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HeadLes Paul Project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bottoms_Up!, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Bottoms_Up!

    Bottoms_Up! For the record, I don't love Raymond. Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Here's a view into my latest project, the HeadLes Paul.

    Sorry I didn't document anything up to this point, but to get you up to speed, I'm a J kinda guy; 1.5" nut, 19mm pitch at the bridge, 34" scale. I've always wanted a headless bass with these specs. I've had a Warmoth birdseye maple J neck hanging around forever and decided to put it to use. So I chopped it it's head off. Not a decision to take lightly as one false move and a perfectly fine $400 piece of wood ends up in the bin.

    I purchased Hipshot's headless tuning system/bridge and BG Stainless' headpiece (as it is 1.5" as opposed to Hipshot's 1.625") and fit the headpiece onto the neck behind the nut. I'm really happy with the outcome and I'll take some detailed pics of that tonight.

    I've always loved the classic Les Paul shape so I picked up an unfinished blank routed for a J-PUP in the neck position, an MM-PUP in the sweetspot, and traditional control layout. After positioning the bridge in the 34" scale position, I routed out the tuner access but left the round shape intact as to not disturb the overall classic shape (much :D). I then drilled for neck inserts and test fit the whole kit n kaboodle.


    I've got to hand it to Warmoth. The fit of the neck to body is ridiculously good.

    So last night, I was looking at a semi-hollow G&L ASAT and I really liked how that F-hole looked in conjunction with the single-cut style. Off to my shop I go. I drilled two 0.75" holes on either end and connected them freehand with a pen referencing a picture of a traditional F-hole on my iPad. I then drilled out the bulk of the design with various drill bits and proceeded to carefully rough out the hole with my smallest chisel. I cleaned up and detailed the design with some rounded files then roughed out some contours with my spindle sander. When I was close to where I wanted to be, the rest was fine tuned with my files.

    So far, I'm really digging this! And it's light as hell!



    • Hand shaped Warmoth alder Les Paul body
    • Custom headless Warmoth birdseye maple neck and finger board
    • Jazz taper w/ 1.5" nut
    • 34" Scale
    • 19mm Pitch
    • Hipshot tuning system/bridge
    • BG Stainless Headpiece
    • GraphTech TUSQ XL nut
    • EMG SJ4 (neck position)
    • EMG MMCS4 (bridge position)
    • EMG BQC System Preamp
    Planned Aesthetics:

    • Body: Candy Orange
    • Neck: Vintage tint gloss
    • PUPs & Knobs: Candy Orange (for that stealth, clean look)
  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Very nice.
  3. Interesting!! Can't wait to see it finished!
  4. Interesting. Can't say it's exactly my taste but props for going for something different.
  5. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    This is definitely unusual. Subbed.
  6. skullservant


    Aug 15, 2011
    Really digging the F-hole!
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Very nice. Headless would be the way to go with a Paul or an SG bass, balance-wise. And the f-hole is nice work. I might have made it a little smaller. I like the treatment at the body end of the fretboard.

    What's with the carving on the back edge by the treble side waist curve? Did you start with a roundover, and then realize it might run into your cavities?
  8. Bottoms_Up!

    Bottoms_Up! For the record, I don't love Raymond. Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    i started to shape another small contour like I did on my Rickenberger but I ran out of steam.

  9. Bottoms_Up!

    Bottoms_Up! For the record, I don't love Raymond. Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Here's the pics of the headpiece I promised:

  10. hifibass

    hifibass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Albany, NY
    A man after my own heart. The last headed bass I truly loved was my '74 Les Paul Recording Bass, in '83 I converted to headless basses and have never looked back. My David King basses more than meet my needs now, but this one...... WOW!

    Keep the pics coming. Ken
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Nice paint job!
  12. lx_night


    Sep 3, 2008
    Oklahoma city
    Nice project
  13. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    I've been wanting to do a project like this for a while. I wanted to do a short-scale tho, and the traditional J-bass pickups. Nice job!