The Demokratik Republik of Kalifornia

Do you ever get the feeling that something is wrong?

1959 Les Paul Guitar Kit

  I literally get hammered on here to review this or that DIY Guitar kit… “Can you do a review on the BYO ’59 LP Kit?”… ” I see you did a solid top, but how good Are the Bulldog LP-S Kits?” … “When are you going to do an SG or an LP Junior?” and “How about one of those Precision Guitar LP Kits”… And honestly… I’m a little tired of building Les Paul Guitars and indeed, it makes my wife crazy…

So… I do what I want… However,

’59 Les Paul Guitar Kit Review

 This kit is reported to have been made from plans drawn from an original 1959 Gibson Les Paul AKA “The Holy Grail” of electric guitars that was disassembled by the builder of these kits and it utilizes all the traditional materials and methods from the real deal.

“Historically Accurate ‘58, ’59 1960  top carve, one piece mahogany body, one piece quarter sawn mahogany neck, Rosewood fretboard, original style celluloid inlays, correct 14 degrees headstock angle, correct truss rod end cavity, correct 10/32″ truss rod thread, fret nibs, 12″ fretboard radius, correct long tenon, solid Canadian maple top, .”

  This DIY Guitar review may actually be a second look at a product that was available a couple of years ago that caused quite a stir on a guitar forum I am a member of… Someone with a gripe sent me one and basically wanted me to expose the kits as junk … However, because it was only one kit of very many I did not do a write up on it because it was possible that the kit I was sent was just one bad example of the product.  Now… I’m not at all sure about any of this… It’s only a hunch…  There may also be some other shenanigans involved in this example of the unfinished Les Paul kit as well and I will disclose everything that makes me think this during the course of this review.

 The ’59 “Gibson Les Paul” Guitar Kit as it Arrived:


1959 Les Paul Reproduction Kit
1959 Les Paul Kit – Solid Plain Top


1 Piece Mahogany Body
1 Piece Mahogany Body


Fret Binding Nibs
Fret Binding or “Nibs”


pickup and neck pocket routs
Pickup and Neck Pocket Routing


 ’59 LP Replica Kit Quality:

Um, well… Wow:


Quality 59 LP Kit
The neck dropped into the pocket solid and straight as an arrow at the correct angle.


The wood is very “clean” and has a decent  “ring” to it. The maple cap is hard as good maple should be and the overall workmanship is very, very good.

The total weight of this kit as you see it is 7.2 lbs.; the headstock matches pretty much precisely within the range of all the examples and plans I have at my disposal.. The only thing I can identify as out of vintage correctness is the lack of “wings” that make up the headstock of the originals.


My only two gripes are these:


Neck Heel Gap
I can almost fit a razor blade in that little gap…


control cavity routing leftovers
Control cavity routing leftovers… Maybe needed a sharper bit.


 Building this ’59 LP Kit

Just a few shots of how it all comes together:

Clamps - Preparing to set the neck.
Clamps – Preparing to set the neck.


neck pocket and tenon straight as an arrow
The neck dropped right in. Pocket and tenon fit was straight as an arrow… NOTE: I bumped the laser when I shot this.


gluing a set neck
Neck glued and clamped.


  If you are looking closely you will notice that this kit has an ebony board and the inlays are white mother of pearl rather than rosewood and celluloid… It is an option for this kit and I bought it this way because that’s what I wanted.  However I did see highly detailed images of the rosewood boards and inlays and those were just as impressive as any I have seen.

pickup routing check
Pickup fit check… Yes they dropped right in.


Tail stop and bridge placement
Tail Stop and Bridge Placement


59 les paul intoning setup
Checking the truss rod operation intoning and set up…


installing ABR1 bridge posts
Threading ABR1 Bridge Post Holes (That maple is hard as tempered steel) NOTE: that flash of maple in the bottom of the pickup rout is rice paper thin.


  This Guitar kit is going together so well it kind of scares me. I sat and ploinked on it for a while after I set the bridge and did a pre-finish set up…  The damn thing plays like butter… I don’t think I’m even going to have to touch the frets. And man it “sings”  the raw tone of this instrument is most excellent. The quality and selection of woods, binding, inlays and overall fitment is excellent… I  give this LP  Kit a Double A+ with a bullet for quality and reported list price.

The Weirdness Behind this Guitar Kit

The reasons I think there may be something a little not right about this review:

I was contacted by someone claiming to want this kit built and “honestly reviewed” and they were willing to pay me to do it… I was basically given the money to purchase this kit and a little extra money in order to complete it.

The way this purchase was set up would have made it difficult to “cherry pick” the item shipped to me for inspection but not impossible to do so… I have no way of knowing for sure.

Also: the person that footed the bill for this may or may not be who he said he is, and may have some other agenda here, because after I purchased the kit with their money, I had some talks with the vendor I received it from… And the stories don’t match…

Basically I was told by the guy that footed the bill that the kit I had in my hands here was from a limited run… The vendor I got it from said he could get me all I wanted.

So… This review for what it’s worth:

These ’59 Les Paul Replica kits are not available just yet… I’m told they will be available soon at the price of about $700… I’m told I will be contacted when they (you know… that they… also known as Them) are ready to go to market with this kit… And as soon as that happens I’ll publish that info right here: (—Link to Somewhere in the Near Future… I Guess—)

My thinking on why this all came about is:  I’m being used as market research because my crazy blog here does currently get about 12,000 hits a month for things like this.

… Then again they (Those THEM) could just be trying to drive me crazy.



The Finished Guitar:

1959 Les Paul Replica Kit
The finished 1959 Les Paul Replica Kit


1959 Les Paul 1 piece back
1959 Les Paul Replica – The one piece back


59 Les Paul guitar replica kit
Kind of a Drastic… Burnt Pumpkin Pie Burst


June, 10, 2012:   Unfortunately there is still no word on when (or if) this kit will be available on the market.  

20 thoughts on “1959 Les Paul Guitar Kit

  1. I see a lot that makes me think Precision Guitar Kits?
    Pretty sure they have some doofus’ on MLP doing some piss poor guerrilla marketing …..

  2. No… Definitely not a Precision Guitars kit… They are totally different specs, not an accurate reproduction of the ’58 ~ ’60 Les Paul at all. But yeah there is something strange afoot with this kit’s origin. The guy behind this set a bunch of conditions with this whole thing, that I simply rejected right up front.

    Then today, he just came off with “Go ahead and publish now and I’ll give you the info on where the kit will be available when we are set up to sell them”.

    I can’t imagine that he’s afraid of what I was going to say because damn… This is a nice one… Bait and switch maybe?

    Dunno… Whatever I’ll express all my thoughts with the purchase info if/when I get it.

  3. Sounds like this was better quality than the BYO Custom, which is similarly priced?

  4. It would be difficult for me to compare the general quality of BYO Guitar’s ’59 LP kit to this kit because I have not had my hands on an example of their product to review.

    However, because I have seen very detailed images of the BYO kit from multiple sources I can say for sure that this kit is by far closer to being a replica of a 1958, 1959 or 1960 vintage Gibson Les Paul.

    The independent second hand reports I have of BYO’s kit are that the wood and workmanship is quite good though… Just not really a very close match to the real thing.

    This particular kit I’ve reviewed here is very fine quality indeed and could easily be made into a near exact replica… Except for the small snag that you can’t seem to freakin’ buy one at the moment.

  5. Hello Bud,

    I’m sorry that this kit will not be made widely available anytime soon. The reasons are many but most of all it is due to the Lacey Act. Yes, just like Gibson’s problem. I am not going to be able to produce many more of these kits due to raw material availability issues.

    The woods in your example and the previous other kits we have produced are legal but that supply has now dried up. We are looking for alternative sources but it seems unlikely we can solve the issue any time soon.

    Do enjoy your kit though,it looks like it will be a fine guitar and we are square, You held up your end and I did enjoy reading the review.

    I will contact you if the availability issues are resolved.


  6. Hey guy… I thought you disapeared.

    Okay that makes sence, I can see where legal issues would be a roadblock to producing these.

    Please do let me know if you can ever bring it to market because I have about 100 people nagging me for info on where they can get one. If you do resolve the wood avalability problem I think these woulsd sell like hotcakes.

  7. Hi
    is the kit available now?

    i was waiting since this post!

    hope to hear more from you 🙂


  8. Hey Village Idiot,
    First time caller and new listener here…
    Do you suppose Axe Man might be commisioned to make a single piece or other small run if a customer provided the lumber¿

  9. All I can do is publish your request here… Every E-mail I’ve sent the guy has gone unanswered for the past couple of months.

    There are guys out there (that aren’t so damn flaky) that do this kind of thing.

    Go look around at

  10. Is it available yet? I am ready to build now, But was waiting till you said something. Been checking here for almost a year now. Any word at all?

  11. I’d love to build this kit if it ever comes to market. Thank you for spending your time and money (well, not money for this particular kit i guess 😀 ) to review some of these chinese guitar kits.

  12. hello:
    this message is for Axe man. If I provide the wood could you make a kit like this one for me? How can I get in touch with you? I will attempt to monitor this post for a month or so waiting on a response.

  13. what about those eden lp on ebay for 200.00 with a poly finish,csb,natural,goldtop. just need hardware and electronics.supposed to be mahogany with veneer.I bought a lp in csb from magic dragon online ,ebay seller, set neck with a mahogany body,maple neck anf found it sound great. he makes the bodies by hand not sure on the necks,the neck is not a 50s or a slim taper,my favorite,but comfortable.had to glue a couple of frets down after a year of settling in. i would appreciate your opinion. eden?

  14. beautiful finish on the 59 kit lp. you should makes videos on how you do what you do.I know I would buy it,great site

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