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Reader Guitar of the Month: Parquet Paul

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!

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