My Les Paul Bass Build - I need a Gibby too...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BassHappy, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. OK Noj

    So here is a version of the bass with a roasted maple fingerboard. I took a few minutes and made everything - including the medium scale neck - pretty much to scale on this one as well.


    I wasn't really keep on the idea of a regular maple neck, but the roasted maple does it for me.

    Here is the comparison"

    Rosewood and Maple Web.png
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  2. jcanderson


    Apr 13, 2013
    Los Altos, CA
    That is a handsome bass! I'm very impressed (although the upcoming Les Paul looks even better).

    And yes, you pretty much nailed it regarding lefty basses and music stores. If you want an entry level Ibanez in black, you'll probably be fine, but anything else, forget about it. Maybe if I'd started playing earlier I would have gone right-handed, but then again, probably not. I tried righty guitar way back in my youth, and it never felt right. Many many years later I stumbled upon the bass and felt an immediate affinity. Anyway, I'm at a point in my life where I'd prefer to play comfortably rather than conventionally.
  3. Hey JC

    Yeah, you gotta stick to your guns and stay with what feels the most comfortable, that is for sure - regardless of the inconvenience of it. I know all about that!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

    I am sending a box full of parts for the Fender Hollow builds, so I am including the last of the parts I settled on for the Les Paul Build. Mostly, it's cosmetic stuff - I touched up the decal and changed some of the color shadings for more choices, and I am sending silver and black speed knobs along with black pick up rings. Also, I bought the sturdier, more heavy duty bushings by Kluson for the bridge posts. The Luminlay stuff is still on the way from Japan, so I will ship that when it arrives in a week or so. Here is the list:


    Now it's just a matter of choosing the right roasted maple fingerboard. Also, Keith is getting in a new batch of equatorial mahogany for the neck blank. They had cut and assembled a bunch of guitar neck blanks at Echo Park and they didn't have any chunks big enough to get a quarter-sawn bass neck out of it.

    Thanks for hanging in. 22 pages and we will finally be getting this going....
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
    Tbone76 likes this.

    Well, as I mentioned Pat Wilkins was kind enough to point me in the direction of his source for roasted maple. Although I was really infatuated with the idea of honey maple - all of the roasted maple the supplier had on hand was pretty highly figured. Lots of flame and birds eye. There was one birds eye board that interested me, but it was just a hair too busy for the Les Paul fingerboard. He sent me a few dark roast choices and one of them really struck a chord. I was really into the idea of a fingerboard with a robust vertical grain structure, to kind of continue the vertical pattern of the top. So, we came up with something that I am pretty happy with. It is also in keeping with the most recent Les Paul bass tradition - dark roasted maple fingerboards.

    PRS Board Web.png

    I actually bought a couple of boards, each one which will yield 2 fingerboards, so I will have 3 others for other uses. Of course, Keith will have first shot once we pick out my exact board. Gotta keep your builder happy and feed the beast! Here is a shot to see how it looks with the blocks breaking it up a bit:

    PRS Inlays Web.png

    So, Keith went ahead and made the three routs in the core mahogany:



    After spending a little time with the top and back he realized for certain, that we are going to need some weight relief. I knew the maple top and back were quite heavy as I had the boards here and checked them out myself. Keith says the top alone glued up with no carve is 3.8 lbs - but we will probably lose about a pound once it is carved. So Keith is doing a little head scratching and is thinking of using the traditional "swiss cheese" rout below. My instincts are that we will end up with our own modified version of the first chambered one below - but we will see.


    It looks to me that on the LP Supreme Gibson added the maple back, keeping the normal width of the body and adding to it, so the final body is thicker than the conventional LP. We may or may not do it that way, depending on the weight. A possibility is to shave the mahogany core down a bit so that when the back is added on, the final width is still the same thickness as a standard Les Paul.

    Here is a mock up version of the roasted maple fingerboard with frets and the blocks. Also did a softening effect on the PRS top so that I could really focus on the fingerboard.

    PRS and Fingerboard LP web.png

    LP Amber Top 100 Web.png

    Should be more to come later.....
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  7. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I know it's just a mock-up, but the second one really does it for me. That with natural binding seems like a winner to me. I also think the coloring would compliment the PRS quite well.
  8. Hey Thanks Dedpool!

    I just turned the temperature up a pinch from the amber until it started to read a slight bit on the orange side. Of course, it's impossible to tell exactly what it will look like until you apply the finish directly to the PRS top above it, but thanks so much for the vote of confidence!

    As always I appreciate your comments and I am glad to hear that you like it! I think the fingerboard is a good match too - due to the vertical grain on the body.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  9. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I think the slight amber hue that roasted maple can have will match well with the finish too.
  10. Hey Dedpool

    It's only 8:30 PM in LA, still hoping to hear from Keith tonight. He was also going to make a video of slicing up and offering book matching ideas for the Fender Hollow tops today too....

    You know me, couldn't help it - had to see how the whole thing would look in that shade mocked up:

    Final LP Orange-Amber web.png
    Tbone76, dedpool1052 and eldoryder like this.
  11. Mine's sort of book matched. Chris went with two pieces for the body to be able to use a single running board for the build and I think it came out beautifully and am happy he was able to conserve and avoid waste. Fresh finish.
    Tbone76 likes this.
  12. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    :thumbsup: Love it!
    for my tastes, I would go with black pickup rings and black top hat knobs.
    Gibson Top Hat Knobs | Musician's Friend
  13. Wow, Sturm

    That REALLY looks nice! I love the way the grain is still visible - very very nice!

    Does that mean that you have it back for final assembly or is it still curing?

    I adore the simplicity and purity of it. That is going to be one nice bass!
  14. It's still curing in upstate NY and will be sent back to NH for the final assembly including Allesandro potentiometers. The finish was maybe the most important detail I was concerned with and judging by the photo, it's exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted it to look like a Les Paul Jr. that just left Kalamazoo in 1956 with a limed mahogany finish.

  15. Yeah Mon

    They nailed the finish alright....It looks really nice.

    Good news, so you should be playing that baby in just a matter of a few weeks now!

    Ah, the sweetness of anticipation!

    Finally got all the parts as the luminlay material arrived from Japan. Also got the LED flashlight and it was cool to charge the material up and watch it glow. I shipped it off to Keith and he told me today that the roasted maple fingerboards arrived in LA. So, as far as the parts go, looks like we are all set. He is still doing some head scratching on this build, with the special carve on the flamed mapletop and back and the special neck angle - so I don't know for sure - but my guess is that he will want to bang out the Fender hollow body basses first. He didn't mention whether or not the shipment of mahogany came in - as we have been waiting on that in order to get a neck blank that Keith loves.

    So, still a waiting game in a sense, but if the Fender hollows happen to slow down, which is possible, Keith may switch over to this build....
  17. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I love how this is shaping up Basshappy.
    I know it's probably somewhere in the thread but what pups did you decide on?
    BassHappy likes this.
  18. Hey

    Since I don't own any Gibson basses, I really wanted to get as close to the classic Les Paul growl as possible. Fellow TB'er Aquateen was kind enough to sell a couple of TB+ pickups that he had laying around. They are a really nice new set and still had the plastic over the chrome covers. I mean, I could have gone so many ways with custom pickups - but part of this exercise for me is having a bass in the end that sounds like a Gibson - or at least as closely as I can approximate it with the modifications I am making to the original design. One of the complaints I read time and time again is that the LP bass just doesn't sound very good. I know it is all very subjective - but I happen to love the deep growl of many Les Paul basses I have heard and played over the years. Unfortunately, none of them were in medium scale - so they were a letdown for me in that aspect.

    So everything is coming together, I just need a bit of patience.I find that if you rush the foundation of a great creation - flaws can emerge later - so making sure everything is solid from the ground up is key.
  19. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I bet it will sound fantastic.

    Speaking of grindy Gibson LP goodness here is the late, great Allen Woody;

    SturmUndDrang and Tbone76 like this.
  20. Yeah Man!

    That is what I am talking about!

    Thanks for posting....
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