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Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

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Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Matthew Lau » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:14 pm

With the 4th of July coming by, I have some unusual free time!
I'm thinking of retreating to my workshop after the parade and BBQ die down, and making something.
I was going to make a guitar for my friend's 4 year old.

Can you guys comment on my proposed idea?

My friend used to tour professionally with his rock band during dental school.
He looked just like Lenny Kravitz and rocked a Les Paul.
He's now in New Mexico doing great dentistry. I'm in California with my office.
We were both the "weirdo" of the class.

Now, his 4 year old wants to copy dad.
After checking in with him, the kid wants an LP jr.
We're thinking of doing one with a ukulele scale and use some parts from my pile.
Body and neck are mahogany. Tuners are stewmac grovers (gold). Fretboard is Indian rosewood pre slotted to concert or tenor uke scale.
Nut is bone. Saddle is bone. Bridge--I'm thinking of making it out of Braz RW.

Not sure on pickups. Thinking P90's? Humbuckers? Maybe lipstick tubes?

Anyways, I'm thinking of maybe doing a neck through and carving out the rest.
Or should I go with the long tenon?

I've never done this before. I'm probably over complicating things.

Anyways, thanks ahead of time for your input.
Please chime in!
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Dan Smith » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:21 pm

Seems like a lot for a 4-year old.
You could buy an Epiphone Jr, remove the fretboard and truss rod, saw off the end of the neck, and put a shorter scale fretboard back on it.
Ever-body was kung fu fight-in,
Them kids was fast as light-nin.
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Matthew Lau » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:43 am

Might be a bit big.
I'd talked with the dad, and his kid is really tiny...like 3 year old tiny.

Also, I have all the parts/wood on hand.
I'd bought a piece of brazilian rw that's too small food anything except ukelele bridges.
I just haven't figured out pickups...as I've never done an electric (just acoustics).

In short, it's a parts-caster toddler les paul.
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Bryan Bear » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:31 am

If it is for a 4 year old, I would make it an electric uke with nylon strings and just put a piezo under the saddle. You can add some faux pick-ups for looks if you want. This makes everything much easier and more likely that he will play it beyond just thrashing away on 6 steel strings.
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Chad Schmidt » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:01 pm

I've been waiting until this is complete before posting as a build thread, but since you asked the question…

Here's a concert sized steel string electric ukulele I built for my 4-year old daughter (and yes, it is waaay overkill!). Her name is Lili so I've been calling it the UkuLiLi. Anyway, it's modeled after the Harmony H44, 14.75" scale length, maple through neck, poplar body and head plate, rosewood fingerboard and bridge. I machined all the hardware from brass; there's a pickup cover too that isn't shown. I also machined a custom sized bobbin and wound my own pickup- a first for me! Lastly, I put in an onboard headphone amplifier so the jack output can go either to an amp or directly into a 1/4" headphone plug. I'm happy to share photos of the process- though the bulk of the work was really in the pickup and hardware.

I'm also in New Mexico… apparently electric ukuleles for toddlers are becoming a thing here!
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Dan Smith » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:04 pm

That's great, Chad!
Awesome!
Ever-body was kung fu fight-in,
Them kids was fast as light-nin.
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Art Davila » Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:22 am

For the pickup you could use a rail single coil, that way you do not have to line up the pole pieces.

I have been thinking about this a while too.
I also have a little one named Lily. She is my granddaughter.
As for is it over kill? Well Lily has a uke (she love to play it) but she want 6 strings. So I want to build a slightly wider neck ( to accommodate the 2 extra strings) for the uke scale, and she would never be able the get her arm around a full sized electric body comfortably. She has held some of my guitars and he looks like she trying to hold a cello. So resizing a les paul or strat type body is a must I am thinking.

The only problem is I am swamped at work, but I will build it she won't be much bigger at 5 so it will still have use. and her little brother is not yet 1 so he can have it after her.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Matthew Lau » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:22 am

Hey Art,

Try an electric terz.
It'll work for her when she's 5, and can act as a respectable travel guitar when she's bigger.

Btw, what pickups would you recommend?

-Matt
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby David King » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:18 am

For 4 strings you can get by with 1/2 of a P bass pickup. It don't get much cheaper than that
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Randolph Rhett » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:54 pm

I'm working on a tenor Uke for my daughters 5th birthday. She won't leave my guitars alone, so time for her own. I took her to a music store to se if she could hold a Uke and strum it. While the tenor size was a little big, it was not unmanageable.

I'm going to build her an acoustic instrument. I think asking a 4 year old to plug into an amp and power it up every time is a bit much. I want it to be totally easy and fun for her to pick up and explore on the instrument.
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Matthew Lau » Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:49 am

If I were in your shoes, I'd definitely make a Terz (as mentioned previously).

The terz aka "size 5", aka "mini", is a rather tiny guitar that works quite well for travel, songwriting, or recording.
They're one (or two) sizes down from the tenor guitars, and are pretty uncommon.
Generally, you'll find pretty junky wood in most "mini" guitars, as small=cheap.

However, they are pretty highly regarded by a few notable people.
Sting chose one for his signature model.
And the president of the Martin guitar company commissioned the Martin Claire (pink) special edition to mark the birth of his first grand daughter. http://willcuttguitars.com/martin-guita ... 2-terz-720

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/sting ... uitar.html
http://www.veilletteguitars.com/acoustic_terz.shtml
http://uniqueguitar.blogspot.com/2011/0 ... uitar.html


The mimf small guitar/ukulele plan is a good place to start.
The crane website is an amazing resource and has free plans for romantic era guitars. http://www.crane.gr.jp/indexE.html
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:04 am

Daughter, not Grand Daughter.

Don't age Chris and Diane prematurely...
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Brian Evans » Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:28 pm

I'd make a LP Jr shaped acoustic Uke, concert sized. 4 year old kids don't need to worry about amplifiers and six strings.

Brian
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Biff Cooper » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:59 pm

Ya thats pretty young, what i do for my kid is tune a guitar to an open chord like DADFAD just have them jam on that. Or you could throw some ball back Nylons on there. The best thing for kids is dancing and singing with dad to some good tunes IMO
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Re: Mind helping me design Toddler Les Paul Junior?

Postby Matthew Lau » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:24 pm

Thanks guys!

It's in my project list after I make a Japanese workbench.
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