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So, I've decided to build a guitar. I saw this as sort of a "4 part" program, first I will build one of those saga kits (tele, for my daughter) so I can get used to setting up the nut, "seating" the neck and doing all those "fine" adjustments that make the difference between a guitar and a door stop. Next a solid body, Les Paul type, then a semi-hollow body es335 type, then a Archtop.

In the process I have already aquired all the books on guitar making I think I need. I have:

Making an Archtop Guitar - Robert Benedetto

The Guitar Handbook - Ralph Denyer

Guitarmaking - William R. Cumpiano

Building Electric Guitars - Martin Koch

Make your own Electic Guitar and Bass - Dennis Waring

Constructing a Solid-Body Guitar - Roger Siminoff

I have been making furniture and cabinets as a hobby for a while. I have the table saw, bandsaw, jointer, router, router table (all in a 6 X10 space... don't ask) and I have glued up laminates before (hence, the jointer), so I have a bunch of clamps.

So, along the way I mentioned my plan to my well intentioned brother. He tricked me into a trip to the lumber yard and before I knew it he had purchased 22 board feet of Courbaril and 6 board feet of maple and 8 board feet of lacewood for me for my birthday. All these fine pieces (I think they are all AA stock) have wonderful, wonderful tones.

So, I think I have enough wood to build a guitar. 3 or 4 if I cut well.

The revised plan now starts with a LP style guitar.

All the wood is 3/4 thick, so my thought is to cut three 19"X15" sections and then have them machined to a uniform thickness of 5/8th (I know my limits). Once I have these, I can then laminate (glue) three of them together, 2 Courbaril and one lacewood. I know the "usual" method is to use the lacewood as a veneer, but in this case, I will have a true lacewood top. Around this, I will have a maple veneer around the sides.

Then I will laminate the neck from the maple and Courbaril, maple on the outside. So the maple will "blend" into the maple veneer on the sides.

I'd like it to be an archtop, so I plan on hand planing the top down 1/4 in a slope "leading" from the center.

Okay, so now my questions.

1. I have seen pictures of a "semi-hollow body" Les Paul on the net - I was lucky enough to grab it. But with these dense woods, so I want to hollow it out, or do I will be happier with the sustain that a solid body will give me?

2. Any problems with my thought of using a solid top instead of laminating it on?

3. I have noticed that Les Paul's have an angled neck. Is this a 3 degree neck? Does anyone have routing templates for the neck/heel joint?

4. What's the angle of the peghead? Is this 17 degrees?

5. How about the radius of the fret board, 12' good for a tune-o-matic type bridge?

6. Is there an "archtop" template, or plans that show where the "arch" starts in relation to the center for a Les Paul type body?

7. Costs:

This is a spreadsheet of the cost of all the parts. Every guitar book I have starts with "have all the parts before hand", so my thought was to list everything. Being the "detail orienteed" person I am, I went a little further and listed the prices, catalogs and part numbers. Have I missed anything? I did not include glue (I have that) and finishing materials. I am thinking blue dyed top, courbaril and maple get "natural" finishes.

Any input, thoughts, help/better deals you can lead me to will be appreciated.


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Hi BadMojo and welcome to the forum :D

Take a look at this page, It will help you out on some of the tools since you already have a well stocked wood shop.

Personally I think you'll find a much better sustain with a solid body but laminating the top on is a perfect option to give it a more personal touch and killer look.

There are others here that would have a better idea when it come's to the angle's involved with a LP guitar so I'll let them chime in.

The 12" radius is fine for the fret board/tunematic relationship though. And as far as I know there isn't a commercially available Arch top template but I could be wrong, Just never looked into it that hard.

A couple of questions do come to mind though. Is there any special reason why your going to make it a bolt on neck vs a set neck? Also looking at your list I'm assuming your going to direct mount the pickups instead of using trim ring's for them?

The only other thing that seamed to be missing was the various screws you'll need but I'm sure you'll be able to find those easy enough.

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First off, carves, usualy don't go all the way to the center of the guitar, they usualy only up until the bridge and sides of the pickups, u just had me picturing a cone when you described it...

I noticed you sited Ebay as your source for the body template, you should also be able to get the humbucker routing temp, and a neck pocket template from the same guy if not another guy on ebay that sells laser cut acrylic templates.

Since you're getting a pre slotted fretboard you don't really have any imediate need for the fretsaw.

LP necks are usualy glued in place so you can save yourself 6$ on the neck plate, unless you wanted to do bolt on, then i'd recomend counter sunk washers, done properly i think they look much better.

Headstock is 13degree's

Post some pics of the wood if you can, we love pics :D

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Well, I guess I need to add mounting rings. Nice catch, thanks.

I have not really decided between set vs. bolt on. I think set-on would be ... "harder" than bolt on. I'd like to do set in, but I figure I should have the mounting plate on hand just in case I decide to go the other way when I have the parts on the wood.

I checked most of the parts and saw they (mostly) come with screws. The rest I can get at a couple of places around me that are good for small specialty screws.

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