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How Does One Go About Making An Arch Top?

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  • How Does One Go About Making An Arch Top?

    I'm having some serious issues racking my brain trying to come up with the body design for my next build. Should I go flat top, arch top, big body, hollow body, unique design, traditional design? I just don't know. The main problem seems to be getting wood that is over 6.5 inches in width but of rare wood types (eg. Rosewood).

    Yesterday I thought, "Hey, I'll just use a 3" strip of mahogany (that I have laying around) for the center piece, then use two 5" rosewood wings. Then I can just slap a flame maple cap on both the top and bottom and no one would be any the wiser."

    The problem now is that most larger bodied, and almost all hollow bodied, guitars have arched tops. But, I'm not even sure how to make one. I have two sets of flame maple caps that I was going to use for the top and bottom but without an arched piece to potentially use for the top I seriously cut down on design options.

    Originally I was just going to make a Black Machine B2 clone, since it's the absolute simplest design ever (how people can convince themselves that those things are worth $3500 is beyond me. They can be made in, like, two weeks from common materials), but that still brings me back to the issue of not being able to find very many wood types in the proper width.


    Long story short: How does one go about making an arch top.
    .....

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    Bass: Schecter Stiletto Studio-4 / Amp/Effects: Roland CB-30
    Drums: Roland TD-20 / / Amp/Effect: lolwut?

  • #2
    There are a few variations on this method:
    -Take the body and draw rings on the top, like concentric circles that follow the shape
    -Don't take any wood off of the inner ring
    -for each next outer right, increase the drill depth 1/8", drill many holes
    -now these holes are a depth guide, so remove excess wood with chisel, plane, or safety planer bit, or flap sander

    Did that make any sense ? Youtube has some examples.
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    • #3
      look up freeman keller's les paul build thread on the electric guitars forum

      i thought his method was practical and rather cool

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      • #4
        You can either carve the top or use bent plywood.
        Both require acoustic guitar building techniques.
        Building a flat top semihollow would be an intermediate step in learning
        if you have only built solid bodies previously.

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        • #5
          Start with the Benedetto book.

          I did a build thread for a semi-hollow a while back, and the arching starts here.
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          • #6
            Start with the Benedetto book.

            I did a build thread for a semi-hollow a while back, and the arching starts here.



            Great stuff! Bookmarked.
            Listen...

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            • #7
              Another good archtop build thread here:
              http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2012558-gonna-build-myself-an-archtop

              Or you can buy premade tops & backs here:
              http://acme-archtops.com/

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              • #8
                Great links, thanks for posting.

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                • #9
                  I think I've decided what I'll do. I won't be using a arch top, though (those links are still good for anyone who stumbles across this thread in the future, though). I bought two sets of flame maple laminates and I think I'll use one in the stand flat top fasion for the top, but with the other set, which I'll use for the bottom, I'll cut out a portion for the belly cut-out (groove) so that the primary wood type is exposed to make a unique style. I'm also going to use a three piece body. By that I mean the center primary wood (so, not including the laminate sections) I'll have a 3"center piece of mahogany and two 4-1/2" rosewood or wenge wings. That way I'll have pickups and neck mounted in mahogany while the section that you can physically see (from the sides and the belly cut-out) will be the darker, nicer looking wood.

                  It'll certainly be 'different'. The bolt on neck itself is entirely ebony. It was very expensive
                  .....

                  Guitars: Music Man JP6; Jackson USA Select SLS; Hand Made Customs / Amp/Effects: Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra
                  Bass: Schecter Stiletto Studio-4 / Amp/Effects: Roland CB-30
                  Drums: Roland TD-20 / / Amp/Effect: lolwut?

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