50's / 60 Black Beauty mahogany bodies...

joff

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...were they one-piece, two-piece or even multiple-piece mahogany bodies?
 
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58 special

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not an expert here. But i think most all were one piece mahogany. i think there are a few anomalies, some started as standards but maybe had imperfections that had to be painted over, so became black beauties. the experts will chime in and correct me if i'm wrong.
 

d1m1

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As far as i know 50ies BB´s had one piece Mahagony bodies (no extra wood top). Later customs had maple tops just like standard LP´s.
 

RAG7890

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That site claims that the customs had mahogany tops, but they actually had one piece bodies.
The comment they make re mahogany tops is a just a general comment IMHO; i.e. the tops were mahogany not maple etc.

On the other hand, I'm sure I have seen a few Vintage Customs that were not one piece bodies, although the vast majority were.

:cheers2:
 

Slashperryburst

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The comment they make re mahogany tops is a just a general comment IMHO; i.e. the tops were mahogany not maple etc.

On the other hand, I'm sure I have seen a few Vintage Customs that were not one piece bodies, although the vast majority were.

:cheers2:

Yeah, I understand that. I just don't like the choice of wording as it can contribute to the misconception. I think a better term would be one piece, carved top mahogany bodies.


Catchy, isn't it??

In general, I don't really care how many pieces a guitar body is made of. My favourite guitars are customs, but I can only afford modern examples. I had a good laugh at the guy recently who insisted he could hear a difference between a one piece back and a two piece back. His evidence? He had two Les Paul studios. One with a one piece back and one with a two piece.

But the vintage customs are different in my opinion. I really appreciate the craftsmanship involved in building a true one piece custom body, so if I was ever in the market for a vintage custom, I'd make sure to check that it all appears to be a single piece. Bursts and goldtops? I couldn't care less how many pieces. Sacrilege, I know.
 

The_Nuge

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The modern '57 BB Custom Shop reissues are one-piece mahogany too - at least my 2010 is!

Mine's very light too, at 3750g
 

Slashperryburst

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The modern '57 BB Custom Shop reissues are one-piece mahogany too - at least my 2010 is!

Mine's very light too, at 3750g
My (also) 2010 ´55 R5 BB is also one piece Hog body. As all Historics.
A lot of them don't, though. Some runs of custom reissues do indeed have a one piece body like the originals, but most have a separate mahogany cap glued on top. Usually, the body blanks are made first and are then they are allocated a model year (r9/B7/etc) depending on the weight of the body blank.

See this chart.

Some runs were done in a true one piece body. The only way to know for sure is to check the routing, which some stores/sellers may be hesitant to do. I've done a lot of reading on this subject and there are many threads on this forum and the other one. I apologize, but I don't have the time to link more right now. My second child was due yesterday, but my wife hasn't gone into labour yet. Any time now, hopefully.

Lovely guitar.
 

mudface

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A lot of them don't, though. Some runs of custom reissues do indeed have a one piece body like the originals, but most have a separate mahogany cap glued on top. Usually, the body blanks are made first and are then they are allocated a model year (r9/B7/etc) depending on the weight of the body blank.

See this chart.

Some runs were done in a true one piece body. The only way to know for sure is to check the routing, which some stores/sellers may be hesitant to do. I've done a lot of reading on this subject and there are many threads on this forum and the other one. I apologize, but I don't have the time to link more right now. My second child was due yesterday, but my wife hasn't gone into labour yet. Any time now, hopefully.



Lovely guitar.
:applause: Congratulations on the new baby,... and have a fantastic new baby day.....:cheers:



......hopefully today;)
 

Slashperryburst

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:applause: Congratulations on the new baby,... and have a fantastic new baby day.....:cheers:



......hopefully today;)

Thank you. It's getting on for 10pm here now, so now I'm thinking it wouldn't be too bad if the little one arrives tomorrow morning instead. I need my sleep. It takes a lot of beauty sleep to look as ugly as I do.
 

joff

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Thanks for the replies.

This question arose, because a UK dealer who i spoke to said that he had seen vintage Black Beauties with bodies which were made of more than one piece of mahogany...some had more than two...he didn't mean a mahogany cap, just the bodies were glued together to make a blank before being shaped...and i am wondering whether this is correct or not?
 

efstop

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If it's all mahogany, then it still doesn't have the brightness associated with a maple cap (cite required.) Regardless of number of pieces of hog.
 

Pete M

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You've gotta think about the lumber that Gibson bought. They would've had a lot of mahogany boards thick enough to make whole LP bodies from and easily wide enough for one piece bodies. The Custom was a top of the line guitar. I've only seen 50's juniors with 2 piece bodies. Now I'm not saying every all gold or all black 50's LP isn't hiding a joined body, but they would have been essentially making bodies out of scrap and knowingly hiding it under paint. Is that possible for Gibson in the 50's? Sure. Is it common? Doesn't seem to be.
 

valvetoneman

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I'll be planning on making a custom, it's a one piece body but i would consider using a mahogany cap to control the weight, I'd like one around 9lb max

I got given an ebony blank that was cut in 57, as if that helps, still nice though

I love the staple neck pickups
 

tabascom16

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If they were a single piece of wood, they could not have routed the standard slot for the electronics from the pickup switch through the pickup cavities and down into the control cavity. They would have had to drill holes with a long drill bit. Curious if they actually did this or if they simply put mahogany caps on instead of maple after it was determined to be a blemished body blank. I just do not see Gibson buying extra thick lumber just for the black beauties. It would make more sense than anything that the black beauties came as the result of body blanks having too many blemishes and having a need to cover them up.
 

Slashperryburst

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I love the staple neck pickups
I really want one. It's kind of become my white whale. I don't have the money for a vintage example, so I'll no doubt have to pick up a custom reissue one day.

If they were a single piece of wood, they could not have routed the standard slot for the electronics from the pickup switch through the pickup cavities and down into the control cavity. They would have had to drill holes with a long drill bit.
The routing for the 50s customs is different from the routing you'd find on the bursts and most goldtops from the era. Some goldtops were also made from a single piece mahogany body. Mike Slubowski owns one of those. You can tell if a goldtop is an all mahogany body by looking at the routing and at the cutaway. I'm sure you're aware that on a maple capped LP, you can see the cap underneath the cutaway binding. This isn't the case for the all mahogany body goldtops.

Curious if they actually did this or if they simply put mahogany caps on instead of maple after it was determined to be a blemished body blank. I just do not see Gibson buying extra thick lumber just for the black beauties. It would make more sense than anything that the black beauties came as the result of body blanks having too many blemishes and having a need to cover them up.
Apparently, there are a few examples of 50s customs with mahogany caps out there. Those would probably be the blemished body blanks you're talking about. But the majority of vintage customs that have been inspected have been determined to be single piece mahogany bodies. Remember, as was stated above, the custom was a top of the line model, and so the level of craftsmanship in those days was sufficiently high. Really, when you think about it, the one piece mahogany body was probably child's play in comparison to the craftsmanship involved in making the high end archtops of the era.

It's also worth pointing out that the customs of the era were typically heavier than the goldtops and bursts. I guess that this is also more evidence that they were made differently. I guess the larger blanks they were using for the all mahogany bodies were considerably denser. I think I saw a custom advertised online as being 11lb, which is a far cry from the 8-8.5lb bursts.
 

valvetoneman

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If they were a single piece of wood, they could not have routed the standard slot for the electronics from the pickup switch through the pickup cavities and down into the control cavity. They would have had to drill holes with a long drill bit. Curious if they actually did this or if they simply put mahogany caps on instead of maple after it was determined to be a blemished body blank. I just do not see Gibson buying extra thick lumber just for the black beauties. It would make more sense than anything that the black beauties came as the result of body blanks having too many blemishes and having a need to cover them up.
Yes they drilled around a 10mm hole, probably 3/8 but hard to tell, i had the opportunity to look a 55 custom that was completely stripped so i took a very close look
 




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