Westfield Mini Gibson Les Paul Upgrade Part 1: Stripdown and Evaluation

Budget priced guitars are a good place to start modifying and practice basic luthiery techniques such as fret dressing and crowning, finish repairs, wood repairs (e.g. screw hole filling) if these are your aims. However, my intention with this guitar was to improve it cosmetically to make a playable display piece.

Due to its simplicity being a single cutaway, solid body, contoured top 3/4 scale guitar with one humbucking pickup and no tremolo system, there is less hardware to remove and replace than with most conventional instruments. The only parts which could not easily be removed without risking damage to the guitar body and/or finish were the six inserts for the string end stops. I considered repainting or gilding these but decided that the time spent on this would not be repaid by the minor cosmetic improvement.

I removed all the hardware and wiring and retained these for spare parts and set up for the next phase which involved installing carrying out any necessary repairs and modifications then installing the replacement hardware. You can see from the picture of the headstock and neck in the gallery above that the headstock section is spliced onto the straight section of the neck. This was the same as on the BMG Mini May 3/4 scale Brian May Red Special guitar. In this example, it offers a cost-effective means of achieving the relatively acute neck angle characteristic of a Gibson Les Paul guitar by simplifying routing operations.

Next article:
Part 2: Hardware Modification & Repairs
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