We just started a new guitar build in the studio that we’re really excited about. The plan is to build a Les Paul inspired guitar that takes most of its cues from the 1959 design, and adds some more modern elements as well as a few of our own design preferences.
What We’re Building
The basic inspiration is the Les Paul traditional in Ocean Blue. This is obviously the classic design with the mahogany body, curly maple top, ivory bindings and chrome humbuckers. However, tradition notwithstanding, we really like the look of the grain pattern on the one-piece mahogany body of the (unfortunately long-named) Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO-II (we’ll just call it the Pro II from now on). As much as the curly maple owns LP tradition, the stripes are just not our favorite look. So we’re actually thinking we may try to source an ash top with a nice grain that’s more in line with the Pro II, but is light enough in color to give us the bright blue they get from the maple on the Traditional. Besides the fact that ash is relatively light, and is a great tonewood (if your the type that believes that makes a difference on electrics).
We’ll probably stick with a traditional maple neck and bound rosewood fretboard, but will put our own design stamp on the headstock. Fretmarkers, inlays, etc. are all still in the discussion stage, and we’re thinking about doing the matte, dark blue stain finish on the back, like you find on the Traditional.
At this point we are planning to build two instruments. One is intended to be a keeper, and the fate of the other is still up in the air. It might go up for sale, or might end up as a demo instrument. If we’re really happy with the outcome, we may extend the series to a few more guitars for sale. We’ll just have to see how it turns out.
Who’s Building It
Your builders for this project include myself (Steve), and first time assistant/apprentice, Josh. The keeper guitar is for him, and consequently the design direction is coming primarily from him. We’ve just gotten started, reviewing plans, prepping the shop and making our initial jigs and router templates.
I think this is going to be a fun build, and I’m looking forward to working with my son on the project. I also think this is going to be a great guitar, and can’t wait to have the finished product in hand. I hope you’ll follow along and enjoy the process with us.