1975 Les Paul Cutom "The Edge"

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Delayar, May 3, 2016.

  1. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Hi there!

    Finally, I am back at building guitars. ;-)
    My next project is a replica of U2-guitarist The Edge's 1975 cream colored Les Paul Custom.

    40e71cf0.jpg Photo by EbonyBlock | Photobucket

    This guitar was auctioned off in 2007, and Gibson built The Edge a replica, which according to The Edges guitar tech, Dallas Schoo, is nearly indiscernible from the original.

    It is a late 1974 / early 1975 Norlin guitar, which means pancake body, 3 part mahogany neck, volute, 14° headstock angle and most likely a transition tenon.

    According to Dallas Shoo, everything apart from the security locks and the pickup covers is original, so there would be T-Top Pickups in there. Tuners are Gibson branded Schallers. (I will use normal Schallers)

    The guitar was refretted at some time, because if you look at various pictures, no fret nibs are visible.

    A great challenge will be the finish, since I want to achieve this worn look, and I have never done a worn finish before.

    Anyway, the wood (apart from the fretborad) is here:

    [​IMG]

    I will use this headstock overlay, which I bought afew years ago. Usually, I put my own "brand name" on the headstock, but as I have this part lying around, and it will be a replica, the "wrong" name will be on the headstock. However, I intend to engrave my usual brand name "Freebird" on the back of the headstock.

    [​IMG]

    First step was to glue the 1mm veneers for the cross bandings.

    [​IMG]

    These veneers will be between the two 22mm mahogany slabs, but also between the mahogany body and the maple top.
    Today, i glued aup the two mahogany slabs with the veneer. The maple top is just there for clamping.

    [​IMG]

    That's it, so far.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
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  2. fordmugg

    fordmugg New Member

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    Nice.... can't wait to see the progress pics
     
  3. Knarbens

    Knarbens Well-Known Member

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    I'm in! Always a pleasure to watch your building process.
     
  4. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Thank you!

    There is some progress to report:

    I glued together the three mahogany blanks for the neck.

    [​IMG]

    Yesterday was CNC-day. I have access to a CNC in a fab lab here in Vienna, and I will use that for some parts of the build.
    With the help of the machine, I routed the control cavities and the body shape.

    [​IMG]

    The same was done with the neck. Here, I used a long 1/2" router bit, which I bought for another project.

    [​IMG]

    The results: 1. A nice Les Paul body.

    [​IMG]

    The pancake construction can be seen quite well now:

    [​IMG]

    2. a nice neck:

    [​IMG]

    Next step will be the cable routing and the glueing of the top.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
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  5. fordmugg

    fordmugg New Member

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    Looking good...
     
  6. theMIDrange

    theMIDrange Member

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    sweet choice. white custom so nice....... pancaking the body just like norlin. Since it's a historic copy might as well since we never know exactly what part to the guitar makes it's quality.
     
  7. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Hi folks,

    So after some time off the work bench due to various reasons, I continued with my build.

    I glued on the top. Before that, I routed the cable canal, but I took no pictures of that. (A cable canal isn't that spectacular ;-) )

    A few clamps provide the necessary pressure:

    [​IMG]

    The sides of the top were sanded with a spindle sander and then trimmed flush with the router. The screwholes are in place of the pickups and the neck pocket. I used screws to ensure proper alignment between body and top.

    [​IMG]

    And of course the "mystery veneer" between top and body is also included:

    [​IMG]

    And that's it for the pancake body.

    Markus
     
  8. fordmugg

    fordmugg New Member

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    Nice work....
     
  9. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Hi there!

    I admit I was lazy with posting some progress pictures. Also, some of the pictures I took during the routing of the neck angle and the trussrod channel were lost due to a corrupted memory card.

    So, here I continue with my build report.

    After glueing the top, I once again used the CNC machine to route the contour lines of the top.
    Of course it would be possible to route the top carve proper, but that would require a 3D drawing, and I am not proficient at 3D modelling, therefore I did it the way I did.

    [​IMG]

    The frame in the picture was used to correctly reference the machine and align the body exactly.

    The result of the CNC session:

    [​IMG]

    Furthermore, the fretboard was done with CNC as well. Cavities for the inlays were done with a 3mm router bit. Their contours were routed with a 1mm bit afterwards to get sharp corners. The fret slots were done with a 0.6mm router bit. That took some time, because I used a 0.3m cutting depth at a feed rate of 250mm/min to avoid breaking the delicate router bit.

    [​IMG]

    The inlays fit perfectly, with just enough space for some epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    This is just a dry-fit.

    And this is were the memory card of my camera was damaged. So I have no pictures of the routing of the neck angel or the trusrod channel.

    I used a plywood template, underlayed with 5mm pices at the headstock and the neck end to get a curved template.
    Access to the nut was done with the sanding drum of a Dremel.

    [​IMG]

    I glued ears cut from the rest of the neck blank to the headstock. They are glued flush with the backside of the headstock, the front will be planed flush later.

    [​IMG]

    After routing the neck angle and the pickup plane with a hinged box jig (sorry, no pictures...), I made the top carve with a random orbital sander.

    [​IMG]

    There is almost no recurve on the edge of the top. I didn't see a Norlin LP in person, but judging from pictures, they don't have a deep recurve.
    The black stains on the top are from a misty coat of black paint, which I sprayed on to determine if there are any humps in the surface.

    Yesterday, I made the pickup cavities. The template moved while routing the bridge cavity. luckily, it happened during the first pass, so this was easily repaired with some epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    At the neck, the trussrod fillet and the headstock ears were planed flush.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The next step will be the neck pocket and the tenon.

    Cheers,
    markus
     
  10. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    I am trying to hurry up with this build a little bit, since I want to finish it while it is still warm and dry enough outside to lacquer the guitar.

    Last weekend I made the body neck joint. The original has probably a transition tenon, which reaches barely into the PU cavity.

    After careful measuring, I cut the tenon on my router table:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    With some small guides made from plexiglass I routed the neck pocket:

    [​IMG]

    And it fits perfectly:

    [​IMG]

    Side view:

    [​IMG]

    I also engraved my "brand-name" Freebird on the back of the headstock. I will have the G-name on the headstock, but I don't want to make a forgery. ;-)
    I doesn't showw well on this picture:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
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  11. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Hi!

    The build goes on with the fretboard and neck.

    After gluing the inlays with epoxy, I radiused the fretboard and attached the binding.
    The original seems to have been refretted, therefore no nibs are on the binding.

    [​IMG]

    The headstock overlay was next. To prevent it from sliding during gluing, I attached some binding pieces to the wood with CA glue.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And so the overlay was glued to the headstock. The fretboard is not yet attached.

    [​IMG]

    In the next step, the final contour of the headstock and the neck was routed. I used a template for the neck.

    [​IMG]

    To glue the fretboard at the right location, I use register pins, which were placed by the aid of the neck template.

    Here are the neck and the freatboard before gluing them.

    [​IMG]

    And here is a close up of one registration pin and hole:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
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  12. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Hi!

    Next step was the binding, or rather the purfling. In a first step I just glued on the purflings. They came in single strips, so I glued them together on one end with CA glue. Then I proceeded inch by inch, gluing the purfling strips together and gluing them to the body with acetone in one step. This way, they bent easily around the curves.

    [​IMG]

    The binding itself was pre-bent using a heat gun. It was then glued on with acetone. After everything was set, I scraped the binding flush with a scraper.

    [​IMG]

    And the back:

    [​IMG]

    Here are some details:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The neck was fretted, using a fret tang nipper and a fret press caul.
    It was the first time I used a fret tang nipper. I used a Dremel with a cutting disc previously. The fret tang nipper, however, is cleaner, more precise, faster and less noisy than the Dremel.

    [​IMG]

    The neck was shaped using rasps, a spokeshave, files and sandpaper. The form of the volute was taken from pictures of a 74 Les Paul Custom.

    [​IMG]

    After that, everything was sanded up to 180 grit, and after a final check, the two parts were glued together.

    [​IMG]

    By now, everything is ready for the finish.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
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  13. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Nice work on the miter for the purfling. Looks great.
     
  14. Duplex Dave

    Duplex Dave Active Member

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    Wow, very nice work indeed!
     
  15. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Thank you!

    Here are pictures from the guitar prior the finishing process:

    [​IMG]

    And the back:

    [​IMG]

    I filled the pores with quick dry primer and pumice powder. After that, I shot white nc lacquer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The pores are not filled completely, especially on the back. I will therefore sand back the white and shoot another coat of white before I continue with the clear coats.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  16. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Hi folks,

    Yesterday I continued the finishing process.

    After sanding back the first coat of white, I masked the binding with pin striping tape and Tamiya masking tape.

    [​IMG]

    After that, I shot another coat of white.
    The masking tape was removed a short time after the painting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Binding detail:

    [​IMG]

    And the back:

    [​IMG]

    Now its time for the aged clearcoat, which should give the guitar its creamy look.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
  17. elucid

    elucid New Member

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    I like your stand thing for spraying! I might borrow the idea. But I can't figure out how you have attached it to the masked off fingerboard. Are you just using tape? Or perhaps CA to hold the taped parts together..?

    The guitar looks beautiful, by the way.
     
  18. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Thank you!

    I use hot-melt adhesive to attach the piece to the masked fretboard.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
  19. Delayar

    Delayar Member

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    Let there be color...

    Although the lacquer sat in a jar in the sun the whole summer (a smaller glass 2 summers), it didn't get dark enough to make a visible difference in the applied coats. Therefore I added a little bit of StewMacs liquid stain in Vintage Amber.

    Then I sprayed the coats carefully to achieve the desired color.

    [​IMG]

    Further coats of clear will follow.

    Cheers,
    Markus
     
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  20. 007

    007 New Member

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    Looking good.
     

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