Aug 2018

Weight relief Hohner Les Paul copy

So here’s a fairly interesting piece of work that just came in…

This old(ish) Hohner Les Paul copy belongs to a gentleman in his 70s and was tired of how heavy the guitar was. I could see his concern – one of the heaviest electric guitars I’ve come across; on the scales it nearly tipped 12lb (ouch!).

The customer wanted the guitar to be made considerably lighter by removing some material. It’s not super valuable, but it has nice tone; just WAY too heavy.

There are a few ways to weight-relieve a solid body guitar like this – you can either just use a wide drill bit (e.g. Forstner bit) to remove a ‘honeycomb’ of holes across the back, or create chambers, that will leave the guitar structurally – and hopefully tonally – sound. The latter was my big concern here, so a chambered route was chosen.

The guitar had a figured back, which was unavoidably going to be lost. Either way, the routed area somehow needed to be covered – the customer asked that we simply place a black plastic plate over the back, that could be taken off at a later date if more material needed to come off.

I first measured out an area that I could realistically target for the weight relief, and templated this with a routing jig. This area would provide the flat recess onto which the cover plate would fit. As soon as I started the rout, I realised why this guitar was so heavy – underneath the laminate surface was a solid body of hard maple!

With the recess routed, I then used a separate template I’d created which marked out the ‘chambers’ – I positioned this over the recess using pilot holes and routed to a depth of 28mm.

Final part of the job was to use a third template to create the cover plate. Once created, this was screwed into place and it was time for the final reckoning…

…and relax…tone was still spot on and the chambering had worked. Guitar was now down to sub 10lb with the option to remove more wood at a later date if need be. Not something I’ve done before, so very glad it worked 🙂

Find out more about our repair services