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1979 Les Paul Custom Cavity Fill

1979 Les Paul Custom “Lifeson” repair modification



Some things that happened in the 80’s should have stayed there. The Kahler locking tremolo that used to inhabit this guitar thankfully did, however the hideous routing job that accompanied it will live on forever…or at least until someone mercifully repairs this otherwise beautiful instrument!


The owner of this Les Paul got it at a local shop and asked us to fill the hole with a mahogany block, and bring back some aesthetics.

Being a Alex Lifeson fan and having guitar magazines with pictures of how his Gibson Howard Roberts with a similar mod, we set out to do the same:


Here’s a nice shot of the old route. Not very attractive.


bad route

We addressed the sloppy route with this template which will double as the mahogany block making template.




Here is the nice clean route:


These mid-late 70’s Les Paul Customs were half maple, making them quite heavy.  Chiroprators love these things.


We have all sorts of tonewoods in the shop, but a nice scrap piece of mahogany just happened to be the right size.

It was shaped by hand until it fit like a puzzle piece into the template, with a little room for a screwdriver to remove it a few times during final shaping of the top contour.


Here you can see the wedge in the top right that was tapped in with a hammer to make the final fit tight as a drum…

The aluminium plate that covers the block was rolled in my mop bucket and me sitting on it with all my weight. Being a beefy 1/8″ thick, this aluminum plate took about 30 passes and made my hand ache, but after it had it’s edges gently rolled over and polished out, it was well worth the slight discomfort.

Three threaded stainless steel screws hold it in place, one under the bridge and two under the tailpiece.


As on deluxe set-ups, the hardware and finish were returned to its former glory. Here’s the two strap buttons, before and after.


The guitar got its frets leveled and polished, electronics cleaned, and then set up with .013’s in C# tuning. The happy owner likes his music same as he likes his guitars – HEAVY!!!


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