Ok, Im only a sophomore, but I need to complete a senior project to graduate. I was thinking about building a guitar, but that may be too costly. So instead, I was thinking of a customizing a cheap Epi Les Paul (probably an LP 100). First of all, If I upgraded everything, except the body, pots and wiring, would I be able to get a decent sound out of it? Also, Im trying to decide on what to do for it.
I was thinking either a white, with black pickguard, and gold hardware, kind of like this:


A flat black LP, with ebony fretboard, black hardware, and a diamond plate pickguard.
Kind of like this:

with the diamond plate. Also, if there are any mods I can do to the wiring that wont cost a lot, and are very simple (possibly a killswitch), please let me know... This is just a thread for ideas, and if anything does acctually happen, Ill repost a new thread. Thanks for any ideas.
Maybe try buying a cheap guitar off of ebay or maybe one locally and try fixing it up. If you can make a really cheap guitar sound good, you know that you've done well. Maybe replace the neck, or even try painting the body a different colour.
^yeah, I was planing on doing all of that stuff. Im going to get a new neck (so it has to be a bolt on), new pickups, new hardware, and painting it. Btw, the Epi LP special II says its made out of alder/mahogany. What does that mean? is it like plywood, or is it like a mahogany top and alder back?