Les Paul 08

Jul 30 2004, 11:12 AM

Time has come to shape the heel and head transitions of the neck. First, I want a reference to work to. I chose a neck profile I like, in this case the neck of my last guitar, the DC which is currently sitting pretty as Guitar of the Month (not anymore, but you can see it in the guitar gallery).

Contour gauge

With the profile gauge next to me, I rip into the neck with a big’ol’rasp. I take away symetrical swoops on either side, just aiming to creat a 45 degree angle between the sides and back of the neck.

Neck shape rough

Once I guesstimate that I’ve taken enough, I start to create a curve across the whole neck, leaving a narrow flat area in the very centre, so I don’t start removing depth by accident.

Neck shape rough

Then, I use a long strip of sandpaper, a scraper, and a bit of 240 grit paper on a rubber block to smooth and refine the shape, until I’m more or less happy with it. In the back ground you can see the two rasps I use, the surform for bulk removal, and the rubber sanding block (sitting against the surform).

Neck shape sanded

Then it’s pretty much the same deal with the heel… in the background of this is another highly specialised tool - a can of antifreeze with 80 grit taped to it. I use this a lot in the heel shaping. The paper covers 2/3rds of the can, and by running the area with out tape against the neck, I can shape the heel without taking away thickness. So far the heel is just roughed with the rasp.

Heel roughed out

Getting closer, still only rasp work…

Heel roughed out

And finally, after the can has been used, and the heel scraped and sanded to 240 grit (sorry for the focus!).

Heel sanded

Jul 30 2004, 11:29 AM

Somebody asked eariler if this was going to be a 100% ala Gibson Les Paul, or if I intended to tweak it at all. One thing that I’ve never liked about the LP design is the jack plate - I think it’s clunky and unnecessary. Here’s my solution:

Recessed jack socket

I drill a hole all the way through with the 22mm spade bit, then glue in a mahogany plug (turned on a lathe) with a hole drilled for the jack. This allows me to use a standard panel mount jack, instead of a barrel jack. I’ve had nothing but trouble using barrel jacks, which never contact the plug reliably, leading to cut outs and noise. I hate them! :(

Recessed jack components

next page