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I’m giving my LP a makeover!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TenaciousP, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Hey y’all, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a tread of my own. It’s probably been a couple of years now that I think about it. I’m lurking around here almost everyday, seeing what everyone is working on. And, I very occasionally will post a comment if I have something worthwhile to add to the conversation. I haven’t been doing much building. I did build a second LP for a friend a couple of years ago. And I have a couple of projects that I sorta started on, but didn’t get too far. One of which is a reclaimed pine tele. I should probably start a thread for that one since it’s a tele and all. ha ha! But for now I decided to do kind of a follow up thread to my LP build I posted back in 2017.

    The reason for the makeover is there were a lot of cosmetic things I didn’t like about my LP. I had feathered the burst in really far to disguise a slight pinkish stain around one of the tone pot holes caused by red dyed pore filler that had leaked under the masking tape. I got where I really hated the wide burst on the lower bout. It just looked wrong! The red pore filler dye had also bled up on to my binding a lot when I sprayed the clear coats on the body. Lastly, the binding in the cut away had an area where it didn’t fit right and had a gap under it that was filled with melted binding goop. It just never looked quite right there and I was never very happy with it.

    So that brings me to about a month ago when I decided it was time to just strip the entire guitar and do a total refinish.

    Here is what I started with. I had faded the red with sunlight to see if it would make the burst narrower looking, but it didn’t. I did kind of like the orangey brown color it faded to though.

    47425F9E-CDC9-4C66-85ED-7FDB6E04730E.jpeg

    F1BD2DC2-E42A-4DDC-AEA4-1CFD315D2203.jpeg

    So I gathered enough nerve to start sanding and scraping.

    379B34BD-4537-489A-AB02-E3D81481AE3D.jpeg AA93551E-E5DE-4965-9515-5B8E7ECC9794.jpeg

    after the first evening...

    9AD7A3B1-07AE-4529-BB47-C9EC742CC976.jpeg

    I’ll have plenty more progress pics to share. I’ll post more later when I get some free time.
     
    Wallaby, fretWalkr, RiversQC and 8 others like this.
  2. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    So after like two weeks of sanding and scraping for a while each evening, I got it all back down to bare wood. I took great care not to take off any noticeable amount from the binding. I left the face of the headstock as is since I hated to have to scrape the logo again.

    2A636BAF-62EE-4C43-98A5-C843F845ECC9.jpeg

    So next I needed to repair my screwed up binding in the cut away. I’m too embarrassed to show what it looked like since I had picked at the filled gap with my thumb nail until I caused a yucky looking gash. That combined with the pore filler bleed, It just looked terrible. So, since I have become a fan of pickguards on LP’s and had one installed on this guitar for a while, I decided the best course of action would be to cut the binding where the pickguard bracket goes and remove it all the way around the horn and cut away. Then carefully splice in a new piece. So out came the handy binding channel routing contraption. E0EDAAB0-B4DB-42AA-8F2A-2CCFB1DE21F6.jpeg
    I routed it starting close to the guard bracket location and around until the “Donut” touched the side of the fretboard. The rest had to be removed using a sharp chisel and a razor blade. I was especially nervous about the section underneath the side of the fretboard. I was afraid my prying might break the neck binding
    loose too. But luckily it stayed in place.

    The results!

    E9B4BAAC-B24E-4BA9-B630-126DF042391E.jpeg

    Next I fitted a new piece of binding. I used a proper heat gun and formed it until it fit in the channel with very little pressure required to hold it in place. Here it is without glue.
    85FF7FC6-E93F-42F8-BD29-B61AF2403991.jpeg

    Once satisfied with the fit, I masked off around the channel and proceeded to make a sticky goopy mess.:eek:

    3FD83D0A-A3B7-4ADE-A873-E6A92F5C73CF.jpeg
    I used a mix of melted binding in acetone and Duco cement to glue it in place.
    4EC5D85A-6086-4F06-A504-0C3AAABEDB78.jpeg

    the next day I scraped it all down flush. I think it came out looking pretty nice for a repair job. The joint at the pick guard bracket wasn’t perfect. There is a slightly discolored line there that you can see in the pic. But hey, that’s what the brackets there for right?:D

    C8467564-2817-4426-B285-A72183990AF0.jpeg

    Next up, finish!:)
     
  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    HOLY mackeral!

    Usually when someone says "makeover" on a Les Paul, it's changing the pickups and maybe a different pickguard and some strap locks.

    You do NOT mess around!

    And that looks like really good work too.
     
  4. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Well thank you Peegoo!

    It’s still all a learning process for me. I get plenty of repair practice fixing my own mistakes. Lol!

    And, it will be getting a new pickguard and jack plate too by the way. I plan to do some pickup work as well. Gonna change the covers for sure and probably experiment with some different bar magnets.

    I’ll try to post my refin pics in a bit when I get done with my evening chores. Then y’all will be caught up on what I’ve done so far.
     
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  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very cool.

    If you want to really go full-on custom, recess the jack plate flush with the wood surface. Little details like that are just wonders to behold.
     
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  6. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    WOW, I was so inspired by your build, that I tried my damnedest to copy. Your burst was immaculate. You got balls man trying and doing in the horn like you did, and not touching the neck. Please repeat that burst - it was delicious. I am subscribed.
     
    crazydave911 likes this.
  7. sergiomajluf

    sergiomajluf Tele-Meister

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    Such a brave man to do that to a les paul AND post it in the Tele forum... you Sr. are my new hero
     
  8. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
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  9. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    You guys are too kind! :) Engraver, I assure you there is nothing immaculate about this guitar. Ha Ha! But I try to learn from my mistakes. After I built this one, a friend asked me to build him one. His came out a lot nicer than mine due to me learning what not to do on some things. Of course I got a little more experience and learned quite a few things from his build. It really made me want to build a nicer LP for myself. But I put so much work in to this first one that I hated to let it be pushed aside. So that’s when I decided I’d do a major rework on it to make it as good as I possibly can.

    Anyhow, I did my finish a little different than before. I sealed the entire guitar with shellac first. Then used red dyed pore filler on top of that. It doesn’t really stain the wood like applying it to bare wood. It just stays in the pores only. I then shot red dyed lacquer over it to achieve the red back. It made it a lot easier to keep the binding edge clean without the red dye bleeding up on to it. I really like using this green Frog masking tape. It works really well for good crisp edges. 2F392D86-96B9-4C3A-B04C-7CB3EAB4FA16.jpeg

    51DE5678-6C60-45F4-BF87-9A98FF542C00.jpeg

    I think this pic has the pore filler on it, but I’m not sure it’s hard to tell. I guess I didn’t take any pics of it being applied. Probably because it’s kinda messy and I didn’t want red smears on my phone. :lol:

    9B26B457-AB02-45E4-B75E-61F94BA4BF81.jpeg


    So with the pore filler dried for a day or two, I shot the back with a dark cherry red lacquer.

    D0C5D5EA-CE76-4064-A696-16D520709BE6.jpeg 0B34BA3C-99EE-4721-A68F-35CE28F8985E.jpeg

    I let the back dry for a few days to make sure my masking tape wouldn’t damage it. After masking off everything, it was burst time! So scary! LOL!

    78A38317-0F0C-4C28-8410-335B7B453FD1.jpeg

    As before, I shot The top yellow first.

    2A24A6D1-D06F-42B3-804C-C1F7B8371995.jpeg

    Then on to the cherry red Burst. I tried to spray it fairly narrow on the lower bout this time.

    0D7891D7-841F-4B70-A614-8AD4AE9C2D29.jpeg

    When I built my friends LP, he wanted his to be sprayed with a dark burst. After doing his that way, I really liked the look, so I decided that was the direction I wanted to go with the refinish of mine. So I added a halo of brown to the burst to darken it. Especially on the upper bout.
    I think after this pic was taken, I actually sprayed more brown on the upper bout to bring the dark area all the way in to the end of the fretboard.
    DDB850CF-2089-499B-87E8-2FF422914DC2.jpeg

    Then I sprayed a good wet coat of clear to melt it all together.

    78E08333-049C-4CEC-98F3-39E343CE5E49.jpeg

    after letting it dry for a few hours, I scrapped the top of the binding. I’ll have to make another post for all that since It appears I have maxed out my picture limit on this post.
     
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  10. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Oh and I guess I didn’t mention the stain around the tone pot hole. I did a fair amount of sanding on it while stripping the top. I also did a number of applications of chlorine bleach to the stain. I wasn’t able to get ever bit of it gone, but it’s much better. There are some tiny specks of pink down in the fibers of the figure in the maple. But it’s not terribly noticeable at this point. Anyhow it’s about as good as I can get it. And the knob covers most of the area as well.

    I made a little tool to help me scrape the binding. It’s just a short piece of wooden dowel with a slit cut in it that is tight enough for a razor blade to fit tightly into with just the tip sticking out. I find it helps achieve a more uniform width to my scraped area of the binding.

    4E8F0657-5E8C-4636-B29B-C15711F10DB4.jpeg

    And after a good while of tedious scraping, I got the binding done.

    FC3120B1-A96B-46FD-8FC7-4FDCDFAE2051.jpeg C56478CA-4FEF-4BAE-9E50-897B74888642.jpeg 13D3AC3D-8431-4FBA-83B5-7CC5C2390B1E.jpeg

    After that, I sprayed the entire guitar with sun aged amber clear to give the bindings a more aged look. I guess I neglected to take any pics with the clear coats on it. But I’m sure y’all can imaging what clear lacquer looks like. :p Well, actually, here is one of it hanging in a closet to dry for a couple weeks.
    FC3F8CA5-6DD2-485D-BA9C-ADD80060AE9B.jpeg

    So that is pretty much where I’m at on it right now. Gonna do a little rework on my pickups. And I’ll probably check my frets over other my recently acquired fret rocker tool. I think I had a couple spots that buzzed a little before. Anyhow, I’ll keep y’all updated with further progress.
     
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  11. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Holic

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    Next Level. Inspired!!!;)

    Just one question. If you went to all this effort, and you have the right tools, why didn't you just replace the entire binding so it doesn't look like a repair, pickguard on or off?
     
  12. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dang!

    You built that eh

    Other than the “bleeding” it looks like a factory job

    You give me hope when I finally finish my guitar project will look professional
     
  13. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice work. Looks great!
     
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  14. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    That is a wonderful job !!!


    Is there any affect on the tone of the instrument???
     
  15. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Well, that’s a good question! I don’t have a really good answer. I had contemplated redoing the entire binding. And if this guitar were for someone else, I probably would have tried to do so. A number of factors came into play really. The biggest was that it would be a lot more work and a greater chance for me to screw things up worse. Keep in mind I’ve only installed binding twice in my life, so the probability of screwing up is still pretty high for me. Another concern is where the binding meets the neck heel on the bass side. With the original binding being installed before the neck, the binding actually goes behind the shoulder on the neck. As in between the neck and the body. So I would have to cut the binding there and splice it. And Yes, I understand that at a 90 degree corner like that, it wouldn’t be noticeable at all if the new binding ran all the way to the corner. However think about trying to start the binding at the neck joint in the cutaway, then going all the way around all the curves of the body when meeting precisely at the side of the neck on the bass side. It would be tough to do without having a gap there or having excess that must be trimmed and fitted on the fly. Which would also be difficult when the glue is drying elsewhere and you have a goopy glue mess on your fingers. Lastly, I only had some short leftover pieces of binding and I didn’t want to buy more to redo the entire guitar. It’s that Royalite stuff from Bartlett guitars that cost like $50 for a single piece. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t really that I couldn’t afford more of the expensive binding. And if I knew for certain that I could have made it fit properly, I would have. It was really the previously mentioned installation risks that made me decide against it.

    Sorry for the long winded answer. It was a difficult decision whether to do a partial or full replacement of the binding. Right or wrong, I chose the partial. So it it is what it is at this point. Ha ha! :p
     
  16. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Thanks!

    Because of the refinish? If that’s what your asking, I would say no. Not to any noticeable level I would think. I used the same type of nitro lacquer that I had used on it originally. I think what ever I do to the pickups, will make a more noticeable tonal change than anything really.
     
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  17. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Yes, I built that back in 2017/18.

    I assure you that if you saw it in person, it wouldn’t look like a factory job. Then or now! Ha ha! :lol: But I try to learn from my mistakes and make each guitar I build a little better than the one before. Unfortunately I don’t build too many, so I’m not getting as much practice as I would like.
     
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  18. 10orgtr

    10orgtr Tele-Meister

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    Great looking burst.
    Cheers,
    Woody
     
  19. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    What magnets did you have before, and what type are you thinking of using next? Darrel Braun did a youtube video comparing magnet swaps, and I found it pretty enlightening. I am sticking with A2.
    No affiliation:
     
  20. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    If I remember correctly, I have an unoriented A5 in the neck and an A2 in the bridge. I’m not really saying that they didn’t sound good. I just want to experiment a bit to see what I come up with. I have a few magnets coming in the mail. Another UO A5, an oriented A5 and an A4. I only ordered one of each as they are USA made and quite pricy compared to the other magnets that I have been getting from Philadelphia Luthier. Not sure if they will be worth the money compared to the typical magnets that I assume are made in China, but I thought I’d give them a try. It may turn out to be nothing more than cork sniffing mythical mojo with the US made magnets. We’ll see...
     
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