Thanks for your reply – I’ve heard from Paul (thanks for forwarding my email!) and am very interested by this info from the Weills regarding Roger…
I’ve also now got the mysterious body blank and Roger’s fitted neck in hand… the guys who bought the Roger factory stock advise me that they originally had 4 guitar bodies, all sycamore but 3 with Mahogany veneering front and back. Plus one Bass body, again mahogany veneered. I’ve never heard of Burns veneering bodies, but perhaps it was a refinement of the plastic plate seen over the back of some very early models? Paul seemed to suggest that this plate and the sometimes-seen raised area under the volume/tone controls etc was a result of having to work around the unavailability of wood of the correct thickness. He mentioned your Ike Isaacs-ish one as having an added Oak front?
I’ve read on Stephan Loss’ site shlaggitarren.de that Roger’s archtop sales slumped c.61/62 and they turned to importing solidbodies…
If there is no connection between Weill and Roger, my latest revised theory is that perhaps Jim Burns had parted from Weill with a stack of uncompleted RP2G bodies without necks, and having moved on to other designs offloaded them (somehow) to Roger? How that might happen, and why he wouldn’t simply reshape them and reuse the wood himself, I don’t know.
The bodies do seem identical, in particular there is a sharp edge on the body in the middle of the flat bottom-edge ‘base’, where the wrap-around tailpiece might have sat. Roger’s model had a face-mounted vibrato unit, so this sharp ledge would make no sense for his design. You can just about make it out in outline of the catalogue photo.
Weird, eh? Well… I love a mystery!
All the best – and let me know if you have any ideas!