Luthier's Corner Plans / Templates Resource

RibbonCurl

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Print these plans at 100% without a boarder. Everything should print perfectly to actual size. Bring your measuring instruments to your printer to be certain.
Hi ExNihilo,

I am very thankful for the work you, Daniel, Frank and Scott have provided. This is stunning! I've been around the block more times in regards to everything Les Pauls. My goal is to become a serious contributing member of this forum as I prepare for my first build. Doing much research and have a few questions please.

I printed your plans of the body last week (Gold Standard Vintage Correct Les Paul Plans ver. 2.0). You suggested that I inform the printer to print with no-borders to ensure a scale of a 1:1 copy. I just noticed this in your post and did not mention this originally to my printer (Staples). Thus now I'm checking the copy to ensure a 1:1 scale accuracy.

Page 1 of your plans state that the body length is 17.313" which in a fractional conversion is exactly equivalent to 20.032/64". For now, I do not own a ruler that supplies a 1/64" scale only 1/32".

I have a few questions please:

1) Just how accurate do I need to be to ensure a perfect 1:1 copy? Within 1/128", 1/64", 1/32" etc.?

2) I measured the length of the LP body with my machinist ruler and the resulting length on my copy measured 17 and 10/32". In decimal that measurement converts to 17.3125. Not the required 17.313 listed on your plans. Is my measurement of 17.3125" sufficient/close-enough to say the plans are a good copy (1:1)?

3) Curious to know why of all the Les Pauls your team measured why they chose a body length of 17.313 for the plans? Was it simply an average of all the different measurements from the Les Pauls listed on the plans?

I can always go back to Staples to verify if they printed with or without borders but for now I simply wanted to get your opinion please.

Thank you kindly
Wally
Pennsylvania USA
*Mod Edit*

This thread invites all who are willing to share their resources of where to obtain plans or templates for popular guitar builds. Also for those to inquire where one can obtain plans or templates . Thanks to you good folks who have been so generous with your time and efforts to make resources like this accessible to our community.

********************************************


VERSION 2.0 NOW AVAILABLE!

Greetings Everyone!

Daniel Dean, Frank Pine, and myself, have completed the first stage of a set of vintage correct Les Paul plans for you all. This project was begun by Daniel Dean, who has been compiling information and measurements on vintage Les Pauls for years. He was the master mind, and ensured that every measurement was verified and then worked into the final plan in such a way that truly represents extreme vintage accuracy. Frank Pine, supplied a ton of measurements, images, and even video of his vintage Les Pauls. I did the easy part, I drew the plans. They are drawn in a way that reflects my own building experience. Every messurment and detail is drawn into the body so that the plans can be made into templates, thus disposing of the need for a separate paper plan.

View attachment 446659


The shape (including the body outline and elevation contours) and measurements for these plans were derived by carefully studying 7 vintage Les Pauls. Four of these guitars no longer have their serial numbers. They are:

1. A 1953-57 conversion (original finish)

View attachment 443191

2. A refinished 1953 gold top

View attachment 443192

3. A refinished 1954

View attachment 443193

4. A refinished 1959 burst

View attachment 443194

The other three guitars studied and measured were:

5. A 1956 gold top (serial #6 2510)

View attachment 443195

6. A 1959 burst (serial #9 2044)

View attachment 443196

7. A 1959 burst (serial #9 1152)

View attachment 443197


All these guitars were surprisingly similar to each other. The conventional wisdom, which maintained that vintage Les Pauls were pretty different from each other, being hand made, did not prove to be the case. There seemed to be much more uniformity than what was expected.

We hope you enjoy these plans. As you know we are very passionate about being "vintage correct." We assure you that we have proceeded very carefully and thoroughly to create a "gold standard" set of plans.

This first set contains just the body plans. A set of neck plans will come in the future along with some plans for jigs to help you do your own build.

Print these plans at 100% without a boarder. Everything should print perfectly to actual size. Bring your measuring instruments to your printer to be certain.


Gold Standard Vintage Correct Les Paul Plans V-2.0

On behalf of Daniel, Frank, and myself . . . ENJOY!


Sincerely.
Hi ExNihilo,

I am very thankful for the work you, Daniel, Frank and Scott have provided. This is stunning! I've been around the block more times in regards to everything Les Pauls. My goal is to become a serious contributing member of this forum as I prepare for my first build. Doing much research and have a few questions please.

I printed your plans of the body last week (Gold Standard Vintage Correct Les Paul Plans ver. 2.0). You suggested that I inform the printer to print with no-borders to ensure a scale of a 1:1 copy. I just noticed this in your post and did not mention this originally to my printer (Staples). Thus now I'm checking the copy to ensure a 1:1 scale accuracy.

Page 1 of your plans state that the body length is 17.313" which in a fractional conversion is exactly equivalent to 20.032/64". For now, I do not own a ruler that supplies a 1/64" scale only 1/32".

I have a few questions please:

1) Just how accurate do I need to be to ensure a perfect 1:1 copy? Within 1/128", 1/64", 1/32" etc.?

2) I measured the length of the LP body with my machinist ruler and the resulting length on my copy measured 17 and 10/32". In decimal that measurement converts to 17.3125. Not the required 17.313 listed on your plans. Is my measurement of 17.3125" sufficient/close-enough to say the plans are a good copy (1:1)?

3) Curious to know why of all the Les Pauls your team measured why they chose a body length of 17.313 for the plans? Was it simply an average of all the different measurements from the Les Pauls listed on the plans?

I can always go back to Staples to verify if they printed with or without borders but for now I simply wanted to get your opinion please.

Thank you kindly
Wally
Pennsylvania USA
 

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pshupe

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I can answer for Scott on the differing dimensions.

#1 - if you are within a 1/16" or less, I would say that is more than fine.

#2 - If you measured 17.3125" and the plans show 17.313" that is a difference of 0.0005" - that is 5/10000" which is almost nothing. A human hair is 0.003". So you were off by 1/6th of a human hair. I think you are good! ;-)

#3 - Don't know about the dimension of the body length but I wouldn't be surprised to find a substantial, campared to the dimensions discussed in the last two questions, differences from guitar to guitar. These were hand sanded and some may not have been sanded much others either over zealous or maybe sanded out some tear out. Again I wouldn't be surprised if there were examples that could be different by 1/4" (0.25") at least. Possibly more.

These are cylinder heads in a Lamborghini. These were essential pieces of furniture. There are very few dimensions on any guitar, 58 - 60 Bursts included that required the level of accuracy we are discussing here, with the exception of scale length, and distance between frets.

Regards Peter.
 

RibbonCurl

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I just realized the simplest test for proof of a 1:1 accuracy on the copy was to simply find a measurement on the original plans that measured in 1/8's of an inch. This way I could easily verify with my ruler. I measured the body once again but stopped at the 11.750" mark on the body length. Bingo! Spot-on accurate. The copy is indeed a 1:1 scale. Please see attached photos.

Thank you all.
 

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RibbonCurl

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I can answer for Scott on the differing dimensions.

#1 - if you are within a 1/16" or less, I would say that is more than fine.

#2 - If you measured 17.3125" and the plans show 17.313" that is a difference of 0.0005" - that is 5/10000" which is almost nothing. A human hair is 0.003". So you were off by 1/6th of a human hair. I think you are good! ;-)

#3 - Don't know about the dimension of the body length but I wouldn't be surprised to find a substantial, campared to the dimensions discussed in the last two questions, differences from guitar to guitar. These were hand sanded and some may not have been sanded much others either over zealous or maybe sanded out some tear out. Again I wouldn't be surprised if there were examples that could be different by 1/4" (0.25") at least. Possibly more.

These are cylinder heads in a Lamborghini. These were essential pieces of furniture. There are very few dimensions on any guitar, 58 - 60 Bursts included that required the level of accuracy we are discussing here, with the exception of scale length, and distance between frets.

Regards Peter.
Thanks Peter. Just curious, if I decided to extend the circumference of the body lines out to a point where the body measured a more easily workable length of 17 3/8" or 17.375 (the longest length of all the measured Les Pauls), would I run into any issues assuming I do this to all the body measurements on the plans?

Not sure if doing so would alter the finished scale length which would be a disaster. In that case, to avoid any issues, I would also have to adjust the location of the pickups, bridge and tailpiece as well. Correct? If so, I'm surely adhering to the exact plane dimensions.

Thank you.
 

pshupe

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I'm not sure why you would want to change that dimension. It's not generally something you measure. Most people would make a template by copying the plan and gluing it to a template. Then cut out the template to the body outline. You use that template to cut out the body by using a template bit and/ or pattern bit. As long as your plans are printed to the correct scale you do not need to even measure the length of the body. I just measured my plans of a 59 Burst and it was 17.335". There may have been longer ones and I know there were shorter ones. I have measured a couple vintage LPs that were in the 17.25" range as well. The body outline is one of the things that varied from guitar to guitar.

Frankly you can use any dimension you want. The important things are details around bridge location, which would include neck angle, top thickness, neck body join location, and scale length. You have to fully understand those fundamentals then you will have no issues. On a Les Paul Standard the neck joins the body at the 16th fret. This will tell you where the fret board ends when you work out your scale length and end of board. You have a bit of room at the end of the board and that is where the neck pickup sits. That 16th fret is an exact location away from the bridge. The bridge pickup is close to the bridge. The neck angle and top thickness has to be something that will give you the correct height for your bridge so you can adjust slightly and get the correct setup / action. I believe most of these dimensions are on Scott's plans. It is good to understand them all incase you want to / have to change one or more. You can then adjust accordingly and not mess something up.

Cheers Peter.
 

RibbonCurl

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I'm not sure why you would want to change that dimension. It's not generally something you measure. Most people would make a template by copying the plan and gluing it to a template. Then cut out the template to the body outline. You use that template to cut out the body by using a template bit and/ or pattern bit. As long as your plans are printed to the correct scale you do not need to even measure the length of the body. I just measured my plans of a 59 Burst and it was 17.335". There may have been longer ones and I know there were shorter ones. I have measured a couple vintage LPs that were in the 17.25" range as well. The body outline is one of the things that varied from guitar to guitar.

Frankly you can use any dimension you want. The important things are details around bridge location, which would include neck angle, top thickness, neck body join location, and scale length. You have to fully understand those fundamentals then you will have no issues. On a Les Paul Standard the neck joins the body at the 16th fret. This will tell you where the fret board ends when you work out your scale length and end of board. You have a bit of room at the end of the board and that is where the neck pickup sits. That 16th fret is an exact location away from the bridge. The bridge pickup is close to the bridge. The neck angle and top thickness has to be something that will give you the correct height for your bridge so you can adjust slightly and get the correct setup / action. I believe most of these dimensions are on Scott's plans. It is good to understand them all incase you want to / have to change one or more. You can then adjust accordingly and not mess something up.

Cheers Peter.
Ok, got it! Thank you Peter. I do have many books on guitar construction and yes, I agree, the scale length, bridge location and neck angle etc. are all factors that need to be approached diligently when designing a body shape etc. Thank you again!
 

RibbonCurl

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Okay now that I have finally had the chance to build a body with these plans I can address this:

Obviously I wasn’t present when Scott cut his secondary control angled route, but I suspect his issue was that he oriented the template flush around the perimeter. Because of the angles involved you have to offset the template like so:
View attachment 481585
View attachment 481586
this ^^ is underneath the side opposite the route


oh and while we are talking template I like that I added hinges to my current one. I can use the rest of the body as a clamping flap
View attachment 481592
When oriented like this it will leave you with the correct shape without modifying the template as he described
View attachment 481587
View attachment 481588
View attachment 481589
Ready to me finished off with a 1” spotface

View attachment 481590
Once I drill the holes and add the counterbores it’ll be a dead-ringer for a vintage cavity
View attachment 481607
see below ;)
View attachment 481641

The really eagle-eyed viewer could probably guess what’s different in the back view of the whole body above than our plan. Can you spot it??
Good afternoon Dan, I bet you've been asked this quite often but in regards to the photos above, I don't see any remaing mahogany at the bottom of the completed control cavity (usually 1/2 mahogany and 1/2 maple separated by a straight line between the two as a result of the router cut). Is this because some original bursts had the mahogany and others did not? If so, the remaining mahogany must've been a very thin layer?

Thank you.
 

nuance97

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Good afternoon Dan, I bet you've been asked this quite often but in regards to the photos above, I don't see any remaing mahogany at the bottom of the completed control cavity (usually 1/2 mahogany and 1/2 maple separated by a straight line between the two as a result of the router cut). Is this because some original bursts had the mahogany and others did not? If so, the remaining mahogany must've been a very thin layer?

Thank you.
Sometimes there was a whisper of mahogany left and sometimes not. I’ve done them both ways. I personally prefer leaving a bit of mahogany just because it looks cool with the contrast. The particular build in the photos here was a copy (as close as possible) to a specific ‘56, and that one had no mahogany left in its cavity
 

nuance97

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When I leave mahogany it’s thin..like .010”
 

RibbonCurl

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Sometimes there was a whisper of mahogany left and sometimes not. I’ve done them both ways. I personally prefer leaving a bit of mahogany just because it looks cool with the contrast. The particular build in the photos here was a copy (as close as possible) to a specific ‘56, and that one had no mahogany left in its cavity
Ok Dan, got it! Thank you kindly!
 

RibbonCurl

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I'm not sure why you would want to change that dimension. It's not generally something you measure. Most people would make a template by copying the plan and gluing it to a template. Then cut out the template to the body outline. You use that template to cut out the body by using a template bit and/ or pattern bit. As long as your plans are printed to the correct scale you do not need to even measure the length of the body. I just measured my plans of a 59 Burst and it was 17.335". There may have been longer ones and I know there were shorter ones. I have measured a couple vintage LPs that were in the 17.25" range as well. The body outline is one of the things that varied from guitar to guitar.

Frankly you can use any dimension you want. The important things are details around bridge location, which would include neck angle, top thickness, neck body join location, and scale length. You have to fully understand those fundamentals then you will have no issues. On a Les Paul Standard the neck joins the body at the 16th fret. This will tell you where the fret board ends when you work out your scale length and end of board. You have a bit of room at the end of the board and that is where the neck pickup sits. That 16th fret is an exact location away from the bridge. The bridge pickup is close to the bridge. The neck angle and top thickness has to be something that will give you the correct height for your bridge so you can adjust slightly and get the correct setup / action. I believe most of these dimensions are on Scott's plans. It is good to understand them all incase you want to / have to change one or more. You can then adjust accordingly and not mess something up.

Cheers Peter.
Peter, when you say you measured 17.335 " as the body length on *your* plans, are you referring to the same Bartlett plans that I purchased ('59 Burst Replica - Exact plans)? I understand you mentioned you drew the Bartlett plans. Just making sure we're on the same page. I measured the body length on my *Bartlett '59 Exact plans* and arrived at a body length of 17.281 or 17 9/32". Close enough to your measurement. Thank you
 

RibbonCurl

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Peter, when you say you measured 17.335 " as the body length on *your* plans, are you referring to the same Bartlett plans that I purchased ('59 Burst Replica - Exact plans)? I understand you mentioned you drew the Bartlett plans. Just making sure we're on the same page. I measured the body length on my *Bartlett '59 Exact plans* and arrived at a body length of 17.281 or 17 9/32". Close enough to your measurement. Thank you
Not to get redundant with the body measurements but just an FYI. Please see attached photos. Thank you.
 

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pshupe

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So the first measurement you have at about 17.281 from the section. The second measurement you have at about 17.296" from the plan. My measurement is about 17.33 from the CAD plan. That is about 0.04" difference, which is much less than 1/16". What is the question here?

Anything on that plan that is important to be exact to the measurement has a dimension. Everything else can be taken with a "close" measurement. The measurement you took and the exact measurement on my CAD file is well within, and beyond, the definition of close. The original burst body outlines varied from guitar to guitar much more than 1/16" so you will be fine.

Regards Peter.
 

RibbonCurl

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So the first measurement you have at about 17.281 from the section. The second measurement you have at about 17.296" from the plan. My measurement is about 17.33 from the CAD plan. That is about 0.04" difference, which is much less than 1/16". What is the question here?

Anything on that plan that is important to be exact to the measurement has a dimension. Everything else can be taken with a "close" measurement. The measurement you took and the exact measurement on my CAD file is well within, and beyond, the definition of close. The original burst body outlines varied from guitar to guitar much more than 1/16" so you will be fine.

Regards Peter.
Yes, I spoke to Tom for awhile last week and he echoed the same words. Humidity can play a roll in expanding the paper its printed on as well as my dehumidifier, which has my workshop at 43% relative humidity. At 43% humidity, the plans can shrink by a tiny fraction. Plus the quality of the actual printer at Staples verses a high-end printer used by engineering firms. Too many moving parts. Like you mentioned earlier, pay more attention to accurate scale length and fret spacing. Yes, I now understand. Thank you Peter.
 

pshupe

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Yes - that is why Tom and I developed those drawings. I found Tom's original drawings to be about the best set out there after searching out most other drawings. I then modified and detailed them to create a comprehensive set of consturction documents. I have a background in construction documentation and Tom knows those guitars inside and out. My background is Architecture and a small amount industrial design. Construction documents contain dimensions for all important details to be able to build exactly as designed. It's a little more difficult with an oddly shaped objects but the same principles apply. The important details have dimensions that do not depend on the drawing being the correct scale. For most sets of guitar plans it is important to print to scale so you can make copies and create templates based on the lines for the objects that do not have dimensions, and are therefore less important to be a completely accurate size.

If you measure a long dimension on the plan, or the bar scale on the bottom and /or side of Tom's drawings, you can tell if the drawings are scaled properly. If they are within 1/8 - 3/16" of an inch over the longest dimension you are probably close enough. Since you are measuring under 1/16" difference, I would call that right on for anything without a dimension.

Cheers Peter.
 
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RibbonCurl

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*snip*..... I then modified and detailed them to create a comprehensive set of consturction documents. I have a background in construction documentation and Tom knows those guitars inside and out. My background is Architecture and a small amount industrial design. Construction documents contain dimensions for all important details to be able to build exactly as designed. It's a little more difficult with an oddly shaped objects but the same principles apply. The important details have dimensions that do not depend on the drawing being the correct scale. ...*snip*
Peter, are those construction documents available? Sounds like a necessary addition to any serious owner of the Bartlett '59 Exact plans. Thank you.
 

pshupe

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Peter, are those construction documents available? Sounds like a necessary addition to any serious owner of the Bartlett '59 Exact plans. Thank you.
Those are the '59 Plans. Tom had a set of Generic plans which were V1. We updated those plans to the newest version and also created the '59 Exact plans.

As I, and probably Tom, have said any details that need to be exact are shown with dimensions. Anything else, as long as the drawings are printed at 1:1, will be close enough by measuring or copying the actual line work and use it for templates. This isn't a moving part inside an engine that fits inside another part that has to be machined within 1/1000" here. Think of it as a piece of furniture. Does the seat of your chair have to be within a 1/16" of the other chairs in the set?

Regards Peter.
 

RibbonCurl

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Those are the '59 Plans. Tom had a set of Generic plans which were V1. We updated those plans to the newest version and also created the '59 Exact plans.

As I, and probably Tom, have said any details that need to be exact are shown with dimensions. Anything else, as long as the drawings are printed at 1:1, will be close enough by measuring or copying the actual line work and use it for templates. This isn't a moving part inside an engine that fits inside another part that has to be machined within 1/1000" here. Think of it as a piece of furniture. Does the seat of your chair have to be within a 1/16" of the other chairs in the set?

Regards Peter.
Ok, I understand. Thank you
 

RibbonCurl

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If you measure a long dimension on the plan, or the bar scale on the bottom and /or side of Tom's drawings, you can tell if the drawings are scaled properly. If they are within 1/8 - 3/16" of an inch over the longest dimension you are probably close enough. *snip*
Yes I'm good on the measurements. I had time today and measured the longest length on the bar scales located on the bottom and left side of the Bartlett plan. I was within an 1/8" on the bottom scale and within a 1/32 on the left-side scale.
 

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The carve on those old les Paul’s is just stunning. The carve on my R0 is flat looking in comparison.
 


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