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Top Thickness?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rayle_Trail, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Rayle_Trail


    Jun 14, 2004
    When using a figured top on an instrument, what's the minimum thickness you generally want to go for? At the moment I'm checking out a pair of bookmatched Tasmanian Flame Burl/Myrtle boards that are both 6mm thick. Is that a usable thickness when considering the standard contouring in an instrument?
    -Cheers Raz
  2. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Depends on your body style and it's contouring, I guess. Seems like the minimum to me should be about 1/8''....but I'm no friggin' expert. If you're getting a nice veneer to put on the top, I don't see a real problem with that, just keep in mind your contours. maybe you could offset/accent it by puttting a couple contrasting veneers between the body and it??? Or perhaps some wood binding?
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    The condition of the wood you are looking at helps determine the thickness needed. If the wood is thickness sanded andready to glue up then you can accept it thinner than if the wood still needs surface sanding. From your statement I am guessing you can't hold those boards in yourhands and see if they are going to need to be sanded further. :eyebrow:
  4. It really doesn't matter, it all depends on what you want to achieve. I've even seen instruments using figured veneer for tops. Remember, there's no rules when it comes to creativity, there's only 'some' rules when making musical instruments, such as scale length, fret to fret distance accuracy, and other physical limitations. Other than those, you decide.
  5. BeauLeopard

    BeauLeopard BLDesign Custom Basses

    Apr 14, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Standard top thickness is usually 1/4" or 6.35mm +/-. This doesn't mean, however, that your top needs to be that thick. Even @ a 1/4" the top is not going to have much bearing, if any, on tone. It's decorative. If it's a nice piece of wood, wide enough for your body design and you like it, use it.
  6. Rayle_Trail


    Jun 14, 2004