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The John Lennon Les Paul Junior project


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Hello all.... I just couldn't take it any more.. I have just done this project which was finished and delivered a few days ago, sadly (and stupidly)the footage I thought I took of the guitar being played through an amp wasn't there when I checked it DOH!!! so I have had to ask for some when the owner gets a chance. When I get that I will do a full build video with the guitar playing at the end but I just have been really wanting to share this so I thought Id do a quick thread about it.

 

First the story.. I have to firstly thank our own Pippy as he recommended me for this. Basically one of the forum members Clarkuss I think his forum name is posted a thread in the Les Paul section about wanting to mod a Les Paul Junior into a John Lennon LPJ. So after the recommendation (thanks so much Pippy :)) myself and Clark talked via email and we went over the project details. The next thing I know I had a 1958 LPJ Reissue and a Lollar Charlie Christian pickup arrive at my door.

 

Now in case you don't know... John's LPJ started out life as a sunburst LPJ model. Which I think can be seen on one TV performance.

1955_Gibson_Les_Paul_Junior_front_main_zps18901894.jpg

 

Then he had it modded with a Charlie Christian pickup and had the wraparound bridge replaced with a tune o matic/ tailstop and sanded it down to an unknown colour where it was used in the famous Madison Square garden gig in 1972

johnlennon-620-80_zpscf09681f.jpg

 

Then later it was refinished again in cherry red which Gibson did a short run of re-issues I think in about 2006 that looks like this

gibson-les-paul-junioccr-custom_zps6e6bee62.gif

 

 

Now Clark is part of a Beatles tribute band called Them Beatles and the whole reason he wanted this guitar was to do some of the songs from that Madison Square gig in their show. Now they are a tribute band that go the whole hog and dress up in all the right cloths and have the right guitars etc.. So he wanted it with a natural finish and a thin lacquer to replicate it.

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And now the build (I will keep this light)..

 

So heres the guitar before... Very nice to play and HEAVY for a Junior

DSC02964_zpscc20ef34.jpg

 

and heres the pickup.. its a big sucker :)

DSC02979_zps39387e5e.jpg

 

So the first thing I did was design and make a cavity for the pickup in question.. The idea being that most of it is hidden under the pickguard and the top of the pickup is flush with the top of the cavity

DSC03111_zpsf5981145.jpg

 

Then I removed and plugged the wraparound bridge bushing holes (using mahogany dowels I made myself :))

DSC03357_zps05831c78.jpg

 

Then I drilled for the new tune o matic and stoptail and the toggle switch

DSC03414_zpsac4f0578.jpg

 

Then the wiring channels from the toggle switch all the way to the control cavity

DSC03432_zpscb4cf83e.jpg

DSC03457_zps9d6ca5a3.jpg

DSC03459_zps09ae3d13.jpg

 

Then I stripped the whole thing down

DSC03540_zps71dfd08f.jpg

 

And stained it to what I thought was the best colour

DSC03590_zps091a2ab6.jpg

 

More below

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And here its done and drying before I lacquer it

DSC03639_zpsb798d81d.jpg

 

Then time to get my spraying gear on ;)

DSC03647_zps0a32a324.jpg

 

Then I sprayed it with 15 coats of nitro

DSC03655_zps173af4ae.jpg

DSC03657_zpscc87f78c.jpg

 

Then after 3 weeks curing time I buffed it up

DSC03943_zps985007de.jpg

DSC03945_zps826b5eb1.jpg

DSC03958_zps90bccddd.jpg

 

Then I did all the wiring and put it all back together again and voilà :)

DSC03994_zpsd2c04269.jpg

DSC03999_zps572282fe.jpg

 

And here is Clark aka John with his finished product (and his Madison Square jacket and glasses) :D

82575526-dc07-4261-bd10-0a870688807e_zpsf0629de2.jpg

 

 

If your interested you can find out more about Them Beatles here http://www.thembeatles.com/ Apparently the guitars first gig was the Friday just gone at the Liverpool Philharmonic headlining Beatles Week :D

 

As I say, I will have a full and more detailed video up soon WITH the guitar playing :)

 

Well I hope you enjoyed.. More on my own builds very soon [thumbup] :)

 

Heres a quick vid when Clark played it for the first time

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I tip my hat to you my friend,your expertise and obsessive attention to detail is incredible,Clarkus will certainly look and sound even moreso the part of John Lennon when Them Beatles do their Madison Sq. Gardens part of their shows-you are a true artisan.I would love to see one of their performances because they have obsessive attention to detail in replicating every aspect of The Beatles' performances.To those who weren't around in the halcyon days of The Beatles and those who were there are want to relive them Clarkus and company are doing a great service and now you are also part of that great service.Take a well deserved bow guys.

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Excellent project! [thumbup] Love the way that turned out.

Thank you kind sir :)

 

And yes this project was perfect for what I have learned about building so far. I was VERY thankful to be given the opportunity to do it :)

 

And I was happy with the end result.. All we had to go by for the colour of the guitar was that old low res video that's on youtube which makes the finish look like a pale orange.. BUT everything I had read said it had more of a natural finish..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-bwKOpI5IE

 

The only picture that gave me that clue was this one which is such a shame its in black and white, but you can clearly see that the grain is showing.. So I had to make a colour up :)

john-lennon-guitarjpg-e1d6948bc678a692_zpsbabcf7df.jpg

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I tip my hat to you my friend,your expertise and obsessive attention to detail is incredible,Clarkus will certainly look and sound even moreso the part of John Lennon when Them Beatles do their Madison Sq. Gardens part of their shows-you are a true artisan.I would love to see one of their performances because they have obsessive attention to detail in replicating every aspect of The Beatles' performances.To those who weren't around in the halcyon days of The Beatles and those who were there are want to relive them Clarkus and company are doing a great service and now you are also part of that great service.Take a well deserved bow guys.

Thanks so much for those kind words..

 

And yes I was really impressed with them when I was doing my research at the beginning. The have all the wigs, costumes and guitars but they also have the mannerisms and the sound. Pretty cool. And im really happy to have been a part of it all

 

Heres some video someone has posted from the Philharmonic hall just a few days ago.. It shows the detail they go into (mostly :))

 

and they also did a world tour with Beatles Mania with some great stuff [thumbup] I too take my hats off to their efforts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnywFyhJDgY

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And here its done and drying before I lacquer it

DSC03639_zpsb798d81d.jpg

 

Then time to get my spraying gear on ;)

DSC03647_zps0a32a324.jpg

 

Then I sprayed it with 15 coats of nitro

DSC03655_zps173af4ae.jpg

DSC03657_zpscc87f78c.jpg

 

Then after 3 weeks curing time I buffed it up

DSC03943_zps985007de.jpg

DSC03945_zps826b5eb1.jpg

DSC03958_zps90bccddd.jpg

 

Then I did all the wiring and put it all back together again and voilà :)

DSC03994_zpsd2c04269.jpg

DSC03999_zps572282fe.jpg

 

And here is Clark aka John with his finished product (and his Madison Square jacket and glasses) :D

82575526-dc07-4261-bd10-0a870688807e_zpsf0629de2.jpg

 

 

If your interested you can find out more about Them Beatles here http://www.thembeatles.com/ Apparently the guitars first gig was the Friday just gone at the Liverpool Philharmonic headlining Beatles Week :D

 

As I say, I will have a full and more detailed video up soon WITH the guitar playing :)

 

Well I hope you enjoyed.. More on my own builds very soon [thumbup] :)

Well done Rabs, I like the way it turned out. BTW what was the total time to finish the project?

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Well done Rabs, I like the way it turned out. BTW what was the total time to finish the project?

Cheers man :)

 

Well the actual time when I was working on the guitar, I had a few delays while waiting for hardware and tools to be delivered AND I had to work in the hottest heat wave we have had for a while which slowed me down a bit I think it took about 15 days, then 3 weeks to cure and then another couple of days to finish it.

 

There were a few steps I left out of this thread as I just wanted to keep it light, I will do a full build video when I get the footage of it playing through an amp :)

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Thanks so much for those kind words..

 

And yes I was really impressed with them when I was doing my research at the beginning. The have all the wigs, costumes and guitars but they also have the mannerisms and the sound. Pretty cool. And im really happy to have been a part of it all

 

Heres some video someone has posted from the Philharmonic hall just a few days ago.. It shows the detail they go into (mostly :))

 

and they also did a world tour with Beatles Mania with some great stuff [thumbup] I too take my hats off to their efforts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnywFyhJDgY

Them Beatles are not bad, but they have a ways to go to beat the Fabfour and the legends of Liverpool tribute bands. Check them out on Youtube.

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I just watched the Them Beatles videos and was floored by their covers and the attention to detail from the exacting vocals and instrumentation right down to the stage movements,facial expressions and body language of the guys-they have studied their respective roles intensively and it shows.

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Wonderful news Rabs. So you have got your first guitar on your CV and it's bye bye IT.

 

Best wishes for the future.

Thanks man... and god I hope so.. I don't think I could ever stand to go back to that stupid industry again... :)

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What a fantastic end-result, Rabs!

 

Magnificent work!

 

eusa_clap.gifeusa_clap.gifeusa_clap.gifeusa_clap.gifeusa_clap.gif

 

So does the CC get mounted to the body from underside - hence the back-plate?

 

P.

Hmm, well no... We did talk about that when we first started discussing the project.. And for me the idea of going through the back was unnerving to say the least...

 

You see the CC pickups are really meant for archtops and the originals come with a large plate which would go inside the body and attach with three screws on the top and I had NO idea of how that ever attached to a solid body guitar.. So when we researched the pickups we found a more Tele like shaped pickup and decided it would be safer to go through the top.. So what I had to do was drill like a channel inside and under the cavity to make the pickup flush to the hole (if you see what I mean :))...

 

So the back plate was just for the aesthetics to make it a proper replica (sort of ;))

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Hello Rabs!

 

Great job! [thumbup]

 

Those Lollar CC's sound truly awesome!

 

Enjoy it! [thumbup]

 

Cheers... Bence

Thanks man... and yes the guitar when it was plugged in was LOUD.. louder than any or my other Les Pauls... Mind you in the video above when its being played unplugged its damn loud acoustically.. Also I changed the capacitor to allow more out and man this guitar is bright with a rounded sound from the highs through to the bass. I wish it was my guitar :)

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Hey troll bucket, this thread his about the guitar.

 

+1 rabs! great job

Thanks man...

 

And well this thread is kind of about Them Beatles too as the whole reason I did this was because they want all of the details to be right when they play so Clark wanted a guitar that was as close as possible..

 

The whole crux if this project was really getting that pickup all flush, like ive seen people do that mod where theres just a gap at the top of the pickup or where they have made a bigger pickguard and just mounted the pickup to that.. But Clark wanted it done properly so it looked as authentic as possible :) which is admirable that they care that much.

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Nice work Sir! That came out fantastic! It's a dead ringer for the custom shop guitar! [thumbup] [thumbup]

Thanks man, that means a lot coming from someone who pays as much attention to detail as you do [thumbup] :)

 

I may have to make one of these for myself one day.. It really was that nice and the sound was something else.. I cant wait to get that footage and hear it again :)

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