Easily the best selling of all project guitars, Les Paul style kits are a popular choice for guitar builders. This mirrors actual sales of electric guitars with the Gibson Les Paul remaining very popular up to this day along with the Gibson SG and Les Paul Jr. But how simple are they to assemble? Do they sound anything like the real thing?
A history lesson, Les Paul Guitars
You are probably familiar with the name Les Paul, one of the early pioneers of electric guitar and a highly regarded musical pioneer in his own right. Gibson and Les Paul collaborated on the first version of the Les Paul introduced in 1951, featuring the distinctive archtop single cutaway body, two P90 pickups and distinctive trapeze style bridge.
Ten years later most likely due to dwindling sales Gibson re-engineered the Les Paul adding a second cutaway and reducing the thickness of the body which eventually went on to become the Gibson SG. Best known as the guitar of choice for players such as Angus Young Jerry Garcia and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. Les Paul himself wasn’t overly impressed with the SG and parted ways with Gibson. However after a number of well known guitarists such as Eric Clapton started using the traditional Les Paul the guitar regained it’s popularity and Les Paul again started working with Gibson. Here’s an early clip of Les Paul playing his iconic Les Paul guitar. Out of interest the lady in the clip is Mary Ford, Les Paul’s then wife prior to their divorce in 1961.
Why Buy a Les Paul Kit?
Why not purchase a Stratocaster or Telecaster Kit? Why are Les Paul guitar kits popular? It really comes down to the style of music you prefer playing. Les Paul’s are fitted out with two humbuckers (more on guitar pickups here) allowing for more gain than a single coil guitar such as a Stratocaster, making them ideal for rock and heavier styles of music. Les Paul’s are traditionally a warmer sounding instrument and many argue they also have better sustain. While some may make the point that these qualities are only the case with an actual store bought guitar, many of these characteristics of the guitar are due to the actual style of the guitar e.g. shape of the body, timber used for crafting the body, the bridge and electrical components.
Obviously the pickups and associated hardware won’t be of the same quality but in most cases the body will be made from Mahogany with flamed maple top as per the real deal. If fitted out with P90 pickups (or something of a similar quality) and hardware you can expect to have a pretty decent guitar on your hands.
Check out this video to see how a Les Paul Guitar Kit sounds: (*please note the owner has fitted this out with Seymour Duncan Pickups)
Our Les Paul Guitar Kits
Our LP style kits are bolt on neck unlike traditional Les Paul’s. Many kit guitar builders prefer this, but if you prefer a set neck we can arrange this for you. We also offer the option of sealing your timber for finishing in a solid color or leaving the timber bare if you prefer to stain and seal the body yourself. You can customise your order to include three humbuckers, a range of timbers including Mahogany with flamed Maple top (which looks much like the traditional Les Paul) and your choice of neck and fretboard timbers. Available in left and right handed.You can see our full range of guitar kits here.