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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have owned a Les Paul copy for a while that I bought with the express intention on turning into a Zakk Wylde rip off, but with some differences. It was completed in 2004.

http://nick-coumbe.fotopic.net/p7192952.html

Anyhoo, the inlays were cheap plastic and not really in keeping with the rest of the guitar, as it is very well made. It is a top of the range (possibly hand made) 1980's model from Maison, who are a Korean company. It is a good guitar, seriously.

I fished around for a luthier, and found this guy Graham Parker on google. He is based in London, and as I am not too far from there and know the area I though I would give him a go.

Here is his website: http://grahamparkerluthier.com

So I actually considered replacing the fret board entirely and asked for a quote on new board and inlays etc, and also for a basic refit of the holes with abalone shell. Actually neither of the prices were scary, but I had other plans for the guitar, so the new inlays seemd the way to go.

From the word go Graham was easy to deal with, very prompt in replying and extremely frank about how he would do the job and how long it would take. I actually though he was being optimistic when he suggested that it couldn't be done straight away, and indeed might take a few weeks, particularly when you hear that many luthiers seem to work in geographical time!

I had the guitar back in my hands in 3 weeks. This is is amazing when you consider that he had to source the shell as well. I know that he has a waiting list and bigger projects would take longer, but I was very pleased that he managed to get to this in a very reasonable amount of time, the bottom line is that he is honest about what he can do, and sticks to what he says. You really can't ask for more than that.

When I picked up the guitar I was expecting it to be better than the original. I was not prepared for how good it was in the flesh. The quality of the abalone is absolutely amazing. I have just never seen any guitar with inlay that good. What makes it even better is the quality of Graham's work. the level of care and attention to detail is pretty staggering. There is zero filler. Just think about that for a second: no filler, just shell and wood. Graham was happy to explain his technique for doing this, and it really feel made me feel that he actually cares about what he does and is pleased to share his knowledge and experience.

The overall effect was so good that I felt compelled to remove the bullseye graphics: they just weren't up to the quality of the inlay. It has turned a cheeky ZW custom into a really beautiful instrument. It isn't finished yet, it needs a refret, but it is already fast becoming my favourite guitar.

So if you are looking for a good luthier, you should contact this guy as well as the more usual sources. I have seen a few other things he is working on, and the quality is outstanding.

Almost forgot, here are some pics:

http://nick-coumbe.fotopic.net/c1820904.html
 

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Wow those inlays really do look impressive. Not a complex inlay by any means, but it looks amazing with no filler. I also enjoyed checking his site out, he seems like a really easy to deal with guy. Congrats on the awesome looking work you had done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks dude,

Yes, not a complicated inlay but I have never seen anything else done that well, even on a Gibson! Honestly the craftsmanship is as stunning as the shell itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Refret is done and the guitar is finished. As ever the fret work is done by Steve at PJ's guitar centre in Portsmouth www.guitaruk.com, and as ever he has done a great job.

The guitar plays really well and it sounds absolutely killer! We cranked it through a couple of different amps and it was fantastic. It is so good I am considering getting some more similar guitars.

And finally some pics of the finished article:

http://nick-coumbe.fotopic.net/p64539709.html

http://nick-coumbe.fotopic.net/p64539710.html
 

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Thanks dude,

Yes, not a complicated inlay but I have never seen anything else done that well, even on a Gibson! Honestly the craftsmanship is as stunning as the shell itself.
Gibson has some of the worst quality control I have ever seen, so not sure what you're referring to here lol. Looks like the luthier did a great job. How much did this whole thing set you back? And if you need a source for the finest quality abalone, I can refer you somewhere if you'd like. My custom dragonburst LP has inlays from that source (done by my private luthier):

http://i45.tinypic.com/2a83mgo.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gibson has some of the worst quality control I have ever seen, so not sure what you're referring to here lol. Looks like the luthier did a great job. How much did this whole thing set you back? And if you need a source for the finest quality abalone, I can refer you somewhere if you'd like. My custom dragonburst LP has inlays from that source (done by my private luthier):

http://i45.tinypic.com/2a83mgo.jpg
The abalone looks cool!

I think the whole project was somewhere in the region of £600-700. Not bad really.
 
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