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Old March 9th, 2013, 09:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Material cost for a LP style guitar.

I've seen a couple of high numbers being thrown around lately. This is my guess on the high end of things.

tropical american mahogany wood- 75 dollars
Curly Maple top billet for resawing-100
Binding 20
Indian Rosewood fretboard 25
Tuners 75
Bridge and Tailpiece 100
Pickups 250
Pots, switch, jack 50
Knobs 20
pickguard and ring 30

That's about 750 or so and doesn't include screws, strap button, lacquer, sandpaper, nut, caps, inlay, strings, wire, and glue. At that kind of cost, you may as well buy one from Gibson :-).

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guita...-guitar/h89379

I'm sure I'd spend less on pickups....:-) for sure. I think unless you are getting crazy parts, you can do it for $350 or less assuming you are making most of the parts you can make fairly easily. There are some nice maple billets on ebay in the 50 dollar range.

Personally I think spending 500 dollars on pickup rings, celluloid inlay, and used bumble bee caps.....is a little mind boggling...and off the chart.

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Old March 9th, 2013, 10:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've been specing out a les paul I'd like to build (but don't have the cash for) and here's what I've listed so far:

Spanish cedar neck and body, $40
non bookmatched flamed Maple top (like a burst) $20
Brazilian rosewood fretboard $80
Faber bridge and tail piece: $100
Retrospec celluloid inlays: $80
Knobs: $120
Bare Knuckle pickups: $310
Trussrod cover: $70
mojoaxe pickguard: $60
Poker chip: $40
Bumblebee caps and CTS pots: $90
Toggle switch: $30
Mojoaxe Control covers: $36
Royalite body binding: $50
Holly headstock veneer: $20
nylon nut: $15
Gil Yaron pickup rings (assuming he still makes them): $90
Retro spec bushings and tail piece studs: $35
Retrospec ABR thumbwheel: $30
And lets say $20 for assorted screws.

Thats a grand total of over $1,330 excluding things like sandpaper. You can certainly build one for much less, but when I put that much time into a build, I'd like to use the best hardware and materials I can find.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 10:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've seen a couple of high numbers being thrown around lately. This is my guess on the high end of things.

tropical american mahogany wood- 75 dollars
Curly Maple top billet for resawing-100
Binding 20
Indian Rosewood fretboard 25
Tuners 75
Bridge and Tailpiece 100
Pickups 250
Pots, switch, jack 50
Knobs 20
pickguard and ring 30

That's about 750 or so and doesn't include screws, strap button, lacquer, sandpaper, nut, caps, inlay, strings, wire, and glue. At that kind of cost, you may as well buy one from Gibson :-).

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guita...-guitar/h89379

I'm sure I'd spend less on pickups....:-) for sure. I think unless you are getting crazy parts, you can do it for $350 or less assuming you are making most of the parts you can make fairly easily. There are some nice maple billets on ebay in the 50 dollar range.

Personally I think spending 500 dollars on pickup rings, celluloid inlay, and used bumble bee caps.....is a little mind boggling...and off the chart.
My build is not too bad - I spent about $250 on wood - but that will make me
4-5 guitars. Binding is about half of the above. Making pickups for about $40 and spending about $100 on bridge/tail and $50 on (Pots, switch, jack). I just use the same mylar caps on all of my builds and they work really great. I think I spend a little less on knobs too. An LP is not a cheap build, but if I was building an LP the way that I would build a Strat/Tele (use whatever wood, make a bridge...) it would be about the same cost. I think a number of the LPs that have/are being made are using higher end parts because it's a bigger investment in time so I think perhaps we ended up using higher end parts.

I bet I will end up spending about $500 when done, but it will have the best tuners, pickups and bridge I thought was practical.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 11:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My firecaster has probably cost under 500 dollars for materials. Why does everyone say it's a larger time investment? Unless it's a carve top mortise and tenon, then I wouldn't think it would be that much more then any other guitar, would it?
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Old March 9th, 2013, 11:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My firecaster has probably cost under 500 dollars for materials. Why does everyone say it's a larger time investment? Unless it's a carve top mortise and tenon, then I wouldn't think it would be that much more then any other guitar, would it?
Ummm...I think they're talking about LPs here. Don't hold me to it, but I believe they have carved tops and tenon necks. They also have a bunch of crazy angles on the top that probably have to be right. Of course, I could be wrong.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 12:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ummm...I think they're talking about LPs here. Don't hold me to it, but I believe they have carved tops and tenon necks. They also have a bunch of crazy angles on the top that probably have to be right. Of course, I could be wrong.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 02:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ummm...I think they're talking about LPs here. Don't hold me to it, but I believe they have carved tops and tenon necks. They also have a bunch of crazy angles on the top that probably have to be right. Of course, I could be wrong.
I was just sayin the cost of my guitar, so I'm not sure why an LP would be so expensive. Really, I have no clue. But I mean, not all LPs have carved tops and tenons.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 05:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Personally I think spending 500 dollars on pickup rings, celluloid inlay, and used bumble bee caps.....is a little mind boggling...and off the chart.
Its all a bit wacky -the whole plastic pricing thing. But the markets there and people want what they consider -near- the real deal. Even when some is not...


At the end of the day you have a Blow-up doll to better spec than some other.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 05:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Depends if you want an LP-style guitar to look like a Gibson ... or just sound like one.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 06:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Say 500-800$ for materials... You guys are forgetting labour hours, disposable/perishable tools and parts, plans, finishing materials, the added expense of gold hardware because it just looks so damn sexy and also the added cost of specific brand parts.
Some guys just prefer the have a name on the part because it signifies a certain level of quality... I'm occasionally one of them.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 07:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Back when muscle cars reigned supreme, it wasn't uncommon to stick in aftermarket parts in it for looks or horsepower, You bought them because of their name and looks. The more stickers you had on your car, the cooler you thought you were.

These days, putting some big tomato juice -can- like mufflers that make your car sound like a buzzing bee seems to be the cool thing, since the cars can't get out of their own way.

The problem was that the only people that could appreciate it was another gear head, so to 99.99 of the people around it didn't matter.

I suspect the same thing is true for any hobby and this one for sure.

If I had invested that money I wasted on cars and instead bought used American guitars, I'd probably have more to show for it today.

Anyway, if I were making a LP today...I"d probably want some aluminum hardware more for the weight savings than the tone change, a piece of semi curly hard maple top, a one piece honduran body..again for the weight, Indian rosewood fretboard. Honduran Mahogany one piece neck for the weight and smaller pore pattern.

I feel that there is lot of difference in the density in African, Honduran, and Sepele, at least what my suppliers have to offer. The Honduran looks more correct to me, is the easier to work with, and unfortunately, the most expensive. But we are only talking about a 30 to 35 dollar difference here I guess, and compared to the hardware costs, ...well it's a no brainer to me that is where the extra money should be spent.


Keystone tuners and an ABR1 look more correct to me. I think I could survive with stewmac plastic. Pickups, I'd probably wind my own since I can do that now, not that they'd be anything honey toned, but I would be more satisfied to have ones I wound than some other guy.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 07:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Material cost , I am probably gonna be right around $500. with my LP build , so far the tuners were the most expensive pieces purchased , I am using all decent hardware , woods , parts , winding the PAF's and good buys on lumber save a chunk of change .
On the tooling up side , making templates and picking up or building tools/jigs to help build an LP is another expense , and time , labor , ha , if I figure that into the current LP build I'd be at 6 figures by the time I'm done :-D
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Old March 10th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Back when I made my first batch of LP bodies...I actually spent 100 dollars on a super curly billet of maple.... It was gorgeous and is still here waiting to be used...I'd never be that foolish with my own money again, as that is a lot of expensive sawdust and chips...

This one was a pretty nice top.
The router dropped down accidently and bored a hole in the wrong spot. I also had a glitch around the neck pickup, but that would be covered up.

I was going to drill a matching hole, hoping to salvage it with a pearl dot or piece of ebony, a jewel, or even a Bigsby....it didn't happen.... That body sits here in the department of bad parts.

these days, I'm starting to prefer less curl and weight. I should probably retop it and get some use out of the mahogany.

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Old March 10th, 2013, 09:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I've seen a couple of high numbers being thrown around lately. This is my guess on the high end of things.

tropical american mahogany wood- 75 dollars
Curly Maple top billet for resawing-100
Binding 20
Indian Rosewood fretboard 25
Tuners 75
Bridge and Tailpiece 100
Pickups 250
Pots, switch, jack 50
Knobs 20
pickguard and ring 30

That's about 750 or so and doesn't include screws, strap button, lacquer, sandpaper, nut, caps, inlay, strings, wire, and glue. At that kind of cost, you may as well buy one from Gibson :-).

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guita...-guitar/h89379

I'm sure I'd spend less on pickups....:-) for sure. I think unless you are getting crazy parts, you can do it for $350 or less assuming you are making most of the parts you can make fairly easily. There are some nice maple billets on ebay in the 50 dollar range.

Personally I think spending 500 dollars on pickup rings, celluloid inlay, and used bumble bee caps.....is a little mind boggling...and off the chart.
I think that the wood costs could come down a little but you're right. Building a Les Paul from scratch can be more expensive due to the extra wood, binding, inlays etc. Some people claim that they can build Les Pauls for even less than 500.00 but what's the point of building a handrafted guitar only to put crap hardware and electronics on it?

I'm spec'ing out a '61 SG build and so far, the pickups and bridge are the biggest pieces with perhaps tonepro or callaham bridge/tailpieces and Gibson '57 Classic pickups. Then, you look at nice vintage Kluson style Grovers and that's another $50.00 + shipping (unless you can find them locally).

Regarding the pickups, when I do a build for myself, I always look for used pickups and I've found great stuff locally. On my thinline, I found a set a new Van Zandt Vintage ($80) that were never even installed. For the P90 carved top, I got suhr P90s ($140.00). For the SG, I have a line on a '57 Classic set ($160.00)

For the inlays, you can get nice MOP from Australia for pretty cheap, like $30.00 a set.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 09:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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For nostalgia's sake, I'm thinking I might make a 70's LP with a slab body and route before carve binding after the one I'm working on. For those that are my age, those LPs may seem like the "magic" ones as they are the ones we plugged into Marshalls back then - and they had a lot of what is considered 2nd rate hardwear today...
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Old March 10th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Don't let my wife see those costs!!!
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Old March 10th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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the body. neck and binding could be done around $100. assuming you had the tools, the money would be in jigs (physical and or digital) man hours (free) and consumables. electronics, pick guard or pick guard blank, and hardware, could be another $100 or up to as much as you want to spend (you get what you pay for). seeing $120 for knobs and made up names for wood in this thread made me lol.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 10:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
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For nostalgia's sake, I'm thinking I might make a 70's LP with a slab body and route before carve binding after the one I'm working on. For those that are my age, those LPs may seem like the "magic" ones as they are the ones we plugged into Marshalls back then - and they had a lot of what is considered 2nd rate hardwear today...
It's interesting that you say this because having had mostly Norlin era LP's, I find the shallower carve more to my liking. The '59 carve looks to me more " foreign" when I see them being carved with a deeper recurve. We all like what we like I guess. The failed attempt up above was digitized from a More recent Gibson body and has a deeper dish than what I normally played.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 11:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
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seeing $120 for knobs and made up names for wood in this thread made me lol.
I looked through this thread and fail to see any "made up names for wood", I also don't see why the price of vintage style knobs would "make you lol". Based on your post and your claim of an additional $100 for electronics as well as the other plastics, it would seem that you've not priced a les paul build: they get very expensive very fast.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 02:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Back when I made my first batch of LP bodies...I actually spent 100 dollars on a super curly billet of maple.... It was gorgeous and is still here waiting to be used...I'd never be that foolish with my own money again, as that is a lot of expensive sawdust and chips...

This one was a pretty nice top.
The router dropped down accidently and bored a hole in the wrong spot. I also had a glitch around the neck pickup, but that would be covered up.

I was going to drill a matching hole, hoping to salvage it with a pearl dot or piece of ebony, a jewel, or even a Bigsby....it didn't happen.... That body sits here in the department of bad parts.

these days, I'm starting to prefer less curl and weight. I should probably retop it and get some use out of the mahogany.



Rather than trash the top to re-top it, have you considered just filling the hole and gold-topping it.? Hate to see you waste all that carve time. . .
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