Les Paul outline and arching - Do they vary from guitar to guitar?

jm55

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I would like to learn a bit more about the outline and the arching of Les Paul guitars. Does the outline change from guitar to guitar, or is there one master template that is rigorously adhered to?

And how did Gibson set the arch in the old days? I trust they're CNC machined today, but I'm curious as to how it's defined. Do they simply copy some early hand formed arch, or is there some mathematical definition to the curve(s)? I'd be grateful for any insight into outline and arching.
 

ARandall

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You can never CNC the top carve.......or at least its nowhere near finished once the preprogrammed bit is complete. To see what it looks like after the CNC and before sanding, just search Gibson BFG

Of course they are all rough cut to a single shape in the 50'......using a pin router for the shape and a copy carver for the top. But you have to finish the body and top using a slacksander, and therein lies all the variation that marks every single guitar from the vintage era.
If you go to burstserial.com, check out the one easy place to spot differences.......how the body is shaped next to the pickguard in the cutaway.

Of course over the years the body, cutaway, headstock and carve have all changed.

Nowadays they have different shape and carves for the line, depending on the model and whether it is a RI or not. But the RI's are close to what the originals had.....but using a generic shape based on 1 guitar rather than natural variation.
 

rockstar232007

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Never understood why the tops on USA LPs are more rounded/arched on the pickup plane?
 

Derald

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To the OP: The tops are hand sanded by human. All of them. So they’re very close to whatever spec Gibson has but technically they’re all a bit different. There’s a video on you tube about the Gibson factory tour and you can see they are hand finished using a big belt sander and spinning buffer. Pretty cool vidoe btw.
 




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