1959 Les Paul Build

preeb

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Mortise is cut

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Neck is roughly fitted to make sure it sits very tight in there + flush with the top

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Board is placed on top and the angle is measured again. I also use a straight edge to measure the ABR-1 clearance (~12mm).

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Neck bindings are cut down

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Initial body roundover cut is 3/16" but will appear a little smaller after final sanding.

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Neck is rolled to a classic 50's fat shape with less shoulder

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Note the larger heel

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and the slightly fatter HS transition base due to the larger neck profile

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Final tight neck fitting with zero gaps and voids.

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preeb

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Tuner holes cleanly enlarged

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Delrin nut blank is cut

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and hide glued

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Neck is hide glued to the body and the P90 cavities are routed.

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Secondary P90 routs added. In 56 the secondary rout was made with a 1/2" cutter resulting with a wider long channel (earlier models were cut with a smaller bit).

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I'll get into the (many) fine details of my P90's but for now I just test fit them in the cavities. The cavities are identical to the original specs so many modern P90's will not fit in there. I had to also make my P90's similar to the old ones (of course) (-;

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P90's are mounted directly to the bottom of the PU cavity (important for good tone) so the only adjustment is by raising the poles. I don't like to have the poles too far out from the coil because there's a loss of highs so I make sure the PU cavities depth is accurate.

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Most 56 P90's were made identical and had the same cover height and no wooden shims under the magnets (some bridge P90's were made a little taller to get in closer proximity to the strings in cases where the neck angle was a little larger.... I'll talk about this later) so I will also make a standard set for this guitar. PU Clearance to string plane is measured fine...

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I'll be cutting the larger 56 pickguard version (yes... there were two outlines...) that has a tight fit against the PU's. I test the guard's template first to make sure all is OK.

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preeb

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STP insert locations are measured relatively to the neck and drilled

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Grounding wire... etc....

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Final sanding and cleanup...

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Preps

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Brown pore filling (same as bursts just a different color).

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Closeup...

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preeb

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First sealer coat is sprayed over the entire instrument including the top!
Now you can see what I meant by flames popping out after finishing.... that's a pretty good candidate for conversion... LOL

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I'll continue soon with the more interesting stuff such as the P90's and the illusive 50's gold top finish.
 

Engraver-60

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Preeb: Are the GT's flamed under the paint? I always wondered but I've never seen one refinished. I'd think nowadays Henry would make sure good flame maple never got painted. That'd be a waste of good resources ;-> How do you find out so much of these little details? You always amaze me with such stuff.

I also can't wait to see how you get the gold top paint to tarnish. My '58 had a bit of spiderweb crazing and the sweat made it oxidize in places nicely. I have heard there was actually copper in the paint that when exposed to moisture would turn it green. We'll see what the master reveals. Thanks.
 

telemcCaster

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This is interesting Gil, Thanks for posting it. I love the sound of P90's, it is probably my favorite pickup.

Let me know if you run out of that soft maple, a sawyer just came over to show me some and claims to have a barn full of it.
 

preeb

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Preeb: Are the GT's flamed under the paint? I always wondered but I've never seen one refinished. I'd think nowadays Henry would make sure good flame maple never got painted. That'd be a waste of good resources ;-> How do you find out so much of these little details? You always amaze me with such stuff.

I also can't wait to see how you get the gold top paint to tarnish. My '58 had a bit of spiderweb crazing and the sweat made it oxidize in places nicely. I have heard there was actually copper in the paint that when exposed to moisture would turn it green. We'll see what the master reveals. Thanks.

Yeah, many of them had figured maple under the hood.
They used leftover stuff from the high end models but never with a center joint. 3 and even 4 pieces were glued together...
I thought it would be a nice touch to do a burst type matched top just to pay respect for the instrument (-;

I'm not aging this '56 LP, so no crazing and no green oxidation..
I can show this in another build though.
The particles are mainly bronze and they frequently used the same guns in the gold spray booth (it was a separate booth) for both the color and sealer clear coats, so a lot of the particles are also present in the top layers (it's a waste of time trying to clean a GT gun...LOL) and will give the greenish hue with time. The dark green in the cracks comes from the exposure of the bronze layer itself and is just plain oxidation that can be easily done in the relic process. It's the greenish hue that I mentioned above that is very hard to imitate.
 




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