Project (Epi) Les Paul

I love stringed instruments, as much for their visual appeal and individuality as for their sound. Since their value isn’t limited to the aesthetic, I would sooner decorate my walls with any number of mandolins, banjos, guitars, cellos etc, than spend thousands on other hanging art.

But just as much as randomly pulling a piece off of the wall and playing it, I enjoy maintaining, repairing and occasionally modifying guitars.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve amassed all the parts to add some active pickups and get rid of the gold tone hardware on my Les Paul. But as I got ready to disassemble it, my breakfast threatened to come up, and I decided, on the spot, that this beaut would remain intact (it’s a Gibson, after all).

It was perfect justification for the acquisition of another guitar.

Last week, I hit Craigslist (Cracklist, my brother calls it) and found a clean but neglected Epiphone Les Paul for $250 bones. The strings are rusty and improperly wound, but the frets are basically new, neck relief is within limits and the flamed maple Cherry Burst finish is very nice, it just needs a little cleaning up.

Neglected LP

So I proceeded to take it completely apart, clean, polish and buff the fretboard with some quadruple zero (0000) steel wool.

Nothing like a carved, figured maple top

So I proceeded to take it completely apart, clean, polish and buff the fretboard with some quadruple zero (0000) steel wool, remove the surface the gooblies and polish it up. Most of what I have learned over the years, I owe to this book: Guitar Player Repair Guide, by Dan Erlewine. As a side note, I always keep the old parts in case I ever want to restore a guitar to its original state.

I installed the EMG pickups, but since my soldering skills are lacking…(well…OK they suck), I had my local guitar dude at Zephyr Guitars solder up the electronics. He did a killer job – although I do my own setups, he needed to check his work, so he strung it and set it up for nothing additional. It sounds amazing, both clean and dirty, and it plays like you’d expect from a well set-up Epi LP.

Doesn’t look too bad either IMHO.


About Zig Tangent

Mechanically and linguistically apt, but socially inept. He likes to jump from high places. Favorite quote: "Stay thirsty my friends."
This entry was posted in DIY, Guitars, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Project (Epi) Les Paul

  1. Zig Tangent says:

    So, we’re back from Moab, and still awaiting parts for the Les Paul… More about this project as it progresses.

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