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Less-Paul

Spraying the Back and Neck

I want to color the back of the neck, and the back of the body red. I needed to mask off the top so I wouldn’t screw it up. I also made a handle to hold it by. The handle is mounted in the bridge pickup hole.

The mask and the handle.

After I masked it off, I sprayed the back cherry red

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Less-Paul

Headstock Lettering

I applied a couple coats of clear lacquer to the headstock, and now it’s time for lettering!

I laid out the area where the “Les Paul” goes using blue tape and a photo of a ’58 headstock as a reference.

Blue tape defines the border.

Next I enlisted the wife to use her cursive skills and a silver paint pen to write Less Paul (punny, right?)

Now it’s time to apply a punny sticker I had made.

All done and ready for some sealer.

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Less-Paul

Clear Coats

I put a bunch of clear coats on the guitar and it looks good! I lightly sanded between many of the coats just to knock dust spots and high spots off.


It looks excited!

I’m going to let the lacquer harden for a while (the say 7-10 days). Then I will sand and polish a bit.

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Less-Paul

Tuning Machines!

The chinesium tuning machines that came with the kit are pretty bad, so o got a set of sweet Grover tuners.

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Less-Paul

Binding is Scraped

I scraped the binding on the neck and body. It looks really sweet, but there are now some scratches in the lacquer that need to be cleaned up. I scraped the lacquer off the body using my wood marking knife. It was very tedious.

I also put the bridge and tailpiece bushings into the body. I dropped in the pickups and pickguard to see what it will look like and I like it!

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Less-Paul

Wiring 1

I started wiring up the body. I installed the 3-way switch, volume and tone knobs. I suck at soldering. I’ll probably install the jack tonight.

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Less-Paul

Tuning Machines Installed

I installed the tuning machines just now. My trusty old $3 egg beater drill and the ruler I use for string height are the best tools for the job. The tuning machines are Grover 18:1. The tuning machines the kit came with sucked and felt loose.

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Less-Paul

Neck is Glued

Point of no return here (or at least a real pain on the ass to go back). I glued the neck on just now. Thanks to advice from some helpful redditors, I didn’t use the wrong glue! I used Titebond original glue because it can be undone with water if I ever need to take it apart (hopefully never).

I’ll let this sit and cure until tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

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Less-Paul

Final Assembly (sorta)

I took the clamps off this morning and started the final assembly. I installed the pickups, finished the wiring, installed the pickguard and trussrod cover, installed the strap locks (Dunlop is my jam), and strung it up.

There are a few things left to do, I need some screws for the back plates, and the knobs don’t fit my pots unfortunately.

Overall I’m happy with the result, and it was a lot of fun getting here.

Wiring done (see below)
Child labor

It looks pretty good. Now for the bad parts…

The kit was supposed to be ready to go, but I had to do some surgery on the neck. Apparently, I didn’t do enough surgery
I think the angle is too steep because the bridge is WAY high.

The bridge is way too high.

Because the bridge is too high, the pickups are not close enough.

I’ll have to remove the neck to fix this, and it’s gonna be a giant pain in the ass. Not looking forward to this.

Also, I think I have a bad ground connection or something because o have a HORRIFIC buzz when it’s plugged into the amp. I’m not sure what kind of pickups are in it. I assumed they are humbuckers by the size and shape, but they only seem to have 1 set of magnets.

Soo… Looks like I’m gonna chase a wiring problem.

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Less-Paul

Major Guitar Surgery

So I played around with the guitar all week and decided I don’t like to play it with the neck angle too steep. Sooo…..

Time for major surgery. Spoiler, it went as good as I could hope.

I used Titebond original glue which is water soluble and softens with heat. So it seems getting hot water to the glue joint is the thing to do. Luckily, the wife has a nice clothes steamer I could use.

I took all the electronics out (I want to rewire anyway) so I could get access to the neck joint.

I need a way to get steam into the joint between the neck and the body. So I bought a 12″ long drill bit and drilled some holes.

After that, I used my wife’s steamer and some small towels to heat and steam the neck and body joint.

I didn’t take any photos of the steaming because o was home alone and I’m not an octopus.

After about 30-40 minutes I got the joint hot and wet enough for the joint to release. There was no structural damage to the neck or body. Yay for me!

Although I won the war, there was a casualty. The lacquer got pretty messed up from the heat and steam. I should be able to repair it, but it’s a bummer for sure. Scars tell stories, and this is a good one.

This week I will work on the neck angle and repair the lacquer. Stay tuned!