Build a Les Paul Guitar


Introduction: Build a Les Paul Guitar

About: Just a normal guy trying to make his mark on the world.

Hey all, i'm back to do another Instructable and this time it's an electric guitar. I am going to be making a Les Paul style guitar as I've never had one and well..........why not!

Above is the finished guitar so if you like what you see carry on and hopefully you can make one for yourself.

Step 1: Select Your Body Material.

I have seen and made guitar bodies out of basically anything and with the Cigar Box trend at the moment (Instructable coming soon) it shows that you don't have to stick to the old ways.

I have decided to use a lump of Spalted Ash, spalted timed is technically timber which is mostly dead (most of the time) with fungus damage in the grain. This gives lovely aesthetics but it does mean the timber is not quite as hard as before. Unfortunately, spalted timber is extremely expensive.

This build is not technically that difficult. There are plenty of resources online where you can download and print 1:1 guitar body shapes. It would be easier to print one of those off and use it as a guideline for the cutting of the body.

I am lefthanded and instead of buying everything separately, I decided to buy a cheap LH Les Paul copy on ebay for not a lot of money and used everything on it.

Step 2: Placing Hardware.

If you download the Les Paul layouts online, they also give you positions of the hardware so all you have to do is mark this out on your new les paul body and head forth.

As I used another guitar, I transferred all the markings and positions from the old rubbish black body on to my new Spalted Ash body.

It is important to double or triple check your marking before drilling or cutting as you don't want to ruin your new guitar. As you can see in the pictures, I have maked the positions for the tone and volume pots and the pick-ups. I also brought the lines of the neck down through the body to make sure the neck was going to be centralized on the body.

I used an old fashioned hammer and chisel to remove the material for the neck and the pick-ups. I used the old body and took measurements as of how much to remove.

Step 3: Neck Test Fit

After a quick test fit of the neck to make sure it lined up etc I was ready to drill everything out.

The back of the guitar, as you can see I used a thin plastic material to cover the electrics in the same way any other guitar does, making sure the plastic sits flush to the guitar body.

I decided to laser engrave Vault-boy on the pick-up selector cover just to make it my own.

Step 4: Everything Fitted and Finished

After fitting all the hardware, I wired it up using one of millions of online guides. I have attached a picture of one such wiring guide.

I had to make new pick-up surrounds as the ones that were on the black guitar were a bit plastic for this build so I make some new ones from Maple.

A set of new strings were fitted and it was tuned up and tested.

I also knocked together a new case for it and my cool little Fly3 amp. There are some steps missing which I wished I'd taken photos of such as the wiring stage and the body work without hardware but you will have to use your imagination this time i'm afraid.

That's it for another one from me.

Until next time.



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    Is it better, price wise, to buy a new guitar or to create it yourself. And is it possible to have someone build it for you.

    I have 2 questions as I would really like to build this:

    1. What are the dimensions of the guitar? Because I need to know how much wood I will need.

    2. Is there a cheaper alternitave
    to spalted timber? My budget is £200


    1 reply

    Hi Lukadawg121,

    The max dimensions for the body would be 440mm x 330mm so maybe get some timber that is slightly larger than that. As far as cheaper alternatives go, you could head to ebay and buy a kitchen chopping board if you wanted to make on the cheap. It needs to be 50mm thick though so keep that in mind. Basically make it out of anything you can get hold of. I don't think Pine would be that suitable but i'm open to being proved wrong.

    I used the neck from the donor guitar at first but ended up making my own neck, if this is your first go just use the donor neck.

    Good luck and have fun.



    So did you just use the neck from the cheap guitar?

    1 reply

    I totally forgot the neck part!

    Yes I took the neck off the cheap guitar and removed the black lacquer from it by sanding it off gently. I did have to smooth the frets a little after doing that though.

    Nice spalted bod. Looking forward to more on cugar boxes frim ua

    1 reply

    Thanks Annrrr, they were quite fun to make too.

    Cigar* boxes from* ya*

    Lots of love in that axe. You are the proud father.

    1 reply

    Yeah i'm happy with it. It plays suprisingly well too.