Gibson SG body blank

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
Hi all,
I'm in a bit of pinch and was wondering if anyone can help me out with some reference information for the measurements of a Gibson SG body blank.

I found a guy with some nicely dried cedar burls and douglas fir cut in the 80s, and need to get back to him with the measurements for a slab of wood.

If anyone has experience building an SG, what size blank would you want to carve the body, and have enough extra material for a safe margin when routing and planing?

Or a link with reference information?

The additional wrinkle for this project is that it will probably be a bolt neck, not a set neck. Using cedar, douglas fir, or redwood for this project, I figure a bolt neck will be better suited to soft wood than a set neck. I'll be getting professional help with the carpentry on this project, so the design specifics will be worked out later. I just need to know a rough size for a generous SG body blank so I can get started on the materials.

Thanks all!
 
Last edited:

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
I've started my templates for an SG build using these plans. They are in mm but 20" X 15" should do you. That's what I'm using.
Thanks for the reference plans and the advice.
What depth? It's about 1.4" deep, I'm thinking 2 inches thick may be sufficient.

if the wood was slightly asymmetrical or curved, maybe a little thicker to ensure it can be planed down?
 

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
Well that fell through, the craigslist seller was an hour and a half drive away, and wouldn't give me more than a three word reply to an email. I told him the type of grain I needed and the dimensions I was looking for.

His reply was "some will work." Didn't even offer his name or contact information.

I'm not a pro so I really need more information to go on, if I looked at a room full of burls I wouldn't know how to select the right cut of wood. I just know I want a vertical slab not a round cut, and the size I need.

But if any more experienced woodworkers or somebody located closer wants to take a look, here is a link to the craigslist ad. Most of the burls are rounds, but could be good for veneers or drop tops.


if anybody knows some members in the area who might be looking for material like this, tag them in. Maybe it will be helpful to someone.

@natec might be of interest to you?
 
Last edited:

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,053
Age
77
Location
Washington
Frankly I wouldn't use any of that for a guitar, certainly not without looking at it and making sure it was exactly what I wanted. Almost all SG's were made out of mahogany, the would be my first choice. Living in the great PNW you do have lots of Douglas fir available which is actually a decent wood (I've built five doug fir barncasters and one classical from it, they are nice guitars).

What I would suggest doing, if you really want to build an SG is find a good set of plans which will tell you how big things need to be. Melvyn Hiscock's book would be a good idea, the chapter on geometry has lots of information about some of the different gibson tenons, the SG can be somewhat problematic if its not done correctly.

I don't know exactly where you are in the PNW but there are some excellent wood suppliers including Gilmers in Portland. I happen to be in Wenatchee if thats not out of your way and would love to talk guitars with you.
 

archtop_fjk

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Posts
1,091
Location
New Hampshire
I’ve built a few guitars from scratch and one thing you can do if you are new to a particular design is to make a prototype using a pine 2 X 8 from your local home improvement store / lumber supplier. Glue two pieces edge on to make your body blank, then cut it, carve it and route it based your plans. This way you have a reference body to guide you as you work on your real body with the more expensive wood.
 

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
sorry for the slow reply here, my health isn't great and the yearly wildfire smoke really knocks me on my ass.
Frankly I wouldn't use any of that for a guitar, certainly not without looking at it and making sure it was exactly what I wanted. ... Living in the great PNW you do have lots of Douglas fir available which is actually a decent wood (I've built five doug fir barncasters and one classical from it, they are nice guitars).

...the chapter on geometry has lots of information about some of the different gibson tenons, the SG can be somewhat problematic if its not done correctly.

I don't know exactly where you are in the PNW but there are some excellent wood suppliers including Gilmers in Portland. I happen to be in Wenatchee if thats not out of your way and would love to talk guitars with you.
Thanks for the good advice, Freeman.

Yeah I agree with you that this stuff probably isn't suitable. I was thinking if I bought from a hobbyist I might luck out and find some well cured wood that had been on a shelf in someone's garage for years. Now I'm thinking it would just be too much of a crapshoot.

The goal of this project is to build 3 unique guitars with local woods, and used / old stock hardware. I'll probably be getting the bodies made on cnc, and I'll do the final assembly.

Thanks for recommending Gilmer, I'm in Portland so I will check out their storefront. Douglas fir sounds like a good option. I see gilmer stocks it, their blanks look nice.

I also found this supplier in Eugene that offers clear grain architectural redwood in custom sizes. That sounds interesting, and probably pretty easy to work with. https://redwoodnorthwest.com/lumber/dimensional-redwood-lumber/

I'm interested in using redwood because I grew up in a house made of redwood, its very durable, and it seems to have nice acoustic properties. I used to press the headstock of an electric guitar to a redwood beam, and it would resonate so loud it sounded like the guitar was amplified.

I am getting the neck made by Alloy guitars here in portland. They also offer material sourcing as a service, so I will leave the selection of locally sourced wood for the neck to them to decide. I am hoping they can use locally sourced big leaf maple, western maple, walnut, or myrtle.

I am very interested in oregon myrtle, I hear it is a very stable tight grained wood. Freeman, do you know if myrtle is durable enough to be used for fretboards?

I am going to make a dedicated project thread soon, and post photos of the hardware I have found for the projects.

thanks again.
 

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
My health's not great so I rarely make it outside of Portland, frankly I rarely make it out of the house these days.

I used to be a guitarist, but I have a muscular condition that kind of degraded my ability. Now I consider playing guitar and guitar building as an investment in my continued happiness :)
I don't know exactly where you are in the PNW but there are some excellent wood suppliers including Gilmers in Portland. I happen to be in Wenatchee if thats not out of your way and would love to talk guitars with you.
I don't know if you ever go to Gilmers in person, but if you're ever in Portland to pick up some materials, I would definitely enjoy meeting up.
 
Last edited:

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
Personally I've found quartersawn Douglas Fir an outstanding neck material. Very stiff and quite beautiful,YMMV
Thanks Dave, that's good to know that Douglas Fir worked well for you.

I saw some Douglas Fir and Port Orford cedar neck blanks available. The grain looks nice, straight and tight, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up under string tension. I'd only seen evergreen used on classical guitars with spruce necks.

Sounds like an interesting option, and a nice fit for this project with a fir or redwood body.
 

crazydave911

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Posts
14,134
Age
63
Location
East Tennessee
Thanks Dave, that's good to know that Douglas Fir worked well for you.

I saw some Douglas Fir and Port Orford cedar neck blanks available. The grain looks nice, straight and tight, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up under string tension. I'd only seen evergreen used on classical guitars with spruce necks.

Sounds like an interesting option, and a nice fit for this project with a fir or redwood body.
Well my oldest is over 31 years old but it could warp any day now 🤣🤣🤣🤣
 

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,053
Age
77
Location
Washington
Naneek, sorry about the health issues. We do get to the Portland area a few times a year, I also order directly from Gilmer - they do a very good job of showing what is available on their web page.

A few random musings about wood. You can build a guitar out of anything and people have, but there are good reasons for using different woods for different guitars and parts of guitars. I am a very conservative traditional builder, most of my guitars were influenced by something vintage. I applaud the builders who are using all the creative different (and sustainable) woods, in general I'm still locked in to the tropical rain forest woods. Yes, I know, I'm part of the problem.

I have built a couple of guitars with alternate woods - five little tele clones made out of 100+ year old Douglas fir barn wood

IMG_6936.JPG


And one classical acoustic guitar made out of Doug fir flooring from the gym of a local school. The guitars are tremendous successes, but the woods were chosen in part for their funkyness and the classical was a personal challenge to build out of wood on hand.

Douglas fir is a conifer softwood like spruce, red cedar, and redwood, and has engineering properties (density, Young's modulus) just below spruce. It had a nice tap tone and worked fine for the top of the classical and as far as I am concerned you can use anything you want for a solid body electric. Would I use it for a neck? No, but that is just me being conservative. I've never seen it used for necks, their must be some reason that Gibson or Fender or Martin or someone doesn't. It probably would be just fine, but if I put a hundred or more hours of work into a guitar I want to be sure. The five little barn casters got maple or rosewood necks, the classical got mahogany.

Redwood is another occasional top wood for acoustics and once in a while body wood for an electric. Like cedar its fairly soft, might dent easily, but otherwise should be just fine. Myrtle is another interesting alternative wood. Breedlove is using it for some of their acoustic guitars backs and sides, it certainly can be a stunning looking wood. You have an incredible source of stunning Oregon tone woods in NW Timbers, I have purchased maple from them that defies grading


I will be interested in your experiences with Alloy, it is an interesting concept and I'm surprised that other folks with a mid sized cnc and a little experience haven't started to job shop guitar parts. It will also be interesting to see what you do with the SG body - its a slightly troublesome shape with its short tenon and angled set neck.

Anyway, best of luck on all these topics - if I can help in any way let me know. We may be down for Thanksgiving and certainly for Christmas, it would be fun to hook up and see what you are doing. Take care, we keep telling ourselves that the smoke will clear as soon as it rains and it will rain one of these days......
 

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
Naneek, sorry about the health issues. We do get to the Portland area a few times a year, I also order directly from Gilmer - they do a very good job of showing what is available on their web page.

A few random musings about wood. You can build a guitar out of anything and people have, but there are good reasons for using different woods for different guitars and parts of guitars. I am a very conservative traditional builder, most of my guitars were influenced by something vintage. I applaud the builders who are using all the creative different (and sustainable) woods, in general I'm still locked in to the tropical rain forest woods. Yes, I know, I'm part of the problem.

I have built a couple of guitars with alternate woods - five little tele clones made out of 100+ year old Douglas fir barn wood

View attachment 1040131

And one classical acoustic guitar made out of Doug fir flooring from the gym of a local school. The guitars are tremendous successes, but the woods were chosen in part for their funkyness and the classical was a personal challenge to build out of wood on hand.

Douglas fir is a conifer softwood like spruce, red cedar, and redwood, and has engineering properties (density, Young's modulus) just below spruce. It had a nice tap tone and worked fine for the top of the classical and as far as I am concerned you can use anything you want for a solid body electric. Would I use it for a neck? No, but that is just me being conservative. I've never seen it used for necks, their must be some reason that Gibson or Fender or Martin or someone doesn't. It probably would be just fine, but if I put a hundred or more hours of work into a guitar I want to be sure. The five little barn casters got maple or rosewood necks, the classical got mahogany.

Redwood is another occasional top wood for acoustics and once in a while body wood for an electric. Like cedar its fairly soft, might dent easily, but otherwise should be just fine. Myrtle is another interesting alternative wood. Breedlove is using it for some of their acoustic guitars backs and sides, it certainly can be a stunning looking wood. You have an incredible source of stunning Oregon tone woods in NW Timbers, I have purchased maple from them that defies grading


I will be interested in your experiences with Alloy, it is an interesting concept and I'm surprised that other folks with a mid sized cnc and a little experience haven't started to job shop guitar parts. It will also be interesting to see what you do with the SG body - its a slightly troublesome shape with its short tenon and angled set neck.

Anyway, best of luck on all these topics - if I can help in any way let me know. We may be down for Thanksgiving and certainly for Christmas, it would be fun to hook up and see what you are doing. Take care, we keep telling ourselves that the smoke will clear as soon as it rains and it will rain one of these days......
Thanks again freeman.
That fir telecaster looks great. I love that owl inlay on the headstock! I was actually planning to do owl decals or screen prints on the headstocks. I'm using artwork from the bindings of late 19th and early 20th century books that were handed down in my family. Owls seemed to be a common motif.

I'm using recycled hardware, I figure recycled artwork is the next logical step with that theme.

Thanks again for your input on material options. I was thinking the strongest possible neck that could be built with local materials would probably be 3 or 4 piece walnut and maple like a rickenbacker. Or 3 piece maple like a jackson.

I'm hoping to find something other than maple for the fretboards, I don't like relying on a thick finish to protect the wood. I tend to prefer a polished rosewood board with no finish, so I am looking for something dimensionally stable with hard tight grain that can stand up to wear, and takes finish well.

Yeah send me a message if you're in town this fall or winter, I'd enjoy meeting up.
 
Last edited:

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,053
Age
77
Location
Washington
Thanks again freeman.
That fir telecaster looks great. I love that owl inlay on the headstock! I was actually planning to do owl decals or screen prints on the headstocks. I'm using artwork from the bindings of late 19th and early 20th century books that were handed down in my family. Owls seemed to be a common motif.
The inlay pays tribute to the great horned owl that lives in the barn where the wood came from..

IMG_2000-1.jpg

IMG_6904.JPG


Its a long story....
 

crazydave911

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Posts
14,134
Age
63
Location
East Tennessee
My VERY early experiments with instruments, a dfir baseboard blank lol 🤣🤣🤣🤣

All douglas fir except the brown topped one, it's solid sitka spruce (neck and body one board 🤪) 😂😂😂😂
 

Attachments

  • CD1720.jpg
    CD1720.jpg
    192.4 KB · Views: 13
  • IM000710.jpg
    IM000710.jpg
    77.5 KB · Views: 13
  • IM000686.jpg
    IM000686.jpg
    57.1 KB · Views: 13
  • IM000685.jpg
    IM000685.jpg
    57.4 KB · Views: 14
  • 16659506694655256828799474903101.jpg
    16659506694655256828799474903101.jpg
    161.1 KB · Views: 12

naneek

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Posts
787
Location
PNW
My VERY early experiments with instruments, a dfir baseboard blank lol 🤣🤣🤣🤣

All douglas fir except the brown topped one, it's solid sitka spruce (neck and body one board 🤪) 😂😂😂😂
very cool, I always like to see creative body shapes. That headless design is a fun concept, and interesting to see something like a martin backpacker as a solidbody.

I'm going to build an ergonomic guitar with a unique body shape. vaguely inspired by a casio dg-1 digital guitar, a steinberger, and the ernie ball st vincent.
 

crazydave911

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Posts
14,134
Age
63
Location
East Tennessee
very cool, I always like to see creative body shapes. That headless design is a fun concept, and interesting to see something like a martin backpacker as a solidbody.

I'm going to build an ergonomic guitar with a unique body shape. vaguely inspired by a casio dg-1 digital guitar, a steinberger, and the ernie ball st vincent.
I made everything on that headless including weird pickups. I even made a copper bridge for it. I made the changes for convenience and have regretted it every day since. It did the first Cream and Doobie album perfect, now it's just " normal" 🙄🙄🙄🙄

Lol 🤣
 




Top