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Les Paul Binding And Body Procedure

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Hey everyone Im new to the forum.

I am considering building my first guitar and my desision is between a les paul and a telecaster. My thoughts are that the les paul would be more difficult (neck angle, binding, angled peghead) but would be less expensive; its mostly mahogany (i would have to buy an 8 foot board of each wood), no pickguard, and I can make due with a 12$ tuneomatic from stewmac (the tele bridge is 60$).

If I were to build a les paul, i would want to have a maple top with binding and a slight carve to it. Tell me if these steps to the body make any sense:

1) cut the rough shape out of mahogany.

2) route pickup cavities and wire passages.

3) cut top to rough shape and glue onto body.

4) Finalize shape using sanding disk (or router) and template

5) route binding rabbit using plunge type router.

6) carve top (difference lowest point to highest point <1/2 inch)

7) adjust body surface around kneck pocket to neck angle.

8) route neck pocket and all other cavities.

9) install binding

I'm expecting that I've overlooked something and my steps are somewhat out of order. If I'm way off on this one, tell me if you think I should just do a tele.

Also, How thick should my maple top be? I was considering 1/4 inch, but that wouldn't allow for a deep enough carve. Is 1/2" too thick? Is it even worth carving?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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I'm expecting that I've overlooked something and my steps are somewhat out of order. If I'm way off on this one, tell me if you think I should just do a tele.

Make the guitar YOU really want. Sounds like you really want to build a tele, but you're put off by a perception of the higher cost, so you're going for the LP instead.

You don't give any indication about your level of woodworking skills, or what kind of tools you have --but even assuming you really know what you're doing, it's still helpful to plan on screwing up your first build. You might not--but it's much less expensive to screw up a bolt on neck guitar than a set neck...if the neck doesn't work out, it's easy enough to replace.

Wood isn't all that expensive --certainly the classic maple/alder or maple/ash combo isn't expensive (that's why Leo chose them). Personally, I like to use 'found' wood, so I don't pay much for the wood I use. I'm still a beginner at this, no point in tossing away money like that.

I picked up a genuine Fender tele bridge for $15 and a complete set of Fender (MIM) tele pickups and electronics, including control plate and jack plate for $25. For a set of Fender USA pickups I paid $40 ....hard to find a set of good humbuckers for those prices. The most expensive part of the builds/mods I've done is often the paint and finish.

But like I said, it all comes down to making the guitar you really want. With all the effort that goes into making these things (at least for me), it helps to have that dream at the end of it all to keep you going.

Besides, you're NOT going to be building just one guitar. You will end up building both. And others. That's just the way it goes. :D

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Honestly, if you're starting with a thick, square (non-wedged) top, I'd route the body back (mahogany) to shape, exactly, glue on the top when squared, route it flush, route the rabbet for the binding, and THEN carve the top.

Alternately, Setch posted a pseudo-pin router setup that would let you route the ledge on a carved top very well. Also, I start with the neck angle, and defining the plane of the neck/strings/bridge, and build the carve around that, not the other way around. Setch (he wise, see?) has a tutorial that might be useful.

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Thanks guys!

For a while I DID want to build a tele, but i've been searching around and I just can't seem to find tele's that catch my eye as much as some other guitars. Besides, I might be purchasing a real one in a few weeks anyways :D

Wow Setch! That les paul you made makes me cry! That is probably THE most helpful tutorial Ive read.

Thanks alot! one of these days i'm gonna head out and buy some wood. Maybe when it's built I'll post some pictures!

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