Building my first electric guitar - the neck

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Blog entry by thamar posted 05-01-2014 11:01 PM 2964 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After laminating the wood for the neck, the next step was to cut the angle at the top of the headstock.

To do so, I built a simple jig for my 10” tablesaw. Basically it is a 3/8” Baltic Birch plywood base and a fence made up of three 1” Baltic Birch layers. It seemed to work pretty well. The saw just barely made it through the neck blank.

The next step will be to route the truss rod channel.

Well, sometimes things just don’t work out right. I decided to bandsaw the 2 neck out of the bigger neck blank that I so carefully prepared. Completely forgot about room for the volute! I guess I could carry on with these necks but I think I’ll start over (think before you cut, think before you cut, think before you cut)!

I spent most of the day cutting and sanding my replacement necks. I thought I’d build two because I’m likely to have further mishaps! Need to make another run to Home Depot for white glue.

My two replacement neck blanks are now glued up and the 17 degree bevels are cut. I’m back to where I was.

After being on vacation, I’ve come up with a way to cut the back profile of these necks. The jig is partially made and I’ll show some pictures of it sometime this week.

The jig takes advantage of the 1/4” truss rod channel. I’m going to be using that slot to align the neck throughout the whole neck carving process.

I wanted a volute on my neck and this wasn’t part of the MDF template package for the Les Paul. However a fellow on ebay. Luthierman7 sells pretty much what I wanted for $120 or so. I will use his neck as a starting point template for my own. (I own a Gibson Les Paul 25/50 that seems to have exactly the neck shape that I like; so I’d like to ultimately duplicate that neck if possible).

I think a series of pictures will give you the idea of how I made the jig. So far it seems to work. I ran through one of my screwed up necks to test it out. I want to really make sure that the next part of the process works before I cut my “real” necks.

The next jig will look similar to this one but it will allow the pattern bit with the top bearing to follow along the “good” path cut by the first jig. If all goes well. This should complete the initial back forming of the neck. After that yet another jig to for the side profile.

Hers is really the second part of the back of the neck jig. It uses a tall pattern bit with the bearing at the top. The bearing follows the smooth and correct shape that was formed using the previous jig.

Now it’s onto the jig to do the sides of the fretboard.

2 comments so far

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4294 days

#1 posted 05-02-2014 09:57 PM

I’m looking forward to this! I've participated in one electric guitar build, and will love seeing how you solve the various problems we came up against when building yours!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View thamar's profile


42 posts in 2793 days

#2 posted 05-03-2014 02:26 AM

It will be an interesting process. I’m certain that there will be more than a few screw ups along the way!

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