The Moderne - Holy Grail of Vintage Guitars

LPTDMSV

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I... and sent me some photos. I have my doubts about its authenticity but haven't made up my mind yet.
Wouldn't it be really very hard to judge authenticity from photos, without the instrument in your hands?

(I'm probably bitter right now because I just wasted 4 hours going to look at a woodworking machine that looked OK in the high-res photos, but when I got there it was far more abused and dirty than I could have imagined!)

And even then, as Ian C. Bishop said all those years ago, there are custom guitar builders who can build a Gibson just as well as Gibson can build a Gibson. One or two of those people are on this forum!

Given the likely huge sum that guitar would be worth if it were genuine, the temptation to attempt a forgery must be pretty strong :)
 

pshupe

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As to why the production/re-issue Moderne had the 17th fret join, I understood Bill to be saying that because the concept and prototype Modernes were long lost (or never existed!?) Tim Shaw and Gibson just had to make a "best guess" on available evidence, and perhaps didn't analyse the patent drawings quite as obsessively as Bill did :) - not to mention Bill's computer skills and equipment are going to be *way* ahead of anything Gibson had 40 years ago!
I do not think Gibson needed to analyze the patent drawings to figure out the design of something they created, albeit 60 yrs ago. As you say it was 40 yrs ago when they did the re-issue, only 20 yrs or so after the guitar was conceived. Gibson would have lots of contacts for people that worked on those guitars in those days. In Ron's book there is a picture of what looks like a Moderne husk. The Kalamazoo factory closed in 1984, which was after production of some, if not all, of the re-issues. I think all of this would leave one to believe Gibson knew the design of these guitars. Now they may have been trying to replicate what would've been put into production for the Moderne or what was easier to produce with their current manufacturing line setups, which may have differed substantially from the proto-type, just like the Explorer differed from the Futura.

As far as CAD goes, again I would think there would be no chance they were using the patent drawings to design the re-issue. As I mentioned earlier those drawings were purposefully developed just for the patent. They would not have spent any extra time making them "correct" or any proximity to construction documents. Also CAD would have no advantage over measuring with a ruler, actually it may be less accurate. If Gibson had access to the actual document, not a scan or picture. It would be much more accurate.

Regards Peter.
 
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pshupe

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Just organizing some material today. I got a bonus from work a while back in the form of an Amazon gift card and looked around at guitar suppliers where I could spend the $$$. Looks like Luxe takes Amazon Pay! Perfect. Took me a bit of math to figure out exactly what I could get for almost the exact $ amount of my bonus but it was worth it. Here is what I got -
Capture.JPG


Should last me a little while. Enough for about 30 guitars. Best bonus I ever got! ;-)

I also sat down on a ZOOM call this morning with Ron for a couple of hours and worked out some details. I've got the bodies all worked out and now I can move on to 3d models and CAM files. We have drawn up 3 distinct different plans.

The Proto-type - Ron has seen a guitar that had the switch location like that of the Explorer. Also the output jack is on the side of the body inside the treble wing.
Proto-type.JPG


The Production model, which is possibly the way Gibson would've created these if they went to production in 1957.

moderne_prod.JPG


And the Re-issue. This is the way that Gibson built the re-issue models in the early 80's, basically how Ron's 82 Re-issue was built. Notice the very short tenon and wire channel underneath the bridge and tailpiece.

82_Re-issue.JPG


Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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Ok - back at it here. Pretty much ready to cut some bodies out. I've modelled both versions in Fusion 360 and toying with adding the neck plane as a tool path to cut on the CNC.
body01.JPG


There was lots of back and forth with Ron on these designs. I've also had some discussions with someone who has had some info on a couple original 58 Modernistic guitars. We think the design above probably would've been what was developed as the "production" version of the Moderne had it made it that far.


Working on the neck info now and possibly a couple of different profiles.

neck dets.JPG


A few of the details worked out included neck mortise, tenon length, tuner and string ferrule layouts, as well as probable wire channel, pup depths, and stop tail details.

Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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Back on this build.
Went over to a friend's place and went "shopping" through his vintage parts boxes. Here is what I pulled out for a couple of these guitars.
double_parts.jpg


also picked up some 59 LP parts for an upcoming build. I haven't decided on pups for the LP but should be set for the rest. :yesway:

59LP_parts.JPG


Cheers Peter.
 
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pshupe

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I setup all the tool paths for the bodies for both designs. I had to modify my stock and indexing pins for these "huge" bodies. Lots of waste though. Now that I'm looking at it, I might be able to get half a Flying V body out of the waste material... but probably not. :(
CAM.JPG


CAM.JPG


I also spent some time and detailed out the neck so I can model that up and get that in Fusion 360 as well. I haven't decided on head stock design for one of these builds, possibly two, so I made the neck so I could use any of the Gibson style head stocks.

neck details.JPG


Cheers Peter.
 

Tweaker

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Just a thought, and tough to tell for certain based on the angles of the images, but if you move your indexing pins closer to the edges of the blank, you'd have more salvageable scrap, particularly on the left side of the body. Might give you more material for the Flying V bodies.

Maybe put the index pins 1/2" in from each corner, or something to that effect. Or, one more thought, just use two indexing pins in line with your center line. If your pin/hole tolerance is good, there's no reason to use four pins. I've used two index pins on the center line on several projects without an issue.
 

pshupe

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Just a thought, and tough to tell for certain based on the angles of the images, but if you move your indexing pins closer to the edges of the blank, you'd have more salvageable scrap, particularly on the left side of the body. Might give you more material for the Flying V bodies.

Maybe put the index pins 1/2" in from each corner, or something to that effect. Or, one more thought, just use two indexing pins in line with your center line. If your pin/hole tolerance is good, there's no reason to use four pins. I've used two index pins on the center line on several projects without an issue.
Actually there is not that much waste. I had my stock a little oversized to what my blanks really are. I updated and here is a shot from top view.

CAM02.JPG


Cheers Peter.
 

Tweaker

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I was thinking the indexing holes would cause some of the cut off piece to be unusable, but if you can keep those holes and still use those off cuts that's awesome.
 

moreles

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Thank you for documenting this project. Your design process is impressive, and your commitment to sorting through varying descriptions, documents, and the theories (some reasonable, some crackpot) posed by individuals is appreciated by us in the audience. My personal opinion is that some of the ideas posted here by various people assume way too much thought, care, and reason on Gibson's part. This is not a company driven by perfectionism or, often enough, sound juydgment. Gibson is famous for making decisions based on availability of supplies, price, and the ease of adapting existing tooling. They have innumerable instrument designs, going all the way back to Orville's many duds, that are seriously flawed. They recycled every part they possibly could. (Epi mini-hums, anyone?) There is no reason for anyone to think the '80s reissues were intended to be finely accurate. My '87 reissue '61 LP/SG Custom has a whopper headstock even thoughg so many other features are nicely authentic. I really appreciate how you're reasoning through the information you have. It's not easy!
 

lowatter

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Your skills are incredible Peter. These are gonna be beauties. BTW...I went back to your 2013 LP Junior build thread and it's a shame many of the pics are missing. Any chance you can restore them?
 

LPTDMSV

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I haven't decided on head stock design for one of these builds, possibly two, so I made the neck so I could use any of the Gibson style head stocks.
I see some kind of design connection between the headstocks and the body shapes for the Futura and the Flying V - "overlapping scalene triangles" for the Futura, "sector" (or "single isoceles triangle) for the Flying V.

(bear in mind that the Futura started out without a cutaway, and the V started out without the V!)

Flying_V__57-design_elements.jpg

Futura__57-design_elements.jpg


In the case of the Moderne it's harder to see what the design elements were, it's a more complex shape and I wonder if it was a hybrid of two prior concepts - but it still seems to me that there is a connection between the mixed curves of the Gumby shape and the body. Like @Bill Hicklin I can see how the Explorer "Scimitar" could have evolved from the Gumby, I think if I were going to go for an "Alternate Reality" Moderne it would be that one.

The traditional Gibson headstock as featured on the (reputedly) re-necked Dan Erlewhine guitar is so assertively un-modernistic! That one on a Moderne is a clash of civilisations for sure :)
 
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voices

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I setup all the tool paths for the bodies for both designs. I had to modify my stock and indexing pins for these "huge" bodies. Lots of waste though. Now that I'm looking at it, I might be able to get half a Flying V body out of the waste material... but probably not. :(
View attachment 513904

View attachment 513905

I also spent some time and detailed out the neck so I can model that up and get that in Fusion 360 as well. I haven't decided on head stock design for one of these builds, possibly two, so I made the neck so I could use any of the Gibson style head stocks.

View attachment 513906

Cheers Peter.
I very much like the LP headstock as an alternative to the Gumby.
 

CB91710

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In the case of the Moderne it's harder to see what the design elements were, it's a more complex shape and I wonder if it was a hybrid of two prior concepts - but it still seems to me that there is a connection between the mixed curves of the Gumby shape and the body. Like @Bill Hicklin I can see how the Explorer "Scimitar" could have evolved from the Gumby, I think if I were going to go for an "Alternate Reality" Moderne it would be that one.

The traditional Gibson headstock as featured on the (reputedly) re-necked Dan Erlewhine guitar is so assertively un-modernistic! That one on a Moderne is a clash of civilisations for sure :)
I see it as a fusion of the V and Futura.... A version of the "V" that is playable seated in a non-classical position, and the curve on the body being added to the Futura headstock.

The fusion aspect of the design may be why it received such a cool response and never went into production.
The V and Futura/Explorer have attractive symmetry. The Moderne is a deign that needs to grow on you, and first impressions make or break a new model in a time when Gibson was trying to out-Fender Fender with non-traditional designs.
The V and Explorer were a natural fit for the late 50s "Space Age" or "Googie" styles that were breaking into architecture.

And like the short runs of the original V and Explorer, Googie too fell out of favor relatively quickly.
 

CB91710

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I setup all the tool paths for the bodies for both designs. I had to modify my stock and indexing pins for these "huge" bodies. Lots of waste though. Now that I'm looking at it, I might be able to get half a Flying V body out of the waste material... but probably not. :(
I'm not a big fan of the "Gumby" headstock, but the V, Futura, and LP would look out of place with the body curve.
Perhaps a fusion of the V with a curved lower side to draw the body shape to the headstock like the V?
 

LPTDMSV

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The V and Explorer were a natural fit for the late 50s "Space Age" or "Googie" styles that were breaking into architecture.

And like the short runs of the original V and Explorer, Googie too fell out of favor relatively quickly.
Well that's my "you learn something every day" moment! Thank you - I did not know that style even had a name. I'm going to have to do some reading up.

Googie architecture - Wikipedia

I would agree for sure that there was something going on in the Modernistic design process that was consciously or sub-consciously taking influences from architecture, automotive design, the space age, furniture design and so on, as well as playing with basic design elements like triangles & french curves.
 

dcomiskey

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I would def figure out a way to remove the two indexing pins on the one side in order to salvage the pieces for a V. (Clamps? DS tape?) Seems like a huge waste of wood, especially given how hard this stuff is to find (believe me, I know!).
 

pshupe

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I would def figure out a way to remove the two indexing pins on the one side in order to salvage the pieces for a V. (Clamps? DS tape?) Seems like a huge waste of wood, especially given how hard this stuff is to find (believe me, I know!).
There's not that much material left there. I do not have any trouble finding Limba in the 8" wide range. It's actually really inexpensive for some reason. On par with African Mahogany. It's the really wide stuff that is difficult to find. Also 12/4 stuff for necks is almost impossible.

Regards Peter.
 


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