Trade Secrets!

How to notch the saddles on your Les Paul

Issue 196 August 01, 2013

Trade Secrets Video
And check out this reclamation job!
Erick Coleman talks with Dan Erlewine about how this 1954 Les Paul went from Bondo Mess to Relic Goldtop as multiple luthiers contributed to its restoration.
Trouble viewing video? View it on YouTube
About the guitar in this video: It started in 1954 as a standard Les Paul Goldtop with two P-90s and a McCarty wraptail bridge. Somebody converted it to a '57 style with two humbuckers and a tune-o-matic bridge/stop tailpiece. After that conversion went badly, the guitar was sent to United Lutherie to set it right. The customer wanted it restored to the McCarty bridge setup, but with humbuckers instead of P-90s.
blankAugust 1, 2013
blankIn this Trade Secrets Video:
  • checkmarkHammering the string to set the saddle slot
  • checkmarkX-Acto knife and file for shaping the slot
  • checkmarkA modification that got a bad start gets rescued
  • checkmarkDon MacRostie's CNC work followed by Erick's hand-shaping
  • checkmarkDave Johnson's excellent relic goldtop finish
Problem-solving products for this kind of work:
Fretting Hammer
Our fretting hammer is just right for fretwork.
Pigtail Aluminum Wraparound Bridge
Made of lightweight aluminum for tone, with a slightly lower profile to help solve high string action problems.
TonePros Locking Studs
Retrofit your wraparound bridge or stop tailpiece for better tone and sustain!
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String Spacing Rule
Accurate string spacing without calipers, calculators or shop rulers.
Gauged Nut Slotting Files
Produce round-bottom nut slots so your strings seat properly.
Mitchell Abrasive Cord
Handy abrasive-coated cord in 4 thicknesses, great for smoothing nut slots.
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