Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Ash Les Paul: Unboxing & Mockup

Today I started a new project - an awesome Ash Les Paul. It's a Pitbull Guitars LPA-1 kit and she looks a beaut! I've never built an LP before, and this looks to be a great starting point :). Right out of the box the kit looks great with a solid ash body and a one-piece ash veneer on the top. Both the top and the body display some really nice figure, and I can't wait to get some stain on it! 

As for the neck, the neck pocket fit is spot on with no gap on either side to be seen. The heel fits nice and snug in the pocket, and on the lower side the fretboard is sitting right down on the body. I'm very happy with the fit indeed.

In the past I've had mixed success with set neck builds. This has been mainly due to my own impatience, but I'm really hoping that this project will meet the high standard I set with my Solidbody PRS build. 

While the neck fit is perfect, the body does exhibit a couple of annoying glue spots under the binding, and there are quite severe machining marks all around the outside.

Nothing for it but to keep sanding away with 240 grit until all the machining marks are gone. I do hope there's some binding left when I'm finished! After sanding the body I'll hit the glue spots with a little stain to see if I need to get the wire brushes out. The fretboard also has some annoying little glue patches where it has obviously been filled. I guess I'll have to get a bit of fine wet and dry on to these as well.

Anyway, glue spots and machining marks not withstanding, I got the kit together for a mock build in next to no time. With the neck straight in the pocket, the bridge and stop-bar posts have been positioned correctly (phew) and the E strings travel straight up the fretboard. At it's lowest bridge height, the strings are on the deck at the 22nd fret so all in all she's looking pretty good for a straightforward assembly!

Before finishing starts in earnest, I am seriously considering routing a third "middle" humbucker cavity between the two existing cavities. I'm not sure what real use a middle humbucker would be "sonically", but I've always loved the look of 3-pickup LPs. On the other hand, since this is my first ever LP build, I might just keep it simple for now.

I'm also considering quite a radical dye job. I thought that something like the PRS "sandstorm" fade might look really great on this grain pattern. Something like this:

What do you think? Do you think it looks the business, or would I be better served with a simple honey burst?