Home/DIY Chambering Through the Back?

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
I just bought this Welch guitar for $200. It’s a pretty cool guitar. Plays well and looks cool. However, it is way too heavy. Since I have so little into it and it’s not a valuable guitar, I was thinking of ways to weight relieve it. I’ve seen a diagram of the chambering areas Gibson does on Les Pauls, could I, theoretically, rout the body for those same areas but from the back? Could I then have a control plate/cover type thing made to cover those areas? Would that work?

56A5E67A-B27D-4F17-A7BF-CAE3FFBA07E0.jpeg CRchambersReal.jpg
 
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Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
Theoretically, yes, it would work. Practically and from the financial perspective, its a bad idea. I'd strongly suggest you just sell it and put the money toward a guitar that works better for you.
Thanks. I appreciate the response. I have tons of other guitars I just thought this might be cool to mod and try stuff out on. My friend is a carpenter and has a router, he could help me.

Thanks again
 

doc

Supporting Member
Messages
6,948
Reportedly those are fairly nice guitars, similar to Epiphone, but fairly heavy. You could probably sell it for more than you have in it, so $200 to $300. After your proposed mods you might be able to sell it for $50 to $100. Have you weighed it?
 

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
Sounds like you're about to trash a perfectly good guitar. I'm not hurting for money but still wouldn't throw $200 away or destroy a functional instrument.
Thanks for your input. I suppose it all depends on how one views it. I certainly don't think chambering a guitar "destroys" it. There are lots of guitars with swimming pool routes or "smuggler routes" and they aren't considered "trashed".
 

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
Reportedly those are fairly nice guitars, similar to Epiphone, but fairly heavy. You could probably sell it for more than you have in it, so $200 to $300. After your proposed mods you might be able to sell it for $50 to $100. Have you weighed it?
It is a nice guitar. It plays well and it similar to an Epiphone I would say.

I know I could sell it and make a few bucks but what I would lose in money, I'm thinking I would gain in adventure, exploration and time spent with an old friend.
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
Messages
6,976
Heck, I don't mind being the token 'go for it' vote: as long as you're ok with a possible outcome of wrecking the guitar, it could be a fun project. It's one of those you might happy with the results or you might not but you'll learn a bunch of stuff along the way and that counts for a lot.

I've always fancied having a go at doing this in a slightly more ambitious way: use a router to skim the entire back up to the point the edge roundover is gone, hog it out to my heart's content and then fit a new back to seal it up, roundover and refinish. It'd be a lot of work but should be barely detectable once done. If I could find myself a suitably trashed old LP Deluxe husk Is definitely be up for trying that.

If you go the route of routing and putting a cover over it, try to hold yourself to a decent standard of work: make templates for your chambers so they look neat and tidy, countersink the cover so it's flush with the back. If you've got a friend helping you great, but make sure he helps, not does it for you. Whenever I take on a project like this I always try to include things I'll have to do for the first time - it's such a good feeling to figure this stuff out and execute it.

An alternative to a control cavity cover type idea might be to limit the chambering to within a circular shape and do a Gretsch style back pad - that would look like a reasonable thing for someone to add to a guitar and hide your chambering nicely.
 

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
Heck, I don't mind being the token 'go for it' vote: as long as you're ok with a possible outcome of wrecking the guitar, it could be a fun project. It's one of those you might happy with the results or you might not but you'll learn a bunch of stuff along the way and that counts for a lot.

I've always fancied having a go at doing this in a slightly more ambitious way: use a router to skim the entire back up to the point the edge roundover is gone, hog it out to my heart's content and then fit a new back to seal it up, roundover and refinish. It'd be a lot of work but should be barely detectable once done. If I could find myself a suitably trashed old LP Deluxe husk Is definitely be up for trying that.

If you go the route of routing and putting a cover over it, try to hold yourself to a decent standard of work: make templates for your chambers so they look neat and tidy, countersink the cover so it's flush with the back. If you've got a friend helping you great, but make sure he helps, not does it for you. Whenever I take on a project like this I always try to include things I'll have to do for the first time - it's such a good feeling to figure this stuff out and execute it.

An alternative to a control cavity cover type idea might be to limit the chambering to within a circular shape and do a Gretsch style back pad - that would look like a reasonable thing for someone to add to a guitar and hide your chambering nicely.
Thanks for the vote of confidence!! I mean, if for some reason the tone is changed drastically for the worse, I can make it a couch guitar, use it for my Fishman Triple Play or, an alternate guitar tone. It's not like chambering will affect the playability
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
4,707
... I certainly don't think chambering a guitar "destroys" it. ..
The next buyer will.
Then you will be mad everyone is only offering $50... or $5.
Because that is what we've seen.

This looked like a good idea at the time .... only around because the player was a bit famous.


Can you find out if the top of your guitar can be 'steamed off'? Then go in like LPs get weight relieved and glue the top back on. Replace the binding. Your guitar looks like new.

The alternative is save yourself a lot of time and effort and sell this (nice looking) guitar as-is and go buy a SC-450 Harley Benton guitar with the money. They could likely sort out a low weight one for you. Or buy a kit guitar to assemble and mod. Thomann has kit guitars for $65-$75 range.

There were a lot of players back in the 60s that had these Fender Telecasters and Strats that needed humbuckers or painted some other color than Pink. Those owners have shown up on these forums with "well, I was sixteen and these weren't collectible when I rattle-canned it, what should I do now?"

.
 
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Surveyor 777

Member
Messages
187
I have no experience with this so take my words with a grain of salt.

Were you thinking of routing out the majority of the body BUT leaving a "rim" around the outside edge of the guitar? I think this was what you meant. I assume you would then route out a "shelf" along that edge. Then you would cut out a thin layer of wood to cover that cavity, with that wood resting on the "shelf" and the entire back of the guitar would have a flat surface (both the existing guitar surface and the "cover" - more like a countersunk cavity cover).

If you want to do it, go for it. It might ruin the guitar but it might not. You will most likely learn some lessons from what you are doing that could possibly help you out in future projects.

I'm not this brave, but I am starting to do some modding on my least expensive guitars. Make them more like what I really want without harming a costly instrument. Hopefully I'll learn things that I can one day apply to better instruments, if I chose to.

Have fun!
 

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
I have to say, I'm surprised at the reactions at thought of modding a $200 Chinese guitar. Where is your sense of adventure?

I hear about people dumping HUNDREDS into thesetypes of things to "upgrade" them, money they can't possibly recoup if they sold it,

Regardless, I appreciate the input
 

cheezit

Member
Messages
651
Another approach, if you had the right type of saw, would be to cut a 1/4" or so layer off the back, route out the wood, and then glue the back on again. This would probably require a custom jig and a bunch of test runs with scrap wood, but the result would look far better than a big ol' piece of plastic.
 

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
I have no experience with this so take my words with a grain of salt.

Were you thinking of routing out the majority of the body BUT leaving a "rim" around the outside edge of the guitar? I think this was what you meant. I assume you would then route out a "shelf" along that edge. Then you would cut out a thin layer of wood to cover that cavity, with that wood resting on the "shelf" and the entire back of the guitar would have a flat surface (both the existing guitar surface and the "cover" - more like a countersunk cavity cover).

If you want to do it, go for it. It might ruin the guitar but it might not. You will most likely learn some lessons from what you are doing that could possibly help you out in future projects.

I'm not this brave, but I am starting to do some modding on my least expensive guitars. Make them more like what I really want without harming a costly instrument. Hopefully I'll learn things that I can one day apply to better instruments, if I chose to.

Have fun!

Yeah my thought is to rout out the back of the body using the image on the right as inspiration. And instead of a piece of wood, as you suggest, using plasitc/pickguard/control plate material to cover it. Kinda like a pickguard but on the back
 

Surveyor 777

Member
Messages
187
I guess what I'm also wondering is, instead of what I was thinking (countersunk wood cover, like a control cavity cover) - would it be a better idea to shave several millimeters of wood off the back entirely, then route it out but then cover the entire back with a piece of wood.

Then the overall depth of the guitar will be the same as when you started. There will be more surface area for you to glue the back on and it will hopefully be a stronger back "cover".

After refreshing the replies, I think cheezit has the same idea.
 

Malcolm121459

Member
Messages
171
Another approach, if you had the right type of saw, would be to cut a 1/4" or so layer off the back, route out the wood, and then glue the back on again. This would probably require a custom jig and a bunch of test runs with scrap wood, but the result would look far better than a big ol' piece of plastic.
That is an option. Probably too intensive for my skills etc.. but my buddy is a skilled craftsman and can make clean routs. People don't take issue with pickup and control cavity covers, these would just be bigger. The routs would be recessed so the covers lay flush with the body
 

John Quinn

Member
Messages
981
I just bought this Welch guitar for $200. It’s a pretty cool guitar. Plays well and looks cool. However, it is way too heavy. Since I have so little into it and it’s not a valuable guitar, I was thinking of ways to weight relieve it. I’ve seen a diagram of the chambering areas Gibson does on Les Pauls, could I, theoretically, rout the body for those same areas but from the back? Could I then have a control plate/cover type thing made to cover those areas? Would that work?

View attachment 257094 View attachment 257095
If you are okay with the value going away I'd say go for it. However I think you should try different methods. The First one would to go to a professional Carpentry Shop with a Larger Bandsaw - and then saw off a 1/4 cap of the back - then chamber the guitar - and then reglue the 1/4 cap back on. The other method would be to do what I call a Space Oddity method - drill various sized holes through the body - and then ring the holes with unusual reflective material - the Space Oddity is a David Bowie reference. If you wanted to chamber the body from the back - I would only chamber the top left part of the body - the issue I see with this method is the guitar would probably be unbalanced.
 

Arcadia

Supporting Member
Messages
1,821
Thanks for your input. I suppose it all depends on how one views it. I certainly don't think chambering a guitar "destroys" it. There are lots of guitars with swimming pool routes or "smuggler routes" and they aren't considered "trashed".
A versatile pickup route under a pickguard isn't nearly the same thing as routing wood out of the back.
 




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