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Some Basic Questions


AlanS
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I am a woodworker, established cabinetmaker, etc. Not done any musical instruments. My son is a guitarist. I see that he has an old 'crappy'(according to him) bass he has left in my home. The body is shot. My idea is to take it apart, scrap the body and build him a new one using the existing neck. He can figure out what electronics he wants. It's a basic 'Fender' shape (not a Fender). It's fairly easy for me to make a template and duplicate the body.

Questions:

*When I veneer furniture, I ALWAYS apply veneer on front and back of a substrate. I see that you all apply 1/4" tops to solid bodies...no backs. No problems with this 'one sided affair'?

*I have 5/6 and 6/6" lumber in the shop... maple, mahogany, birch. I also have 1/4" stuff lying around (figured woods, etc). Is there a difference in the wood I use for the body blank? Since it is a solid body, does the tone get effected? Does it matter how thick I make the laminate top?

*Is there a way to 'sculpt' the blank and 'bend' the top layer to match the sculpt? Or is 'carving' the way it's done? I do use a vacuum press here, but with thin veneers. I can get a curve, but not compound curves (obviously).

* And finally...with the 'semi hollow' designs...the hollowed back with the layered top (with F hole)...is any bracing needed in the top? Or does the remaining amount of core act as the brace. I like the look and seems that the weight can get reduced greatly.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I would also appreciate any recommended books/ websites, etc. that would answer these types of questions.

A.

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*I have never had problems wit adding tops and have never hear of any.

*The wood has an effect I think it's pretty big some people say it's not so much. The thickness of the laminated top would effect the tone say if you were using mahogany (a darker sounding wood) for the back and maple (a bright sounding wood for the top) If the bod stayed 1 3/4" and the top was 1/4" it would sound a little bit brighter and have more edge if it was 1/2" it would be even brighter. Out of the woods you mentioned mahogany is the most common and probably the best choice maple will make a very bright sounding guitar and it's heavy. Mahogany with a maple top is a great combo.

*If your using a 1/4" thick top that would be pretty much impossible, I have seen it done with veneers a lot but never anything else.

*There is no bracing on the semi hollows since the top is made thick enough to not need any more support.

This website is great and ultimate guitar has a few builders that do great work on it and post what they do.

For books these 2 are very good

http://www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Own-Electr...8203&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Own-Electr...8203&sr=8-1

Good luck, building a body for a bolt on neck shouldn't be too hard for someone with good woodworking skills.

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I am a woodworker, established cabinetmaker, etc. Not done any musical instruments. My son is a guitarist. I see that he has an old 'crappy'(according to him) bass he has left in my home. The body is shot. My idea is to take it apart, scrap the body and build him a new one using the existing neck. He can figure out what electronics he wants. It's a basic 'Fender' shape (not a Fender). It's fairly easy for me to make a template and duplicate the body.

Questions:

*When I veneer furniture, I ALWAYS apply veneer on front and back of a substrate. I see that you all apply 1/4" tops to solid bodies...no backs. No problems with this 'one sided affair'?

*I have 5/6 and 6/6" lumber in the shop... maple, mahogany, birch. I also have 1/4" stuff lying around (figured woods, etc). Is there a difference in the wood I use for the body blank? Since it is a solid body, does the tone get effected? Does it matter how thick I make the laminate top?

*Is there a way to 'sculpt' the blank and 'bend' the top layer to match the sculpt? Or is 'carving' the way it's done? I do use a vacuum press here, but with thin veneers. I can get a curve, but not compound curves (obviously).

* And finally...with the 'semi hollow' designs...the hollowed back with the layered top (with F hole)...is any bracing needed in the top? Or does the remaining amount of core act as the brace. I like the look and seems that the weight can get reduced greatly.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I would also appreciate any recommended books/ websites, etc. that would answer these types of questions.

A.

interesting, X/6" , mostly x/4" material I deal with ?

and BTW Welcome.

As far as the substrate issue and veneered to one side. There is no problem with this as long as your wood is at proper MC% and stable. I agree that cabinet makers have all been taught that you veneer equally. In this application that is not the norm.

MK

Edited by MiKro
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Welcome AlanS...

Sounds like a good project, woods and skill set to carry the project off...

Have a look at some of the guitar of the month entries (anouncements area) over a number of months for some inspiration of various designs and poke about various threads for inspiration.

In relation to "sculpting" a top this is often called a "drop top" or folding the 1/4" top over a gentle forearm carve...a search pulled up this thread/tutorial...Drop Top Tutorial Link

Generally the maple top is a decorative surface to the top but it may well add top end. The Les Paul started the blueprint for a mahogany body with a top of maple that is carved substantially. A bit different from the drop top idea, but generally the back is not "veneered"...although there is no reason that you couldn't if that fitted your aesthetic for the design.

If staining or dying you may also what to consider a faux binding technique masking the maple edge to create a natural outline...there are many examples of that here and how it is done if interested.

A hollowed body or chambered guitar (generally it is solid from the neck through to the bridge and end of the guitar) is common enough. Be careful though if considering a drop top that there is enough to support the top and the curve...the techniques may not be compatible...perhaps others would know better if this has been done or could be.

One thing to consider with weight reduction is that the instrument balances on the knew and strap while playing. Especially on a bass with such a long neck and tuner and string weight, they can be neck heavy. Reducing the body weight may make it neck heavy and tend to nose dive...this can make it difficult to play because the playing hand has to not only finger the notes, but hold the neck up!

Still...a light guitar can work well if planned and should it bee two light in the body, I guess you could add some lead weight into the control cavity or something to tip it back the other way. If using heavy woods like maple and mahogany it may actually work out a similar weight as is compared to an ash bodied fender anyway...

Just a few thoughts...good luck with the project

pete

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*When I veneer furniture, I ALWAYS apply veneer on front and back of a substrate. I see that you all apply 1/4" tops to solid bodies...no backs. No problems with this 'one sided affair'?

Ahhh... a question I can almost answer :D As a cabinet maker, you're no doubt familiar with the fact that when using a substrate of less than 1", you would always veneer the front and back to (among other things) prevent warpage of the substrate when removed from the press. Since in an electric, you're typically using ~1.5 inches of substrate, warping isn't terribly common on the body. Also, if you were to strip a bunch of bodies to look at how the joinery is done, you'd notice the slab pieces are rotated to prevent warping, cupping, etc. This joinery combined with 1/4" tops and/or backs makes for quite stable construction.

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