Les Paul Mahogany Thickness

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Flynman, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Flynman

    Flynman Senior Member

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    So i am building a 59'ish Les Paul. I shaped the Mahogany body and started to thickness plane it. I had a few pinholes or very tiny knots in the back. The Thickness was 1 3/4 in. and in order to get them out i had to go to 1 11/16ths So is this acceptable thickness and will it effect the top thickness? I was planning on 5/8 in. thick top with a 4.2 neck angle (thats just how it came out) Are there any adjustments i should make?

    Thanks,
    Keith R
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  2. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Put another inch of mahogany on that back of that guitar :)

    normal thickness of the mahogany on a Les Paul body is 1.75", and 5/8" for the maple top.

    Total thickness of back and top = 2.375"

    With only a 0.75" back and a 0.625" top, you're a full inch under the normal thickness of an LP body

    1.375" is pretty darn thin. Thats like an SG

    You could make a workable guitar with that spec, but you specifically said a 59 Les Paul and your hog thickness is WAY off the spec for that guitar
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  3. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    What Chris said. With a body that thin, you may even have issues with making all the hardware and electronics routes deep enough without risking punching through.

    I personally make an LP-ish guitar with a back thickness of 1 and 3/8ths, plus a 5/8" top, because I prefer it that way. To me Gibson's back thickness is a bit excessive. But there's plenty of room in there for any hardware and electronics.
     
  4. Flynman

    Flynman Senior Member

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    Cmjohnson Skyjerk ...Sorry Guys I meant the mahogany was 1 3/4 in. thick and then went to 1 11/16ths thick. I have a 3/4 inch thick top and was going to make it 5/8ths thick after finish sanding and contour shaping
     
  5. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Just understand the important dimensions and you'll be fine. The carved top is usually 5/8" because the top carve brings the edges down to 3/16". This is also where the neck plane starts at the neck join. Frankly keeping all the dimensions the same you could probably get away with a 1 1/2" mahogany body. The heal / underside of tenon would be very close to the bottom of the guitar, unless you made the tenon not so deep, but I don't think there would be many other issues. The cavity route is more related to leaving a parallel thickness of wood enough for the pots to poke through. I can't think of any other issues.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  6. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    in that case carry on :)

    1/16" thinner isnt going to be noticable at all :)

    With a 4.2 degree neck angle you may find 5/8" top a hair thick, but nothing some sanding wont fix...
     
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  7. Flynman

    Flynman Senior Member

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    Thats what I was figuring....But i was a little gun shy after recently screwing one up!!!
     
  8. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    You basically have two ways to set your neck angle: Set the angle first and carve the top to match it, or carve the top to a defined thickness spec and then set the neck to match.

    I say it's better to set the neck first, being careful to make a best estimate of the proper neck angle, and fine tune the top carve thickness afterwards.

    I want the TOM bridge to be slightly above its minimum height setting on its posts when the strings are tuned to pitch with a fully set-up nut and fretjob, and just touching the last fret. This guarantees FULL adjustability.

    Yes, I set up the nut and fretjob before the body work is complete. I may not fine tune the fretwork at this point but I have it set up to the point that I know exactly what to expect upon completion. No surprises AFTER the finishing, please!
     
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  9. Flynman

    Flynman Senior Member

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    I can do a little sanding to get the neck angle to the 4.4 and then sand the top a little. I usually install the frets on the board i am going to use and make any adjustments from there.
     
  10. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    Oddly enough I've never set a neck at an angle of greater than 3.5 degrees,
    measured relative to the flat back of the guitar. And my top carves are in the normal range
    of arching, not on the flat side nor are they particularly fat. However my bridge height
    tends to be on the low side. Sometimes I've missed my target and ended up with a bridge
    that bottomed out before the strings bottomed out on the last fret. It's always worked out OK but I keep trying to ensure that I don't do that again.
     
  11. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    I have full thickness tops on all my builds. Fuller actually. My tops are around 0.8" thick with carves as deep as any LP, but my neck angles are 2.4 degrees.

    I don't like my bridge and pickups sticking up 40 feet or my strings high enough to dry my clothes, which is what you get with 4.4 degrees :)

    Personal preference :)
     

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