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Making my own Les Paul Style Guitar
Thanks for putting up such an excellent page. I'm currently making my
own Les Paul style guitar and just need to get a bunch of minor questions sorted out.
Scale Length: Where do I begin
the scale length: at the front, middle or end of the nut.
The 18 Rule for measuring
disance between frets: Is it actually 17.817
(as Melvyn Hiscock says in building your own electric
guitar) or 17.835 (as Ralph Denyer has in The Guitar Handbook)?
Neck Radius: The compound
radius on Gibson fretboards: starts out as 12" at the nut, but what is it at the
end of the fretboard? I know what fretboard radius and compound fretboard radius are, but what is
Neck Radius and compound neck radius?
Vintage Les Pauls:
I heard a rumour that these have "acoustic" sound chambers like Brian May's
red special guitar: is this true?
Rick Andrews Answers Your Question Below.
Answers for Matt:
You begin the scale length at the center inside face of the nut where
the string is actually pinched off at the precise point where the string
starts to sound and the other end of the scale is at the bridge saddle inside
face of the point it is starting its sound. In other word the entire length
of the string that moves or makes sound.
18 Rule fret distance:
This is not a factor in my way of thinking or applies anywhere I know
of. The distance between frets varies. Each set of frets continue to get
closer together as it goes up the neck. The 12th fret is exactly 1/2 of the
distance between the nut and the bridge which is also one full octave
higher in pitch. You can calculate the distances between each set of frets
or just use a scale template premade for this that has each fret properly
laid out. The best way is to purchase the fretboard already preslotted. If
you can buy the wood fretboard for $10 you can get it preslotted for about
The Gibson fretboard radius is 12" all the way from nut on to the end.
It stays the same 12" radius. The fretboard is wider at the other end but
the radius is still 12" all the way.
The neck has no radius if you are thinking about where the fretboard
glues to the neck wood itself. The bottom of the fretboard is flat and glues
to the flat top side of the neck. Then the top side of the fretboard is cut
to the 12" radius all the way down. To change that radius would be
rediculous to do and much harder to keep accurate. That is why the standard
is always the same radius. The back side of the neck does look like it has a
radius appearance but is not a true radius. It is more of an elipse shape
with a tighter curve at each edge and a bit flatter at the center line. A
true radius would be perfectly round and too thick for comfortable playing.
Vintage Les Pauls
. . acoustic chambers: Not any that I know of. All the Les Pauls I have seen apart are just
solid blocks of wood and cut out only for the pickups, and wiring cavities.
There would be no advantage to do this unless it was totally hollow body. I
think they may have made a model that was hollow with f holes but the normal
Les Pauls had no such accoustic qualities as far as I know of.
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