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Thinning a guitar body

 
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Bubbastain



Joined: 03 Jun 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:54 am    Post subject: Thinning a guitar body Reply with quote

First of all I'm new here. First post but I'm glad I found this forum. Some Teisco threads are what brought me here but I have a question about another guitar that I plan to mod (butcher).
I'm picking up an Ibanez JTK30 in the next couple of weeks. I really like the guitar except for the color(mint green is cool but not my thing) , the tailpiece and the thickness of the body. I love thinner guitars. The Ibanez is I believe 1 3/4". I'd like it to be 1.5" Could I strip the body of all the hardware and have someone run it through a planer to take 1/8" off the front and back? Seems this would also save me the trouble of stripping front and back and I would only have to strip the sides all while getting a thinner body at the same time. What do you guys think?
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tnt



Joined: 14 May 2007
Posts: 2908
Location: Princeton, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:54 am    Post subject: Re: Thinning a guitar body Reply with quote

Bubbastain wrote:
First of all I'm new here. First post but I'm glad I found this forum. Some Teisco threads are what brought me here but I have a question about another guitar that I plan to mod (butcher).
I'm picking up an Ibanez JTK30 in the next couple of weeks. I really like the guitar except for the color(mint green is cool but not my thing) , the tailpiece and the thickness of the body. I love thinner guitars. The Ibanez is I believe 1 3/4". I'd like it to be 1.5" Could I strip the body of all the hardware and have someone run it through a planer to take 1/8" off the front and back? Seems this would also save me the trouble of stripping front and back and I would only have to strip the sides all while getting a thinner body at the same time. What do you guys think?



Sure, you could do that. I've done something similar in fact.

Just remember that that will effect your neck pocket depth and will alter the edge routing, and the forearm and belly cuts. So you will be creating some work working for yourself.

Welcome!
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twangster



Joined: 05 Aug 2005
Posts: 9518
Location: Nashville Tennessee.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1. The decreased neck pocket depth could cause problems like the neck flexing.
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69formula



Joined: 13 Jan 2010
Posts: 796
Location: central Mo.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, The pocket depth would definitely have to be restored to original. Strength issues aside, the neck sitting 1/8" higher in relation to the top would mess with bridge and pickup height settings considerably. It could be adjusted to work but it would change the feel of the guitar a great deal.
As for planing, personally...I'd rather find someone with a thickness sander. Most cabinet makers have one. It takes it off slowly and gently. Planers are pretty violent. Most of the time they do just fine but all it takes is one little hiccup to cause some serious damage. I've got a 13" planer but don't really trust it with anything wider than about 6-8".
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Mr. Clevername



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 2460
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done it with a router and a "planing" jig. Took 1/4" off the back of a tele that way.

You just have to use shorter neck screws.
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marksound



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 16700
Location: OKUSA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

twangster wrote:
+1. The decreased neck pocket depth could cause problems like the neck flexing.

Not to mention being a nightmare to set up.
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Bubbastain



Joined: 03 Jun 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the responses. It seems several of my guitars have a neck pocket depth of 5/8". I'll keep to that depth and remove what I need to from the back.
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ladyfinisher



Joined: 21 Feb 2013
Posts: 412
Location: California

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what I'm talking about on this one, so bear with my question. Assuming he planes the back. If he cut down the arm cut and spread it out as far as he can without getting into anything important, Wouldn't that give the "feel" of the body being thinner?

I ask, because I had a customer that had me cutting the belly cut way out and smoothing it into the back and doing the same on the arm cut. I won't say how I did this, you don't want to know. LOL

Ladyfinisher
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marksound



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 16700
Location: OKUSA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ladyfinisher wrote:
I don't know what I'm talking about on this one, so bear with my question. Assuming he planes the back. If he cut down the arm cut and spread it out as far as he can without getting into anything important, Wouldn't that give the "feel" of the body being thinner?

I ask, because I had a customer that had me cutting the belly cut way out and smoothing it into the back and doing the same on the arm cut. I won't say how I did this, you don't want to know. LOL

Ladyfinisher

On some guitars, just taking the factory finish off will bring it down 1/8". Wink

You're right that deepening the contours will make the body feel thinner.

I'm afraid that planing top and back will: 1. expose the pickup and control routs from the back, 2. make the neck cavity too shallow to correct, and 3. ultimately ruin the body.

But it's not mine, so hey. Laughing
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tnt



Joined: 14 May 2007
Posts: 2908
Location: Princeton, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good point on the pup routs and electric cavities. All would probably have to be adjusted.

I also agree with the thickness sander comment - if you have access to that, it's a better tool for this job, though I have used a planer for a similar project, and it can work....just have to do some routing and what not.

Taking it all off that back is fine too, but then you have to strip the front, right? If you can find someone with a wide belt thickness sander, sand the front finish off and take the 1/4" off the back.
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Bubbastain



Joined: 03 Jun 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tnt wrote:
good point on the pup routs and electric cavities. All would probably have to be adjusted.

I also agree with the thickness sander comment - if you have access to that, it's a better tool for this job, though I have used a planer for a similar project, and it can work....just have to do some routing and what not.

Taking it all off that back is fine too, but then you have to strip the front, right? If you can find someone with a wide belt thickness sander, sand the front finish off and take the 1/4" off the back.


That's probably what I'll end up doing. I imagine the finish is pretty thick and removing it will mean less actual wood to be removed. I'll of course measure the depth of the routs to eliminate the possibility of messing it up. I don't really see too much problems with a 1/4" reduction. Deeper contours can give the feeling of a thinner body, but I just prefer the thinner bodies for feel and weight. My unfinished Teisco ET-460 is only 1 1/4" thick. I love it.
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Action-Cashin



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 1521
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would just make a template of the body,
and make a new one for your neck.
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