How to Make a Les Paul Guitar

Written by christian mullen
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You can build your own Les Paul with the right tools and woodworking know-how. This process can be a very rewarding experience as you can see the amount of work that goes into making such a beautiful, quality instrument. Not only can you save money by building your own Les Paul, but you can customise the guitar during the build process to make it unique and like no other.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Soft Maple
  • Orbital Sander
  • Router
  • Vertical Band Saw
  • Pickups
  • Bridge
  • Neck
  • Drill and Bits

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  1. 1

    Draw a template in the shape of a Les Paul onto a piece of card-stock or any other thick paper. This will allow you to cut your body to mimic the look of Gibson's most famous shape.

  2. 2

    Draw the outside of the guitar shape directly onto the wood with a pencil. Also draw the neck pocket, pickup route area and bridge for future use.

  3. 3

    Use a vertical band saw to cut the shape of the guitar. Follow the lines as carefully as possible. If there are areas you cannot reach, you can use hand tools to finish.

  4. 4

    Use an orbital sander to finish the body and to take your roughed body to its final shape. The orbital sander can also be used for any contouring including the arm rest area.

  5. 5

    Route the pickup areas, the control cavity on the back as well as the neck pocket. Depending on the pickup you use, the route should be deep enough for the top of the pickup to be flush with the body. You can sand these areas to finish as you want your Les Paul to look professional.

  6. 6

    Drill holes for the two volume and two tone knobs. The pots that you will install later will increase each pickup's volume and tone individually, like a Les Paul.

  7. 7

    Attach the neck into the neck pocket. Les Paul guitars are set-neck, so glue the neck into place with wood glue and allow to dry for 14 hours before moving to the next step. You can get a Les- Paul-style neck at, a great place for guitar parts.

  8. 8

    Attach the bridge with the included screws, there are many variations of Les Paul bridges, so choose the one that you think will have the best look for your guitar.. You may have to drill holes in the body for a string-through-body bridge.

  9. 9

    Drop the pickups into their respective spots. Les Paul's have passive pickups, so only the wiring from the pickups to the knobs will be necessary. Feed the wires to the control cavity located on the back side of the guitar and solder to the knobs.

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