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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Material cost for a LP style guitar.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by guitarbuilder, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    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 :).

    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 a little mind boggling...and off the chart.

  2. henderson is go

    henderson is go Tele-Holic

    Jun 10, 2011
    New York
    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.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013

  3. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 21, 2008
    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.

  4. Bentley

    Bentley Friend of Leo's

    Jul 25, 2012
    Kelowna B.C, Canada
    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?

  5. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX
    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.

  6. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 23, 2010
    East Tennessee

  7. Bentley

    Bentley Friend of Leo's

    Jul 25, 2012
    Kelowna B.C, Canada
    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.

  8. '59_Standard

    '59_Standard Tele-Holic

    Jan 27, 2010
    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. :D

  9. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Depends if you want an LP-style guitar to look like a Gibson ... or just sound like one.

  10. Chocklit_Thunda

    Chocklit_Thunda TDPRI Member

    Jan 28, 2013
    Benoni, South Africa
    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.

  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    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.

  12. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    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

  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    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 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.


  14. guitar2005

    guitar2005 Tele-Holic

    Oct 22, 2010
    Canada, Québec
    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.

  15. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 21, 2008
    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...

  16. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Holic

    Nov 25, 2011
    Perth Australia
    Don't let my wife see those costs!!!

  17. danp29

    danp29 TDPRI Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    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.

  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    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.

  19. henderson is go

    henderson is go Tele-Holic

    Jun 10, 2011
    New York
    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.

  20. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.

    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. . .:eek:

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