08 February 2014

ML-Factory Semi-Hollow Les Paul

I saw a picture of a Duesenberg Starplayer TV Outlaw (LINK) and it was love at first sight.
Sadly I really didn't have the money to invest into a guitar, so I started searching parts to build a replica.

The first step was to get a Les Paul hollow, or semi-hollow, body. ML-Factory's shop (LINK) came to the rescue here with a mahogany/ash body with a pre-glued neck that saved me some time and grey hair.
Still I had a few woodwork chores, like filling up the stoptail pre-fabricated holes and one of the pot-holes. I also shaped the headstock a bit, giving it a more square look.

Even if the body seemed like a hurdle, the actual body texture gave me the most trouble through out the process. Afterall the snakeskin replica pattern was one of the elements that made me fall for the Duesenberg Starplayer Outlaw.

I finally found a store in Porvoo that make custom stencils, Laaser Riimikko (LINK), who for an affordable price could create what I needed. This together with a magical potion know as Gel-Medium (LINK), that my wife suggested, I was finally able to create the 3d texture on the guitar body.

With the texture done I got on to the painting phase.
Clearly I started by shielding the plastic bindings and the fretboard, then I spray-painted the guitar (on my balcony!!!) with two cans of Maston COLORmix, Satin black, spray (LINK).
I sprayed some two or three coats at the time and then left the guitar for seven days to dry in between. After the coats had dried there was some sanding and then re-painting again.
Finally I finished the paint with three layers of Maston COLORmix matte varnish.

Getting the parts together was also quite the task, but nothing compared to making the texture.
Starting from the tuning pegs I went again for the Planet Waves Auto-Trim tuning machines (LINK) but the other parts craved a bit of searching. I managed to find Duesenberg's Bigsby style tremolo (LINK) as well as Duesenberg's humbucker size P90 Domino (LINK), but for the bridge mic I went for Kinman's Extra Vintage humbucker (LINK).

Another of my 'obvious choices' was using the Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings (LINK).
It's just a thing I've grown (too) accustomed to. :)

The bridge is a basic/bulk Tune-O-Matic and I went for a standard Lock nut, everything in shining chrome and nickel.

Personally I just love the clean black, white and sparkling metal look. It gives the whole guitar a majestic look.
In all honesty, this guitar was 75% about looks, but it's not a bad one to play. The frets might need a bit of work still as the low E resonates when played, so this still needs a bit of work. Also the guitar looses the tuning quite easily when you go crazy with the tremolo.

I still do love the sound of those vintage style mics.

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