Body thickness?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Allegrus, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Allegrus


    Mar 13, 2019
    Ottawa, ON
    I'm making my version of a Gibson Grabber ... the specs I find say the body is only 1 1/4 " thick ... seems rather thin considering all my basses are 1 5/8". My current body blank is at 1 5/8".

    Anyone know the pro's and cons of thick vs. thin bodies? I'm not too concerned about weight so if I can get a better sustain or richer tones on a thicker body, I would like to leave my blank at 1 5/8".
  2. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Re: thickness, I think the principal factor is weight. Added mass may affect sustain, but that would be very debatable.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  3. If you are using maple for the body that 3/8” could make a noticeable difference in weight.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  4. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    I have one bass that's barely 1 1/8" thick. It's a problem to fit some electronics packages in something that thin, but 1 1/4" may be better. I wouldn't hesitate to build at 1 1/4" if you knew your preamp choice (if any) would fit.
  5. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue Guest

    Sep 29, 2018
    Better make sure all the specs are massively separate from Gibson or else they may sue if’n their goons spy your creation.
  6. Allegrus


    Mar 13, 2019
    Ottawa, ON
    Yeah, it's maple ... all maple.
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    3/8" of hard maple at 45 lbs per cubic foot works out to roughly 2 lbs of weight on a bass the size of a Grabber. Just a thought. :)
    EatS1stBassist and Gilmourisgod like this.
  8. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    I have an '83 Squier P Bass that is nominal P Bass thickness, and a 2017 Squier P Bass that is less than nominal P Bass thickness, and both sound good, so, there you go.

    Go forth, and bassify. :D
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Rics average around 8.5 lbs at 1-1/4" thick solid maple. Plenty of depth in the control cavity at 1" deep. Cant see much need to go thicker.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  10. I make most of my basses at 1 1/4. Audere preamps are nicely small and fit in well. Darkglass, not so much.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  11. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    I'm starting to think 1 1/4" is about ideal. I do have to say, a thinner bass can be comfy if contoured well.
    TrustRod and EatS1stBassist like this.
  12. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    If the neck is a Fender style bolt on, and the body is routed the same depth for the neck, a thinner body is going to leave you with much less meat behind the neck cavity, which could be a strength/toughness issue. You'd also need shorter neck bolts, or they'll go all the way through the neck and out the front of the fretboard, Rickenbackers are neck through, which gets around that issue by having continuous grain running through that area. Rickenbackers also run the string further off the body surface - the geometry of things is different because of their body thickness.

    Anyway, the point is you have to know the details about how that neck joint is made to say whether or not a thinner body is gonna be OK.
    lat, EatS1stBassist and Allegrus like this.
  13. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I think Aerodyne basses are 1-1/4”, seems to work fine with a Fender bolt on neck design.
  14. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I really love a 1.25” body. So comfy! No downsides as far as I’m concerned.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  15. LT131


    Jan 25, 2015
    Deep South
    I find that the thicker my body the harder it is to reach my bass. Really affects my wrists and technique.
  16. Veteran


    Jun 22, 2019
    I have more than 100 bass guitars and the thickness of the bodies varies a lot. Sustain is more the matter of the sort of wood than the thickness of the body.
  17. PennyroyalWe


    Sep 2, 2018
    Why not split the difference and go with 1.5”? Most of the basses I’ve owned were/are between 1.5”-1.75”. Seems pretty standard for p basses.
  18. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Are you going to list them all in your profile? :D
    whero likes this.
  19. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    Hold on, this isn't a Weight Watchers thread ...
    Beej likes this.
  20. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    You're right, and the OP even specifically said he didn't care about weight. That said, those basses, and ricks, plus others that are made out of heavy woods usually have design considerations that balance the pros and cons of various construction methods and materials (well all do really). Making the body as thin as reasonable is something that is done to help reduce overall weight and improve overall ergonomics. Anywhere between 7 and 11 lbs is "manageable" but get beyond that and it can be a little cumbersome. :D

    This is not a weight thread, but I was connecting the "why" about the thinness of the Gibson body to a design consideration; in the case of solid maple, it's often weight. It's like a coincidence or something that the OP stated he wasn't concerned about weight. :D So in this case, he can go ahead and make it out of 1 5/8" thick stuff and not worry about it. :smug: