Trade Secrets!

How to notch the saddles on your Les Paul


Issue 196 August 01, 2013



Erick Coleman uses a hammer and X-Acto knife before filing. On this video he also talks with Dan Erlewine about how a 1954 Les Paul went from Bondo Mess to Relic Goldtop, with multiple luthiers contributing to its restoration.
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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.

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

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