“Les Paul” ’59 Guitar Kit Review -
Precision Guitar of North America
This may very well be my last LP style guitar kit review for a myriad of reasons. For one, I’m tired of building the same style guitar over and over… Rant/ And for two Gibson has cracked down on protecting their trademark guitar design and companies like BYO Guitar, and Bartlett are no longer offering kits. Precision’s kit is not an exact replica of the Gibson Les Paul and is not advertised as such so it may very well slip under the legal infringement wire and continue to be available as it stands… Even so, nobody is going to confuse this for a knock off copy… That is not what building a guitar from scratch or a kit is all about… And if Gibson can’t stand the flattery… Well I say screw em… I paid for and own half a dozen of their Guitars and I love them… Building a guitar is a different thing. /Rant.
Okay… Single Cut, Arch Top, Set Neck Guitar kit Made in Canada Review:
My expectations of this kit were pretty high because I have been in contact with many “hobbyist luthiers” that have purchased one and the only real complaints I’ve heard have been about the time it takes to get one. With only one exception they have all been very pleased with the fit and finish of these guitar kits.
The Kit As Advertised:
“Chambered LP Style Carved Top With Trapezoid Inlays, Maple Veneer On The Headstock… The body based around the 59 standard, it has a sweeping carved top, a shaped lower bout, the mahogany body is chambered for less weight but still retains tremendous tonal qualities… attention to detail, the fit of neck and body, the carved top, the lower bout, the transitions of the head stock, the geometries, all come together to make this the best “guitar bones” available.
Current List Price: $444.00″ ( http://precisionguitarkits.com/)
- Mahogany body with carved solid maple cap, Quarter-sawn two pc mahogany neck, Neck pocket precisely cut for precision join, Ebony fretboard, 1 11/16” nut width,12″ FB radius, Jescar Medium Jumbo Fret Wire (.100” x .045”), 60’s Medium “C” neck profile, .8″ thick at the 1st fret, .885″ thick at the 12th fret, Neck angle is 4.4 deg, Long tennon, cut for pickup, Maple headstock veneer, 13.5 degree headstock angle, Channels for electronics, Bridge and Stop Piece are are drilled for large studs – 11.3 mm or 7/16″ diameter, Bridge Post spacing is 2.83″ or 72 mm, Stop Tail Piece Post spacing is 3.25″ or 82 mm.
The Precision Guitar Kit as it Arrived
I was surprised it was shipped so quickly due to the fact I’d heard so many complaints about how long Precision took to do things and how difficult they were to contact. From many of the posts on guitar forums and message boards, I had been left with the impression this company was flaky… I was thinking: Yeah… drunk Canadians building guitars after hours in wood shop... Funny how the littlest thing can give you the wrong impression. My order was handled in a timely manner (about 5 weeks because I requested a kit without bridge and tail holes pre-drilled) The packaging was (in my opinion) a little light but my guitar arrived safe enough.
And oh… It came with a Hex key for adjusting the truss rod… Thanks Guys, That is really nice!
The first thing I noticed is how remarkably clean the wood is… Hell… That’s damn nice Mahogany and the Maple cap (even though I ordered the least expensive plain top) is really pretty… The Ebony fret board is clean and black as sin and Oh my god the fretwork is phenomenal… Truthfully… Better fret work than any Gibson USA Guitar I’ve ever seen, played or worked on.
The Quality of Wood and Workmanship that went into this kit compared to the Asian Import kits is like catching a clean breath of air while standing in a Mexico City Dump… Something to be cherished.
It is a two piece back but I’ll be damned if anyone could tell that after it’s finished because the wood is so well matched and joined. The routs are sanitary and Gibson OEM Control cavity covers drop right in.
One of the more interesting aspects of this kit is the neck tenon and heel joint, as you can see they have a radius. This is not the traditional way the joint is made on a Les Paul but it has a big advantage of allowing for a tighter fit and a stronger joint because it reduces the stress in that critical area.
Because the workmanship is so clean the neck drops in the pocket like… Well… You can’t get a tighter or cleaner fit than this:
I could go on and on about the Quality and Precision of this guitar kit but it will only get redundant… There is nothing about the quality of this DIY Guitar kit I can criticize… So here are some more pictures of Precision Guitars really nice work:
Alright, I’m sure you want to know…
What are my complaints?
Well… I have exactly two complaints, and neither is with the quality or workmanship of the guitar kit or Precision Guitar’s customer service.
Complaint #1 The headstock is based on Gibson’s open book and I like that… I also understand that this is not a Copy of a Gibson but something doesn’t seem right to me about the shape… Too flared, too tall and too wide at the top:
Complaint #2 Again only a mater of preference and taste… These kits come pre drilled for Metric hardware for the most part and it is necessary to special order them either un-drilled or drilled to your specs. I’d rather see them come “stock” drilled for historic style machine heads and US bridges and stop tails… Just my 2 cents.
Okay… I’m Done Griping.
High Quality Les Paul Style Guitar Kit
Precision Guitar Kits based in Canada wins hands down for quality in Workmanship, Materials and Service… I mean it, Hands Down the Best Build Your Own Guitar kit available at a very reasonable price… Even with ALL the up charges for things like body and neck binding the price is reasonable considering the quality of the product. These guy’s obviously care about what they do. The high points: Perfect Cuts and Joints, Excellent Quality Wood , Brilliant Design Innovation, and Amazingly clean fret installation and finish.
I can easily recommend this guitar kit for the hobbyist luthier because there just aren’t any problems to overcome… I can also recommend this kit because it is the the makings of what could be a truly fine musical instrument if assembled and finished with care.
I’m so impressed I’m going to toss them a link:
And to all of you that have asked me to review this kit… Yeah this is the one to buy.
I will update this review when the kit is finished (Probably by the end of summer… If the wife and kids will leave me alone). I have some interesting plans for this guitar and I’m sure there will be some spin off articles related to the build.
Precision Guitar kit Update:
I am so impressed with the quality of Precision Guitar Kit’s Product… I bought another one: