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Guitar made entirely out of one piece of wood possible?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by StrumConstantly, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. StrumConstantly

    StrumConstantly Tele-Meister

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    I was just wondering with all the debate on bolt-on vs. set vs through necks, has anyone ever attempted a guitar that was made entirely out of one piece of wood (neck and body)? I know a like that would be ridiculously expensive, but does anyone know of an electric guitar that has been made like that?
     
  2. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Yep, Orville did it over a hundred years ago:

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    "In 1898, Orville Gibson was awarded the patent for an "Improved Mandolin," using principles that could be applied also to "guitars, mandolas, and lutes." The invention was that of a back, neck, and ribs structure carved from one piece of wood, with an arched soundboard and slightly hollowed neck. Gibson believed that standard construction hindered the acoustical capacities of plucked stringed instruments, as he stated in his patent: "Heretofore mandolins and like instruments have been constructed of too many separate parts bent or carved and glued or veneered and provided with internal braces, bridges, and splices to that extent that they have not possessed that degree of sensitive resonance and vibratory action necessary to produce the power and quality of tone and melody found in the use of the instrument below described . . . . The front or sounding-board and the back board are carved in a somewhat convex form to give them the proper stiffness and are preferably the thickest at and near the center. They are attached to the rim by gluing and form an upper and lower closure to the hollow body of the instrument. It will be observed that with the parts thus constructed and put together no braces, splices, blocks, or bridges are necessary in the interior of the body of the instrument, which, if employed, would rob the instrument of much of its volume of tone and the peculiar excellency thereof." This archtop guitar design, influenced by violin construction, marked the beginning of a significant development in American guitar making."

    Entire article
     
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  3. martyb1

    martyb1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm thinking it definitely could be done.I noticed this last night in a ebay auction.I bet it was cut on a CNC from a single glued up blank

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    Can't see why it could not be done out of a single piece it you could find one big enough
     
  4. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It would be pretty easy even with electric hand tools. These three things would be my primary considerations:

    1.) Finding a suitable wood that was a good compromise between neck strength and body weight. Without reinventing the wheel, Mahogany (or similar) would be an obvious choice.

    2.) Wastage of expensive wood, when glue joints are stronger than the wood they connect.

    3.) Side profile of the guitar. It would probably only be able to have a 5 degree headstock angle, or a Fender style slab neck. It would be better to have a Fender style body/neck parallel, rather than a Gibson angled neck.

    The wood would be expensive, but not hard to find. I've seen slabs of 'hog way big enough, and way expensive enough.

    If I was going to do a Tele, I'd get a blank 2" x 13.5 x 40 and using a whole guitar template, cut it out with a band saw and then rout to the template.

    Then plane the body front down 1/4" leaving the fretboard standing. Turn it sideways and cut out the headstock front and the back of the neck. Rout and install the trussrod from the back. Profile the neck and fretboard.

    The rest is as usual.

    I just did the same sort of thing here, but I had the luxury of joining pieces. This guitar's made from 14 pieces, and the same result could have been got by joining them first before shaping (or starting with a one piece blank).

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    With a CNC machine the only problem would be the cost of the large piece of timber.
     
  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yes, but would Leo approve?

    I didn't think so.
     
  6. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    :lol: Leo's tradition is best illustrated by mass-marketed, foreign-built, plywood Squiers.

    I'm glad MDF wasn't around in the 50s! :D
     
  7. EunosFD

    EunosFD Tele-Holic

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    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008
  8. ramblinmike

    ramblinmike Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 on the MDF :lol:

    The guy was thrifty!
     
  9. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

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    I played a Parker that was supposedly all one piece. I surely couldn't find a seam anywhere.
     
  10. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    The other thing that I got to thinking about was warping. A single, solid piece of wood is more suseptable to warping than a laminated piece.

    When I worked in the wood shop at Tobias, I was taught that even if a piece of wood was a candidate for being a 1-piece neck or body, a much more stable product was made by ripping that wood in half, and turning the grain 180 degrees x 180 degrees, then gluing it all back together.

    That's not to say that you can't make something stable with a single, solid piece of wood. It's just that the curing/drying process must be taken much more seriously.
     
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  11. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    Seems like it would waste a bunch of wood.
     
  12. CrazyManAndy

    CrazyManAndy Tele-Meister

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    Certainly possible, but it is neither practical nor efficient.

    CMA
     
  13. Little Ricky

    Little Ricky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Thrifty?

    If he were alive today he'd only sell the idea of a guitar, not the actual item.
     
  14. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    Isn't one of those weird shaped guitars Prince used to play made from a single piece of wood? I dimly remember reading a review in a music mag in the early 90s that said something like that...
     
  15. Chicken Curry

    Chicken Curry Tele-Meister

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    I'd love to know what the tonal differences would be, all else equal. Has enyone here played a one piece guitar? I guess the closest thing would be a neck through.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  16. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had to chuckle at this. A friend that ran the woodworking shop at Valiant Yachts said, “this is where we we make very expensive sawdust.” Teak, holly, & mahogany
     
  17. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've seen a few videos on 'Tube where a "one piece" guitar was produced. I think it's interesting for a one-off, especially with the "right piece of wood", but it is indeed wasteful relative to material and there is inherent risk of wood movement even beyond "normal" if there is stress in the billet.
     
  18. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I turned 47 years old on the day this was posted.
     
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  19. two mils high

    two mils high TDPRI Member

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    The wood would not be stable. No advantage.
     
  20. Donny Osmond fan

    Donny Osmond fan Tele-Afflicted

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    This one I forget the name brand is 80 thousand dollars. But was on sale for 60 thousand. 1 peace guitar shipped in the wood it is made from.

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