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Need Fretboard and Neck advice on SG style Mod or Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Richie Se7en, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. Richie Se7en

    Richie Se7en Presently distractivated Supporting Member

    I'm looking to overhaul an EB or SG bass, and it must be short scale but I want a Maple fretboard on it. I've seen one on a Limited Series Epiphone "Reverse" EB-3 model issued in Canada a few years back, but in 34" scale only.

    Does anyone here recall if Gibson produced such an animal recently, or where I may find one without having to go down the "vintage" road? I believe I've seen a Les Paul model bass with a Maple board, but could the joinery of the LP be altered to fit an SG? I'd rather avoid the "Custom" built option unless the price is within reason, so am I just better off building my own from scratch?

    I've been searching the logical (but limited to me) avenues for a pre-built, but the few I've seen (on eBay) may be of questionable quality. I'm a woodworker with the essential tools in my shop, but relatively new to guitar builds. Any suggestions would be appreciated, and much thanks for your time.

  2. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    I'm in for moral support and to see how good this will turn out

    I'm thinking someone who sells a maple board blank can quote you some measurements. Because the SG is short necked, the blank for a 34" may be modified to fit by trimming?
    Richie Se7en likes this.
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Making up a maple fingerboard to whatever scale length you want is no big deal. Most of us Luthiers could do that for you easily. If you already have a bass in the scale length you want, changing out the fingerboard to maple would be the simplest route. A little tricky because these Gibsons are set-necks, but not too big of a job. Were you looking to do that work yourself? It involves routing off the old fingerboard, fitting and gluing on the new one, refretting, and whatever refinishing is needed.

    If you are looking to change the scale length, that will mean making up a new custom neck and fitting it to the set-neck body.
    mrb327, Will_White and PDX Rich like this.
  4. Richie Se7en

    Richie Se7en Presently distractivated Supporting Member

    Hi Bruce - You've understood and answered my confusing question perfectly. I assumed this is the route (pun unintended) I'd need to take. As I mentioned, I'm an amply-proficient woodworker and have done a fair bit of inlay work with my routers - a Bosch 1617 and their smaller Colt trim model - and made a few templates/jigs, so I don't imagine a problem there.

    The only task that concerns me is the fret work, which doesn't seem too daunting, but I've learned that's when things usually are. I've been absorbing information and accumulating some specific tools essential to my own build, and recently started "practicing" build ideas on some cheaper woods. Any advise you could offer toward any aspect of the process would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

    I'm semi-retired going on 5 years from running my business, but I was quick to realize how boring idle time can get, so I've been enjoying keeping myself busy in the wood shop ever since. I started learning to play again within the past year, rekindling a passion after a 45-year hiatus. Now, I want to combine my hobbies to build a few Custom-made pieces for myself, and seek advice for this purpose only, with no aspiration of getting into the Luthier business.

    Thank you for the good advice and your time, Bruce.

  5. Richie Se7en

    Richie Se7en Presently distractivated Supporting Member

    Thank you as well, my friend. I knew I'd eventually get to use my radius gauging tool for something :)

    BTW... Being a Chevy man from way back myself, I assume the 327 in your user-handle is linked somehow to that sweet machine in your avatar :thumbsup:
    mrb327 likes this.
  6. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    That was a custom built motor for NHRA Stock Eliminator at 363", but you understand me none the less!

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