She has a weight problem, but she’s pretty.

65 Champ Amp

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7691DA1E-DE06-44A4-A9EC-3FB0873A25F0.jpeg

From my own log, milled on a friend’s sawmill. Pre-routing weight: 7.0 lb.

I have a couple others in process that are much lighter, and I have a lot of 1” boards from that log that I could/should chamber and sandwich to make a lighter body, but darn it. This is nice looking wood, and it’s one piece. And I just want to use it. 🥴

Now I know many of you have experience building guitars out of heavy woods, and am looking for opinions.

Huge bathtub rout under the pickguard? Any sense in then drilling outwards from that big rout in sort of a honeycomb to lighten it?
I can save a few ounces here and there, but I realize this is going to be a heavy guitar. Good thing that my current “band” is just a duo and nobody cares that I like to sit down when we’re performing.

Go ahead and not worry about it?
Make a Tele wall clock out of it? A Tele cutting board?

And, if any of you have built with heavy, hard wood like this, what kind of pickups sounded best to you?

Maybe P90s? That’s the way I’m leaning...
Or Esquire?

Thanks for any wisdom you’d care to share!
 

dogmeat

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I've made a few where I drilled everything out from the back side except where the neck and bridge mount (and a 1" rib down the middle). leave the top about 1/4" maybe 3/16" thick and then cover the back with 1/8" Baltic birch and bind it or paint it. that makes a light guitar. I'm thinking a guy could cut and plane solid wood for the back. I would if I had the material. I know that Peegoo has split Tely bodies down the middle (edge to edge) with a bandsaw in order to hollow them out
 

guitarbuilder

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Cut or plane off the top or back. Hollow it out or thinline it...Glue on the top or back or a figured maple top or back from similar wood. A 7 lb body will yield a 10 pound guitar...think Norlin Les Paul.


 

schmee

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View attachment 1018595
From my own log, milled on a friend’s sawmill. Pre-routing weight: 7.0 lb.

I have a couple others in process that are much lighter, and I have a lot of 1” boards from that log that I could/should chamber and sandwich to make a lighter body, but darn it. This is nice looking wood, and it’s one piece. And I just want to use it. 🥴

Now I know many of you have experience building guitars out of heavy woods, and am looking for opinions.

Huge bathtub rout under the pickguard? Any sense in then drilling outwards from that big rout in sort of a honeycomb to lighten it?
I can save a few ounces here and there, but I realize this is going to be a heavy guitar. Good thing that my current “band” is just a duo and nobody cares that I like to sit down when we’re performing.

Go ahead and not worry about it?
Make a Tele wall clock out of it? A Tele cutting board?

And, if any of you have built with heavy, hard wood like this, what kind of pickups sounded best to you?

Maybe P90s? That’s the way I’m leaning...
Or Esquire?

Thanks for any wisdom you’d care to share!
What wood is that? Southern Yellow Pine? It's a cutting board!

But I do like swimming pool routs if that helps. And I will say, my best, toneful, resonant, solid body guitars are heavy..... unfortunately!
 

65 Champ Amp

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What wood is that? Southern Yellow Pine? It's a cutting board!

But I do like swimming pool routs if that helps. And I will say, my best, toneful, resonant, solid body guitars are heavy..... unfortunately!

That’s good to hear regarding “toneful and resonant”!

That is northern baseball bat ash. It died several years before the emerald ash borer infestation, which killed the rest of my ash trees. I left it standing for a few years before felling it. Using firewood rounds as rollers and a chain on my old Craftsman lawn tractor I snaked the bottom eight feet of the trunk out where my friend could get at it with his skid steer. We milled it into lumber on his mill ~ mostly one inch thick boards, but I made sure to do one board two inch thick. It’s all been stickered and stacked in my garage for five or six years, along with some black cherry that I helped him mill. It’s thoroughly dry. Whenever he needs a hand felling and milling a tree, I get paid with some lumber.

I will shoot a photo of the end grain when I get home. You folks may understand why I really don’t want to thin it and cap it. I have plenty of thinner stock that works for chambering, but this just looks great as a one piece.

Any opinions on what might sound better in hard, dense wood - P90s or regular Tele pickups? I have a bunch of both that are waiting for homes. 🤪
 

8barlouie

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I have an Artist branded T in butterscotch ash that is gorgeous and plays like the wind, but she weighs in at almost 12 pounds! No that’s what I would call overweight! I love to play it, but only sitting down.
 

TheZ

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I say go for it especially if that wood is unique/special to you. Won't matter if you're playing it sitting down, and if you're playing it standing just make sure to use a wide/padded strap.
 

Peegoo

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Slice it through the center like a layer cake and chamber it out. I've done a few slab bodies this way and was happy with the results in all cases.

Here's an example:

 

Hiker

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With neck, and hardware, what would her total weight likely add up to?
 

crazydave911

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Cut or plane off the top or back. Hollow it out or thinline it...Glue on the top or back or a figured maple top or back from similar wood. A 7 lb body will yield a 10 pound guitar...think Norlin Les Paul.


10? That's a joke 😂. My best friend growing up has one 12lbs 14oz and has a crappy 3 piece top. He's beyond in love and thinks Gibson does no wrong. It's saving grace is one of the best sets of PAF I've ever heard. (And no the weight isn't responsible 😂).
Sorry OP, I've just never understood how a Tele could weigh so much. Yeah my Tele 12 is almost 12lbs but it's the dimensions of a Les Paul and 2" thick 😳
 

StoneH

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Slice it through the center like a layer cake and chamber it out. I've done a few slab bodies this way and was happy with the results in all cases.

Here's an example:


Thanks for that!!
 

65 Champ Amp

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Heavens! I thought my walnut blank was heavy at 5 lbs.

View attachment 1018796

Oh, that’s pretty!
What kind of pickups are you planning🤔

Slice it through the center like a layer cake and chamber it out. I've done a few slab bodies this way and was happy with the results in all cases.

Here's an example:

That’s excellent. Thanks!
I’ve built a two piece chambered body, but never contemplated what you did.
Lacking a big bandsaw, it would mean cutting by hand with a rip saw.
With neck, and hardware, what would her total weight likely add up to?
Someone has suggested 10 pounds. I’d lean towards the Spinal Tap answer, and say she’ll go to eleven.
At least!

Weight equals bass. So you want pickups that can reproduce that. P-90s win over humbuckers, but I have no clue about Tele pickups. A wood that hard is likely to be bright as well. Hmmm.

Yup. Bathtub rout.
Seriosly thinking P90s. i have four at least on my parts box.

Sincere thanks for the replies!

Here is what she looks like from the ends ~
BBD3B412-0605-469F-ABA6-08B41804E699.jpeg
63B259C3-A2D4-4789-A4C8-6377C85D7C7F.jpeg
I just can’t cut or paint it.

I’ll do what I can to minimize the final weight, but am fully prepared for a heavy guitar.

I already have one with these pickups, which is why I’m leaning toward two P90s for this one.
C11E8E6F-242D-421B-82CC-5C5EE8930EE8.jpeg
 

wadeeinkauf

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It is great to use your own lumber to make your guitar. A guitar should have a story. This is what I have learned in my guitar building hobby. You are going to spend a lot of time and money in this project. You want to make a guitar to be as good as your skills allow. Do not take short cuts you can easily avoid. Many professional players love the tele for its light weight. A very good rule of thumb is to get the weight at or below 7.5 pounds. That means having a body at 4.3 pounds or less. A 7lb tele is a dream to play. Don’t fall into the tone wood trap. As has been suggested, a really great way to go at this point is to plane your body down ¼ inch. Buy a ¼ thick drop top. Chamber your body like a thin line. The below is from https://americanspecialtyhardwoods.com/, I have purchased hundreds of dollars of lumber from them and have never been disappointed. The below piece is a lower quality grade but will make an outstanding looking guitar. It is listed at $29. If you just have to have your wood on top, then chamber from the bottom and put a piece like this on the bottom.

This is from https://americanspecialtyhardwoods.com/ at $29.
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This is what happens to guitars I have built that were too heavy, or a victim of the learning process. If it ever rains again here in California these go on the burn pile.
20220819_185751.jpg
 

jvin248

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.

Build it!

Go for a minimal Esquire Build -- one pickup is lighter than two! :)

No control plate, use a rear cavity with plastic cover.
Volume no Tone -- just like Eddie Van Halen.

Use all maple neck + maple fretboard, vintage style Kluson tuners, stainless steel frets.
Use a 'half bridge' and direct mount the bridge pickup to the body.

You can always swimming pool route under the pickguard but keep that wood and go pickguard-less to show off the wood grain.

.
 

tfarny

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You probably know this, but all the rest of the kit probably adds around 3 lb give or take - make lighter choices when you can like a basic stamped steel bridge, vintage tuners and so on. Swimming pool rout and a belly cut might lose one pound, end up with a 9 lb guitar - that's lighter than my bass, and if you can do all that forestry work then you can handle a 9 lb guitar.

Beauty!
 




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