Thursday, 15 January 2015

Ash Les Paul: Looks Great, Sounds Even Better

Well, my rock beast is finally complete! This morning I filed a new bone nut and got the action at the 1st fret as close to perfect as I dared to go. Whether or not I could have gone down any further, playing open chords now feels oh-so-sweet! With the nut sorted, I focused next on the bridge height and brought it down until just before the height where the strings started to buzz. There's still the slightest amount of buzz on the E and A strings, but it helps playability so much and its not enough to come through to the amp. All along the neck, the strings are now nice and low on the fretboard and she feels really, really wonderful to play!

With the action sorted, on went the truss rod cover and that was the entire build completed. What do you guys out there in inter-web land think? Compared to my Epiphone Les Paul Standard that I've had for 20 years, she doesn't even compare in look or in playability. Colortone dye + Tru-Oil really is a simple and effective means to obtain a professional looking finish cheaply and easily! I recommend anyone out there thinking about finishing their own guitar to give this combo a try.

I really love the ash veneer on this Pitbull kit. Filling the ash grain with Walnut Timbermate was definitely the right decision - especially with the Tobacco burst over the top. It has really popped the grain beautifully and helps to spread the dark tobacco theme out over the entire top. The dark filled grain even makes the wood look a little scorched don't you think? Maybe it's just me ;) .

How about those Entwistle zebra pickups - they just scream ROCK! It makes this LP look a bit like the Slash signature model from Gibson. You can't get more rock than that!

In terms of the headstock, I really like the way the burst headstock complements the body so well. When I first did the headstock I had serious doubts that it was good enough, but now I wouldn't change a thing.

The grain on the sides and rear of the body also looks great with the Walnut Timbermate fill. It has come up a little like Mahogany in that respect. It's really allowed what figure there was in the body pieces to come to the fore, even though there wasn't much there to begin with.

The Entwistle HDN pickups are the hotest pickup I've ever heard. I've been playing the guitar all day, and I've found that for my playing style the sweet spot volume-wise is about 7 on both the knobs. I've never needed to adjust the volume on a guitar before! When the volume is at 10, the guitar really drives the amp - the neck pickup especially. If I could squeal lead notes, then this baby would be on fire. Even better, lifting the volume knobs performs a coil tap on each pickup, modifying the sound of the guitar to give that more hollow single-coil sound. Just another awesome aspect to these amazing pickups.

All in all this LPA-1 is an amazing kit from Pitbull Guitars (Build Your Own Guitars), and I think I've done it justice. The set neck went on perfectly without issue or shim, and the resulting neck height is exactly matched to the height of the tune-o-matic bridge. For a perfect action, the bridge is raised about 2mm from it's lowest setting. No shim, and no bridge sticking out off the body. The end result of all my ministrations looks amazing (in my humble opinion) and is a real pleasure to play.

I'll try to get a sound demo recorded in the coming days - just as soon as I learn a song that will do this baby justice!