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Les(s) Paul Repairs

In the shop this week is what would appear to be a heavily worn Gibson Les Paul. Much like Old Kentucky Sharke, this guitar has been there.   But closer inspection shows some construction issues that reveal that this guitar is a cleverly done reproduction of a Les Paul.  For instance, the headstock logo is wrong.


Additionally, looking in the control cavity, you can see where the wood around the control pots has been drilled away; this allows the builder to use less expensive pots with shorter shafts, rather than the long-shaft pots that are needed to get through the entire top thickness.  You can also tell that this was done during construction as the red stain is present in the drilled cavities.  It’s also clear that someone has done some rewiring on this and used a whole mess of solder.  Cold solder joints are all over the place in this bad girl.


Looking through the control cavity, something else is missing – the ground wire!  Without the ground wire, the entire circuit is prone to electrical hum that will make this guitar unplayable through an amp.  In Les Pauls and replicas alike the ground wire is run through a small hole drilled through the body to one of the tailpiece mounting studs.  This means that to replace it, I have to pull the stud.  The downside?  There’s so much corrosion on the tailpiece that things are fairly frozen together.  This is the stud that makes the ground contact…it’s strongly anchored in the body.

This is the other stud…while I was removing the tailpiece, this stud basically fell out of the body.  One problem after another on this girl.

To remove the stud that’s holding the ground wire, I use my homemade stud puller.  I stole the design from a well-known guitar supply company and cut my cost by 80%.  It works like a dream.

Here’s all that remains of the ground wire.

So, after replacing the ground wire…and the first bushing…and shimming the bushing on the other side so it doesn’t all out…and routing the cavity for the neck pickup (the new pickup is too tall for the current cavity)…and reinstalling the pickups…and stripping the wiring and solder off the old pots…I took a nap.  Then I rewired the whole rig…the new pickups sound great, no hum, and the client is happy.

~ by badmin on September 28, 2011.

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