Les Paul diet

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by viking, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry , no pics , I'm useless about taking pics when working on anything

    A couple of years ago , I bought a used 2005 Les Paul Studio. I can't believe it was ever white , but it's a really nice banana yellow , ebony fretboard , 490/498 pickups.

    After a fret level , it was a nice playing guitar , but.......it was 4255 grams , or 9.3 pounds. Not a problem as such , but like my Teles , the heavier ones tend to stay on the rack

    I decided to see what could be done to ease the burden a bit , and gathered parts slowly when buying stuff anyway from vendors.

    Aluminum stop bar saves a bit over 60gr , original was 90 , Faber was 28
    Pinnacle alu Nashville bridge 30 gr lighter than stock
    Alu stop bar studs weigh 10 gr , stock 30
    Top hat knobs and plastic plate for the jack , minus 20 gr
    Removed pickguard 29gr with bracket
    Removed pu covers 20 gr each

    This guitar had the long threaded Gibson marked pots , and grounding/assembly plate

    Used 4 CTS pots without the plate ,plate alone 37 gr. The Gibson pots incl all the extra nuts and washers weighed quite a bit more , maybe 30 gr

    Drilled a few holes in the body , a couple of 22 mm in the bottom of pu routs , same depth as the holes for the Pu feet. Also drilled a few holes through the jack hole , with a 22mm spade drill bit. Rounded out edges in the control cavity etc
    About 100 gr of wood removed.

    Guitar was now at about 3900 gr/8.6 pounds.

    That was a couple of years ago , have used it quite a bit since.

    Got hold of a set of Gotoh Stealth tuners , these are very small , very expensive , and REALLY light , 71 gr for six.
    The Kluson look a likes Gibson use on so many models weigh 192 gr , with threaded bushings and screws.

    If you have Grover tuners , you could be having 300gr hanging on the headstock. Same with the Robot tuners , about 300gr.

    Heard about Lace Alumitone pickups. A humbucker sized Alumitone weighs less than 50 gr

    A normal humbucker weighs 150/160 gr with cover , cover weighs 20gr alone
    Alumitones use way less windings than normal , and is constructed from alu. Signal is low impedance , and converted to high impedance via a transducer.
    They are passive , no batteries , mount like normal pickups , and sound great to me at first test.....they also remove half a pound from your guitar with normal humbuckers !

    These are used with 250k pots , so decided to go to short shaft pots. Those long brass threads are heavy !

    Removed some wood in the control area , and installed short shaft pots, not very hard to do. 28gr saved compared to long shaft pots.

    Did my own pickguard in thinner material , and made up a bracket in alu. 14gr instead of 29.

    After all this fun , the guitar now weighs 3585 gr , or 7.89 pounds.

    None of this was really needed , but it was fun , and modding from a different angle than normal.

    Besides , lots of people ask on different forums , if anything can be done . Usually , no real advice is given . After all , Les Paul's should be heavy , right ?

    If like me , you mod stuff all the time for fun , the work can be done over time.

    All the parts used on this guitar is better made than what came off.
    Anyway , this was fun , gotta go play my guitar !
     
    garrett, Stubee, WhatDoIKnow and 2 others like this.
  2. tintag27

    tintag27 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I admire your dedication to this quest!
    There are many LP owners on this site who would be interested in this account, too
     
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  3. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    It sounds like a lot of work to remove about 1.5lbs. But I'm with you - that can really mean the difference between playing a guitar for an hour and stage and not.

    Good stuff.
     
    Zepfan and nojazzhere like this.
  4. twangking

    twangking Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, probably costs more in upgrades than the guitar!
     
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  5. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Not cheap , but again , over a couple of years....
    Some LP guys spend what I have done on a set of pickups , or......." Correct " plastic for their guitar

    I guess modding will never be cost effective
    I have a certain amount , give or take , that I use for hobby stuff every month.

    Sometimes I buy stuff for guitars or amps , sometimes I buy parts for some of my old cars.
     
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I am the proud owner of 5 Les Pauls.
    Every one is an anchor!
    Thanks for doing all the research!
    I definitely want to put a couple of mine on a diet.
     
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  7. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow Tele-Meister

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    I understand what you mean about modding. It can be a labor of love. In the past I spent more time modding inexpensive guitars than I did playing because I enjoyed doing it. Shaving some weight off an LP is a good thing.

    Sweetwater had an exclusive model LP Tribute with ultra modern weight relief. Some individual guitars were coming in at under 8 lbs. I was very interested in a gold top, but I don't know if they will ever be back in stock. EDIT: I see Sweetwater currently has a Studio Tribute that weighs 7 pounds. Dang, that is light for a LP.

    I clicked on a banner ad here on TDPRI and found the Zzounds/AMS exclusive Les Paul Classic Lite. That is a LP on a diet. :D I was very close to pulling the trigger on a blem they had but was traveling for work and it was still a little more than I wanted to spend.

    Finding that Classic Lite and wanting a lighter LP made me do a little research. I didn't know until then that they made thin bodied LPs in the past. I have a related NGD coming soon. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  8. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    I put my Les Paul on a diet and she came out looking like Kate Moss!

    [​IMG]

    Interesting project though, I wouldn't have thought you could prune that much weight off so fascinating to see how you got there.
     
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  9. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    That's why Gibson invented the SG.
     
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  10. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Yes , and they can keep it , LOL....
    I know some people like them , but I could never get used to them.
    I have a Studio that weighs 7.9 pounds stock. Never thought about doing stuff like this to that one. I'm not after as light as possible , I see no reason for that.
    It's mind-blowing though , and maybe interesting for some with bad backs and so , that it's possible to get below 7 pounds with a Les Paul.
     
    2 Headed Goat likes this.
  11. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Jayyj ,nice guitar !
    I have a kind of fault built into the melon on top of my head , I guess.....LOL
    After having been used to building and help build racing vehicles for decades , it's just a way of thinking now
    How can we make this better , stronger , lighter ?
    I draw the line on titanium parts , or other extremely expensive parts.
    It's very easy to fabricate small parts on your own , and a lot of time can be spent instead of money.
     
    jayyj likes this.
  12. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow Tele-Meister

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    I love that. What model is it?
     
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  13. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    It's a Custom Lite from 1988 - it has a tummy cut as well as being a cm thinner than a standard Custom. They can still be heavy, baring in mind a full fat Custom of that era can be well over 10lb, but this one is a very comfortable 7.9lb.

    Funnily enough I just strung up my old Deluxe that I've been working on for a few months - it was previously refinished anyway and it had an ugly headstock break to take care of so I decided to redo the refinish to hide the break, then when I was cleaning up various dings in the top I couldn't resist redoing the top carve from a typical 70s vague dome to an early Goldtop style carve. Removed a lot of wood in the process, and thought it felt light when I stated playing it so I weight it and, sure enough, it's gone from just under 10lb to 9.2. Wouldn't have expected such a difference but hey, not complaining!
     
  14. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    If it was a dragster you'd have probably shaved a couple seconds off your elapsed time.
     
  15. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    My 90's LP Studio was 12 pounds. I would've been happy with 9.3lbs.
     
  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    You could've traded for a LP Lite or a BFG.
     
  17. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    No , I couldn't
    I'm not in the US , these guitars aren't exactly hanging on the trees here
    Besides , it's a project , a hobby , and I have gigged with this guitar while modding it along the way
     
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