Les Paul – Final Assembly

What a great guitar!  A friend of mine has been working on an Epiphone Les Paul.  He’s done some fantastic work on the finish.  It’s a gorgeous satin finish with just enough of the natural wood showing through.  Pity, but the photographs don’t really do it justice!  I was called in at the last minute just to help with the final assembly and setup….

I just love that finish….

There are also some problems with the fret ends.  They were never really finished off terribly well.  some of them are quite sharp…

Some of them are a little short, but there isn’t really much I can do about that without replacing them, but at least I can tidy up the ends….

A with a nice fine fret file….

Since we’re finishing it off with the best quality parts a bone nut will finish it all off nicely.   

The first stage is to get it to roughly the right length…

It’s also a little too thick to the slot..

so grind it down to fit the slot..

like that.

Next get the ends nice and square, well not quite square since the sides of the neck aren’t quite square at that point.

Fits nicely now.

next a rough height…

and angle on the back edge.

Of course it needs slots for the strings.  I normally aim for about 3mm from the edge of the neck to the string.

and the other string slots..

With the nut in place I can fit the strings, and with the “E” strings I can work out exactly where the pickup is to be fitted.  Squared off against the bridge…

and centrally under the outside strings.

Just there….

With a single pickup the wiring is at least very simple, and a fantastic sounding pickup as well.

With the guitar together all it needs now is a standard 5 point setup.

No.1:  The neck relief…

A Little high..

so tighten the truss-rod a little.

No.2:  The action at the 12th Fret..

By setting the bridge height.

No.3:  The action at the 1st fret.  Way too high.  I wasn’t trying to get the action right when I cut the new nut, if I get it too low a can’t correct that so I deliberately left it a little high.

Perhaps not that high but then better safe than sorry…

So file each slot down to the right depth…

It does rather leave the rest of the nut rather tall though…

so back to the grinding wheel and shave the top down…..

With it back in place and the strings fitted again now it looks good.

So back to the setup..

No.4:  The intonation.

No.5:  The pickup height.  Since it’s only got one pickup it’s a little more simple.

And there it is.  I have to say I absolutely love it!  Sadly the owner turned up today to take it away, I did hope he’d forget all about it, never mind, it’s gone to a good home.

For anything else check out http://www.guitar-george.co.uk

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