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

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

  1. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Thanks for the reply.
  2. I love it! Thanks!
  3. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Happy V day Rick! :thumbsup:
    BassHappy likes this.
  4. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Thanks to all the guys and gals that have served our country!

    Here is a virtual toast to all of you!
    BassHappy likes this.
  5. Hey Guys....

    Thanks so much. Driving by the uber-inspiring "Row of Honor" in my home town of Carmel, New York this morning brought a tear to my eye. You can't really see, but 100 flags plus the flags for each branch of service are lined up right in front of the lake:


    Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 12.22.25 PM.png

    Definitely a day to honor ALL of those serving and those who served. Say a prayer, drink a toast, smell the flowers, and remember to be grateful! I don't care what anyone says, this is still the greatest country in the world and it's not even close. Regardless of what we hear - no one needs to "take the country back" it already belongs to each and every one of us.

    I put up a new flag on my mailbox over the weekend and I am replacing the solar lamp which illuminates it, which has suddenly gone intermittent.

    Leah just arrived at the office to take me to Applebee's for a free veteran's lunch - and then later we are off to one of our favorite haunts which is giving the veterans a free prime rib dinner.

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
    Indiedog likes this.
  6. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    "Well spoke, Puck"
    -Will Shakespeare

    I agree with your thoughts! Enjoy the meals!
    JIO and BassHappy like this.

    I can't believe how this build is taking me to school. Every day I learn something new about this whole Gibson Les Paul thing, and I find it pretty fascinating and I am trying my best to keep up with it and soak it all in.

    So, Keith expressed some concern, as he felt that the roasted maple fingerboard I got from Pat Wilkins' source was a little soft. So I went on a mission to find a nice Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard for this bass. I have been concerned, perhaps overly concerned - that the fingerboard figure would clash with the exquisite flamed maple top Paul Reed Smith donated for the project. So I was looking for some dark and simple Brazilian, but it was not to be found. I scoured the powers that be for several days, I mean - I tried everything I knew to try, and I couldn't come up with a nice Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard in bass size - at least 24" in length.

    In the meantime I discovered a major scammer on ebay. The guy is selling what he calls Brazilian, but several folks have complained and he has bad feedback for providing wood that isn't Brazilian at all. The funny thing is, I placed a bid which was quite respectable and sizable on a piece that had no other bidders. A couple of hours later, I discovered that I had been outbid by an "anonymous" bidder. I thought that was really weird and wondered if the seller was bidding on his own wood to drive up the price. It was then that I noticed his questionable feedback about selling non-Brazilian as Brazilian, so I didn't bid again. The bid went off at the price bidded, but two days later the exact same board was back up on ebay. So I was apparently right, he was bidding anonymously on his own board. I suppose there are other possibilities, but my instincts tell me otherwise. He is creepy and should be avoided.

    I spoke to Paul of PRS who has been so amazing about this project - and he has some Brazilian - but it is all sectioned up and sliced and he didn't have anything big enough for a bass fingerboard. I am sure he has a nice stash of guitar necks and guitar fingerboards. He has really gotten into the streaked ebony for his bass fingerboards and he likes it a lot, better for basses than Brazilian according to him. So we went back and forth and eventually he suggested African Blackwood. The thing Paul and everyone seems to like about Brazilian is that it is super super hard and many think that contributes a lot to the tone of the Les Paul guitars. As far as the basses go, I am not so sure, but I would like to stay with Gibson tradition and go Brazilian. But here is what I discovered. I looked at dozens and dozens of Les Pauls and the figured Brazilian was everywhere even alongside some highly figured flamed maple tops. It looked great and not only did the figure in many of the guitars NOT bother me at all - I liked it!

    So I am talking to Keith and he remembers that he has a Brazilian board stashed away that he forgot about. He thought it was big enough for a bass fingerboard, and as it turns out it is. He said it had a small knot but if I liked the board it would be his treat. So he sent me photos and another batch and I like it a lot - knot and all. I love little blemishes that give the wood a special character and this is one of them. So we are moving forward, here is the board:

    Brazilian Board.jpg

    I did a quick and I mean quick and not to scale AT ALL - mock to check it with the body as best I could:

    I think when the block inlays are in place it quiets it down a little:
    Body Softened 1.png

    And I like it!

    Keith wants to slot the board before he glues it to the neck Bruce made, so he will be doing that soon. Will report back as more deets become available....
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
    scottm likes this.
  8. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Huba huba! Your wood gives me...wood!
    It is a gorgeous pairing, Rick!

    And that is very creepy about the chap playing games with his fakey Brazzy boards.
    BassHappy likes this.
  9. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Have you considered orienting the board so the knot is at the heel end of the neck where you'll be less likely to be playing on a regular basis? That way, if in fact there is any playability or structural impact of the knot it might be lessened.

    BTW - I've seen a ton of questionable eBay bidding. I dug into it once and found out it was a pawn shop listing under one account and several of the pawn shop employees under different ebay accounts were bidding against legit eBay bidders to drive prices up. If by chance one of the pawn shop employees won the auction it would be relisted the next day noting that a deadbeat bidder was the cause of the relisting. I reported it, but it went no where. So if forced to buy on eBay these days I try to stick to buy-it-now sales vs bidding.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
    BassHappy likes this.
  10. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    An excellent point! That would put it under the low string where you would never play.
    BassHappy and GBassNorth like this.
  11. Hey G

    Funny that you mention it! I thought that the straight grain on the body end of the fingerboard as shown would be much more visually appealing than the squiggly grain at the other end being near the body. But I did tell Keith I would mock it up in both directions and see what happened. SO I am going to work on that now. He really needs to know as he is slotting that fingerboard soon.
  12. THANKS!

    Hey, thanks G and Indie....

    I do like it better reversed, here are the mock-ups. I will get this off to Keith right away. I didn't think I would like it as much this direction but I definitely like it better.

    Thanks again you guys - I love this place!

    NewLP Reverse.png

    Reverse Inlay.png
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
    GBassNorth likes this.
  13. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Considering the rarity and how hard it is to find a good piece of brazilian rosewood,
    Personally, I would go against having those typical Gibson inlays and use dots instead, just to preserve as much of that board's beautiful grain as possible. Although, the traditionalist in me thinks that an LP just doesn't look right without those trapezoid inlays.
  14. Hey dedpool

    Thanks for weighing in. Actually, you know me, I don't even like dots and many of my basses just have plain fingerboards, which is my fave:

    V-Bass sideways.png




    I just need dots on the side of the board.

    Point well taken for sure and for certain, but I still have that nagging Les Paul traditionalism nipping at me.....

    Have to scratch my head on this....

    Keith pointed out that the computer played tricks on my perspective, flipping the board would actually result in this - the dark area would reside on the bass E string side, not the treble G string side. Ignore the backwards headstock!


    LP Real Neck.png
  16. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Hap - I like your latest post even better. I spend very little time down on the 15th to 17th fret of the E string vs the 3rd fret of the G string. So my vote would be to put the knot as close to the heel end of the neck on the E string side as possible. For some reason when I'm playing down around the heel its almost always on the G, D and A strings for chords, harmonics and maybe tapping, almost never on the E string.

    BTW - check your fret marker locations, some look to be in the wrong locations and if corrected might make the knot more or possibly less noticeable.
    BassHappy likes this.
  17. Good catch G

    Sorry about that:

    LP Real Neck.png

    I was in a super hurry - as Keith had actually given the fingerboard to Bruce to start cutting the frets!!!!! Luckily he grabbed it back just in time!

    The good news is that after closer examination, Keith did some pretty precise measurements and from the width of the board - he seems sure that the knot can be trimmed away completely - with the final shaping of the fingerboard.

    Brazilian Board.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015

    Since this is going to be hollow with no "F" holes, and modeled after the Les Paul Florentine guitar - I have been waffling back and forth on the frets. It I went with tape wounds on this, I would want mandolin frets like the Fender Hollows. If I stay with my favorite D'Addario half-rounds, I would opt for my go to Dunlop 6150 frets.

    In the event of going with the tapes we have also been flirting with fabricating a special tail stop - basically duplicating the stock Gibson one in rosewood which would more than likely give a warmer, softer sound. The beauty of the tail stop is that it could be swapped out interchangeably with the standard steel one at any time..

    It's definitely 51-49, but I am leaning towards going traditional and staying with the half-rounds, Dunlop 6150's and the conventional steel tail stop.

    We are also thinking about binding the rosewood neck using matching thin flamed maple binding strips from the top on each side of the fingerboard. I can't decide if that is cool and elegant or a maybe a little too "fancy".

    Custom_Classic_bound_fingerboard.jpg imgres.jpg


    I like the binding concept it's true to the nature of the Les Paul - but I have a deep seated aversion to plastic when I can avoid it, and this seems like one of those times when I can.

    What say you?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  19. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    I say wood binding. Definitely superior to plastic in every way! It's been a while since I checked in, and it looks like major progress is being made. Congrats on another fabulous build!

    Mike in Texas
    BassHappy likes this.
  20. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Two votes for binding. Agree it is true to the classic LP vibe. The wood looks great.
    BassHappy likes this.
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