#1
Ok, so I'm obsessed with the idea of building a les paul. I can't afford to buy a Gibson historic and won't be able to for... well, probably another decade. And the last summer vacation of my life is coming up this summer (lol "vacation," you know you're working too much when working 40 hours a week is a vacation) I want to learn to do something that I will probably never have the time to do again. I don't mind taking my time and being extra careful. I haven't ruled out a future in surgery yet, I kind of need all my fingers.

I was reading this thread right here...

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/38166-ex-nihilos-2nd-lp-build.html

and thought to myself, that doesn't look THAT hard... I know how to finish it, I know how to fret and level, I know how to apply the binding, etc. I just don't know how to get to the point where I turn a piece of wood into a body and neck.

But the problem is that I've never chopped a single piece of wood before in my life, so I don't actually really know how to start and what I need. Some if someone who has built a few guitars before could give me a general run down of what would go into this, then I would love some input. I applied for a few research fellowships and may potentially have a stipend that after paying for general living expenses, bills, rent, etc. would probably have about $1400-$1500 left over for this project. I haven't sat down and calculated how much all the materials would be, but I do want to know how much I can expect to spend on tools. So I may need to rely on some bare essentials here... what major tools would I need? and about how much would they cost?
Last edited by al112987 at Feb 29, 2012,
#2
Check out stew-mac.com and you can get an idea of how much everything will be. As for major tools, i made my own guitar basically with a band saw, a grinder, and a router. Oh and lots of sandpaper haha I bought a Ibanez Wizard neck. Didnt really trust myself in making something that important
Guitar Rig:
Fender Telecaster
Martin GPCPA5
Orange Rockerverb 50

Bass Rig:
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz V
Hartke HA3500
#4
There are kits you can buy with pre-cut body's and necks.

The headstock is most of the time just a big lump of wood so you can customize it to your personal needs.
#5
I've looked at the BYOG kit before, it's expensive. The neck and body by themselves would cost me ~$700 whereas a blank of Honduran mahogany, maple cap and rosewood board would cost me $300. And this is going to sound weird, but I get REALLY finicky about a les paul's top carve and part of me wants to do it myself.
Last edited by al112987 at Feb 29, 2012,
#6
Quote by al112987
I've looked at the BYOG kit before, it's expensive. The neck and body by themselves would cost me ~$700 whereas a blank of Honduran mahogany, maple cap and rosewood board would cost me $300. And this is going to sound weird, but I get REALLY finicky about a les paul's top carve and part of me wants to do it myself.



the kits on byoguitar.com are all under $300, excluding 1 "custom shop" sg.


js.
#7
Quote by rickyj
the kits on byoguitar.com are all under $300, excluding 1 "custom shop" sg.


js.
'59 kit isn't. Its about $700. More for a figured top. I'm still considering it actually, and I'm watching a build thread on MLP to see how his build goes. I can always slightly reshape the top if I want. It's mainly the recarve along the edges that I'm picky about and the fret end binding that no kits typically do because they're a PITA. But I can ask for the fretboard to come unglued so that I can add the fretboard binding myself.

They have a les paul standard kit for under $300, but it's not really the kind of guitar that I'm going for. Those are closer to Epiphones. Flame maple veneer tops, wrong placement of top routes.
Last edited by al112987 at Mar 1, 2012,
#8
Unless you have some wood skills I would start with bolt neck kit (strat) where it basically plug and play. Carvin has good ones. Some I've played I actually like more than my am deluxe strat. The tools you need to build and cut up wood for something like that will cost more than a store bought guitar
#9
That's not the point, I don't really want a Carvin. I want a Les Paul. I have basically two reasons for wanting to undertake this project.

1) I really want a '59 spec burst. The most obvious answer is to buy an R9. Well... I don't have $4500 floating around. Not only that, but there are certain inaccuracies in an R9 that irk me. Regardless, would the bare essentials for tools really cost >$4500? Doubtful. Yeah, if you are talking about tools costing more than going to the store and buying a $600 Epiphone... then sure, but I'm not looking for a guitar on the level of a $600 Epiphone, I already have a Gibson.

2) I've always wanted to build a guitar, and this is the best opportunity for me because I will actually have some time to build a guitar this summer. Not only is a bolt-on kit completely different from what I'm going for... it's not really building a guitar. What am I really learning by screwing a neck and bridge onto a guitar with everything already prepped? Nothing. It's a glorified partscasters, I've been putting together partscasters since I was 14 years old. Again, it's not about just having a guitar, it's about having the guitar that I want, and I've played for long enough that I know exactly what I want.
Last edited by al112987 at Mar 1, 2012,
#10
I really don't wanna be "this guy" but pretty much all you'd need is a scroll saw, router, and a sander of some sort, and then a drill of sorts too drill press would be better, as far as templates go, if your good at measuring and draw up all of your mid-lines and whatnot first, you shouldn't necessarily need them, but that is all if you have a steady hand, if you don't trust yourself with that, than a drill press and some templates for different cavities
#11
at THE bare minumum you need 6 clamps, drill bits, a press/steady hand and a hand drill, and a router with a template bit, and sand paper. Then theres things that make it quicker, then an angle grinder,jigsaw, hand plane, rasps, etc. Start with what DO you have, then we'll go from there, and how long untill you want it done? Why not start with something cheaper, just to start. I always wanted to build a string thru 6 string and a bass, but I started with a simple tele, then a superstrat and now a PRS before I tackle that. Find a cabinet maker or carpenter, or even SOMEONE who has woodworking tools or experience. Also, depending on your income just buy tools as needed. It comes down to what you want to spend, and what you want it to end up as.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#13
really I think the applicability of a band saw depends on its size, mine only has like 6 inches between the blade and the support. however my scroll saw has a massive 16 inch clearance and made better curved cuts IMO.
#14
Before you go for a full on build maybe try a kit on guitarfetish.com there les paul kit is well priced and it will give you more experience and a feel for what it take to make a guitar.
#15
@Explorer I've built 4 so far with just a jigsaw. Its fine/slow for bodies, but necks needed many MANY holes from the drill press, then cut from both sides.

OP Don't expect something perfect the first time, I'd build a strat or something first, get the tools gathered, then go for your les paul. This is my 4th official (with 2 flunk/tests) and only now am I seeing them as flawless, construction wise.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.