How did Gibson cut the bevels on an SG?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Silvertone, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering how Gibson cut the bevels on an SG back in the day? I assume it was done with a pin router with a shaper? Does anyone have any images to show how this was done. The edge of the template would have to move in and out of the outline of the body so it would cut different depths. I'm just trying to figure out a DIY way to do this, if it is possible?

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    They certainly had copying mills available which would produce multiples from a single pattern. But whether they actually did this I can't say.
     
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  3. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    My SG Std 2015, '61 style body.

    SG Standard TBK 236.jpg
     
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  4. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Some kind of pantograph.
     
  5. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I have laser scanned a 1962 LP (SG) Standard and modelled the body and neck from that guitar. I've cut sections through the body and it seems the bevels are all very similar in angle at about 25 degrees. This suggests to me that they may have used a shaper bit possibly in a pit router with a template. It would be pretty quick just to spin the body top and back with a template to get the bevels.

    I do not think they would've used a copy mill for those bevels. A carved top, absolutely, but I just can't see if for the bevels. I would love to find some info on how they actually did this.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  6. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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  7. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    The Tony Bacon SG book has a reference to this, I would need to scan through it to find the exact reference, so I'm going form memory here... (i.e. not reliable!).

    Someone at Gibson came up with a machine with a rotating knife (knives? or am I confusing it with the Monty Python masonic abattoir?), and the guitar body was mounted on to a block of wood and pushed into the machine, then taken out, turned around and reinserted. I recall there was the possibility that the second step might've been missed, resulting in the occasional body with no rear carve. Overall, I couldn't get a clear picture in my mind as to how it worked, but I doubt it would pass health & safety standards in the workplace these days. :)
     
  8. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  9. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  10. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  12. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I have that book and will go through it more thoroughly later. I didn't find anything in a quick glance today. Other than it said the bevels were at about 22 degrees. The ones I measured were about 25 degrees and they are fairly consistent which suggests there was some sort of shaper machine that was used possibly a pin router with a top and bottom template. That would seem logical as Gibson did a lot of processes for their other guitars with pin routers. Probably most processes actually.

    I'm not interested in modern construction processes. I'm looking mainly for info on those first 5 yrs or so from 1960 - 1965. I think I have read that before. I cut down trees and make guitars as well! ;-)

    I also know the history quite well. It's funny how everyone calls it an SG even prior to 1963. When it was called a Les Paul. I do it also. Thanks for the links.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  13. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Oh it was still an SG back then. They just didn't know yet.
     
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  14. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    :rofl:
     
  15. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  16. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  17. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I really do not think Gibson did it like this? LOL I'm not really looking for how a DIY person would do it. You can just use an MDF template with a router to cut the outline. You wouldn't need the silly pantograph thing. TBH not sure why anyone would use this thing actually. ;-)

    Here is how Gibson does it now -
    Capture.JPG

    I'd like to get info on how they did it in the early to mid 1960s.

    Regards Peter.
     
  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    That is exactly how I thought they always did it
     
  19. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you're on the right track in regard to the outer edge bevels.

    But when it comes to the cutaway bevels, I think those were done by hand. That would explain why the cutaways are where you saw the biggest reduction in beveling as the decade progressed, to save time and labor costs.

    It would also explain mishaps like this:

    71 Jr.jpg
     
  20. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Some of the 1960 Les Paul Special Doublecuts did not have the "Les Paul" script on the headstock and were called SG Specials.

    https://truevintageguitar.com/blogs/previous-inventory/1960-gibson-sg-special

    https://reverb.com/price-guide/guide/2216-gibson-les-paul-special-double-cutaway-1960-cherry


    From 1961-63, the SG Special never had the "Les Paul" name on the guitar.
    Only the SG Junior, SG Standard, SG Custom had the Les Paul name.

    I still consider all SG produced from 1961-63 as SG and not Les Pauls. As soon as the bodies got the ergonomic contours carved on the edges and pointed horns, they were no longer Les Pauls in my book.
     

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