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Am about i attempt tp rebuild a dodge old LP copy I have and I have a couple of question about how to go about it.

Before anyone asks the "Why would you bother?" question I thought I'd get in first and say: It's a learning experience. I've had some experience with electronics but not a great deal with woodworking so I figured this would be a great place to learn some things that help me to build a "real" guitar or 10.

So...

Dodgy LP currently has a bolt on neck, no fretboard binding and a flat top body.

It also has some wicked drill holes and roughas guts router cavities in it (me and my brother have been hacking into it putting coil taps, phase switches, onboard effects and god knows what else into it since I was 13 (I'm 36 now!))

So it pretty much is the shape of an LP and that's about it.

It's is all Mahogany on the plus side (all be it made from about 6 laminates).

The plan is this:

Try to make it into a decent LP replica

Sand it all back (done...yep I can do that much on my own)

Fill in the holes and gouges on the body

Thickness the top of the body and put a bookmatched Maple top on it

Convert the bolt on neck to a glue in:

Add and subtract some wood on the body to create the heal and appropriate neck pocket

Add and subtract some wood on the neck to create heal and appropriate neck tenon

Defret the fingerboard

Add binding to the fingerboard

Refret the fingerboard

Carve the top

Bind the body

Finish it in a dark Honeyburst (Gibson have a new colour out at the moment they call Desertburst which is just what I wanna try to achieve)

Wack on the hardware and electronics (got some sweet pickups for it, Dimazio DP100 bridge and DiMazio ToneZone for the Neck)

and then :D:DB)

Now questions....

Since I'm gonna put a top on should I plug everything up including the PU cavities so that when I route the thing I don't have to worry about lining it up with what exists underneath or leave them open and route the top and then shim the existing cavities in the body (I'm figuring the positioning will change slightly because of the carve angle)?

Will it have any great effect if I DON'T use mahogany to fill the holes (thinking I might use Aussie Blackwood, will wood expansion rate have any impact here?) AND would dowl rods be acceptable to fill drill holes (about 4mm)?

When binding the fretboard should I remove it completely or leave it in place (I figure I'm gonna have to create a jig to cope with the radius one way or the other)? AND if I take it slow with the router will the Rosewood servive the process?

Hopefully I'll learn plenty in the process but I hope I can avoid a few mistakes by taking the advise of those more experienced than me. B)

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If you measure roughly where the centre of your current pick up cavities are before you glue your top on, it would simply be a matter of drilling a wide enough hole through the new top at that spot and using a router with a bearing on it to follow the exact line of the existing cavities. A very neat finish if you're happy with the current placement of the pups.

I wouldn't see a need to shim the pickup cavities as the pickups will be 'riding' on the pickup rings which are screwed to your top wood. There'll be a little extra space under the pup but I don't see that as an issue.

:D

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Before you dive into this too far, I'd give serious thought to making a new body from scratch, and possibly a neck too. It will almost certainly be less complicated and time consuming than trying to modify an existing body to suit your aims, and you'll end up with a better guitar at the end. Getting a raw body blank to the point of being thicknessed and cut to shape is very little work, and this is essentially all you'll have once you've sanded, filled and reworked your existing guitar.

Just my 2 cents...

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Before you dive into this too far, I'd give serious thought to making a new body from scratch, and possibly a neck too. It will almost certainly be less complicated and time consuming than trying to modify an existing body to suit your aims, and you'll end up with a better guitar at the end. Getting a raw body blank to the point of being thicknessed and cut to shape is very little work, and this is essentially all you'll have once you've sanded, filled and reworked your existing guitar.

Just my 2 cents...

True, but I feel that I will learn more about shaping, glueing and laminating wood by doing this mod. Sure it will be time consuming but I've got time...I don't plan to become the greatest Luthier in history for at least 20 years AND while this guitar is out of action I have a few other I can use live in the mean time. I mean, the easiest way would be to go and buy a Gibson Les Paul in the new funky finish I like but that's not what this is about...In some respects I could just grab some random bits of wood and glue them together and then shape them into random shapes but I figure I might as well get a guitar out of it in the end...besides I've had this thing since I was 13 I don't wanna chuck it in a corner because it's all to had...I owe it more than that. :D

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If you measure roughly where the centre of your current pick up cavities are before you glue your top on, it would simply be a matter of drilling a wide enough hole through the new top at that spot and using a router with a bearing on it to follow the exact line of the existing cavities. A very neat finish if you're happy with the current placement of the pups.

I wouldn't see a need to shim the pickup cavities as the pickups will be 'riding' on the pickup rings which are screwed to your top wood. There'll be a little extra space under the pup but I don't see that as an issue.

:D

GOOD POINT! Man, sometimes it so simple you just don't see it...thanks...any thoughts on the fretboard binding thing?

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When I put the binding on an Ibanez neck I am modifying we fixed it up in a jig and ran it through a tablesaw to take the .060 off each side.

It can be done...but its really tricky and super easy to screw up. The easiest way would be to swap the board with a new one and put the binding on before you attach it to the neck.

Edited by factory5150
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Binding a already finished nack can be tricky. You have to keep it flat and level, you have to deal with the FB radius. And if you use a bearing guided bit, the neck is no longer square, so the bearing will ride on the curve of the neck and cut deeper than intended.

I see no reason to make it a set neck guitar other than for the look of a true Les Paul. A good fit bolt on can sound as good or better than a set neck.

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True, but I feel that I will learn more about shaping, glueing and laminating wood by doing this mod.

No, you'll learn all this and much more by starting from scratch. Listen to Setch. Better yet, have a look at some of his guitars....they'll inspire you.

First off, I see no point in spending this much effort on a plywood guitar. It will always remain a plywood guitar, and you'll have put a lot of time and effort into something less than great. Sure you may learn a little bit, but that's it.

A new mahogany blank won't cost you much, and depending on how much you spend, you can get something glorious. Ditto for the maple top. The cost of wood is NOT the biggest expense of a build.

Now, this LP body you have is going to help you a LOT -- you'll be able to make your template with it, and really, once you've got your templates made, the rest of the build becomes much easier. It's all about measuring and patience* after that. (*see note on working with a plywood guitar)

You can still use the neck, if you like the neck -- the heel IS a tenon, no need to add wood to it. You'll need to sand/reshape it a bit, just to get it back to the bare wood, so it'll be gluable. You'll route your neck pocket accordingly. On the other hand, consider other attachment methods -- you can use inserts instead of a neck plate, which will allow you to carve that area the way you'd like it. There was a recent discussion on this.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't wan't to pursue this mod because you're thinking that you're not capable of pulling off a real build. This is not true -- any skills you'd need for the build will be needed for the mod anyway.

One method I use (since I'm still learning myself) is always to practice each step first on scrap before taking it to the build itself. Working on scrap will teach you the gestures and movements you'll need, and what to avoid. That way, when you get to the guitar, you'll be prepared. No need to build a full guitar to learn each step. And it's a useful method whether you're going for a full build or just the mod.

As for adding binding to the existing neck -- that seems like it'll be more difficult than it's worth. I don't know how you'd stabilize the neck in order to route the binding channels. You'd be better off removing this fretboard and gluing on a new one that has already been bound and fretted. But then, you'd be depriving yourself of the experience of carving your own neck -- really, it's not that difficult. I can understand not wanting to try the neck yet, but if you're dreaming of a bound neck, then either buy one or make one yourself, don't attempt to convert an existing neck.

Do you have your copy of the Hiscock book yet? It's essential reading and will give you the confidence you need to approach a full build.

Modding is a lot of fun, don't get me wrong. But it's more fun when the basic guitar is in good shape.

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Let me start by saying I really appreciate all your advice, thanks for taking the time.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't wan't to pursue this mod because you're thinking that you're not capable of pulling off a real build.

Not exactly, I certainly lack a bit of confidence in the woodworking department but I'll be OK once I get started. I think it's more that I have an emotional investment in this old guitar. As I said, I've had it since I was 13. I'd be nice to turn it into something that looks pretty so I thought it would be as good a place to start as any (and I guess I'm thinking if I stuff it up, well it has always been the guitar i've experimented with so at least it went out doing what it does best. ( having me hack at it)

Working on scrap will teach you the gestures and movements you'll need, and what to avoid.

Yeah, I have every intention of doing that, got some junk wood that I'm gonna practice on til I get my technique down.

As for adding binding to the existing neck -- that seems like it'll be more difficult than it's worth. I don't know how you'd stabilize the neck in order to route the binding channels. You'd be better off removing this fretboard and gluing on a new one that has already been bound and fretted. But then, you'd be depriving yourself of the experience of carving your own neck -- really, it's not that difficult. I can understand not wanting to try the neck yet, but if you're dreaming of a bound neck, then either buy one or make one yourself, don't attempt to convert an existing neck.

I thought that might be the case. From what I could see I thought it would be tricky. I think I'll try to remove the old fretboard from the neck and build a new one for it.

Do you have your copy of the Hiscock book yet? It's essential reading and will give you the confidence you need to approach a full build.

Sure do!! Read it through cover to cover and then started again and have just finished it for the second time...intending to give it another read in a couple weeks just to make sure it all sinks in...been reading a lot of threads here too and watching lots of woodworking instructional vids.

I am hearing what you're saying and I respect yours and Sech's opinion (2 of the many builders on this site who I aspire to be half as good as).

I guess what I said about the emotional attachment is the thing that makes me want the old red battle axe to be my first build...she's been witrh me for a long I time, I think I owe it to her. Probably not the most sensible decision in the world but...what can I say, she's kinda like the little engine that could.

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Okay, emotional attachment is another issue altogether!

In that case, I'm not sure I'd bother plugging up the holes, at least on top, since you'll be putting a new top on. Lots of LPs are chambered. You could also take the opportunity to get rid of even more of that plywood!

It's possible to find broken headstock necks --you could easily remove the fretboard from one of those for use.

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