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ES2 - Big LP and LP4

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Moving right on with the next project while the lacquer is drying on the previous ones, here's a few pics

The ES-2, the Big Les Paul and the Les Paul 4





I was tempted to stick a neck on this and see what kind of sustain I could get!



I hate turning mahogany into sawdust, so this is my answer to that problem

To get the three bodies out of one blank I had to line them up at the waist. The trouble is they all want that piece of real-estate at the neck join. So the two hollow bodies have to have work done at the cutaway. I was nearly tempted to give the LP a pointy ear so the Big LP could have less joints but I decided to stick to the plan



The one I'm looking forward to the most is the Big Les Paul. It is exactly the same shape as a Les Paul but 12% bigger (And its not going to have any f-holes!)

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58 minutes ago, Crusader said:

The one I'm looking forward to the most is the Big Les Paul. It is exactly the same shape as a Les Paul but 12% bigger (And its not going to have any f-holes!)

You're going to need a fork lift to move it around.:D


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  • 1 year later...
Posted (edited)

Finally got some progress on my LP4. The Top has been glued on for a while and today I did the initial shaping. Its a bit of a laborious method but its the way I've always done it and I'm improving each time



I mark it out with lines to follow the router with, this time I made paper templates and I flip them over to get it equal each side. I first go round the edge with a Router bit with a wheel guide then change the Router bit and follow the lines



This is the setup



This Template matches the R9 contour at the base



And this is how it's used, I set the height and the distance in. I take 9 passes with half inch increments. The stopper guides me some of the way and the rest is free-hand following the lines marked out on the top



Here's the final result. I still haven't figured out exactly how to mark the lines to follow at the top bouts so I just free-hand it till it looks somewhat right. I also didn't think it through well enough around the Tailpiece area but it will all be good in the end


Edited by Crusader
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Thanks Scott

By the way its funny I found a plan for doing this in my files AFTER I'd done it. Its pretty much the same but the lines are straight at the upper bouts although this is probably before the Neck carve is done



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I already mentioned this but a picture is always good. As I started Routing I realised that it couldn't reach the line around the lower bout. I could have adjusted the stopper but I thought it might be better so I thought "Nah leave it yeah" (Jimmy) And I think it did work out better




I got the Neck carve done on the Big Les Paul today. Its 12.5% bigger so I'm wondering if I should put the bridge the same distance from the front or proportionally equal. A Les Paul has the bridge at 252mm from the neck join so 252 x 1.125 = 284. This would work well if I join the Neck at the 14th fret like Semi-Accoustic guitars


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  • 2 weeks later...

I got in a bit of progress on the Big Les Paul before my little holiday at the dream hotel. I've routed round the edge of the top so it sinks into the body 1/4". A couple of reasons for this

I want to take advantage of the 7/8 thickness and instead of having a centre block it will be incorporated into the top. I kind-of did this with myES but I didn't think it through well enough. This time it will be wider and I might extend it to the back

The other reason (apart from extra strength) is so the effective thickness of the top is a normal 5/8. When its thicker you can have a bigger belly but it alters the neck angle and throws all sorts of spanners in the works



An explanation of why I find the balance line on the body, I theories that its the best place for the Bridge because that's where my solid LP bodies seem to balance (before the neck goes on) 252mm from the neck join

Something I also consider is an Es175 It is fully hollow and joins at the 14th fret, Es137s join at the 16th fret which has a mahogany block that extends only to the Tailpiece which would shift the point of balance forward

My thinking is If a guitar is fully solid or fully hollow it shouldn't affect where it balances, but start messing around with semi hollow and things will change

By the way the neck block as you see in the photos will get removed because I messed up and there is about a 1/16th gap, and I don't want to reduce the top any further. A shame really because it took a lot of effort to make it fit

Not sure where I'm going with this one at the moment. I might make another neck specifically for it in the style of an accoustic without a long tenon. In that case the neck I've made for it I will use on another project

I don't want to put f-holes on this one. I want it to look just like an LP, and want to avoid all the f-problems

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A bit more about what I call the balance line. I know this is not an accoustic instrument but I think "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" I sit the top on the edge of a table and mark where it just begins to tip and do the other way round, then take the centre and that's my balance line. Then to test my theory I hold it up and tap at the end and I hear a slight ring. Hold it anywhere else and I just hear a  dead 'thud' This line will move after the top is shaped and when the body is joined

It might all be in vain and not have any effect on tone or sound but it keeps me interested





Today I've had a dull headache from the sinus surgery and still have nose bleeds so I stayed home. I got some guitar making done though, I made some templates for the top route

My lines look a bit bodgy but its not meant to be a work of art!

1847250735_IMG_9255BLPTopplan.jpg.824774b4f362c39da956d8512ba54ab2.jpg  1979475199_IMG_9256BLPTopplan.jpg.e3228a75cbd4db54d2309081344eddf6.jpg


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When you do things your own way as I am doing there tends to be stumbling blocks all the way. However I am improving my method as I go along if I endeavour to do one of these again. The Template plan I found online was apparently done by Scott Wilkinson and he does his routing in 1/16" increases in height. I did it the other way round going in 1/2 inch steps from the edge to centre and the height varies. Well I decided to take some of his idea and go in 1mm increments in height and now the distance from the edge varies

Now here's the stumbling block. I have 2 routers and the newer one is 1 turn = 1mm but that's not the one set up as the overhead router. That one goes 3/4 turn = 1mm. What a PITA

Doing the lower bout has never been a problem but navigating the middle and upper bouts have been hard to determine exactly how to go. In previous builds I have always messed them up in this area and it is noticeable. So this time I have taken my time to get it right and I'm getting there. I just hope I'll get enough shed time to get this one finished!

I'm still contemplating what scale length to go with. I've marked out where the frets would land if I go 21.1 inches (663mm) I think the 24th fret might be a bit out of reach!


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If I keep doing things the same way I've improved my templates and now using 1mm increments in height. I will probably use the templates cut out of card to make some out of MDF. It takes so long to do all this stuff and so tedious, And I might never do another one just like it!




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Posted (edited)

Actually got something done today. Corrected the Neck carve and did the first run with my new templates. Some people know the angle of their Neck carve but all I know is I need at least 7mm at the bridge (ie. thickness of a pencil) I used a square cut router bit this time so I know exactly where its cutting. Previously I was using a rounded bit because I thought it will be easier to sand afterward






Also I found this video and its interesting how people have similar ways of doing things, like his overhead router setup and going free-hand in some areas, oh yeah and he has a grey beard!



Edited by Crusader
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  • 3 weeks later...

Have been getting a little progress...I hate it when I think I've got a couple of days free and someone rings up and wants some pictures hung. Yeah I can do that but, ah, its like getting a Dentist to come round to brush your teeth LOL

First here the photos I posted in General Chat

I made a boo boo and forgot to raise the router on the third run. I've got over it now but its so annoying because its the sort of thing I constantly do and never learn



Using the square cut router bit makes it look more "professional"



Then its on with the sander, but this is where the square router is less desirable. The square corners never seem to disappear and I oversanded leaving dips and flat spots...



...and on top of that there were still some felt pen marks



The oversanding left it a bit out of shape but wait there's more...



I adjusted the Pickup area



And went round the edge again



I actually got around to buying a scraper and dealt with all the dips and bumps



Torch testing the results...





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2 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Don't we all suffer from that?

Yes and its very comforting to know LOL. Having this knowledge keeps me from going berserk and smashing things to pieces!

Now that I'm content with the top of the top, I turned my focus on the underside of the top, luckily my Landlord has a drill press!

As soon as I got it set up I realised a flat surface is no good to work on so I made a convex base for the top to rest on out of a block of 90x35 pine



I drilled the centre of the squares. The drill press couldn't reach everywhere...



So it was out with the 90x35 pine again. I also went nuts with the drill press in-between the squares, it just seemed logical that the more is done with the drill press the better



I tried various chisels but it was hard work



So it was out with the router again. I was very cautious doing this but got a good result. And notice the wrong date? It was actually 5th of September (dah)



Next I paid my father a visit and it was back in the shed again. he has this carving blade from when he was building Rocking Horses and it did quite a nice job

Notice the dots in the holes? That's to keep track of how deep I'm going. I started using a felt pen but realised the ink sinks below the surface so I did the rest with HB pencil



And all done for the day. It was 7.15pm and I'm so glad the neighbours aren't really close

I want to do more, get closer to the edge and a bit thinner maybe. I'm not planning on this to be an accoustic but at this stage I'm tempted (ha ha) I've made the strip in the middle 100mm wide this time, on the ES it isn't wide enough and the top tends to collapse. So anyway that's the story so far


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New Toy Day

I got me some new toys yesterday. The Ball Gouge didn't fit my grinder so I took it back. The Turboplane was not much good for what I'm doing atm but may come in handy for future ventures. The curved Cabinet Scraper is worth its weight in gold, good old-fashioned hand tools win the day!



The Turboplane is not ideal for this stage of the game because it tends to grab and take out chunks as you can see on the right hand side toward the ear. There's another thing called a Rotary Rasp which I think would be better but doesn't seem to be available in Australia



The scraper fixed all the problems



I didn't use the Turboplane on this side, I used the trusty old router but I was stumped as to how to go about it. I needed something 22mm thick....when suddenly I realised another top blank will do the trick! The Top was securely held down by a screw through the bridge pickup area









All done and I think I'm happy enough as is. It isn't an accoustic so a few variations in thickness should not matter. In fact I have no idea if scooping the top out like this will make any difference at all, it just seems like a good idea and I'm getting practice for when I do another arch-top

And just a matter of interest. The balance line has shifted about a quarter of an inch, from 270mm to 264mm (which is also something I have no idea about apart from speculation involving nodal lines)

So next step now is to choose what to use for the back


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