DIY Guitar Kit Build: 1959 Southern Rock Tribute Les Paul

J_Euphoria

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Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a great Winter season so far!

To jump straight to the point, I have built a 1959 Les Paul out of DIY Kit I got from AliExpress.

I was heavily inspired by Gibson's 1959 Southern Rock Tribute Les Paul. I just loved the "heart" design at the center of the burst.

Inspiration by J Euphoria, on Flickr
Unfortunately, I do not have $6,600. BUT I do have the time and energy to take a stab at a fun little project.

My overall idea for this project was to build an affordable (-$500), but faithful recreation of a cool guitar.

I found a cool DIY guitar kit off of AliExpress. I was surprised that the kit came with a headstock veneer, and chunkier-than-usual neck profile. It's not the fattest neck I have played, but it is definitely thicker than my 2011 Gibson Faded Les Paul.

After investing in some quality paint, here is what I got so far...

Honey by J Euphoria, on Flickr
I started off by grain filling with Ebony Timbermate on the back, sides, neck, and headstock.

I then level sanded to get rid of the excess, and sprayed on 2 healthy coats of BEHLEN VINYL SEALER.

After taping off the binding and top, I applied 3 coats of BEHLEN DARK MAHOGANY TONER LACQUER

Honey by J Euphoria, on Flickr
I achieved the burst by using BEHLEN STARCAST AMBER. I started with 2 coats as a base for the center, and then I built up more layers on the rim. The amber becomes more Orange-Red as you spray on more coats.

After scraping the binding and some light level sanding, I started to apply DEFT CLEAR WOOD FINISH LACQUER.

The Holy Trinity of Guitar Polishing by J Euphoria, on Flickr
"The Holy Trinity of Guitar Polishing" - J. Euphoria

After allowing it to properly dry and cure, I level sanded with 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit sandpaper, it was ready for polish! I thought about moving up to 2500, but I figured that it was good as it was.

I used VIRTUOSO PREMIUM CLEANER and VIRTUOSO PREMIUM POLISH to get a smooth gloss finish out of the lacquer.

As a final cleaning, I used WIZARDS MIST N' SHINE to get rid of finger prints, and to give the guitar an almost slippery-feel.

Honey by J Euphoria, on Flickr

Honey by J Euphoria, on Flickr
The headstock is not painted black. The ebony veneer was glossed over with the Deft Lacquer. I chose not to spray on black lacquer because I didn't want to pay $30 for a can of Black Nitrocellulose that I most likely won't use. Also, I loved the look of the subtle grains in the wood. It adds a cool character to it.

The logo was sprayed on by using a stencil that I hand-drew and traced, some old gold spray paint I had lying around. While it is not nitrocellulose based, I was sure to spray on the logo BEFORE applying the vinyl sealer or nitro finishes. The rule, or so I was told, is that nitro CAN go on non-nitro, but non-nitro paint CAN'T go on nitro finishes. It was something like that. :hmm:

Honey by J Euphoria, on Flickr

I am currently waiting on the hardware to arrive to my Arizona Suburb. I ordered an Epiphone Wiring Harness, a Nickel Metric ABR-1 Bridge, Used Epiphone Cream Plastics (Pickguard, Pickup Rings, etc.), Nickel Schaller Strap Locks, Deluxe-Style Tuning Machines, and a set of GuitarMadness (G.M.) 59'er Humbuckers with Zebra bobbins.

From what I can tell, I think that it's safe to say that this build is going to be AWESOME. I am so happy with the results I am getting so far.

Thanks for checking it out! I will be posting more updates on this kit build in the near future!

:cheers2:
Cheers.
 

warprider

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Nicely done. Good job.

I was having a difficult time finding a heart in the initial image but once I saw yours...

With the hardware there it won't look so pronounced. Again, nice work..

Love those china kits.
 

J_Euphoria

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Nicely done. Good job.

I was having a difficult time finding a heart in the initial image but once I saw yours...

With the hardware there it won't look so pronounced. Again, nice work..

Love those china kits.
Thanks for checking it out! I appreciate it. I am proud of how it’s coming so far. Definitely turning out better than I expected. Cheers!
 

Sp8ctre

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That is really looking great! What is your opinion of the basic kit? Are the woods acceptable? How many pieces was the body?
 

J_Euphoria

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That is really looking great! What is your opinion of the basic kit? Are the woods acceptable? How many pieces was the body?
The basic kit is great! The wood is great! Just a warning, the basic kits do not have a solid maple cap, but a maple veneer on top of a maple cap. The body is in two pieces, like the top. the neck is a two piece neck.

Cheers!
 

1981 LPC

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So it does have a solid maple cap but not a solid flamed maple cap. Nothing wrong with that.
 

pshupe

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The basic kit is great! The wood is great! Just a warning, the basic kits do not have a solid maple cap, but a maple veneer on top of a maple cap. The body is in two pieces, like the top. the neck is a two piece neck.

Cheers!

How confident are you about that? Generally if it's a flamed maple veneer there would be no reason to put maple underneath. Also if it is a veneer it may not have a two piece cap underneath. The reason these kits are so inexpensive is the use of inexpensive woods and cheap labour, also the fit and finish, in general, is not that great. They do not have time to machine to tight tolerances. Time=money, even in China! ;-) I'm always intrigued by these kits that seem so inexpensive but seeing as I only hang out in the Luthier's Corner and have the ability to build from scratch. I just can't bring myself to buy one. This kit looks great and you have done a great job finishing.

Cheers Peter.
 

J_Euphoria

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How confident are you about that? Generally if it's a flamed maple veneer there would be no reason to put maple underneath. Also if it is a veneer it may not have a two piece cap underneath. The reason these kits are so inexpensive is the use of inexpensive woods and cheap labour, also the fit and finish, in general, is not that great. They do not have time to machine to tight tolerances. Time=money, even in China! ;-) I'm always intrigued by these kits that seem so inexpensive but seeing as I only hang out in the Luthier's Corner and have the ability to build from scratch. I just can't bring myself to buy one. This kit looks great and you have done a great job finishing.

Cheers Peter.
Thanks for checking it out! I appreciate your knowledge! As far as my kit, I am not 100% confident if I'm being honest. From what I saw in the pickup routes, there was a solid cap, but I could be wrong. I shall post pictures of it in the near future.

Cheers.
 

J_Euphoria

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So it does have a solid maple cap but not a solid flamed maple cap. Nothing wrong with that.
Hello. First off, I'd like to say thanks for replying to my thread! I appreciate it. From what I saw, it looked like a solid maple cap, but I could be wrong. I saw two pieces of wood stacked sandwich style in the pickup routes.

Cheers.
 

J_Euphoria

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Dick Banks

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I appears from the pictures that they did a nice job with the binding, and that would be a tough part to reproduce at home. Congrats!
 

WhiteEpiLP

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Looks good!
One thing I never understood about the "southern rock" lp is why they orientated the heart in the direction they did. When the guitar is on a stand or hanging like most pics show, I dont see a heart but a more "private" part of the male anatomy.
 

jkes01

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That kit looks pretty good. Nice dark fretboard. I think you did a great job putting it all together, although not a real fan of the heart. Love everything else about it. Would have been a great tribute without it.
 


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