LP Headstock Conversion

This is a Korean Made 2005 Epi Goldtop LP.

Croxguitars do not condone the use of these overlays on any other make of guitar other than Gibson.®

This project was undertaken because I really didn't like the shape or depth of the nut and to change it would mean filling beneath it and refitting with an original size LP nut which would involve refinishing. So I felt this was a good oportunity to show how an overlay fitting is done.

The Original headstock with tuners and nut removed. It is very important that you measure the thickness of the headstock at this stage because you need to sand down the equivalent thickness of the overlay (approx 2.5mm). If you don't sand off enough your tuner pegs will not come through enough when you have added the overlay.

New Overlay placed for sizing. This is the '59 re-issue historic small head size available from croxguitars.com

Sand headstock with orbital sander 80 grit - takes only 30 mins! Note the Epi does not have an overlay, just a painted face and decal type logo. Make sure that you sand evenly being very careful not to bevel the edges. A good tip is to draw a grid with a pencil and sand until the marks disappear evenly. Repeat until correct thicness is acheived.

NOTE: Now the LP 59 Historic and SG/ES Historic overlays are now availble without pre-drilled tuner holes (blank) so you can skip the hole filling process.

As Epi peg holes are not aligned the same as an Gibson LP they will need to be filled with dowell.Glue in with Titebond. Once this is done place the new overlay over this, fix lightly in place with double sided tape and shade the areas that need to be shaped and sanded away with black marker pen.

Roughly Shape shaded areas with a Dremel barrel sander

Mould on 'ears or wings' This is the only place the overlay protudes beyond the Epi. Use a Mahogany coloured filler. On headstocks that are larger than the Epi you can skip this stage.

Alternatively you can use this method:

Cut the headstock on either side and glue mahogany wings. Clamp well and when dry cut roughly to shape with a jig saw.

This will be the rough shape you are trying to get to, If you are going to use this method do so before any face sanding. Only sand once the wings are attached.

Once the face is ready Glue the overlay to the headstock using Titebond. Clamp in six places use a piece of perspex over the top to protect the face. Try and get perspex with clear film still attached, this stops the glue sticking to it.

Ready for final shaping. You can route out the truss rod pocket at this stage using a suitable Dremel tool.

Drill Pilot peg holes then open up to 9.5 or 10mm depending on which tuners you are using, be careful not to split the wood around the hole at the rear.

Once happy with shape fill any holes,scratches etc with Mahogany wood filler and start sanding the rear with 240 grit paper working up to 320 grit


Now ready for fine sanding, Before applying Nitro sand and sealer on the sides and rear.

Final shape, the overlay will need flattening with 600 grit before
clearing but for the time being mask it and cut off the excess tape so that the edges of the overlay only are exposed before spraying rear. Do not wet sand at this stage as the overlay is fibre and will absorb the water.

Apply cellulose sand & sealer and sand with 320 grit. Now ready for wood finish with Nitro cellulose transparent medium brown. Fill the peg holes with tissue paper.

Finished with colour, before clearing blend in the overspray on the neck with a cutting polish

Apply a thin coat of cellulose lacquer to the face and allow to dry for 24 hours. You are then ready to apply waterslide, cut roughly to shape and apply. FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER!

Allow the waterslide to dry for 24 hours before applying a THIN coat of laquer then gradually build up coats. This picture shows the face with a thin coat of lacquer applied and allowed to dry berore the decal was applied. Decal then applied but no lacquer yet.

Note how the overlay goes black when clear cellulose lacquer is applied. There is o need to paint the overlay black,

Final Rear fitted with Gibson deluxe tuners

Final Face

Disclaimer: It should be pointed out that this conversion was for my own aesthetic satisfaction.
Croxguitars do not condone this conversion. It is illegal to offer for resale a guitar that bears the
name of a different manufacturer to that of the original without declaring the fact to the purchaser.

Walkthroughs and Guidance on Upgrading

Converting from a Nashville TOM Bridge to an ABR1

Converting an Epi Bridge to a Nashville TOM Bridge

Epi Fretboard Inlay Replacement



I can not emphasise enough - Take your time with this process, do not be tempted to rush! Allow at least 6 weeks.
Do not damage the overlay in anyway by sanding it away. You can repair flat spots on the wood with filler but not the overlay. However the surface of the overlay needs to be fine sanded before laquering but not before the final stages. Do not wet the overlay before lacquer. The overlay will turn black when clear laquer is applied.
If you haven't got a Dremmel Kit get one, you will find it essential for guitar refinishing.


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