1970s Aspen Les Paul Copy Electric Guitar

Well, it looks like a Les Paul, but with bolt-on neck, a much-routed thick ply body and a thin, arched (pressed/molded) ply top hovering over that body, it's not really much like a Les Paul, is it? This is one of scores of guitars wearing the "Aspen" brand and imported from Japan in the mid-'70s.

A friend of a friend owns this guitar and the friend of mine had me do it up for him. It was pretty savaged. The original wiring harness was mostly-missing and non-functional, the neck had a nice S-curve of warp in it, the original tuners were garbage, and the original pickups were only okay.

Work included: fret re-seating and level/dress, a new wiring harness with good components, swap-in of Orville by Gibson (Japanese, '80s) PAF-style humbuckers, a replacement tailpiece, parts-bin gold Grover Rotomatics from around the same time, general cleaning, and a good setup. This one was a struggle, but after all the work it sounds a bit like a cross between a Les Paul and an ES-175 -- sort-of -- and that's good in my book! Action was spot-on at 1/16" overall at the 12th fret and the neck was, for all intents and purposes, "straight" when I handed it back

The binding is outrageous and the actual-pearl blocks in the fretboard give it some upscale flair.

The Orville by Gibson pickups sound terrific. I added replacement mounting rings from my bins.

The bridge was installed in the wrong spot (and would be a huge pain to relocate), so I finagled almost-perfect intonation by swapping the direction of the saddles in their slots and reversing the direction the bridge was mounted. This let me get some of the break points are the far rear of the bridge.

While the minimalist knobs are not "correct" for a Les Paul, they do give it some individuality.

These old, heavy-duty Grover Rotomatics are a ton better than the original tuners.


Unknown said…
I'm the recipient of this guitar and I am just blown away by the work that you did. This was my father's guitar and got beat up in college quite by accident and I was afraid it was never going to play again. Now I can play with and give my son this guitar to play with a father's legacy.