Ever built an LP Log inspired guitar?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Layne Matz, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    Out of curiosity have you ever seen someone build a replica or copy?

    What if you tried to do it how Les Paul originally did it?

    Would be fun if you had the money and time to spend on it.
     
  2. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't not take a lot of money so much, mostly time. But why would you? The log was Les's proof of concept for what was in his head and wasn't even taken seriously until Leo fender came along with the Fender Esquire which ultimately became the Telecaster.

    To compete with Leo Fender, Gibson ginned up a prototype and asked LP to endorse it. Les Paul's input into the LP model was just about zero, but he did like it and the rest is history.

    Even though LP was forward thinking for the day, he didn't invent the electric guitar. But he did help Gibson capitalize on it.

    Gibson was making these as early as 1936.

    [​IMG]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_ES-150
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  3. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    Why you ask?
    For the sheer hell and experience of it.
    Im also curious how acoustic the log was with and without the hollowbody sides. If i had money to spedn and time for extensive unneccessary projects i would do it. Its a learning eexperience at the vary least- plus if you do it alright(easier said than done) you might have a fun playable instrument that inspires you one way or another.
     
  4. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    Good points. It would be a fun project that could teach you something that never occurred to you before. To do it right, you would need a donor acoustic guitar and a band saw mostly. I'll bet you could find an acoustic with a straight neck where the top is bellying and not playable for pretty cheap.

    From what I read, Les built it in the Gretsch factory from a production model Gretsch acoustic and as far as I know Gretsch may not have made electric guitars in the 40's so there may not have been any donor electric guitar parts available in the factory.

    It would take a bunch of research to get parts that were period correct.
     
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  5. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    I read it was an Epiphone factory, I could be wrong. This might be substantiated by the early crude vibrola that can be seen in pictures of it. I think the Vibrola was mainly a Gibson and Epiphone thing. Gretschs had Bigsbys, but I think ive seen earlier models of acoustocs eith odd no name vibrato tailpiece systems.

    It just occurred to me that one of these could make neat 6 string lap steel.
     
  6. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    Ya, it could have been the Epiphone factory. My memory isn't what it used to be. A lap steel would even be easier.
     
  7. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    Been there, done that:thumb:
    http://www.everythingsg.com/threads/classy-homeade-lap-steel-one-of-a-kind-pickup.33712/#post-493821

    I have since installed those electeonics in my acoustoc guitar. I need to get some new pots and wires so I can wire a stratocaster humbucker on there. When i was practicing with another guitarist it waa just too much to bring with along side my acoustic, my SG for fingerstyle, my strat for slide and once my SG Bass. I wixh i would use it more. Regular 6 string pleases me enough.
     
  8. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    Someday ehen i can afford it I'll fix up the lap steel. Whenever i have spare money it isnt reallt spare because theres always a bill of some form to be paid, it sucks.

    Gotta love this "capitalistic" American life.
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Les Paul's "log" guitar is alive and well in this century.

    I believe that Les made the first one to prove a point: namely that he could put some pickups
    and a guitar neck on a 4x4 and play jazz on it. He did this thing. But people reacted with closed
    minds. They couldn't relate to a guitar that didn't look like a guitar. People said:
    "What're ya, some kinda nut or somethin'..."

    Les said, "People hear with their eyes, you know..."
    Log.gif
    So, working nights at the Epiphone factory in New York City,
    he cobbled together his contraption and it played just as well as it did before,
    but it looked like a guitar, so people were able to listen better.

    The log has no acoustic tone. It's just a 4x4 with strings. You can hear the strings ring
    of course, but there is no difference when the acoustic wings are attached and when they are
    detached.

    Wood is not magnetic, so the only tone there is from the log is given by the strings
    vibrating in the magnetic field of the pickups. This was Les' point. He would have preferred
    a piece of railway track for his experiment, but this would be too heavy and would require
    elaborate equipment to cut it to size. So he used a 4x4 and proved his point dramatically.

    Out of this fun, the solid body electric guitar was born. Les and Leo Fender knew each other and
    talked all this stuff over, as Les did with Epaminondas Stathopoulos, who allowed Les to work at
    his factory, inventing stuff. Gibson came late to the solid body party, partly because their ES series of electric/acoustic guitars worked fine for Jazz and
    they didn't need to use a plank. They made fun of Fender's "Canoe Paddle" guitar for about six months, and then realized he was onto something and they'd better get in the game.

    Anyway, if you want a "log" guitar, all you need to do is buy an Epiphone ES-339 P-90 pro.
    I have one, I paid like $339.00 for it in 2015, and it is a very well made instrument, which adhere's
    almost exactly to old Les' idea, except it's much more elegantly done.
    Caledonia 2016@100.jpg
    The instrument has a solid maple center block, running the length of the body.
    It has a laminated top and back, hollow "wings" above and below
    the center block, weighs eight pounds, has an excellent mahogany guitar neck set into the center
    block, a pair of P-90 pickups screwed into the center block, a tuna matic bridge screwed into the
    center block... Les Paul would understand this guitar instantly if you put it in his hands.

    And it does everything Les would have asked of it, except maybe go low impedance.
    Oh and Les Paul invented the DOOR in the back of the guitar, for access to the
    electronics. This Epiphone ought to have a door in the back, but it doesn't.

    There you have it. You don't have to massacre any old garage sale jazz guitar, you don't have to
    glue anything or screw anything, you just buy this excellent instrument and play the hell
    out of it... which is actually not possible. I've been trying for three years now and there's still plenty
    of Hell left. This one has practically NO acoustic tone, it's just a maple log with hollow cavities above
    and below, boxed in with guitar-like curved sides, and lovely veneer and finish.

    It's an electric guitar. And it sounds and plays great. And it follows the Les Paul design very closely.
    I like mine a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  10. Yes G

    Yes G Active Member

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    Not exactly.... but this happened one Saturday and was totally built out of unwanted throw-away parts.
    It ended up being a lot of fun to play and it gets a fair amount of play-time.

    Log-A-Rhythm Ugly Stick 004.jpg The Ugly Stick by Log-A-Rhythm June 2017.jpg
     
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Good one!
     

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