I wanted to share a bit of a history of the LP
guitar I just built. You will probably see some techniques and ideas
that are a little strange and others that are very strange but all I
can say is it worked for me. There are even some methods and the use
of certain materials that I wouldn't recommend but I needed to
resort to because of my circumstances and conditions. This will be
enough to make any experienced luthier cringe.
I live in a country where many ideal materials and guitars parts
don't exist. I also didn't have a lot of money so these adversities
have caused me to do a lot of experimenting . As they say, "Necessity
is the mother of invention".
I had very little of the basic tools and I had NO
shop to work in. I was found working away at my guitar in various
locations of the house that were non conducive such as the laundry
area, the pantry or sometimes a table in the back yard. I say these
things to encourage people that they don't have to have everything
perfect to accomplish something. The following pages are not
necessarily a complete step by step manual for building a Les Paul
but I waned to at least stimulate some inventive ideas and some of
the lessons I've leared.
Like I said, I had very little of even the basic
tools. To have all the right tools is also expensive. In theory, you
can build a guitar with just simple hand tools but having some power
tools will help speed things up a great deal and in many cases help
you to do a better job. Fortunately I had the use of circular saw, a
router, belt sander and an electric drill. I also have a little
"Dremel" high speed drill which was very helpful.
I didn't have any large clamps for gluing the
body together so I went to the local hardware store and got some
1/4" threaded rods with nuts to make my own simple devices to clamp
Another example is that I didn't even have a
simple cabinet scraper, which is vital for such projects so I just
cut up some small pieces of glass for scraping which worked really
good. I also did a lot with my trusty "Swiss Army knife".
I didn't have a band saw to cut the shape of the
body so after drawing the shape I just cut off pieces with a normal
hand saw, then I belt sanded it to the right shape.
As you read through the following pages I'm going
to mention many other examples of unconventional methods. Hopefully
you (the reader) who endeavors to tackle such projects will in many
cases have better tools and working conditions. It is my hope to at
least inspire a little ingenuity.
Philosophy behind of Project
To tackle such a project is quite a learning
experience. I think that more then even skill, your patience gets
exercised to the limit. It's very time consuming and trying to see
quick results will usually cause setbacks.
Agostino D'Antonio, a sculptor of Florence, Italy,
wrought diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble. "I
can do nothing with it," he finally said. Other sculptors too,
worked with the piece of marble, but they, too, gave up the task.
The stone was discarded. It lay on a rubbish heap for forty years.
Out strolling one day, Michelangelo saw the stone & the latent
possibilities in it. It was brought to his studio. He began to work
on it. Ultimately, his vision & work were crowned with success. From
that seemingly worthless stone was carved one of the World's
masterpieces of sculpture--"David"!