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Thread: F4 design evolution/solutions

  1. #26
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    The F5 is like great musicians dying at 27. I think studying the trajectory of the F4 is instructive because it allows us to imagine if the F5 had been given the same resources as the 1920s went on.
    This is an interesting thread that will require deeper reading on my part. The OP’s quote interests me. First Gibson did contribute to make F-5s though the design seemed to go downhill over the years. And Gibson was not a one person shop so the process IMHO is still going on to the present day with makers including many here contributing. Same goes for violin making. Nothing is written in stone and it is a collaborative process over time.

    of course it is fascinating to look at the historical record and instrument archaeology in the course of its development.
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  2. #27
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    This is an interesting thread that will require deeper reading on my part. The OP’s quote interests me. First Gibson did contribute to make F-5s though the design seemed to go downhill over the years. And Gibson was not a one person shop so the process IMHO is still going on to the present day with makers including many here contributing. Same goes for violin making. Nothing is written in stone and it is a collaborative process over time.

    of course it is fascinating to look at the historical record and instrument archaeology in the course of its development.
    I think part of the "development" is due to changes in machinery in the beginnig of 20th century. The steam power was on decline and new electric powered machinery came to factories.
    I tried to study the few pictures from Gibson factory and some historical notes that suggest they were likely state of the art factory with typical equipment of the era. at the turn of century the steam powered shaft going across whole building and pulley with a thick leather belt attached to each machine that could be released to stop the machine. Sometimes these were used with diesel engines (like agricultural machines) and later modified for electric motors. I suppose use of electric motors allowed higher speeds of cutting and use of different cutters (smaller router bits) and allowed also new production techniques. The decline of F-5 was mostly caused by chnges in popularity of mandolins and recession. They stopped producing new parts for some time and just finished what was already made, only made missing parts (leading to inceonsistent batches and mismatched parts) later created some "floor sweep" models that look like frankensteins assembled from various parts (e.g. short necks on f hole body). Even later (late 40's) they probably found out that most guys who knew how to make the parts already retired and perhaps even machinery or fixtures that were used originally were no longer there or usable so they had to re-invent the wheel.

    I'm not good at Gibson guitars, is there more consistency in L models from 20's towards 50's?
    Adrian

  3. #28
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    I posted many pictures in older threads that would cover some of the talk above. I'll post some of those and later Imay find some other pics relevant here.
    The unevenness of the cuts show the handwork, but it surprises me that Gibson could have used a uniformly machined neck block, machine cut the dovetail and still cut the cope cut(the shoulders) on the neck on a tenoner, with a second pass to taper the dovetail tenon.

    Since they made several thousand ‘A’’ models, I’d have thought consistency would have been a goal, but apparently not.

    Then again, a ‘handheld router’ in 1922 weighed 60 pounds.
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  4. #29
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    The unevenness of the cuts show the handwork, but it surprises me that Gibson could have used a uniformly machined neck block, machine cut the dovetail and still cut the cope cut(the shoulders) on the neck on a tenoner, with a second pass to taper the dovetail tenon.

    Since they made several thousand ‘A’’ models, I’d have thought consistency would have been a goal, but apparently not.

    Then again, a ‘handheld router’ in 1922 weighed 60 pounds.
    I don't see any extra unevennes s in the dovetails except the one early three pointer. The rest is quite nice, symmetric and tight. Sometimes the old glue and fuzz from fingerboard removal makes it hard to see.
    There's no need to do second pass if you just angle the neck blank so the cutter follows side of the tail, the curved surface would not perfectly matching the body (like furniture maker would expect in straigth parts of a frame), but if cutter was custom made the curvature would be still close enough that minimal works on the wings /shoulders is needed (e.g. few file strokes). You can see that in the Stew mac kits and also on pictures from Gilchrist workshop.

    I think tha bulk of material removal was done on shapers/ table routers with dedicated templates and fixtures. Following pics show some old fixtures from Gibson factory. They are mostly postwar but I guess some of them may date back to prewar times or be modfied from old predecessors. They are exactly like what one would expect from early 20th century instrument factory. Gibson didn't innovate their process all that much during recession of 30's and war times I guess...
    Some of the pics from Kalamazoo library show Gibson factory and you can see bandsaw with belt coupled to the overhead shaft in the rough cutting department.
    You can see guitar bodies assembled in some pics with tops and backs overhanging over already cut dovetail in rim.


    source of these and many other interesting pictures:
    https://www.abalonevintage.com/vinta...igs_guitar.htm
    https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/gr...a-1936.408097/
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    Adrian

  5. #30
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    I must correct myself. The picture of raw materials cutting likely shows large electric motor attached to the shaft which runs the table saw they are using (the tablesaw's belt is hidden behind the white cover). It appeared like a bandsaw to me at first. So in '36 they were still running the same old centrally powered machines just electrified the shafts and lighting.
    I found two more pics on internet that may show more...

    I wonder what the "dumbbells" in the pics in previous post were used for? Anyone got an idea?
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    Last edited by HoGo; Jun-23-2022 at 5:39am.
    Adrian

  6. #31
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    I think I know what the dumbbells are for. :-) Clever from them.
    Last edited by HoGo; Jun-23-2022 at 7:16am.
    Adrian

  7. #32

    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    I see in yesterday's photos from Hogo the clock face saying "Gibson Happy Hour" with the hands indicating 3:20.
    If you add in inflation is the time now 4:20?
    I don't know about you but those photos scream Production! to me. Feed the Beast.

  8. #33

    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    I think I know what the dumbbells are for. :-) Clever from them.
    Most likely templates for doing necks in face-face pairs on a copy lathe or shaper.
    Not long ago, I sourced some parts from an iconic local business in Norwalk, Connecticut that still used overhead belt drive in a 1840s wood-frame building. The machines were likely pre-1900, and the product unchanged from 1930. They asked if I wanted to see it all running! The entire building shook.

  9. #34
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: F4 design evolution/solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Most likely templates for doing necks in face-face pairs on a copy lathe or shaper.
    Not long ago, I sourced some parts from an iconic local business in Norwalk, Connecticut that still used overhead belt drive in a 1840s wood-frame building. The machines were likely pre-1900, and the product unchanged from 1930. They asked if I wanted to see it all running! The entire building shook.
    You're right! They appear to be for duplicating carver with rotating axis. Among the fixtures are apparently some that will hold two necks face to face. Simple old technology still often used to make axe handles or similar simple roughly shaped wooden parts.
    Adrian

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