Finally got a good pic of my Les Paul


Country Gent
Jul 9, 2014
Commack, NY
I've been reluctant to say the following, and was gonna do a PM to you but what the heck??? Life is short...I turned 55 about a month ago, so sue me....

Take yourself back to 2006 and 2007 and 2008....
I can remember it like it was almost yesterday....
(que the wavy lines of a flashback)....

[from a pre-recorded Notepad memo for this post].....

Well, to be honest, it isn't a Gibson. I made her.
I couldn't/can't afford a real live Gibson, so I made my own! It was a labor of love that cost me a whole year, and taught me many many things (inlays and binding for example!). I started this project around Labor Day 2007 and finished around Labor Day 2008 (!!)
**I made this Les Paul back in the glory days of 2008**.

All the rage back then was for Doppelgangers- the official name for counterfeit Gibson Les Pauls. At the same time was a strong desire for relic guitars (50s Broadcasters, etc).

Thanks to the, forums and others, I was able to get plans for a '59 replica. Hand-carved (with scars from a chisel to prove it!) on selected-by-me-maple from a local supplier (to look similar to Jimmy Page's Number 1 '59) and mahogany neck- and body- blanks from StewMac, as well as a pre-slotted rosewood fretboard, I built and assembled my Doppelganger. It is to 1959 spec, using Gibson parts for the ABR-1 (nickel-plated) and Tailpiece (aluminum nickel-plated), jackplate and screws. The Tuners are (now-no-longer-made)Tone Pros Klusson copies (killer, btw). Pickup rings are (VERY hard to get) light-aged CreamTone. I'd never done inlays, but what the hell? eBay got me the 'Gibson' mother-of-pearl and '59-accurate fretboard inlays. A great guy on the ReRanch forum named George made me the "Les Paul model" decal, which I imbedded under clear gloss Watco nitro. All of that was on a eBay-acquired holly veneer (like the original Gibsons) applied over the headstock. That was done in black StewMac nitro and Watco gloss.
**Of note is that I stupidly added a thin shim (on the headstock-stock end) at the last minute prior to gluing the long-tenon neck, back in 2008. I would regret that. The angle was slightly off/shallow, [the bridge could go no lower) and in October of 2019 I laboriously removed the glued-in neck, removed the shim and did a little sanding to get the correct 4.5-degree neck angle. I sweated off about 20 pounds, but it only took about 2 hours start to finish, with some worrisome finish issues, but...
She has Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers, with 50's wiring, and a MojoTone vintage-taper neck volume pot. Tusq nut, and CTS pots where else. Schaller straplocks, for the tone...
Even though it's a Doppelganger, I left enough evidence that she isn't a real live Gibson. The thickness of the body binding, for example, is more reminissent of the 70s perhaps. I have other clues here and there that this isn't a 'real-live-Gibson'. I've let my wife know too, and all of her kids know too, so it should never be sold as anything other than a replica.
That said, I would whole-heartedly stack this guitar up against any Gibson Les Paul for sound and playabilty, fit and finish.
Wow..... that looks like amazing work and accompanied even more by your knowledge, discipline in the design/build process. Simply awesome...and beautiful!!

Back in Black

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jun 22, 2020
Ottawa, Canada
** This may be a non-excitable thread, but I just had to show pride in my Number 1 being finally shot as it really is.
I've tried a Kodak Digital camera ($100 at Walgreens many years ago), I've tried a cell phone, I've tried a smartphone (Apple 7+), but I think I finally got a decent pic of my Les Paul through my Lenovo tablet, bought a year ago.
Kodak digital camera-
View attachment 204218

Apple smart phone-

View attachment 204220
Lenovo tablet-
View attachment 204222
I think the last one the Lenovo tablet pic, is where my Les Paul is at.
I didn't have to mess with color or contrast or exposure or balance or anything in Photoshop with the Lenovo shot. The shot is just a 60 old-fashioned bulb under a beige lamp shade about 10 feet away, and a LED desk lamp sitting on my computer chair point up towards it.

edited for spelling (!!!)
Hey TD,

That's beautiful!

I'm presently looking at a Gibson LP ''Tribute in satin Honey Burst, have yet to pull the trigger, but getting close.




Country Gent
Feb 12, 2011
Iowa City, IA
I actually shot the burst three times in 2 days. The neck, sides/back and fretboard were masked off, I gave it a lemon stain (let it dry of course, then mixed up my aniline dyes with Watco nitro. First shot was too blue at the edges, so after thinking about it the next morning I simply used lacquer thinner on a rag and erased it, lol. Yes it was that simple. Let that dry after an hour or two (it flashes off pretty quick) then remixed (without any blue, but with tobacco color, duh!) and re-shot. All was well until the final pass or so, and the gun sputtered. Even though I had strained my color through coffee filters, I had large specks appear. Ugh! soo close. So, broke out the thinner again and erased it. Final burst was a bit more vibrant, and that was by design- I used aniline dyes for historical accuracy mostly, but also how it was react to UV and age and time. After the final clears, and waiting the usual 30 days the final sanding/polish, I set it out in the sun of late September for a half-hour here and there, on a weekend and maybe a Friday afternoon. I could literally watch it slowly fade out the vibrancy of the reds/browns, right before my eyes. Know when to say "when"!
Well, this is supposed to be thread about pics, but here's a few of the build-
build 005.jpg

-That first one was one the clues that this is not a real live Gibson. It's under the maple cap, but some of it can be seen if you take the PAF's out.

Lester 002.jpg
Lester 043.jpg Lester 062.jpg Lester 085.jpg
Anyways, these pics above are from the Kodak digital. Can't remember if I tweaked anything on them in Photoshop or not. Pretty accurate I think actually. Notice in the last two the burst has already retreated!
And now, using my Lenovo tablet- also pretty accurate I think.