Reader Guitar of the Month: Parquet Paul

A woodworker shares his favorite build: a neck-through Les Paul copy constructed of Honduran mahogany, purpleheart, and walnut.

Name: Mike Kobel

Hometown: Chandler Heights, Arizona
Guitar: Parquet Paul

I enjoy making things and have been working with wood since junior high. Over the years, I’ve built a few guitars (Tele-style, Strat-style, etc.), but this time I wanted a guitar with the neck through the body, so I decided to copy a Les Paul.

The body and neck are Honduran mahogany with two strips of purpleheart. I chambered the body to make it lighter. The top is walnut, which was cut into 3/4" cubes and then glued together in

a parquet pattern. When working with this wood, I tried different color stains but found that just using a clear coat looked the best for my taste, so that’s what I went with. The fretboard and headstock are ebony with pearl inlays. I used a Gibson Tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece, Grover tuners, and the pickups are a Gibson ’57 Classic and a ’57 Classic Plus.

I got into music around the time I started in the wood shop, but my first instrument was drums. I played in small groups for a few years, then picked up the guitar. I started making guitars in the early ’80s. The first one was like a Gibson ES-335, only smaller. My current tone preference is either a Gibson Les Paul or Thinline Tele into a Fender Twin. Some of my favorite players are David Gilmour, Ronnie Earl, Albert Collins, and Robben Ford. I love the blues: I love to hear a humbucker through a Twin with a little distortion—you know, that Robben Ford sound.

Woodworking and guitar playing are what I love to do, so they came together naturally. It’s a real treat to make music on an instrument you made yourself!

Send your guitar story to

Students at the O’Brien Guitars school bind their instruments following a more traditional European style of guitar making.

Finding the right school can be tough for any aspiring luthier. Here are some options to consider.

In my previous column, “So, You Want to Be a Luthier?”, I talked about the types of people attracted to lutherie training programs, some of the possibilities and options these individuals have at their disposal, and discussed both long-term and short-term training, either of which have their place for primary or supplemental training. But the question remains, what school should you choose for your lutherie training? And what might a school have to offer that would best suit your educational needs?

Read MoreShow less

See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to for inclusion in a future gallery.

Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein unveils a new line of strings, collaborating with Josh Vittek of Sheptone.

Read MoreShow less