How would you make the thinnest guitar body possible?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by spudmunkey, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    5,325
    Likes Received:
    7,672
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Near San Francisco
    Assuming traditional electric guitar sensibilities, and assuming "normal" neck and fretboard geometry, how would you make the thinnest guitar possible?

    What sort of bridge would you use, knowing that the thinner you make the guitar, the shorter front-mounted screws have to be, with less material to grab...but that's probably not much issue because the body couldn't be *that* thin...right?

    I assume neck-through could potentially give the thinnest end result, correct?

    I know that a side effect of the Ibanez S's thinness is that the blade switch couldn't fit in the control cavity without that plastic lump. Toggle switches would be the way to go, right?

    Pots probably wouldn't need to be particularly low profile...or...could they be with a shallower knob?

    Let's see...surface-mounted cavity plates...

    What else?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,150
    Likes Received:
    29,870
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    Single piece, carbon fiber backed construction. Think of a Parker Fly, but thinner and less contour.

    Recessed bridge. Most likely mounted straight into the body without baseplate.

    Use strip style pots mounted sideways. Same with switching. There are tons of non-standard-for-guitar options available that are much more compact.

    Recessed pickups, floating style.
     
  3. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    5,325
    Likes Received:
    7,672
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Near San Francisco
    What sort if bridge are you thinking? I'm having trouble picturing one that would be mounted directly and not to a base plate, besides something like the Hipshot Solo single string bridges, which have a base plate.

    What are strip style pots? Like a slider? My google foo is failing me.

    Edit: do you mean something like this?
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/17...ctrpdMIMVbcQs9ZQB5KIla4r511H3_vcaAqH3EALw_wcB

    They can only be so recessed though, before they would be too far from the strings, right? Are there any particular pickups (or pickup types) that are thinner than others?
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,150
    Likes Received:
    29,870
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    The baseplate is just something the saddles get screwed into.

    Instead, screw them into the body itself. The idea being that they'll be just about flush with the surface and you can save the ~.175" that recessing a full unit would take.

    Like this, but lower profile:

    [​IMG]


    Sorry. Slider. Autocorrect got me on that one.

    Mouser has literally a thousand to choose from, and they would be much lower profile. I believe they can be sourced in traditionally guitar friendly resistance (250k, 500k, 1m).

    You're going to want the top of the fretboard level with the top of the body. As such, the pickups will always be close to the strings.

    I mentioned floating pickups because they tend to be rather thin and compact already.

    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/acc...RCcVdXsOWvbiAot74tc465-VNLoQYI6BoCDuAQAvD_BwE
     
  5. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,699
    Likes Received:
    5,160
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    china
    Better yet. Touch control powered by a small pcb and a flat pack lipo.
     
  6. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    7,760
    Likes Received:
    4,180
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Something like Etherial i imagine -

    Screenshot_2019-10-28-17-48-03.png
    Screenshot_2019-10-28-17-47-51.png
     
  7. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    5,325
    Likes Received:
    7,672
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Near San Francisco
    You know...while I'm sure it's still thin even at it's thickest parts, judging by the thickness in relation to the output jack, I feel like it *could* be made thinner, since all of the other components are nothing special: seemingly standard pots, switches, pickups, and bridge, that all must be driving at least some thickness, as there's a cavity cover and a not-insignificant cavity between the cover the the "face" aluminum plate.

    I had no idea something like those low-profile floating pickups existed Hmm...

    In thinking about "normal" guitar design: the neck is one thickness, and then there's always a transition to a thicker body, with some sort of heel, as minimal as it can be.

    If made as a neck-through, is there a strength/stiffness reason the whole body couldn't be as thin as the neck, without additional "exotic materials" (as far as guitars go, anyway).
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,150
    Likes Received:
    29,870
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    The question is "how" not "how not" to. :lol:
     
  9. Deegatron

    Deegatron SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    797
    Likes Received:
    581
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    In all fairness to Etherial, it does appear as though the guitar would do nicely as a battle axe should the crowd turn on you and rush the stage.....
    So the design isn't completely without merit..... just sayin.....
     
  10. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    7,760
    Likes Received:
    4,180
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Hahaha savage
     
  11. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,699
    Likes Received:
    5,160
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    china
    You just need a place to mount all your crap...the jacks, pots, pickups, and all that jazz.

    If you can use lower profile stuff for all that you can definitely make a guitar thinner

    https://gittlerinstruments.com/gittler-guitar-classic

    or even this prototype

    https://reverb.com/item/26958471-gi...n=6481185772&utm_medium=pla&utm_source=google

    man i still need to buy one of these things.
     
  12. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    951
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Location:
    Germany
    No - works perfectly fine. The rest also shouldn't cause unsolvable problems. You can get mini pots with a body thickness below 10mm and there's many PUs on the market with 18mm thickness or less. You could mount those from the backside i.e. cut/route right through the body with the lugs only from the back.

    Only question from my side: why do want such a thin body? That thing will be quite neck heavy, so you'd better go for a ~12th fret upper horn. Or go headless to avoid this issue in the first place.
     
  13. Exchanger

    Exchanger SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    242
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Actually not a problem, just use a through hole and a nut. Never have to worry about stripping the tapped hole in the wood ever again !
    Downside is you now have a nut and a bit of screw poking into your belly.
    But since indeed your lower boundary is kinda the neck thickness you'd have enough space to have a through hole and a counterbore to conceal the nut.
     
  14. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    584
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    how thin of a guitar are we talking? my builds are at 30mm thick, and i have no problems mounting any hardware. I could probably go down to 25mm if i got really adventurous.
     
  15. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

    Messages:
    27,257
    Likes Received:
    9,073
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    An ibanez S?
     
  16. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

    Messages:
    706
    Likes Received:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle
    Keep in mind the thinner you go, the more neck-dive you'll have. A few things can fix that, going headless, less strings, less dense neck woods, light tuning hardware, and strategic shapes.
     
  17. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

    Messages:
    3,445
    Likes Received:
    3,132
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Arizona
    Like a Yamaha silent guitar or Chapman stick. Or a piece of thin steel made rigid with carbon fiber shell. No neck dive, still rigid.
     
  18. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

    Messages:
    6,104
    Likes Received:
    3,472
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland
    I played a BM clone with a bulky reverse headstock and the whole guitar just wanted to fall away from you. If your aim is a thin body then heavily lean towards a headless design.
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    30,587
    Likes Received:
    6,858
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    I think you could probably go thinner, to be honest, it would just take a LOT of customization and non-standard parts.

    *Pickups are kind of a constraint, but humbucker magnets themselves are pretty thin. I'd want to talk to a pickup winder about this kind of stuiff, but conceivably you could either drill the magnet out to put the polepieces through it, use very short polepeices, or both, and design it to mount flat rather than on raised mounting tabs, to make a pickup significantly thinner than any production pickup. This would make pickup size less of a constraint.

    *Bridge mounting is a challenge - you're probably limited to fixed bridge just to not have a string block needing to be fully inside the guitar, but the mounting screw limitation could probably be overcome by custom-building a steel or aluminuim monoque bridge assembly that could either be screwed into the body wood over a large area and number of contact points, or maybe molded directly into the body if you used a fiberglass or carbon construction technique. This would probably help with the weight, too, and make it less neck heavy. Individual low-profile saddles could be mounted to this.

    *A toggle would help, over a blade, and a mini-toggle at that. Mini-knobs might fit better than full size ones... But maybe bucking convention and going with something like a slider/dimmer control if it had a thinner base would be an option too. Worst case, forgoing a volume altogether in favor of a mini-toggle kill switch (or maybe get creative with a three way toggle preset to 100%, 80%, and 0%) could work, if the thinnest guitar possible trumped all other considerations.

    *Technically, I suppose there's no reason the output jack has to be entirely within the guitar - you could run a 1/4" cable out of the body directly and into a female 1/4"-to-1/4" adaptor, and use that as a "remote" output.

    Idunno. The thinnest possible guitar is something I've never personally been interested in, but provided you don't mind breaking a lot of guitar conventions and throwing some money at the project, I think there are some interesting things you could do here if you're willing to go outside the box.
     
    KR250 and aesthyrian like this.
  20. Indigenous

    Indigenous Indigenous

    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    260
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Gittler guitars are pretty darn thin.

    [​IMG]
     
    AxeHappy likes this.

Share This Page