I was approached by a friend, Robert, who has become a fan of Joe Walsh. He wanted a classic Les Paul to try and emulate some of Joe's early sounds. Having just finished the almost eternal Spice Cabinet project, I thought this would be an easy slide back into guitar-building. Kind of a lite warm-up. Robert had done his homework, and settled on a GFS body and neck. The body is piano black, that's what he wanted. Both the neck and body are advertised as mahogany, the neck looks like very light mahogany, but the body, where wood shows, looks much too light to me to be mahogany, but it has a pretty good finish and white binding, all for $100. I told Robert we could wind our own pickups and use premium electronics on it, which he jumped on. Robert has no shop, so he cam over to my place to work on it. I set him to work sanding the lumpy finish off in the neck cavity, set up the drill press to enlarge and slightly deepen the bridge and tailpiece stud holes, and line the control and switch cavities with shielding foil. I had given him a list of stuff to order from Stew-Mac, but he had already gotten the bridge and tailpiece from GFS. Here's Robert working on the foil. Meanwhile, I set up the new Great White Pickup Winder, and got the beeswax melting for a gala day of pickup winding. Robert wanted to do as much as he could to assemble his Parts-Lester, so when I got the winder set up, he switched to that. If it's brownish-black "hair" is it still a clown wig? Well, anyway, a couple of wigs later, Robert was ready to throw in the towel. Robert said he wanted vintage all the way, so I had him order the plain enamel wire, so it's not Ronald McDonald orange, it's this color. Really looks more like hair. Kinda creepy, actually. So Mr. Expert, that would be me, took over on the winder. I got one wound perfectly, 5000 and a couple extra turns, 4.07K ohms, essentially perfect DC resistance. Then I wound a clown wig. Seems that stuff is more brittle than the Formvar insulation, so I had a rare mid-wind break, and this stuff wouldn't solder together like Formvar, so off it came. Again, I think because of the brittleness, and the fact that it's better to lightly sand off the enamel than try to melt it off with soldering, I ruined another one, broke off the start end while trying to solder on the lead wire. Dang! But finally got 4 nicely-wound coils, right number of turns, good tension, and very good DC resistance right at 4K ohms on all 4. I was feeling pretty good about the thing just about now, little knowing that the gods were not amused by my hubris, and had already planted seeds of misery that I had not yet seen. . . . . . My come-uppance is clearly visible in the photo above, see if you can spot it. I decided to pot the coils before the pickup is assembled, because humbuckers are just so structurally complex, wax oozes outta them for ages, and they're harder to clean up, so I did the coils alone. I cleaned the stripped wire ends with a little acetone on a paper towel, to get the wax off, and they worked well, I think I will use this method from now on when I pot humbuckers. Meanwhile, we drilled for the bridge ground wire. Can't believe I remember to do it, but I did ! I let Robert ream out the peghead holes and drill for the tuner machine screws and he put on the Grover Roto-Matics. What nice machines they are!~ By that time Robert was about ready to wet his pants with anticipation, so we lined everything up for sure with clamps, the bridge, and tailpiece, then drilled for the neck. The body is a bolt-on neck, I guess I should have mentioned earlier. The neck was a really good, tight fit, and after sanding the neck cavity bottom flat, it fit very well. I assembled one of the pickups for alignment purposes, and just stuck it in the hole, to make sure we'd have the leeway to position it right under the strings, and no problems. So finally, it was time to drill and install the neck. I have to admit we made a mistake here. He had read somewhere on the internet, that this combo of GFS neck and body needed shimming of the neck heel, to basically lengthen the scale, or it would not intonate. I measured a couple of times, and it looked good to me, but Robert insisted, and there was a discrepancy between the nut-12th and 12th to saddles I couldn't figure out, so we cut some shims and pushed the neck out a bit, and drilled it. Sometimes it's hard to just sit down and think something out when somebody's breathing down your neck, if you know what I mean, and I later resolved the issue--cuz this was built to a true 24.75 scale, not the Les Paul scale. Anyhow, Robert was VERY happy with it, as you can see here: It had gotten pretty late in the day, we'd gotten a late start, and Robert had to go. I told him I'd finish assembling the other pickup, and do a little wiring, and maybe we could get it finished up next weekend. He was good with that, and left the guitar with me. Bad decision, Robert!