than anything else as its a visual step by step of 'how-to'. There are even some video builds by Freddy G
Then you need plans - and with those you will have every dimension of 'what to'.
Thank you for the advice man! What I have so far are the plans, contour lines courtesy of Exnihilo, about 3-4 pages of notes based off of Freddy Gabrsek's youtube documentary and then the Mahogany, Fretboard blank, inlays, and truss rod. I'm going slow for it so I can take my time with each and every step.

I'll start looking through this forum now and collect anything useful (most likely all of it haha). Thank you for your help!
 

Brek

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A lot of reading awaits, it’s what I am doing right now. I am pretty ok at working with wood, not a carpenter by any stretch though. aAre you doing this in a wood class or outside of school? As to the build itself for me the neck carve is my main worry, and then making sure the angle is correct when glued,
 

Andy475

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A lot of reading awaits, it’s what I am doing right now. I am pretty ok at working with wood, not a carpenter by any stretch though. aAre you doing this in a wood class or outside of school? As to the build itself for me the neck carve is my main worry, and then making sure the angle is correct when glued,
A lot of reading indeed! I'm doing this build as a final project in my woodworking class and I think my biggest worry at the moment is cutting in the inlays and getting the templates cut out perfect! I've read/been told that the templates are often overlooked because people are more excited to actually start the building- however the templates are super important and something I don't want to mess up in the slightest!
 

pshupe

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Hey everyone!
I'm only new here (as you may be able to tell). I'm still figuring out how the website works and all that jazz. I'm in my final year of school and building a Les Paul guitar and I'm very excited but I want to get all the help I can get too! I have already cut the Mahogany in half and I will soon be cutting the inlays. I would like to start this first post as an introduction and then hopefully post any questions or struggles I might have in the hopes that I can receive some awesome advice!

I have done a lot of research previous to this post but I am more than happy to learn and receive any tips/advice with making a guitar. I hope you are all safe and well in these tough times!

Huge thanks,
Andy

Welcome to the forum. I would recommend going slow and posting lots of pics and questions in this thread. I've noticed lately a lot of people posting after they have done something, which may not have been the best idea. What do you mean you cut the mahogany in half? Generally Les Paul builds are one piece mahogany bodies that start with a blank about 15" x 20" x 1.75" and add a two piece maple top which is about the same width and length and around 5/8" thick as a final thickness.

Cheers Peter.
 

Andy475

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Hey Peter, I'm going to post each and every step before I do it consulting with you lovely people on the forum and also the local luthier.

As for cutting the Mahogany in half. The slab I had was fairly cupped and rough sawn, I spoke with the local luthier and he recommended to cut it in half and dress it all round. I wish I had found this forum and started this thread earlier so I could have this kind of help (which is so greatly appreciated! thank you!). Alas, it is much too late now and the Mahogany is already cut.

I don't want to make this mistake again so I'm going to upload photos in the next coming days (possibly in 2 days as I'm busy today w/ other school projects).

Huge thanks,
Andy
 

Andy475

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Update Part 1:
Hey everyone! Attached are images of the Mahogany cut in half and the grain which I have glued it together. The seam
between the two has turned out quite nice!I will have to post that in a seperate post because my computer keeps crashing when I try upload them all! This is the progress so far.

The next steps will be marking, cutting, and gluing the inlays into the fretboard. I will be using the Crimson Guitars method and I will post the photo in the next post of where I have (tried) to mark the centreline of the fretboard in preparation for making out where the inlays will go.
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Andy475

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Update Part 2:
In the photo attached you can see a rough centreline marked which is what I will use to find the position of the inlays. However this has proven difficult as I can’t measure in from the side of the fretboard because they are not straight. The only reference point I have are the are the frets, and so what I was advised to do by the local luthier is to find the centre of the first fret and then line the protractor up and mark 90 degrees and continue that process for at least 3 frets and then mark a straight line all the way down the the final fret and check if that is still exactly 90 degrees. I did attempt this however it didn't exactly line up at the final fret so I'm going to have to go over that again and if you have any tips or advice that would help find the centreline in an easier way please let me know!
*Note: you can notice there are only 19 frets cut in (the first block is actually the nut). I haven't had the time to cut in the last 3 frets to get 22 frets however this will be completed in due time.*

Huge thanks,
Andy
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Andy475

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Another note I should I should add is what I did with the issue of some blemishes on the Mahogany that I have found. I used a templated and found a place as you can see in the first photo attached that would have the pot cavity get cut out right over the blemish which should hopefully remove some of the blemish. In the second photo attached, you can see that there are some more blemishes, but this is okay because I will put the maple cap over this side which will mask up the blemishes completely.
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Andy475

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Whilst I can't work on the actual build right now, I've decided to go onto Sketchup and design some jigs based off of Freddy G's and Exnihilo's jigs seen in some of their videos. This is a little ahead and a long way down the track- but I figure I might swell make the most of the time I have while I'm waiting!

So you can see in the images below, a rough (not to scale) digital drawing of a jig that I can use for the pickup + neck plane, and also a jig for routing the neck pocket and pickups! My plan is to have either stopped or through housing joints so I can have a base and swap out the edge boards so I would only need the different angles required. I hope this makes sense! (and I hope it works!).

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Andy475

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This is just a follow up from the previous post! This is a close up and basic version of a housing joint to hopefully make more sense.
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Andy475

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Thank you pavel! I have seen that box jig and I think if all else fails I'm going to go with that design which again will cut the neck + pickup plane and also be useful for routing the pickups and neck pocket.

My only question is for the angles, do you slide in an angled chock type thing with something to hold it in place so it remains on that angle? I sort of understand the concept of the hinge box jig, if you could explain it a little further that would be awesome!!!

Thanks,
Andy
 

LPTDMSV

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btw plans for the box jig are here Box jig plans

I guess you would need to create wedges or chocks to support the box jig at your chosen neck angle, for any routs that need to align with the neck. - and you need to be sure that the chocks couldn't move while you were working!

The Bartlett Build thread is good on which routs should be done at what stage of the build.
 

Andy475

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Thank you! Funnily enough, I'm writing down notes from 3 different LP builds and then I'll compare them all together and just get the best parts of each build or just keep the 3 in my arsenal to refer to when building. For the 3 builds, I'm going off of ExNihilo, Freddy G, and as you suggested (thank you again) Bartlett. (I think those links are actually set to the page/video I'm up to.) Anywho, any help suggested is help I'm gonna take!

Seriously, the help is appreciated very much!
 

Brek

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Nice job on the join, looks like it will be very hard to see once painted. I don’t know how old you are but I must say it’s awesome to see the younger generation still interested in building things. The idea you can make things seems to be lost on some. I think it will turn out great and what a tale it will have to tell when you are older, ‘this awesome les Paul? Yeah, I built it in high school’
 

Andy475

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Thank you so much! You're making me blush haha :rofl:
I'm 17 years old and I'm nervous about this build but I'm so so excited!
I only found this forum not long ago (as you can tell) but I am just mind blown by all the help and threads and INCREDIBLE luthiers out there and how willing they are to share their tips & tricks and how helpful it has been to me! I have definitely learnt more about guitars than I would have ever expected. Alas, there is still much to learn!

Thank you again,
Andy
 


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