Fat neck Les Paul build

pshupe

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A friend of mine contacted me about building a Les Paul style guitar with a Fat neck. I may have some time on my hands soon as I just got laid off because of the COVID crisis, so I thought why not. ;-) So as normal the first thing I do is work up some CAD drawings. I've been working on some Les Paul Standard Fusion 360 models for quite some time and have cut a few bodies for other friends of mine.

Here is one of my models in Fusion 360 -
body01.JPG


All the details of this model are based off of Tom Bartlett's 59 Les Paul Standard drawings. Except a few details that, albeit vintage correct, are fairly challenging when modeling and CNCing. Namely the control and switch cavity routes. I actually have 2 or 3 of these models with varying degrees of accuracy to vintage guitars. The couple of bodies I have cut so far have basically had cavity routes that are straight down and the underside of the control cavity follows the top carve with about a 3/16" offset. Nice and easy to ensure the pots sit properly and install nicely. They also had pup cavities that are perpendicular to the bottom of the guitar, meaning they are not aligned with the neck angle. I will be remedying that with this build by creating a jig to hold the body on an angle to match the neclk angle.

Like this - CAD plans -
angle_jig.JPG


and Fusion 360 model -

body01_w-jig.JPG


This will give me an easy way to cut the pup routes and neck pocket. I might design a jig to cut the pup routes after the neck is set, like Gibson did, but frankly I do not see the need. If I can get this dialed in there would be no reason to do that and I could even cut the tailpiece studs and bridge studs as well prior to setting the neck.

So for this build the body will be a standard Les Paul but he neck details will be pretty custom. Again lay it out in CAD and show it to my friend to make sure everything looks good. As I mentioned this will be a Fat neck design a consistent thickness pretty much all the way up the neck to the heel. We're going with a 24.562" scale length and a modern two way truss rod. I have been using the low profile truss rods from Stew Mac lately and one thing I'm not completely fond of is the depth at the adjuster. I will not have any issues with this neck as there is so much meat underneath the truss rod that I'll recess it a bit and put a filler strip on top. This will give me more surface area for gluing the fret board without having to tape off the channel and also a bit more meat at the truss rod cover location, which I like to then us a two screw truss rod cover. I'm not sure why but a 3 screw truss rod cover just bugs me on a Les Paul Standard. :dunno:

neck design.JPG


Once the drawing is confirmed I can model the neck in Fusion 360 to prep for my CAM toolpaths.

neck01.JPG


I do not expect any issues with these models as I have cut similar before. I just have to get some time to create the fixture for the angled plane and do up the tool paths.

Here is a body I have cut using this similar model -
IMG_6114.JPG


I have also cut lots of LP style necks -
IMG_6265.JPG


I'm looking forward to this build as I want to build a few full LP Standard type guitars soon and I have been doing a lot of work on these models in recent months. I'd like to build myself a somewhat faithful replica and am working on solving the vintage correct control cavity machining issues.

Regards Peter.
 

pshupe

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What neck profile and depth is your friend looking for?
He wants a consistent 1.2" from top of the board. It's probably quite a bit thicker than what would be considered a baseball bat profile.

Not to many offerings out there in that ballpark, keeping with the baseball analogies. ;-)

Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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wow. hope you get back to work soon
I don't. I'm thinking a good 8 weeks would catch me up to where I want to be with my workshop and current builds etc etc.

I do love watching a nice clean @pshupe build in progress! Sorry bout the job situation though.
Thank you. No worries. I saw the writing on the wall and am excited to get this "out of work" thing started. We have a really good national employment subsidy program and I have some $$$ saved up. I also have a lot of work to do around the house and a lot more I could do, if it lasts longer than expected. It's also structured as a temporary layoff, so by law they can only have me off for 12 weeks before they would have to give me $$$ for severance. This is when living a liberal social leaning country pays off. ;-)

Cheers Peter.
 

LtDave32

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He wants a consistent 1.2" from top of the board. It's probably quite a bit thicker than what would be considered a baseball bat profile.

Not to many offerings out there in that ballpark, keeping with the baseball analogies. ;-)

Cheers Peter.
Hot-damn, Pete.. That is one fat neck.. 1.2?
 

valvetoneman

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Wow the biggest neck on a Les Paul I've done is about an inch at the first and going up very slightly thicker, that was a great sounding guitar, I think the shoulders are the important bit

I'll be following as usual
 

cmjohnson

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1.2" neck thickness front to back is absolutely absurd. I bet he'll ask you to trim it down after he actually feels it.

I never really gave much thought to the pickup route plane being perpendicular to the carve plane, while the anchors are perpendicular to the plane of the back. I've just done it that way as long as I've had my milling machine. I prop up the body blank at the proper angle, mill the neck mortise and pickup cavities, and don't drill the anchor holes for bridge and tailpiece until after the neck is installed and that is done with the back flat on the mill table. It just has always seemed to be the natural way to do it, to me.

But I don't do it Gibson Vintage Correct style anyway. My body work is done in the PRS school of thought. The neck tenon is massive and actually is the whole back end of the neck, like if you had a Fender bolt-on neck that was much thicker. The neck mortise is the full width of the fingerboard and follows the same taper. It runs to the back edge of the neck pickup cavity.
 

pshupe

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1.2" neck thickness front to back is absolutely absurd. I bet he'll ask you to trim it down after he actually feels it.

I never really gave much thought to the pickup route plane being perpendicular to the carve plane, while the anchors are perpendicular to the plane of the back. I've just done it that way as long as I've had my milling machine. I prop up the body blank at the proper angle, mill the neck mortise and pickup cavities, and don't drill the anchor holes for bridge and tailpiece until after the neck is installed and that is done with the back flat on the mill table. It just has always seemed to be the natural way to do it, to me.

But I don't do it Gibson Vintage Correct style anyway. My body work is done in the PRS school of thought. The neck tenon is massive and actually is the whole back end of the neck, like if you had a Fender bolt-on neck that was much thicker. The neck mortise is the full width of the fingerboard and follows the same taper. It runs to the back edge of the neck pickup cavity.
Yeah - the pup routes are routed perpendicular to the neck plane. The studs are usually drilled after the neck is set perpedicular to the back. That's the way Gibson does it. I guess PRS does it more like an SG or a JR with the tapered mortise matching the taper of the neck. The standard has the tenon which is pretty much square 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" in to about half way to the end of the neck pickup. I believe the main reason they do that is so the fret board can sit right on the top of the carved cap and the edge of the cutaway can follow the edge of the fret board. JRs and SGs have to have something on the treble side for the neck to be glued into which results in a bump or something that may limit access to the upper frets. SGs either have a body join very far up the neck like at the 21st fret or in the later vintage ones they went with a mortise and tenon more like an LP to get that similar access because the body join was moved back a few frets. PRS, I believe, split the difference. They may join a little further up the neck than an LP but less than an early SG therefore they could stick with the full size tapered mortise.

Regards Peter.
 

Hacksaw

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Peter,
Sorry about the layoff.
Funny you're going for a "fat neck". When the time came I was going to request you make the Moderne as close to my R8 as possible, and it's got the fattest neck I've ever played.
I'd be happy to measure it and send them along.
Let me know.
 

pshupe

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Peter,
Sorry about the layoff.
Funny you're going for a "fat neck". When the time came I was going to request you make the Moderne as close to my R8 as possible, and it's got the fattest neck I've ever played.
I'd be happy to measure it and send them along.
Let me know.
Thanks John - sounds good. There should be a new thread popping up very soon. Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone! :naughty: LOL

Cheers Peter.
 

Uncle Vinnie

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1.2"? Wow. I'd like to feel that puppy. I'd have to go with hardly any shoulders and a rounded V shape.
 

ARandall

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I built a semihollow 335 type that is 1.25" at the first and goes up from there. Its a U profile too. Its surprising comfortable to play, and is one of my fave guitars.
I have to say that I was aiming for something a bit thinner. But once it was all done I'm glad I didn't end up there.
 

cmjohnson

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Yes, the PRS style neck joint has the tenon being the whole neck. In the cutaway, the treble side outer surface of the cutaway is the side of the neck itself, and not the body wood.
 


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