#1
So earlier in the year (well, about 12 weeks ago) I got to thinking about how I could go about doing a Gibson build....on a real budget.

Not many people think to build a Gibson. Most think to just buy one.

I was partly inspired by Sully's Guitar Garage - Les Paul Studio build. Looked like fun.

So for giggles I searched Google for 'Gibson Les Paul Body'.

Got lots of hits, and a few ads for sale. Interesting start.

Found this one, Studio 2002 body. Won it for AU$310AU in auction. Completely stripped apart from the plastic control covers, pickup rings and screws, strap buttons and the poker chip. No other hardware, whatsoever. AU$70 to ship.


Sub total so far: AU$380.

Took two weeks to get here.

In poor shape as is, very dull matt like uneven finish, lots of dents and a mix of fine hairline scratches which are clearly visible in angled light and more obvious scratches. But the ad already said that, so I knew what I was in for and wasn't surprised.


The neck however is straight as an arrow and no breaks, which was my main concern, but turned out great. In all, this was a good project that was going to give me a good return.




And it was black all over! So I was won over already.

There are 5 gouges where someone has pressed the strings hard into the finish, just about down to the wood. Good one. Not. Bad mojo.

These must be filled and re-finished.


The back has a lot of belt buckle rash. Nice to know it was well used. There might be some evidence of additional 'relicing' possibly.


My restore aim was just to bring it back to life, but keep the best of the relic mojo in there. The top edge of the body where your picking arm extends over, is worn, just down to the wood. Looks and feels like natural wear. Super cool. Keeping that. Keeping the majority of the belt rash on the back. Extra mojo.

Raise your hand if you can spot Homer Simpson in this photo?


What kind of philistine does this? Puts a Homer transparency sticker on a Gibson?? The fuk? Over time the colour bled out of the sticker and into the clear coat and left a kind of negative image.

So on the bench it went. Got my speed control drill, buff pad and Meguiars Fine Cut and went to work. Didn't sand down the finish. Like I said I wanted to keep the mojo. Finish sanding helps restore bling, but removes mojo.

Here it is after the first all over buff pass. Looking better already. You can barely see Homer now. Wave goodbye to Homer.


Time to fill the string gouges. Went to the local chemist and got some cheap nail polish ($3.00), nitrocellulose based. This was kind of hard to find. Nitro nail polish is being phased out nowdays, as I was told by the assistant when I said it must be nitro based. She gave me a funny look.

So I got it and a bottle of clear ($5.00) you can probably see in the background. Used toothpicks to drip fill.


Subtotal: AU$388.00

After a few days of slow drip filling and letting it all set for a week, I then scraped away the top excess using a cool trick Dan Erlwine uses. Flat blade. Tape the ends, leave the middle. The tape raises the blade cut edge about 2 thou above the finish. Slowly scrapes the tops off the fills without killing the surround. Works really well. Smart man that Dan.



Continued.....
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

My gear is in my Profile

Builds & Refurbs
Hondo 780 Deluxe
Gibson Studio
Epi LP100
Last edited by Phoenix V at Aug 9, 2013,
#2
Next step I cut 3 thin strips of 800, 1200 and 2000 grit sand paper. Dan Erlwine again. Ran each one, 5 times in 5 different directions over each fill, raising the grit after each 5 pass run. Use my other index finger to put pressure on the paper and hold it in place right over the fill, while I pulled the paper over it. Flattened and smoothed each fill nicely.



Second pass with the buffer. Fill lines disappear! Homer is gone! The shine comes through. This is starting to look the goods. Needs more though...



Gave the fretboard a thorough clean with mineral oil and removed all the gunk



3rd pass and it's finish is pure cream. One all over last pass changed to Meguiars Swirl remover and it's done and ready.


At this point I've copper shielded all the cavities, front and back and tested for continuity. All good. The chrome hardware starts arriving and I start mocking it up to see that everything fits and is the right spec. It's all genuine Gibson kit, all second hand, all got for a bargain. The stop bar and bridge (came with inserts), kluson Gibson deluxe tuners were combined price just under A$100 dollars, including the shipping.



Sub total: $498

Pickups. SD Alnico Pro II's. 4 wires. Both the bridge and neck. Second hand set of two. AU$110 including delivery for both. Electronics. Didn't go genuine Gibson with the pots, because I got pull splits for the volumes. Wired the pickups in normal humbucker mode and switch to single coil when pot is pulled up. Shielded cable for the lot which I already had. Electronics all cost AU$40 including the output jack and pickup selector.



Put it all together. Gave it a set up over a few days with feeler gauges and measurements. Nut slots were perfect as they were. Frets have slight wear but still have lot of life left. Bridge adjusts perfectly and intonates like a champ. The whole feel is very comfortable. The shielding and wiring makes this thing silent even in single coil mode. Not quiet ...silent. Awesome.

And 6 weeks after it all started, here are some glamour shots.







Grand Total: AU$638

Yes, it plays as good as it looks. Better even.

Living in Australia, I consider that to be a pretty good deal all around for a Gibson!
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

My gear is in my Profile

Builds & Refurbs
Hondo 780 Deluxe
Gibson Studio
Epi LP100
#3
HN(restored)GD

Yeah for OZ prices that is great
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#6
Nice job! As soon as I saw the razor blade with the tape, I recognized it as a DE trick. Nice to see his tips and tricks actually work.
#7
Great job, congrats!
Squier "VMC" Stratocaster
PRS SE Singlecut
tc electronic polytune
CMAT MODS Signa Drive
Blakemore Effects Deus Ex Machina
DIY gaussmarkov Dr. Boogey
EHX Small Clone
Mooer ShimVerb
DIY Beavis Devolt
T-REX Fuel Tank Chameleon
Ampeg GVT52-112
#8
Wow that paintwork really shines now! Great job.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
#9
it came out great.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#10
Why didn't you buff the headstock?
My Soundcloud dudes
Recording gear:
Yahama Hs8
Saffire Pro 40
Shure Sm57
Shure Sm7b

Guitar gear :
Ebmm BFR7
Axe fx XL+
Walrus audio Janus
Ibanez Ergodyne
Black Market Custom cab
#11
That came out really sharp! I'm in love. Great job. Makes me want to do something with my used Junior I bought last year.
#12
Looks great, and yep, that's a very good deal compared to going out and buying a Gibson off the rack.
Also, you get the knowledge that it's already been 'run-in' and well-used, so it's a keeper and you rebuilt it yourself, so you know the quality for sure.
#14
Thanks everyone. What surprised me the most is how much cheaper all the separate components with a little bit of time and elbow grease is still significantly cheaper (in Australia any way) than buying even a well worn used one. Probably in the order of $200 - $300, generally. Turned out to be a decent win.

Quote by timfleur1987
Very nice work. How are the SD's treating you in a Studio body?

The Alnico Pro II's. I'm in love with. They fit in and sound as described on the SD website comparison chart. Slightly lower output and biased towards the top end highs. Its 'attack' is sharp and prominent, not sluggish, which I'm in love with. In the weight relieved body, delicate passages and chords, you get every note. Lower output in exchange for greater articulation.

Quote by Kyleisthename
Why didn't you buff the headstock?

I did. The close up photo which has the white flecks is some of the remaining buff compound and still looks a bit unfinished. Once I did the rag and wax finishing work, all the residue came off, the headstock came out nicely.

This photo is probably a better indication of the final finish. This is after the 2nd buff, with the residue cleaned off.


Quote by Explorerbuilder
Good work.
What did you do about that mauled back?

I left a lot of the marks on the back. For a short time I considered doing a full sand, fill and re-finish but in the end I left a lot of the imperfections in. So after all the buffing, the fine scratches on the back came out. It's as well finished in terms of shine as the rest of the guitar. But I left the prominent buckle rash in. That's what I wanted. I didn't aim to refinish the guitar as if it was new off the hangar, because it isn't. It's well used, probably well gigged, and I liked that it was broken in and had seen plenty of action.
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

My gear is in my Profile

Builds & Refurbs
Hondo 780 Deluxe
Gibson Studio
Epi LP100
Last edited by Phoenix V at Aug 9, 2013,
#15
it looks to have a really nice fretboard as well.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#16
That 2nd photo of the headstock really shows the buffing.
Great job man!
My Soundcloud dudes
Recording gear:
Yahama Hs8
Saffire Pro 40
Shure Sm57
Shure Sm7b

Guitar gear :
Ebmm BFR7
Axe fx XL+
Walrus audio Janus
Ibanez Ergodyne
Black Market Custom cab
#17
Looks great! Always great to find a deal that you can fix up, where some would pass it up because of a little work.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, MIA Standard Strat, Charvel So Cal Pro Mod, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Mesa DR Tremoverb combo 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#20
Beautiful refinish. This forum needs more activity.
"This one is machine and nerve, and has its mind concluded
This one is but flesh and faith, and is the more deluded."
#21
Quote by RealUnrealRob
Beautiful refinish. This forum needs more activity.


Don't remind me. This forum is practically dead compared to the good 'ol days...
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."