Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi Everyone.

    I'm looking to make laminate guitar plates and I'm currently making various forma's for pressing.

    I was curious to know how often laminate top and back plates are formed using the same forma, if at all?

    Cheers!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Ha! This question came up while I was responding to your other post, suggesting you should look at laminate guitars. Well, I don't really have an answer for you. Many years ago, before starting to make speaker cabs instead of guitars, I pondered with the same question. So here's my thinking but no practical experience: For a non-cutaway guitar, there should be no obstacle. For the optional cutaway, you'd either have to make the upper shoulder area flat or go the L-5 route with widening bindings towards the neck. For a bespoke cutaway model with curvature on the horn, allowing for an even-width rim and binding, you need two formers. If they're mirror-image, you can make lefty models with them, too. Generally speaking, today's curved laminate tops are a lot flatter than in the past, whereas past backs tended to be flatter, i.e. coming from a different former.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    What, if any, information do you already have access to?

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    IIRC luthiers Gretz , Holst and Borys make their own plywood plates - they might indulge you ?!

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Hi Everyone.

    I'm looking to make laminate guitar plates and I'm currently making various forma's for pressing.

    I was curious to know how often laminate top and back plates are formed using the same forma, if at all?

    Cheers!
    Ask the Master:
    Borys Guitars

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Ha! This question came up while I was responding to your other post, suggesting you should look at laminate guitars. Well, I don't really have an answer for you. Many years ago, before starting to make speaker cabs instead of guitars, I pondered with the same question. So here's my thinking but no practical experience: For a non-cutaway guitar, there should be no obstacle. For the optional cutaway, you'd either have to make the upper shoulder area flat or go the L-5 route with widening bindings towards the neck. For a bespoke cutaway model with curvature on the horn, allowing for an even-width rim and binding, you need two formers. If they're mirror-image, you can make lefty models with them, too. Generally speaking, today's curved laminate tops are a lot flatter than in the past, whereas past backs tended to be flatter, i.e. coming from a different former.
    Hi Gitterbug.

    I suspect like most things the answer comes down to cost. Some companies will take the time and cost to make the plates based on function (depending on how much function a laminated back plate has) and some will simply look at the bottom line and act accordingly.
    I suspect there are many top and back plates made from the same carved template but how many, I don't know.

    I have had a lot of experience with laminate guitars. I would say my preferred jazz guitar is a laminate. I don't have a preference for one style or the other. I've often found carved tops to be unbalanced across the strings. A great carve is great but on average they can sound quite bad imo.
    I noted Vinny is having a Campellone built and his choice of a thicker carve with a densely grained top would in my estimation help keep the top tonally even, adding a woody note to a more laminate styled, thicker sound.

    As a player my concern has been with more important factors like the sting tension, the neck, playability, comfort, etc.. Noticing whether the top and back plate are made from the same carve was not something I needed to know but has become instantly of interest now I'm focusing on making plates.

    Regarding the flatter form of laminates today, it may well be that manufacturers have found it produces a nicer tone. (sorry I almost chocked on my tea).
    Or given that laminate guitars are where the bodies can be hidden by the accounting department, it could be that this trend is down to ease of production, cost saving and profit widening.
    Or a change in tonal direction.
    Maybe all of the above?

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    Ask the Master:
    Borys Guitars
    Thanks sgcim

    I have Borys's complete method, and that of Jim English.

    I also have access to the greatest laminate guitars of all time and beyond, from which I can make forma's.

    Making forma's is not the issue. How many to make, which ones to pick and how to perfect them, is.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    IIRC luthiers Gretz , Holst and Borys make their own plywood plates - they might indulge you ?!
    Thanks Gitman.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    [Maybe this should be in the Builder's forum?]

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I believe, more often than not, top and back plate layup schedules are the same. But not always. This is where you get to be a guitar designer, what do you want the plates to do, what frequencies should the respond to, how should they flex.......?

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Hi Gitterbug.

    I suspect like most things the answer comes down to cost. Some companies will take the time and cost to make the plates based on function (depending on how much function a laminated back plate has) and some will simply look at the bottom line and act accordingly.
    I suspect there are many top and back plates made from the same carved template but how many, I don't know.

    I have had a lot of experience with laminate guitars. I would say my preferred jazz guitar is a laminate. I don't have a preference for one style or the other. I've often found carved tops to be unbalanced across the strings. A great carve is great but on average they can sound quite bad imo.
    I noted Vinny is having a Campellone built and his choice of a thicker carve with a densely grained top would in my estimation help keep the top tonally even, adding a woody note to a more laminate styled, thicker sound.

    As a player my concern has been with more important factors like the sting tension, the neck, playability, comfort, etc.. Noticing whether the top and back plate are made from the same carve was not something I needed to know but has become instantly of interest now I'm focusing on making plates.

    Regarding the flatter form of laminates today, it may well be that manufacturers have found it produces a nicer tone. (sorry I almost chocked on my tea).
    Or given that laminate guitars are where the bodies can be hidden by the accounting department, it could be that this trend is down to ease of production, cost saving and profit widening.
    Or a change in tonal direction.
    Maybe all of the above?
    It is also my observation that laminate archtops have more even tones. They are less likely to have bad areas, wolf notes etc. They also stay more consistent day to day with changes to humidity and temperature. Carved electric guitars can be perfect one day, but have annoying imbalances the next day.

    I also find laminate guitars to be more efficient w.r.t. what goes to the pickups. What I mean is they resonate just enough to put a woody imprint on the sting vibrations but don't suck all the energy from the strings with acoustic resonance. You get the hollow sound and dynamics but still retain some fatness and sustain. Obviously everybody has a different sweet spot with regards to these parameters.

    Regarding the arching depth, I find Guild guitars to be flatter than Gibsons (the tops). So maybe some of the differences in tone between Guild and Gibson guitars can be attributed to that.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-11-2021 at 03:14 PM.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Grez
    I believe, more often than not, top and back plate layup schedules are the same. But not always. This is where you get to be a guitar designer, what do you want the plates to do, what frequencies should the respond to, how should they flex.......?
    Hi Grez

    Yes that is where then fun begins.

    Traditional laminate guitars are a blunt object. A carved guitar is a fine tool. A modern laminate is somewhere in the middle.
    Each have their sound and market position.

    My aim is to not spend too much time circling the drain of endless possibilities because it will make getting off the ground almost impossible.

    There are some good guitars out there that imo need a tweak or two to make them great. That's where I would like to start.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    It is also my observation that laminate archtops have a more even tone. They are less likely to have bad areas, wolf notes etc. They also stay more consistent day to day with changes to humidity and temperature. Carved electric guitars can be perfect one day, but have annoying imbalances the next day.

    I also find laminate guitars to be more efficient w.r.t. what goes to the pickups. What I mean is they resonate just enough to put a woody imprint on the sting vibrations but don't suck all the energy from the strings with acoustic resonance. You get the hollow sound and dynamics but still retain some fatness and sustain. Obviously everybody has a different sweet spot with regards to these parameters.

    Regarding the arching depth, I find Guild guitars to be flatter than Gibsons (the tops). So maybe some of the differences in tone between Guild and Gibson guitars can be attributed to that.
    I agree with everything you've said.

    It's my belief that Guild's are much easier to setup with low action and play faster than Gibson's because the pitch on the neck is less and the arch under the bridge, isn't as pronounced.
    Combined with the shorter scale length, this makes for a slightly warmer even tone but but sacrifices on acoustic volume.
    I think Ibanez have this same characteristics as Guilds.

    I haven't measured each one, so I can only state that as an opinion based on observation, which of course is not very accurate.