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.

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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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    16 Discussions

    0
    TelfTheElf
    TelfTheElf

    Question 1 year ago

    Hi there. Really nice guitar. What was the size of the blank before your chopped your amazing guitar out of it?

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Answer 1 year ago

    Thanks TelferJackson, the blank was approximately 500mm X 400mm. As long as it's that size or larger you'll have enough room to get creative!

    0
    TelfTheElf
    TelfTheElf

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for that Nick. I want to make a guitar for a DT project at school and was needing to get some wood in from a friend. Erm...weird question coming up: do you know how to change your name on instructables? i would quite like to that's all.

    0
    Guitar_Sportz
    Guitar_Sportz

    3 years ago

    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.

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Reply 1 year ago

    As I'm really picky, I'd say make one! Plus you get appreciation for what's involved. There are always folk out there who will be prepared to make one for you though, just make sure to ask the price first!

    0
    lukadawg121
    lukadawg121

    3 years ago

    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

    Thanks!

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Reply 3 years ago

    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.

    Cheers

    Nick

    0
    timmg08
    timmg08

    4 years ago

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

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Reply 4 years ago

    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.

    0
    annrrr
    annrrr

    4 years ago

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

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks Annrrr, they were quite fun to make too.

    0
    annrrr
    annrrr

    4 years ago

    Cigar* boxes from* ya*

    0
    pcorbett
    pcorbett

    4 years ago

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

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Reply 4 years ago

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

    0
    CraftAndu
    CraftAndu

    4 years ago

    Truly awesome! The wood looks amazing!

    0
    Nick the Beard
    Nick the Beard

    Reply 4 years ago

    Cheers Akullerkann :-)