PGK Les Paul Build

Aaronoutside

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Ok, here we go! I am super excited about starting my first guitar build. I have done a bunch of fine carpentry, and played acoustic and electric instruments for years, and have always wanted to build my own instrument. Figured that there was no time like the present. I have done a bunch of research and feel like I have a good blueprint on how to do this, but since I am new at this, I would love feedback on what I am doing and any potential mistakes that you see as I go through this. So feel free to let me know when I am doing something stupid :facepalm:

With all the work that would go into this, I decided to go with high quality equipment so that I could come out with a fine instrument at the end of this. To that end, I bought a 59' Plain Carved top from Precision Guitar Kits and it just showed up, and looks beautiful. The neck joint looks to be a perfect fit, and overall, I am really happy with the craftsmanship. The neck itself has pretty well dressed frets the seem to be level and needing minimal work. Even the body has some nice character for a clear piece of wood. My plan is to aim for a 59' Burst look and feel. Why not shoot for the top right??;)

fit, and
IMG_4028.jpg
IMG_4027.jpg
 

Aaronoutside

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Here is the basic framework of my plan and the components that I am going to use.

- Grover Vintage Tuners
- Zero Glide nut
- Gotoh Tune-o-matic Bridge and Aluminum Tailpiece (Nickle)
- Cream plastics, but probably no pickgaurd
- Golden Age Parson's St Pickups Nickle (Alnico 2 in Bridge and 5 in Neck)
- 50s Style Wiring

For the wiring, I have not gotten that yet, but was looking at @jonesy and @Tone Man Guitar as both of them seem to have great stuff. I really want to put the wiring kit together myself, and just deciding on what is going to give me the best sound.

As far as finishing, my plan is to sand the hell out of it, and then do a lemon yellow from color tone. I am debating darkening it up a little around the edges, but am hoping to do the whole thing with a wipe on finish and not spray. For the headstock, I am going to stain it black, but want to maintain the wood look. Want to finish the whole thing with a bunch of coats of Tru-Oil and appreciate the good references here on how to do that and make it look good. For the back and neck, I am planning on just doing tru-oil for the finish as the wood looks beautiful. The one thing that I really want to get right is the neck. I play a Music Man Cutlass, with mat finished roasted maple neck and it is just so easy and I love it. My goal is to go for something similar with the tru oil and some steel wool to cut down the gloss. I even have a couple of fun details to add to the overall looks and make the headstock my own.

What do you think of the plan? Will post pics along the way.
 

Neffco

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I have a pgk dcjr. Great guitar. Have fun, the bones are there, the rest is up to you.
 

guitaroholic

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nice grain on that top. do they let you choose or luck of the draw?

yes, do solder the wiring yourself, otherwise it's completely just 'assembly' rather than 'build'.
I've used TAOT CTS pots on several wiring replacements and like them. Tighter tolerance and 525K rating, so it gets pretty hard to dip below 500K. Looks like they're currently out of long-shaft though.

How are the frets on these kits? if not already perfect, I'd give it a slight level/crown/polish.

Can't go wrong with Gotoh and Grover. Personally I prefer the slimmer look of an ABR1.

and good call on no-pickguard :dude:
 

Aaronoutside

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Haha, yea, I figured I could always add a pick guard later, but hard to get rid of that screw hole after you put it in.

The fretboard on this one was in good shape and looked polished up really pretty nice. My brother in law is more of a pro than me so going to have him take a look at it too.

Luck of the draw on the top, but I think they use nice wood in general.
 

ARandall

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Well, with a kit all of the tricky woodwork has been done. In fact all of the woodwork has been done - unless you are going to inlay the headstock or add binding.
After gluing the neck in, all you have to do is a finishing exercise. And without binding you have less to do as the taping off will protect the sides during the burst spraying without the need to scrape (as you would need to do with binding).

Essentially your only decision is rattle can or spray gun for the finish.
 

redking

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Well, with a kit all of the tricky woodwork has been done. In fact all of the woodwork has been done - unless you are going to inlay the headstock or add binding.
After gluing the neck in, all you have to do is a finishing exercise. And without binding you have less to do as the taping off will protect the sides during the burst spraying without the need to scrape (as you would need to do with binding).

Essentially your only decision is rattle can or spray gun for the finish.
Great job rolling out the Welcome Wagon to our new member who has taken up an interest in building guitars!

1639078150000.png
 

redking

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Ok, here we go! I am super excited about starting my first guitar build. I have done a bunch of fine carpentry, and played acoustic and electric instruments for years, and have always wanted to build my own instrument. Figured that there was no time like the present. I have done a bunch of research and feel like I have a good blueprint on how to do this, but since I am new at this, I would love feedback on what I am doing and any potential mistakes that you see as I go through this. So feel free to let me know when I am doing something stupid :facepalm:

With all the work that would go into this, I decided to go with high quality equipment so that I could come out with a fine instrument at the end of this. To that end, I bought a 59' Plain Carved top from Precision Guitar Kits and it just showed up, and looks beautiful. The neck joint looks to be a perfect fit, and overall, I am really happy with the craftsmanship. The neck itself has pretty well dressed frets the seem to be level and needing minimal work. Even the body has some nice character for a clear piece of wood. My plan is to aim for a 59' Burst look and feel. Why not shoot for the top right??;)

fit, and View attachment 576531 View attachment 576532
Have fun! These are really well built kits and with careful finishing and set up work - great playing and sounding guitars. I have two, a doublecut jr. and a singlecut special.
 

Nick-O

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Looks like some nice grain, I think it will make for a great 1st project!
 

Aaronoutside

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Well, with a kit all of the tricky woodwork has been done. In fact all of the woodwork has been done - unless you are going to inlay the headstock or add binding.
After gluing the neck in, all you have to do is a finishing exercise. And without binding you have less to do as the taping off will protect the sides during the burst spraying without the need to scrape (as you would need to do with binding).

Essentially your only decision is rattle can or spray gun for the finish.

if you all saw my “shop” you would understand why I went the easy route on the woodwork. On the plus side, I do have about 9 square feet of the attic where I can fully stand up without hitting my head on the rafters.:rofl:

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement all.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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if you all saw my “shop” you would understand why I went the easy route on the woodwork. On the plus side, I do have about 9 square feet of the attic where I can fully stand up without hitting my head on the rafters.:rofl:

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement all.
i don't care how big or little a shop is, i can junk it up a lot faster than i can clean it. most of the time i have to stand like a flamingo to work in my shop
 

fatdaddypreacher

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oh, and welcome to the forum and understand that this will only be just the beginning. that's a good looking kit. i'm sure it will serve you well. looking forward to this.
 

ARandall

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if you all saw my “shop” you would understand why I went the easy route on the woodwork. On the plus side, I do have about 9 square feet of the attic where I can fully stand up without hitting my head on the rafters.:rofl:

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement all.
Yeah, we all started with simpler things like kits or premade necks that took out the stress initially.
I got a kit that was not cheap, and after having to re-cut the tenon (due to poor fit) - and then the neck pickup slot as a result of this - I thought 'I could make one better than this'. So proceeded to do so.

If you find you like the outcome of this kit and want to up the ante with a full build, then there are all sorts of plans and templates that make the job easier than just going in blind.
Plus the build threads here are a great resource. You get complete step by step threads or videos that take all the guesswork out of it.
 

lowatter

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As ARandall pointed out, I got a kick out of this kit ad picture and the neck joint. Why would ANYONE post a pic with a horrific neck joint like this in their ad for a kit?
I'm not naming the manufacturer or the supplier but let's just say that if you order one it may take a while to get to you.


s-l1600.jpg
 
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Aaronoutside

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Yea, ultimately the neck joint and the quality of the neck itself is the reason I went with Precision. I was impressed at the quality of that joint. It is almost a suction fit.

Still working on sanding at this point. There were a few router marks on the top, so got those out with 120 and have got the whole guitar down to 220. The mahogany looks good and my plan is to raise the grain and wet sand in the tru oil for grain fill next. The top is going to get up to 400 or more based on how it looks and then dying the top with lemon yellow.
 

emoney

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Welcome to the forum and enjoy your new kit. I wouldn't waste the time using 400 on the top until after you've applied your finish. Anything above 220, before finish, is just an exercise for the arms/wrist/hands. As for the tru-oil filler, I'd practice that on a piece of scrap mahogany. The goal there is to mix the saw dust with the oil into a slurry and it's more art form than you might think. There are plenty great products on the market that are wipe on/sand off with better and easier results and you'll get to the "fun stuff" of finishing the colors on top much quicker, I think. But you know what they say about opinions.....

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

Aaronoutside

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I appreciate the feedback. I am not opposed to a real grain filler option. Have any favorites that I don’t have to wait a month for from Stewmac?
 

Aaronoutside

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Starting to think about staining and had a couple of questions.

1. If I want the top to be yellow, should I mask off at the very edge and leave the side of the maple natural to sort of look like binding, or is that going to leave an edge that is not crisp? It might be easier to get a crisp edge if I just mask off the mahogany, but I like the look of the white maple on the edge if I can make it look good. Planning on wipe on dye.

2. does it make more sense to dye the top first and then glue on the neck, and then finish the whole thing with tru oil? I see some where the neck and body are finished completely and then glued in, but I worry that I would just have more chance to screw that up.

3. I happen to have some commercial hide glue and also some dried crystals, and wondering if that will give a better joint than straight up tightbond?

thanks in advance for answering my likely silly questions…
 

74JMP

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Just got a V kit today, 3rd Korina V I I've put together. Friend loved mine so much his wife asked me to build one for him for xmas, rosewood was out of stock so she wants it for VD in feb. I have used the Faber bridges and found them to be excellent. Don't skimp on the parts. These things sound amazing. Here is a demo a friend did of the V #2 I built him.https://allguitarnetwork.com/watch/2594
 

74JMP

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nice grain on that top. do they let you choose or luck of the draw?

yes, do solder the wiring yourself, otherwise it's completely just 'assembly' rather than 'build'.
I've used TAOT CTS pots on several wiring replacements and like them. Tighter tolerance and 525K rating, so it gets pretty hard to dip below 500K. Looks like they're currently out of long-shaft though.

How are the frets on these kits? if not already perfect, I'd give it a slight level/crown/polish.

Can't go wrong with Gotoh and Grover. Personally I prefer the slimmer look of an ABR1.

and good call on no-pickguard :dude:
I built 2 kits the frets were great. did need to polish one as the string seems to scarp on bends. no buzzes or dead spots.
 

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