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Project Lp

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OK, this is going to be my first guitar project so I'm gona need alot of help from you guys to help me see it through.

Baisicly i have a epiphone LP studio and i love it, but i want somthing a bit special, so ive decided on Padauk back and quilt maple AAA top if i go for the same finish as i already have (cheryburst) or plain maple if i go for a Black to silver metallic busrt finish.

I just have a few questions about the constuction of the neck joint and how to carve the top.

Neck Joint: Does anyone have picturs of a set neck joint disasembled and dimensions for it? What angle will i have to make the neck sit at to use a TOM?

Carved top: whats the easyest way to do it?

Thanks in advance.

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These are probably some of the most asked questions on PG.

I think the best answers are...a lot of research. I know it sound trite, but it's true. I'm building my first guitar right now and I too am doing an LP.

This site: http://members.fortunecity.com/jtfish/lpc/cvr/cover.htm (off the tutorials sections) has some good info, but basically there's no "easy" way to carve a top.

I'd love to have a carved top, but for me, and for this being my first build and for a lack of tools, I've resigned myself to doing the coolest damn flat-top Les Paul that I can possibly do. That doesn't mean that you have to go that way, but that's what I determined to be the best for me at this point.

There's a lot of info on PG as well as on the web. Do a search in the Forum here for Les Paul and see what you come up with.

Share pics as you get 'em...

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For a carved top, some people use routers, some use hand-tools, and some use CNC machines. My favorite method, is scoping out a curve, then using a router to rout concentric grooves of different depths, maybe 1/4" to 1/2" wide. You'll need some kind of router attachment to brace the whole unit against the contour of the guitar.. I kinda had to fabricate my own. Anyway, once you have your stairstep-like pattern on the guitar body, just sand or chisel off the ridges.. easy as hell, but be careful around the cutaways, and you probably can't do this with the neck on.

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I started this project as my first build awhile ago but haven't made much time to work on it recently. I'm still working on the lower body carve and the upper horn but it's close. As for the neck angle on mine, it's at 3 degrees. I'm installing a hipshot babygrand bridge that sits at the same height as a t.o.m.

Body carve 1

Body carve 2

Body carve 3

Body carve 4

My carving tools have been a cabinet scraper, round file & sandpaper....oh! I did use a router to make two steps, one on the outside for final depth and one about 3/4" inside that one. I get worried that I'll cut a big unrepairable gouge in the top when I try to use my dremel so I just use hand tools. It's a cheap way to go but can cause hand cramps, hehe. It's a time consuming labor of love but, wth it works. :D

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Thats a sweet looking guitar you got there VanKirk. I was thinking along the lines of a flat-top tele too, i just love my LP too much.

I will be ordering the wood today so i have to decide on what finish i want, solid or translucent. I say this because theres no point buying expensive quilt maple just to cover it up in paint.

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If you're gonna be making a Les Paul I highly recommend getting a measured drawing from StewMac. It was invaluable to me in making mine. Gives all critical dimensions, angles etc. Since you're asking, though, the neck angle is 4 1/2 degrees. The tenon (assuming a 'short-tenon' model) is 3 inches long, 1 13/16 inches wide, and 1 11/32 inches deep. These dimensions bring the top of the tenon flush with the guitar body so that the fretboard will lie flat on the top where it overlaps the tenon. If you don't buy a technical drawing, be sure to draw out your plan with great care to make sure nothing goes awry... especially the cross section showing the neck angle, and placement and height of the pickups and bridge.

As for the carve, the way I did mine was laborious. I didn't do the stairstep router thing because I didn't trust myself not to screw it up, but used just about every other tool I had: hand planes, power sander, tablesaw, chisels, gouges, scrapers, you name it. The trick is to get it close with whatever works quickest and best for you. Once it's close you have to move to gouge, scraper and sandpaper. And the only way to learn how is to do it and see what works best for you. Sorry, but that's all I can tell you there.

I made a post with a link to my site showing most of the construction steps in this forum if you want to check it out.

Good luck,


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