The Guitar Gallery Forums - The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku

Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
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 Post subject: Unknown Les Paul Project
PostPosted: Wed 17 Jul 2013 06:18 AM 
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Axe Slinger
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Joined: Thu 07 Feb 2008 10:30 AM
Posts: 54
Location: Sunny England
So, I made a hasty purchase on Ebay - an unknown LP Custom copy with wierdly a Standard type headstock - obviously a fake but I had a hankering to build myself a Mick Ronson LP and this was a reasonably cheap donor - after all there's no point in ruining a good quitar.

After getting it back and disassembling I discovered that the headstock was not symmetrical and had no truss rod nut :( - it did however have a hugely thick truss rod which was basically just a threaded rod - no way of adjusting it - thiis perhaps points to the neck being non-oriiginal to the body and most likely Chinese in origin, although it's also possible that the whole thing is Chinese, although there were signs that the neck had been reaplced - wierd cracking around the cutaway and overspray. The neck itself was in a shocking state with chips all over it and a reall nasty thick gloopy black covering. I managed to get a nut on the truss rod and adjust it till it was flat but at this point, the nut was at the end of the neck and proud of the nut slot so I had to file down the flats - suffice to say this wil never be adjusted again :) The bone nut which I fitted had to be relieved underneath to allow it to sit on top of the truss rod nut.

being a brave or foolhardy soul, I looked on Youtube and saw some vids on reshaping headstocks - taking a saw in my hand I cut off the wings and glued on some mahogany extensions. I managed to score a genuine Gibson overlay for about the same cost as the whole guitar and used that as a template for the headstock. My first attempt at anything so this complicated but its sort of turned out OK. not perfect but....

Removing the paint from the front of the guitar was fairly easy but underneath it was about 2 or 3 mm of industrial strength sander sealer which I needed to get off as I needed the bare wood finish - that took forever by hand - and reveal the natural wood - as far as I can see this wood (whatever it is) is about four or five pieces - II discovered a nasty blemish too which kind of spoils the overall effect but once you are committed to stripping the front, there is no easy way back.

All of the original hardware was pretty much junk - but luckily I had a spare Vintage VS6 with gold hardware and some Wilkinson buckers on it, so those parts were borrowed.

I stripped the neck and have now refinished it in black nitro and fitted the headstock overly - bit tricky that - as I was in a hurry I didnt read the instructions that said - make sure yoru tuners fit through when you have fitted the overlay (its about 2.5 mm thick) and lo and behold, I sprayed it up and fitted the tuners.... cue much swearing and then need to shave about 3 mm off the back of the newly painted headstock - grrrr.

Anyway - Ive now got it wired up with Alpha pots and orange drop caps, and it was definitely worth the effort. Ive had to do a lot of work on the frets as they were all over the show, but it now has a great action and sounds fantastic, it has proper levels of sustain and induces huge grins as well as the compulsory playing of Ziggy Stardiust.

Attached are some pics of the original Ebay listing and some WIP stuff - I will post some pics of the finished item soon if anyone is interested.

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Jul 2013 01:40 PM 
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Virtuoso
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Joined: Sat 25 Mar 2006 09:25 PM
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Location: Grand Absurdity, TX
She's looking good. Post 'em when you get 'em. :D

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