New Les Paul

got me one

Well…that is not exactly the WHOLE truth. Hey, it’s truthful in full context.

Someone threw a Memphis Les Paul Copy in the dumpster at the apartments where I was living a while back. A friend that is still living there pulled it out and saved it for me. All I knew was that it was black guitar until today. Price was right.

New to me…Les Paul copy…I got one…there you have it.

It’s the really cheap version with a bolt-on neck. I think they were sold for $100 or so back in the early 80s.

All that said…I was very surprised.

The neck feels nice. The frets look good and smooth. The binding is nice and smooth as are the fake-pearl block inlays. It does look like a black LP Custom. The truss rod need adjusting but other than that it looks very straight. Can not tell any more until it gets set up and strings are put on it. I can say that this neck is a LOT better than the Variax 600.

The nut fell off when I took the as-rusty-as-they-get strings off. Whoever owned this thing had no idea about how to string up a guitar. All were wound backward on the posts, and were not wound around the post AT ALL, not even half way.

The original neck pickup is missing but had been replaced with a gosh-knows-what humbucker, that has a black coil and a cream colored coil, non-covered type. I think even Gibson used those on some guitars. A lot of copies have them. Does not matter. It was not wired at all, and may be bad. Some of the wiring on that pickup itself looks like it could be messed up.

The bridge pickup is original, but in spite of looking exactly like a chrome humbucker on the outside it is really a single coil pickup with a big chrome cover on it.

The pickup switch is a single pole double throw. No problems there unless it is no good or I want to wire this thing in some odd way.

Bridge is it is a faithful reproduction of a typical LP bridge, with crappy plating. No problems there, but I might have a real one in a box somewhere. Might fit. Might not be necessary.

Tuners are worse than crap. These look like the exact same tuners I replaced on the Ibanez acoustic a few months ago. They have to go, soon. There will be no way to get and keep this thing in tune until then. Regardless, I have all 6 from the acoustic and they are just about brand new. I should be able to get a set of 6 out of the 12 at hand that might do in the short term…maybe. They are all might loose.

Wiring looks fine. I suspect the pots are dirty or no good, but could be lucky in that department.

It will be fun to see if this can be turned into a playable guitar.

Post us some before and after photos phoo.

You’ll have to name this guitar “The Phoenix” rising from the ashes (dumpster) to a new axe! :agree:

Or “The Phoonix” :laugh:

Hey, if was not in your hands before… and it is now… then it’s “new”.

Yeah, if you have a chance, flog some pics up for us!


wow - I can’t help but think… I just pray the idiot who threw it away doesn’t have any children.

Keep us posted - If I had parts I’d send 'em for ya.

I’ll get pictures up this week.

I needed to get it playing before doing anything else as a proof of concept to see if it was worthy of fixing up, so it’s been dusted off, bad pick up not reinstalled, strings put on it and the truss rod tightened a bit. Nothing else. So far so good. It will not hold tuning worth doodly (no surprise there), but it plays really well (very nice surprise).

The one pickup left in it is crap. It is literally held together by the magnet. At this point it will need two pickups installed (both replaced - do not see either being usable). I just happened to have a replacment switch already in case that does not work.

The body is plywood, with a veneer. An interesting side affect is that this body is essentially semi-hollow with a nice natural acoustic resonance, even though it is nearly as heavy as a real LP. That is pretty cool, though that makes it much less real-LP-like.

My son is thrilled with it. He has not learned yet that “it is not a real Gibson or Fender” is generally considered a bad thing by some folks. :)

Any idea who the maker is? Any identifying marks?

Probably made in Korea.

This one is a dead ringer, except for the dot inlays on the fretboard. Mine are blocks like a LP Custom. The rest looks the same. The model number of mine is 103B.

Some interesting comments here:…1

Find your new pups here:

I can already hear Magic Tracks eminating from this guitar…
I heard a guitar player say one time…

It’s not the guitar…
It’s the Nut Behind It that makes the guitar speak…


gonna be sweet!

After looking at the close ups of the nut and the truss rod cover I suspect the worst. I hope I’m wrong. It looks like someone had tried very hard to get the action down. I only hope they didn’t snap the truss rod in the process. Not an impossible repair, but tedious. Bolt on neck would make it simple actually.

Heh… I’ve seen and played a few “Memphis” guitars. They are bottom end but with a bit of work, some good parts and a bit of TLC… I bet you can make decent axe out of that thing.


Thanks, Teryeah!!!

Great prices at GuitarFetish. I’m picking up pickup, tuners, and knobs from them. Certainly don’t mind giving them a try for this project, and if they are good for any other project. I’m still looking for pickup replacements for the red Charvel. I’m not willing to put down $360 or so for that thing (real original replacement electronics from Charvel for that model).

I think the truss rod is is good shape, Poppa W. That’s not a worry. I tightened it just a touch more tonight, and that’s all it seems it need so far.

On the other hand, the nut is totally loose and will fall off (can slide it back and forth as well). It needs gluing. It’s actually cracked in half, but it’s been glued and seems fine, though it looks like crap. The filing and all that also seems ok. I don’t think it’s going to need any more than a little spot of glue to keep it in place and some cosmetic sanding.

Good tuners will go a long ways to fixing the tuning problems.

Looks good Phoo!

I had a Memphis copy of a fender mustang, the tuners were bad on that too.
Real cheep tuners and the weiring was a little light.
The mustang was fun to play.
If I still had it I would do like your doing.
Build it into something.

I figured you all get a kick out of seeing the insides of the “humbucker” that originally came on this guitar.

Yesterday I replaced the selector switch and installed the other pickup. It works now, but the pots are all so scratchy that they may need replacing. I don’t think a squirt of cleaner will solve their problems. The jack is also beyond hope.

I also cleaned up and set the nut, lowered strings a tad and set the harmonics. All is very good actually.

Already ordered parts are to be here 11/25 (UPS).

Total, assuming the need to replace the pots and jack, will be just over $120. Not bad for a “New Les Paul”, even a throw away copy.


While scrounging around in my old guitar parts I found just about all pieces for this…um…parts guitar. It was given to me about 15 years ago by the music shop I was going repairs for as a parts guitar. Truly, it was not worth selling in the shape it was in, so they were going to toss it. The only parts I was able to use were the whammy bar (just the handle) and one pickup. In all seriousness nothing else was worth keeping.

The bridge went on today as did a set of black mini-inline Schallers that I just happened to already have. In the picture I am using Goo Gone on the fretboard to remove sticky crap (gosh knows what it is). Really, I do not care if the goo gone is bad for it or not.

The finish looks like black polyurethane, complete with runs, drips and overspray (really really bad). The nut is graphite, left over from an earlier experiment.

Anyway, since I had started working on the Memphis I figured I would put this thing together one more time just for the fun of it. It might be good if anyone wants to play screaming heavy metal and does not care if they are in tune or how bad it sounds. If I can get it playing half way anything it will be a victory.