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Hey bluesroom I think we have all seen kens site. It brings up a good point though. The top arch is the final missing link if you ask me. Some of the new R8's have it but it is rare to see. On Kens site you can cleary see the top arch is flat at the neck PU on the original burst. On every historic it is angled, cut to sharp. If the mounting ring is not flat it is WRONG.
If anyone from Gibson is reading this PLEASE. How hard can it be? Just don't cut away so soon. I am pretty sure this is done by hand leave it flat and broad across the top.
that angle is set by the height of the bridge. It's not simply a matter of 'just don't cut away so soon'.Each instrument has a different neck anlge, and only approximates are available. It was this way on the originals, it's this way on the reissue, it'll be that way all the time. the CURVE of the center part is something different, though- the bridge pickup area is almost flat on a real one, and the rhythm pickup ring bottom is fairly flat as well. The reissues are still more curved in this area than the originals.
RICH and the Mayor pinned Wilson down about this, and other, points at the Dallas show in March, when we took apart a Murphy reissue and Dave R's original LP. Wilson said they were done by hand, they're all different, so there's no "correct" contour.
Ed wilson told me they were carved right, but the sanders blow it in the sanding station. My quick fix is to get someone else on the machines who know how to sand. The top carve on my other guitar player's aged model is real close to being right, its not too far at all, real nice, almost scary. That alone tells me that the tops could be real good if the sander wasn't an asspicker.
I don't think top carve would have a drastic effect on tone, no.
It's entirely possible though because i know that how much contact your body makes with the guitar can affect how it sounds- but I dont' think that it's a huge difference unless you're sitting on it.
Back in the day it was done on a pantograph type machine with a sawblade. I have seen pics of the machine used and thay still use it ir a smilar machine for the arch tops. They then took a stroke sander which is a long sanding belt over the top with a graphite block on the back and pressed it into the top to finish sand the contours, they were all over the place, and as seen on the very early '52's were very flat.
Today they use a cnc which is very accurate, and requires only finish sanding right off the machine if it is set up properly. there leaves no or very moderate hand sanding.
For them to get it right what they need to do is digitize an old one and copy it. Why they don't who knows. But they could dial it right in with very little hand sanding needed.