"To be a success in your work have faith,
be daring, be first and be different."
After deciding that
I wanted to make a Les Paul stile guitar I had a very big
problem. I had no plans or diagrams for the project. I went
around to most of the main music stores here in the country and
I literally could not find one Les Paul to copy ideas from. I
finally did find one LP copy in which I was able briefly look at
and take a couple of measurements. To get a template of the
shape I finally scanned a very tinny picture of a LP body out of
a magazine and then using "Photo Shop" I blew it up to scale. I
was then able to print it out on 4 sheets of paper. I then taped
the pages together to make a template of the shape. "Assuming"
that the body of the guitar was 17" long I was able to make it
to scale. I later found out that a LP body is 17 1/4". (Close
I then just started
writing and asking everyone possible a bunch of questions to
little by little get the picture of what I needed to do which
requires lots of details. It's kind of like trying to make a
road map of Venus with a pair of binoculars. After putting all
the ideas together I was amazed to find out that it was pretty
close to a real LP.
Here is a picture that I found on the internet of the basic
shape of a Les Paul.
- Body length: 17"
- Body thickness: The basic body was mahogany 1-7/8" thick
with a glued on hardwood top close to 1/2" thick at its peak of
the carved top.
- Standard Gibson neck scale: Scale length is 24-11/16" on the
treble side, and 24-13/16" on the bass side
- Width at top bout: 8-15/16"
- Width at waist: 7-1/16"
- Width at bottom bout 12-1/2"
"A maker of violins searched all his life for wood that would
serve for making violins with a certain beautiful and haunting
resonance. At last he succeeded when he came into possession of wood
gathered from the timberline, the last stand of the trees of the
Rockies, 12,000 feet above sea level. Up there where the winds blow
so fiercely and steadily that the bark to windward has no chance to
grow, where the branches all point one way, and where a tree to live
must stay on its knees all through its life, that is where the
world's most resonant wood for violins is born and lives and dies."
just to happen to find in my back yard an old piece of 2"X6"
mahogany from a very old table that I used for the body and the
neck. It's been sitting there for several decades and it was still
straight as an arrow, so I figured it must be a pretty stable piece
of wood. So I glued some of it together side by side for the body.
Like I said earlier, I didn't have any large clamps for this so I
got some cheap 1/4" threaded rod with nuts and made something to
hold it together.
Because of the unavailability of maple here in Peru, I got
inspired by looking at some of the new Gibson "Smartwood" guitars to
use some kind of exotic Peruvian hardwood for the top. This may or
may not be a good idea as maple has a definite effect on the guitar
tone giving the guitar that "big shinny round sound". So it's been a
bit of a chance. I'm sorry but I don't at this point remember what
the name of the wood is I used. I got it at a place for free where
they have exotic Peruvian woods for floor boards.
Some Les Pauls are hollowed out to make them lighter. This one is