1959 Les Paul Build

preeb

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You don't have to go to any trouble. I'll do some looking around and see if I come up with something. By the way, the guitar looks really great. As always. Can't wait to see the p90 builds.

Oh.. no trouble at all. I go there all the time to buy hobby materials for the girls.
That's how I found that powder... There was that gold painted Cabasa in the corner and I almost flipped when I got closer and saw the color and texture.
You can scan the net and search for years while missing what's right under your nose (-;
 

preeb

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I know.. I have a problem.... Hi, my name is Carlos and I talk to myself all the time..

the gold looks awesome!!!

do you know the bronze/aluminum ratio?

Thanks Carlos (-;
No idea about the ratio but it looks more "gold" than #256 (which is too green) and #255 (which is too copper).
 

Travst

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I very much enjoy your builds. The attention to detail is amazing. I appreciate your taking so much time to share this information.
 

sasparilla

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Hi!

Iam going to rout the big Flat rout for the Humbuckers on my Build.

I have here some measurements and need to know if they are correct for an exact 1959 replica.

Bridge: ears: 1,384“
flat:1,015-0.971“
Neck: ears: 1,463“
flat 1,097“

Because especially the rout for the Flat big Cavity (Bridge) seems too deep if i look at the following pictures.

If i would rout that deep(1") there would show much more Mahogany up than seen on the original bursts. (iam using an Bartlett CNC Top, so maple thickness should be correct at this point)

The Maple Top is around 1/2 inch thick, so the 1" rout seems to deep?


Thanks for you help,I appreciate it very much.





 

preeb

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You need to remember that the PU routs were done on a pin router with an angled template base so it has nothing to do with the neck angle range of the period (4°-4.3°). Some have the PU's sitting lower than others depending on the neck angle and string/PU setup action.
The only way to get a very accurate routing jig and setup is to measure from the back of the original guitar because the tops were slacked slightly different.
Anyway... to keep things simple, for a 4.05° neck angle that I use, from the neck plane, it's about 15/16" and 1 5/16".
 

Mack Guitarwork

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Dear Gil,

How deep should the straight truss rod chanel routed at the nut?
I routed it straight, 3/8" at the nut, 1/2" at the body joint.

Awesome GT, can't find words.
Arpad
 

sasparilla

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You need to remember that the PU routs were done on a pin router with an angled template base so it has nothing to do with the neck angle range of the period (4°-4.3°). Some have the PU's sitting lower than others depending on the neck angle and string/PU setup action.
The only way to get a very accurate routing jig and setup is to measure from the back of the original guitar because the tops were slacked slightly different.
Anyway... to keep things simple, for a 4.05° neck angle that I use, from the neck plane, it's about 15/16" and 1 5/16".

thanks for the reply,
So if i understand that right, if i use a template with follows the neck angle, i have to measure the depth always starting from the underside of it , so that the bridge flat rout will not the full 15/16" deep because the template is on a higher level there?

Is that the same with the ears?

Because after watching some burst on the burst serial, they seem to have about the same depth in both, the bridge and the neck.

Thanks!
 

preeb

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Dear Gil,

How deep should the straight truss rod chanel routed at the nut?
I routed it straight, 3/8" at the nut, 1/2" at the body joint.

Awesome GT, can't find words.
Arpad

Hello Mack Guitarwork and welcome.

1/2" on the nut
~9/16" ('56) , 5/8" ('59) at the tenon
 

preeb

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thanks for the reply,
So if i understand that right, if i use a template with follows the neck angle, i have to measure the depth always starting from the underside of it , so that the bridge flat rout will not the full 15/16" deep because the template is on a higher level there?

Is that the same with the ears?

Because after watching some burst on the burst serial, they seem to have about the same depth in both, the bridge and the neck.

Thanks!

Exactly!
Same with the ears.
Never saw one with the same depth... but I never say never (-;
 

preeb

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P90's are very simple PU's in design and that's also the reason they are very sensitive to every nuance in the construction, both in materials and winding method.
Gibson made them long before they came up with the LP model in '52 but in general, there are two types (the way I see it), the early ones up until the mid 50's and the later 50's.
The older kind were fatter and warmer in tone and it's very evident if you A/B, for example, a 52 GT to a later 50's p90 equipped LP.
I like them both but to my ears the early kind sounds better and fatter in the bridge position and the later in the neck with more clarity and definition.
I believe the difference is a direct result of the magnet wire and possibly the winding tension since the other parts are more or less the same.
I had both original types inspected and here's what I found:
1) earlier version has a thinner wire insulation coating
2) earlier version has a tighter magnet wire tension
3) earlier version has a different traverse pattern with a sloppier number of wounds per pass
4) The later version used the exact magnet wire found on PAF's

As for the magnets, both my PU sets have AlNiCo 2 and most of the P90's I inspected in the past did too. It might also be AlNi 3 because the only way I could tell was by the gauss level but I assume they were AlNiCo 2 because when I tested my replicas with both, the AlNiCo 2 version sounded much closer. I have to admit that they also sound great with AlNi 3 though (-;

I couldn't find any differences between the earlier and later magnets, poles, screws and bobbin size. The earlier soapbars had a slightly thinner base plate but that didn't affect tonality much.

Another issue are the two "pimples" in the base plate placed under the magnets to keep them tight as the plate screws are tightened. They look higher to me on the earlier type but I don't like them anyway for two reasons:
1) AlNiCo magnets can easily break if the base screws are tightened a bit too much
2) There's a gap between the base plate and the magnets causing microphonic feedback in high volume

For this build I'll do both types, the earlier for the bridge and the later for the neck.
I'll show only one built because the construction is similar but I use different magnet wires and winding tension/traverse.

Here's the bobbin. It's the correct thin type with the original pole spacing, inner profile and coil height.

IMG_1757-2.jpg


IMG_1758-2.jpg


First thing I do is scrape clean the center molding marks inside the bobbin to prevent coil damage when winding. I use a utility blade.

IMG_1762-2.jpg


magnet wire leads are cut to length. It's the same 7 strand thin wire used on the PAF's as well.

IMG_1739-1.jpg


IMG_1763-2.jpg


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Magnet wire is lightly sanded to remove the coating insulation and soldered to the lead

IMG_1743-1.jpg


IMG_1740-1.jpg


Bobbin attached to the winder and the winder is set to CCW turning direction

IMG_1744-1.jpg


Lead wire is running through the start hole in the bobbin which is closer to the bobbin core in the center.

IMG_1745-1.jpg


Traverse range is set. I leave about 1/2mm away from the walls. The wire will find its way to fill the little gaps without creating too much warpage to the bobbin (it will get warped anyway as it is...)

IMG_1746-1.jpg


Counter reset

IMG_1747-1.jpg


and the coil is wound for this bridge PU as described above...

IMG_1748-1.jpg


I stop at 10000.

IMG_1749-1.jpg


and inspect the coil's form. It needs to be more or less even

IMG_1751-1.jpg


The coil end lead wire is soldered and the end lead will go through the end bobbin hole in the corner, like this

IMG_1754-1.jpg


I now tape the coil tightly.

IMG_1753-1.jpg


The PU measures 8.3K (DCR). The higher tension caused the slightly higher DCR of course.

Same pole pieces as in my PAF's

IMG_1776-1.jpg


IMG_1777-1.jpg


Same keeper bar as the PAF's for the soapbar P90's (dog ears sometimes come with 8 hole keepers)

IMG_1775-1.jpg


2.5" long rough sand cast AlNiCo 2's

IMG_1780-1.jpg


I like AlNiCo 2 to be fully charged.

IMG_1783-1.jpg


North is marked

IMG_1781-1.jpg


IMG_1782-1.jpg


Rubber insert installed on the base

IMG_1773-2.jpg


like that

IMG_1774-2.jpg


Everything put together. Magnets are both facing toward the keeper with their South poles, lead wires are passing through the rubber insert

IMG_1786.jpg


IMG_1788-1.jpg


Surprisingly ... the base mounting screws were 1/2" sheet metal slotted round head Steel and do interact with the magnetic flow like on early 57 PAF's!!!
Split washers are a must to get a good pressure to hold the magnets in place even if the screws get less tight with time.

IMG_1784-2.jpg


First one

IMG_1785-2.jpg


and the second, closer to the wires gets a brass lug for the ground wire

IMG_1789-2.jpg


Side view...

IMG_1790-2.jpg


Covers are made from a mold made from an original full size (you'll see why in a second ) UC 452 B

IMG_1791-2.jpg


Gibson had many models equipped with P90 PU's and needed them in different heights. The trick was very simple money saver.... For taller PU's they inserted Mahogany spacers under the magnets to raise the bobbin and used the cover in it's full height. Any lower P90's either had no spacers or lower spacers. The covers were sanded lower to fit the correct clearance from the PU face to the base (covers sit on the little folded base wings). In order to get the right cover height for each model the covers were molded with little height marks in the inner corners

IMG_1792-2.jpg


I'm going for the 3rd mark and rough sand the cover real quick (it never was very accurate (-;)

IMG_1794-2.jpg


IMG_1795-2.jpg


I stop when I reach the mark

IMG_1796-1.jpg


and test the cover. Perfect. The PU mounting screws will push it down and close the little gap there.

IMG_1798-2.jpg


Main PU lead wire hot is soldered to the coil start lead

IMG_1799-2.jpg


Insulated with a cheap masking tape in the most sloppy way (Mandatory (-;) and the braided shield is soldered under the brass lug

IMG_1800-2.jpg


coil end is also grounded to the face of the lug

IMG_1801.jpg


It's worth mentioning that the lead is a NOS 2 strand "loose" shield wire, keeping it entirely historically accurate

IMG_1802x.jpg


Territorial markings... (-;

IMG_1804-2.jpg


and it's done. Neck PU is 7.9K.

IMG_1807.jpg


Shabat Shalom!
 
Last edited:

MRJ.

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Thank you so much for posting this preeb. When you charge your pickup magnets you don't put them in between the charging magnets? You just put it against the side of charging magnets like in the picture?
 




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