Les Paul 12 string guitar mod project

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Schtumple, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Schtumple, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012

    Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #1
    So, I figured I'd start this thread to document a project I'm working on, but I'd also like some advice from anyone whose repainted their guitars.

    I have a very bog standard Les Paul guitar that by no means is anything special, it cost me a meagre £89, but it has a nice sound, has fairly good connections (given it's price) and plays quite nicely. The only problem is over the past few years, the crappy workmanship on the neck meant the frets have completely busted and warped. Rather than go through the arduous task of removing each fret with equipment I don't have, I figured I'd buy a new neck and completely repaint it (never liked sunburst...), I've always wanted a 12 string, so I can kill 2 birds with 1 stone :)

    [​IMG]

    Here's the guitar, I'm going to spend tomorrow taking it apart, sanding down the paintwork and beginning to get it all nice and smooth for the initial primer.

    I'm aware of the general process of sanding down etc, I'd just like to know if anyone has any good tips for the painting or any brands which are pretty good to use, I don't have access to a spray gun so aerosol cans are my only option.
     
  2. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #2
    No tips from me, but be sure to keep posting your progress. I'd love to see how it turns out.:cool:

    Cool idea.....I think I remember you posting something about it in the Purchases thread in the past few days?
     
  3. Suno macrumors 6502

    Suno

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    Dec 12, 2011
    #3
    No tips, but damn... a 12-string? I've played with a 12-string a few times at my local Guitar Center. The sound is beautiful but it's so hard to play! Might be because I have small hands, I dunno. I have a hard enough time on a 6-string already.
     
  4. Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #4
    Will do don't worry, very excited about this project and apart from the painting, it's a fairly easy project overall, I've built a few guitars before from parts at my old job so this should be a doddle :) That and finally having an electric 12 string is going to be awesome. Definitely going to be a freaky looking guitar though :p

    I've played a few 12 acoustics and haven't had a problem with them at all. I agree the sound is absolutely beautiful.

    I have large hands... :cool: There's no way of easily saying that :p
     
  5. UlsterApple macrumors regular

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    #5
    Nice to see a fellow musician!
    I'm a folkie and have a number of acoustic instruments, and a few years back tried to convert a 12-string Ranger acoustic into a guitar-bodied 8-string mandola. This was easy in theory - just remove four of the strings and the machine heads and get a bridge and nut blank which I could cut at the appropriate spacing.
    The main problems encountered were firstly attaching the strings at the bottom to space them across the bridge; the original guitar spacing was wrong for four pairs and would have put too much sideways strain on the strings. I eventually attached a bouzouki end plate which solved that.
    However: once the bridge and nut were cut I found the spacing quite awkward - the neck was too wide and either I spaced the strings too far apart or else they were all concentrated together along the middle of a very wide neck. I gave up and returned it to a 12-string which has a lovely deep tone and very rich sound.
    The only problem I can think of is that with so many strings the outer ones may be off the pickups and you'll lose the high E; but I'll watch this thread with great interest to see how things work out. Good luck - keep us appraised of progress!
     
  6. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    May 1, 2009
    #6
    Wow. The thought has never even struck me.

    You're gonna need a wider neck, that's for sure. And probably a different headstock, I don't see how you can fit 12 tuning screws (?) on a standard LP headstock.

    Please keep us updated on this, I'd love to see how it turns out. :)
     
  7. Schtumple, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #7
    Ok I probably should've said what I've bought.

    12 string neck w/ headstock:
    [​IMG]

    12 string bridge and tailpiece:

    [​IMG]

    2 x 6 tuning pegs (I'm aware they're not the right ones, they're a temporary measure as I couldn't afford the ones I actually wanted.

    [​IMG]


    The neck/headstock I've bought surprisingly is almost the same size as the one I have in there atm, my plan is to sand down either the outsides of the neck to thin it down a bit or to chip away some of the paintwork inside the body, but from my experience, the paint where the neck resides is some of the toughest material known to man...
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    Wow, interesting project! Have you decided how you are going to paint it? Also is the spacing close enough that you can use your old pickups (that is, are the pickups' coils in the right place for the strings on the new neck?).
     
  9. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #9
    Not a sunburst fan, eh?

    If it were me, I'd at least keep it a more or less "stock" color that Gibson puts on the LP's. White, black, wine red, or even goldtop.

    Curious, where did you get the neck? That looks like a stock Gibson, especially with the trapezoid inlays.
     
  10. Schtumple, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011

    Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #10
    The neck is almost identical in size (maybe 1mm over) to the current neck I use, so all should be fine, if not, new pickup will have to be on the cards, but these ones have such a nice sound for how boring they are I'd rather not lose them.

    Nah, actually can't sunburst with a passion, the only reason I have it is because my work gave me the wrong colour then refused to replace it with another as it would've meant ordering more in a week early (I bought it a few days before I was leaving).

    I'm think I'm going to a colour called "butterscotch", looks like a nice creamy white, the wood grain should show through a little too which will be nice, give it a little bit of a intake look, given that it's going to be a bit of a frankenstein looking guitar, I'm excited for the outcome :)

    Here's some photos of sanding today, almost completely finished, just gotta get the last few bits done then it's all good to go, paint won't arrive for a while so it'll remain like this for a bit, will probably get build before it gets painted thinking about it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    May 1, 2009
    #11
    Cool. You might need to fiddle to fit that neck, and that would be a bolt-on, wouldn't it? LP purists would demand a human sacrifice if they knew. At least as stock, they are normally glued on, not bolted on like Fenders.

    What's the time estimate for the project? :)
     
  12. Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #12
    I don't care for purists :p

    One of the bits isn't being shipped until the 6th, but if I remember rightly that's the tuners, which i have a few of spare, but might only have 11 :p
     
  13. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    #14
    Purists can sod off for all I care. I love original projects. :)
     
  14. Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #15
    Haha, definitely, I'm try and do a little photoshop mock up of what it'll look like, be warned though, I cannot be bothered to make it look nice :p
     
  15. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #16
    IIRC, and this is dating me..

    Steve Clark would chop up his Les Pauls all the time to put locking nuts, floating bars, and tremelo, as he didn't like to play anything but Pauls, and tremelo helped is playing in his time with Def Leppard. I want to say that he made a 12-string out of a standard Paul once.. I really can't remember.. but it may be worth finding his tribute site and seeing if one of those is there. That should give you a good blueprint to go off of..

    BL.
     
  16. Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #17
    [​IMG]

    So here's the initial sanding finished, still very rough in places, definitely needs some much finer sandpaper on it, very tired now though and enough is enough for tonight. Still not received the neck/headstock, the tuners have arrived though which is good.
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #18
    That would be emery cloth, if I remember correctly.
     
  18. Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #19
    Yes definitely, got some lying around somewhere, if I get time, that'll be tomorrows job.
     
  19. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #20
    Sorry, I have plans. You'll have to do it yourself. :cool:
     
  20. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #21
    Surely you can't be serious.:cool:
     
  21. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #22
    I've told you before, please don't call me Shirley!!! :mad:
     
  22. Schtumple thread starter macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #23
    Brilliant :p

    So, ignoring the crappy quality of the photo I took, I'm thinking about having it natural, it looks quite a bit lighter in real life and I think it might just look a whole lot nicer than painting it pale cream, which is pretty much the colour of all the decals.

    Thoughts?
     
  23. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #24
    If the grain of the wood is pleasing to you, don't cover it up. IMO.
     
  24. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #25
    I agree with Shirley.
     

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