"Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

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Brock
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"Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:29 pm

I have my first project guitar.

It appears to be an Epiphone but I can only assume because of the headstock shape. There are no markings on it at all.

Anyway...here's the bad:
1. Looks like it's been siting around for some time. The dust is almost part of the finish. It will take a lot of elbow grease to get it off.
2. Most of the metal parts are pretty corroded. Not sure if I'll try to clean what I can or just buy new.
3. It only came with three tuners. Which is a shame because even though they're made in China, they feel very solid.
4. The nut is missing.
5. I have no idea what pickups are in it. The only label is a sticker on the bridge pup labeled 53 and the neck labeled 50. Anyone have any ideas as what they could be?

Here's the good.
1. The body is SOLID! It weighs probably 9 lbs.
2. The neck is straight, the profile feels like a 59 rounded, the frets are smooth, no sharp edges and the fretboard just needed a cleaning and some oil.
3. The plastic pickguard, cavity covers, etc still had plastic protection on them.

Here are a couple of pictures.

IMG_20180406_200250678.jpg

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Here's the plan - my 7 year old loves anything electronic with wires. So I suggested we build a guitar. He wanted a red one and I wanted a Les Paul type. I figured he would really like wiring the pickups, etc. And of course he is really excited.

I'm going to get all new electronics. I have a Pearly Gates bridge pickup that will probably get put in. I'm thinking a Pearly Gates for the neck as well but not sure.

I'll give the body a good cleaning and polish.

Probably will get a new bridge.

Here's my only challenge. I really dislike the Epiphone headstock shape. It seems incomplete. I'm going to attempt to add some wood to where the ends were lopped off and give it more of a Gibson shape. I know some people get bent out of shape over that but I'm not trying to pass it off for a Gibson. I'm not even going to put a Gibson logo on it. I want to do a custom name with the Gibson font but not really sure what. I thought about Gibbons Pearly Gates Model...I really have no idea. Maybe just leave it nameless?

This will be a long project as I don't have a lot of free time but I will post updates.
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Casual Madman
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Casual Madman » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:32 pm

Pretty close to certain that's not an Epiphone headstock - theirs are not so pinched at the end. Also, the A-string/B-string Epi tuners are set slightly in from the E/D and G/E tuners; these look to be in a pretty straight line.

Pretty body, though. Is that a veneer or an actual solid cap?

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Brock
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:13 am

Now that you mention it, I don't think it is an Epiphone Look at the "book binding". The Epi comes to more of a point.
IMG_20180407_085026977.jpg

IMG_20180407_084951393.jpg


It looks to me like a solid cap. Here's the pickup cavity. You can see a faint line where the maple cap would be applied. Plus the flame isn't that spectacular, if it was a veneer it would probably look better? I don't know?
IMG_20180407_084910742.jpg



I do want to pull the pups out and put them in something else to hear them.
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Casual Madman » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:48 am

I think it's a veneer on a cap - you can see there's a demarcation about 1/8" below the finished topwood. Still very pretty.

... If it's not an Epi, though - who knocks off a knockoff? :think:

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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:47 am

That was my thought - who fakes an Epi headstock??

I have it cleaned up a little bit. I scrubbed the fretboard with a mixture of soap and vinegar water using a toothbrush. There wasn't a lot of dirt on it. Then rubbed it with lemon oil. It turned out really nice. It's pretty smooth. The frets are kinda tarnished but feel smooth. I may leave them how they are. It looks "vintage"

The body was a bit more work. I used the same soap and vinegar water but scrubbed with a scotch pad. It took the caked on dirt off pretty easy but left a few scratch marks. I then used a wax to polish and the scratches went away. It's not perfect but I'm happy with it.

Here are a few pictures. I wish I would have taken better pictures of the dirt so you could see a bigger difference in the before and after.
IMG_20180409_112312593.jpg

IMG_20180409_112357242.jpg

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The hardware was also cleaned. I used a toothbrush with dish detergent. The chrome still has some bubbly spots that will have to stay but overall they look ok.

My plan right now is to put a nut and tuners on, string it up and see how it plays. I'm really interested in how the pickups sound as I have no idea what they are. I ordered the parts last night so hopefully by the end of the week I can start getting it together.

I did cut a couple pieces of wood for the headstock reshape but am debating if I want to get that involved. I'm not a woodworker by any stretch of the imagination. It might be way more than I can handle.

Here are some pictures of the back. It has some deep scratches and dings but not that bad of shape.
IMG_20180409_112419725.jpg

IMG_20180409_112427083.jpg
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby ElfDude » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:50 pm

Very cool project!
Looking forward to following this.
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Brock
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:51 pm

Here's another update but it's also a problem.

I found another guitar project. Same LP style guitar but a bit different.

It's more of a faded cherry sunburst. The back is just clear coated. The flame top is much better looking. It really pops. Not sure if it's veneer And it has more of a Gibson style headstock.

The body is considerably lighter. It could be the wood or weight relieved or both? The back wood looks to be three pieces.

The hard part for my skill set is it needs some fret work. About 4 or 5 frets feel like they're smashed down a bit or ground down. Not sure if a level and re-crowning will do the trick or not. I'll probably take this to a luthier for an opinion. The neck is straight. The fretboard seems pretty good too.

Here's some pictures and I'm excited about this one as well. I'll post more thoughts and pictures when I investigate it a bit more.
IMG_20180412_182839673.jpg

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This one is going to be more work than the other but I think will look better. I hope I didn't get in over my head. :D
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Brock
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:01 am

Project guitar #1.
I have some tuners on. I also have a nut but dummy me, I got a 42mm instead of a 43mm. I may string it up with the 42 nut anyway just to hear the pickups and make sure all the electronics work.
IMG_20180413_134552765.jpg


Project guitar #2.
I have the fretboard taped up and started doing a bit of work. The frets didn't seem to be that much out of level. Th really bad part are the three frets closest to the body and two around the 12th. The ends at the high E, B strings are pretty low and flat. I'm going to attempt to shape them. I would imagine at the very least, those would need to be replaced.
IMG_20180413_134056639.jpg

IMG_20180413_134042432.jpg

IMG_20180413_134015680.jpg
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Re: "Epiphone?" Les Paul journey

Postby Brock » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:31 am

Project #1 update
I did a little bit of drawing and cutting. I think rather than add word and shape it, I'm going to remove wood from the headstock to get the shape I want. There's enough wood on top that I can remove about 1/2" and it will still look ok. And slim down the sides close to the nut.
IMG_20180416_122135213.jpg

IMG_20180416_122102008.jpg
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