Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #111277  by BJolley
 Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:02 pm
Having tinkered in guitar mods recently, and suffering from garage luthier hubris, no doubt, I'm game to try my first Tiger-inspired body build. I had initially considered a Carvin thru-neck but heard from several sources that a body with a bolt-on neck will make for an easier first time build. I had also considered doing a hippie-sandwich-lite body with a ~1" inner core and 1/4" to 1/2" caps joined on. I visited my local lumber guy yesterday and he suggested starting with a solid walnut plank body. He also advised that the process of jointing and planing the planks for a sandwich for will be very difficult for a first-time builder (I didn't disagree). He had a several solid slabs of claro walnut (which is plentiful here in the San Joaquin Valley) large enough to use for a guitar body for what seemed a very reasonable price (~$35). I'm thinking about going this route, having the shop plane it to 1 3/4" thick, and cutting/routing the body from that slab to be attached to a Carvin bolt-on neck. Has anyone out there built a walnut body who is willing to share some advice on my plan? Any thoughts on the benefits/burdens of using a solid plank vs. two jointed planks for a body blank? Thanks.
 #111278  by Rusty the Scoob
 Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:00 pm


This is my first build... I did the planning and my dad did the building with some help from me. It's a hippie-sandwich, and has a bolt-on neck from Warmoth. I designed the body to look like a neck-through. If I had to do it over I would have just made it a neck through using a neck from

The hippie-sandwich did require more planning and more tools. The advantages of a solid wood build with bolt-on neck are that you have a lot more margin for error if you do screw up. Cool project, man!
 #111284  by milobender
 Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:20 pm
I think walnut is a fine wood to use... the only issue with using one piece like that, is being certain you won't get 'cupping'... which is difficult without letting the wood sit for some years. If you laminate, it's more likely to stay flat. However, that said, at $35, if it's a beautiful piece, and it's for you, (and a bolt on neck) I'd go for it and just see what happens. You can do some research on the internet and find the most likey way woods move in relation to how they were cut from the tree. I've seen some georgous walnut 'crotch' wood! I intend to use some, at least for the front and back, pretty soon. I've got a 3" thick by 8" wide piece of walnut that's been sitting for 6 or 7 years now :D

 #111295  by Rusty the Scoob
 Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:57 am
Thanks! The top is Coco Bolo, the middle of the wings is mahogany, the center section and some accents are maple and purpleheart, and there's a little ebony, too. The neck is maple and purpleheart with a Ziricote fretboard.

Coco Bolo is a big pain to work with. Dulls your tools and makes your skin itch. Sure looks cool though!
 #111308  by tcsned
 Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:06 am
Soulmate makes some awesome necks - I've got one in my new stage guitar and it's been a dream. My last was a Wamoth bolt neck - also awesome. As far as differences between the solid one piece and a joined two piece, other than athe aforementioned issues with cupping, there's not going to be much of a tonal difference, the little bit of glue/epoxy that holds them together isn't enough to make a difference. Walnut is a decent tone wood somewhat similar to maple but not quite as bright which is good for a Jerry guitar.