Build Your Own Guitar
5.0 (26 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
90 students enrolled

Build Your Own Guitar

A step by step guide to making a set neck electric guitar with virtually unlimited scope for customization
5.0 (26 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
90 students enrolled
Created by Mark Bailey
Last updated 9/2018
English
English [Auto]
Price: $189.99
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 7 hours on-demand video
  • 27 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Make your own set of patterns
  • Use your patterns to make a guitar
  • Use your new skills to make one or a hundred guitars!
Requirements
  • This Build Your Own Guitar course ALSO includes the Design Your Own Guitar Course (enrolled BYO students will receive a voucher code for a free place on DYO)
  • To get the most out this course you should have already completed my other course, Design Your Own Guitar, as it contains essential pre-build information
  • Students must obtain their own set of tools, wood and parts and create a safe workshop space before putting the course into practice
  • The course should be completed before buying anything !
  • It is a step by step instructional guide - all stages demonstrated by video with supplementary information and resources
Description

Welcome to 'Build Your Own Guitar'

Inside is a complete step by step video for building your very own first (or best yet) guitar. I will guide you through the entire process starting with making your own set of patterns - these are among the many secret 'tricks of the trade' that enable you to make high quality instruments - faster and easier.

I will show you how to use your patterns to make one or a hundred guitars!

This course also includes my ebook on Tools and quick-start pages:

  • Tools for your first guitar

  • Wood and Parts for your first guitar

  • Patterns

How hard can it be?

There are about 50-60 jobs to make a guitar - each one should take 10-20 minutes on average - it takes a certain level of commitment... and yes, it can be hard work.

If you want to be a guitar maker (or just make one for yourself) then I truly believe this is the best possible start you could get - short of actually working in a guitar workshop.

What's in it for me?

Over eight hours of video - this course is the final product of many years of building guitars, running courses and writing to create a real and accurate instruction manual.

16 years of experience teaching over 400 student to build has taught me a lot:

  • how to break the process down into easy chunks

  • the right tools for the right job

  • the best order to do them in for best results

  • the most efficient way of doing each job - saving time and wasted effort

It is my aim to pass as much of this to you as I can - and save you a lot of time and heartbreak... this course is the next best thing to being here at my workshop.

Who is it for?

To get the most from this course it is highly recommended that you have already completed my other course Design Your Own Guitar - this is why it is included here for free.

Important!

I do recommend using a pre-made fretboard for your first build but have included two methods of making your own - just in case you are determined to do it the hard way!

You can ask me any question directly - or start an open discussion with our enthusiastic students. Remember you can watch the films over and over again.

Thanks for your interest in Build Your Own Guitar - Enrol now and get my other course 'Design Your Own' FREE! or watch the free previews to get a taster.

See you in the course!

Who this course is for:
  • No previous knowledge of guitar making is required
  • Anyone interested in electric guitar construction
  • Power tools are used in the construction process - their role is explained clearly, and all jobs are possible by the inexperienced BUT if you are not comfortable using them then this course may not be for you
Course content
Expand all 71 lectures 07:12:15
+ Build Your Own Guitar - Intro
4 lectures 10:55

Welcome to BUILD YOUR OWN GUITAR!

This lecture outlines what this course is about, and gives a sense of how it will work.

This course (BYO) has been designed to partner and follow on from my other course Design Your Own Guitar (DYO) - even if you already have a design and drawing to follow, we advise you to complete DYO as it contains valuable information, and additional resources you may need - if you have not yet enrolled then this would be a good point to do so.

REMEMBER

If you enroll on this Build Your Own Guitar course, then Design Your Own comes FREE!

(You will find your voucher code in the resources for the next lecture - Before you start).

Preview 04:42

On the first day in the workshop, everyone wants to get to the bit where you cut out the body shape..... this is way down in the list of jobs (sorry), and there are absolutely ESSENTIAL pieces of info you need to know BEFORE you even think about cutting wood. Some you may know already, but please watch this lecture AND read the PDF before starting any project.

This course was designed to be digital, and an online resource, but all supplementary material can be printed off to form your own paper manual which may be useful when you come to build. You may want to do additional research etc...having everything in one place is helpful.

Before you start
02:23

This is the most important lecture in the whole course - please read the PDF in the resources for this course before going any further.

We start all our workshop courses with a Health and Safety talk - this is the digital equivalent and MUST be watched and read before proceeding.

However experienced you are, please try to be as safety conscious as possible

Ultimately you are responsible for your own workshop and your personal safety but let me pass on some things we do in our workshop.

Preview 03:50

Please make sure you have read and understand all the Health and Safety info in the resources section before continuing.

Checkpoint
2 questions

This is the end of the beginning !

I think it is best to take the whole course BEFORE starting to build - have a notebook to hand as you work through each section - you can note down things you want to remember, but also any questions.

Please feel free to ask me anything you want or start a discussion on your course dashboard.

Overview
1 page
+ Preparation
10 lectures 48:21

You will need some space to build your guitar - please read the info in the resources section for more info.

Preview 01:04

This is a very brief lecture on wood and parts for your first guitar - for more information on this subject check out the 2 part lecture on wood in my other course - Design Your Own Guitar.

Wood for your first guitar - In a nutshell I recommend:

  • Rosewood for the fretboard
  • Mahogany for the Neck and Body

I have chosen these because they are easy to work and sound great.

Top Tips:

  • Buy a pre-slotted board if you want to make life easy for yourself!
  • Try to buy 'ready to work' neck and body blanks
Parts for your first guitar - use the quickstart checklist to make sure you have them all.
Preview 03:16

Patterns, Jigs, and Cauls

If there is a secret to guitar making then this is it...

In this lecture I explain the difference between the three with examples.

Patterns, Jigs and Cauls
05:33

Making the Patterns

This is how I make most of the Patterns - This is great practice and a good place to start getting your hands dirty - if you go wrong you can throw it away and start again. MDF is cheap - especially if it is re-claimed!

What you need:

  • Tracing Paper
  • Masking Tape
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 10mm
  • Bandsaw
  • Sanding Block/s
  • Sandpaper: 60g or 80g
Making the Patterns
04:47

Neck Angle Jig

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 1m Ruler
  • Centrepunch
  • Clamp
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 3mm (1/8")
  • Drill Bit: Countersink
  • 18mm MDF: Base Board and Angle Board
  • Two Blocks of wood: Guide Rails
  • Hinge: 100mm (4")
  • 8 screws: 16mm (5/8") for hinge
  • 4 screws: 50mm (2") for guide rails
  • Hardboard strips: 6mm x 450mm (1/4" x 18")

Dimensions:

Baseboard and Angle Board

The Baseboard and Angle Board are cut from 18mm MDF:

  • Base Board: 200mm x 600mmm (8 x 24")
  • Angle Board:100mm x 450mm (4 x 18")

Guide Rails

The guide Rails are made from 100 x 50mm (4 x 2") - you could glue two pieces of 50 x 50mm (2 x 2") together to make up the pieces:

  • Two Guide Rails: 180mm (7") long

Hardwood Strips

I cut these from a 1/4 sheet of hardboard - there was plenty left over to use for a drawing board.

  • Hardboard strips: 6mm x 450mm (1/4" x 18")

Wedge

The wedge is made from an offcut of 18mm MDF:

  • Wedge: 200 x 100mm (8 x 4")



Neck Angle Jig
15:06

Headstock Angle Jig

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 1m Ruler
  • Centrepunch
  • Clamp
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 3mm (1/8")
  • Drill Bit: Countersink
  • 18mm MDF
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Sanding Block
  • Sandpaper: 60 or 80g
  • 8 Screws: 40mm (1 1/2")
  • Screwdriver

The Base Board and Guide Rails are both made from 18mm MDF the exact length is not important - it needs to be long enough for your neck.

  • Baseboard: 150mm x 760mm (6 x 30")
  • Guide Rails: 70mm x 760mm (2 3/4" x 30")
Headstock Angle Jig
11:02

Headstock Thickness Jig

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 1m Ruler
  • Centrepunch
  • Clamp
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 3mm (1/8")
  • Drill Bit: Countersink
  • 18mm MDF
  • 4 Screws: 40mm (1 1/2")
  • Screwdriver

DIMENSIONS:

Base Board

The Base Board is made from 18mm MDF - the exact length is not important - it needs to be long enough for your neck.

  • Baseboard: 230 x 600mm (9 x 30")
Guide Rails

The Guide Rails on my jig are made from scrap wood about 40mm (1 1/2") thick - you could stack up 2 pieces of MDF to make these.

  • Guide Rails: 40 x 200mm (1 1/2" x 36")
Headstock Thickness Jig
02:24

Fretboard Caul

The Fretboard Caul is used for gluing the fretboard - it helps spread the weight of the clamps for more even pressure and the hardwood strips ensure it presses down along the edges.

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • 18mm MDF: 60mm x 450mm (2 1/2 x 18")
  • Hardwood Strips: 6mm x 450mm (1/4" x 18")
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 10mm (3/8")
  • Superglue
  • Accelerator for superglue (optional)
The Fretboard Caul is made from 18mm MDF and is the same shape as the Fretboard.

If you have a pre-made Fretboard you can simply draw round that - if not measure it out by hand.

Fretboard Caul
02:29

Router Baseplate

You will need to make or buy one of these to use the Neck Angle, Headstock Angle and Neck Angle Jigs.

As every router is different I have not included a plan.

Router Baseplate
01:00

Patterns - Outro

Please let me know what patterns, jigs and cauls you want added next!

Patterns - Outro
01:40
+ Making the Blanks
2 lectures 15:44

This is an introduction to some of the machines we use here in my workshop - I don't expect you to have any of these but I wanted to show them to you and tell you what we use them for.

If you have ready to work blanks you can skip this lecture!

Preview 07:55

In this lecture I demonstrate how to prepare the gluing surfaces for making up the body blank from two or more pieces.

Preview 07:49
+ Making the Fretboard
2 lectures 21:29

Marking the Frets and Cutting the Fret Slots - by hand.

If you are not using a pre-made fretboard already with a radius you will need to check the fret slot depths again after creating the fretboard radius, this is easier done after the neck is glued on.

Preview 03:56

For your first guitar I highly recommend using a pre-made fretboard. I don't think there is any shame in that - at least you know it will play in tune!

If you buy a pre-made fretboard from us, then this is how we did it. Most of the machines used here are way beyond the reach of your average home builder, but if you make a lot of guitars like I do, they are invaluable.

Check the resources in my other course Design Your Own Guitar - lecture 31 'Where to get Stuff'

Making the Fretboard (How we do it)
17:33
+ Making the Neck - Part 1
8 lectures 56:54

Mark out and route the Truss Rod Slot.

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Set Square
  • Two Clamps
  • Router with edge guide
  • Router cutter: 11mm (7/16") - make sure to test you have the correct size for your Truss Rod

Marking Out

To mark the position of the Truss Rod Slot we need to know where the nut is - You may notice I use a Headstock Template to make sure I leave enough space - If you do not have one don't worry just measure from your drawing.

Routing the slot

The diameter of the cutter will depend on the truss rod you are using - mine fits perfectly into a 11mm (7/16") slot.

The depth of the slot should be about 1-1.5mm deeper than the rod itself - The rod I use here measures about 10mm so I route to a depth of 11.5mm.


Route the Truss Rod Slot
07:49

Mark and cut the headstock angle.

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Set Square
  • Neck Angle Jig
  • Bandsaw
  • Router with Baseplate
  • Router Cutter: 16mm (5/8") - Any standard cutter will work but a larger cutter will cover more area and take less time. Mine is 16mm but you could use your truss rod cutter to save having to buy another one.

Marking Out

You may notice I use a Headstock Template to make sure I leave enough space - If you do not have one don't worry just measure from your drawing.

Cutting the Angle

Like most cutting out jobs, I do this in two steps:

  1. Rough cut on the bandsaw
  2. 'Surface route' using the 'Headstock Angle Jig'
The Surface Routing Technique leaves an almost perfect flat surface - just a few licks of the sandpaper is all that will be needed to clean it up. Do not take off more than 1.5 - 2mm on each pass!

Skip Tip!

If you prefer working by hand you can skip the second step and simply clean up the headstock face with a plane or sanding block - check with a set square to make sure the surface is kept flat and square to the edge.

Cut the Headstock Angle
05:26

Mark and Cut Out the Neck

In this video I demonstrate how to mark out and cut out the neck using the Bandsaw.

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Long Ruler or Straightedge
  • Fretboard (or your drawing for marking out)
  • Bandsaw

Marking Out

Here I use the Fretboard and Headstock Pattern to mark out the front profile of the neck - If you do not have a Fretboard you can measure and mark out from your drawing.

Cutting Out the Neck

The Side Profile is cut first and then the Front Profile - you can do this either way round but I find this easier. Whichever way you do it there are some tricky bits to watch out for - watch the film carefully to make sure you understand before you start.

Cut Out the Neck
09:30

Route the Headstock to the correct thickness

What you will need:

  1. Headstock Thickness Jig
  2. Router with Baseplate
  3. Router Cutter 16mm (5/8") -
  4. Router Cutter: 16mm (5/8") - Any standard cutter will work.
  5. Double Sided Tape
  6. Blade
  7. Clamps
Routing the Headstock

This is the same 'Surface Routing Technique' I used earlier to route the Headstock Angle.

There must be a flat area for the tuners to sit on but make sure you don't go any further than necessary - you don't want to be routing up the back of the neck!

Headstock Thickness 15 to 15.5mm

If your Headstock measures more than 16mm thick then some tuners will not fit.


If it goes wrong

Don't worry if you go a little to thin - I have seen Headstocks as thin as 12mm (1/2") although I would not recommend thinner than 14mm.

Thickness the Headstock
05:13

Drill the Tuner Holes

What you need:

  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 10mm
  • Clamp
  • Headstock Pattern (optional)

In the film I am using a 'Headstock Pattern' as a 'Drill Guide' - If you do not have one use your drawing to carefully mark out the positions, centrepunch, and then drill by hand. Clamp it up the same way and try to keep the drill as square to the bench as possible.

Check!

The size of drill will depend on what tuners you are using - drill a test hole in a piece of scrap first!

Drill the Tuner Holes
02:44

Profile the Neck

What you need:

  • Cordless Drill
  • Dril Bit: 10mm
  • 10mm Pin
  • Neck Workboard
  • Neck Taper (or Neck Profile Pattern)
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Stanley Blade
  • Clamp
  • Router
  • Top Bearing Router Cutter
  • Bottom Bearing Router Cutter

Profiling with the Router

'Profiling' with the router saves a lot of time and makes copying shapes accurately and quickly a breeze. It does however require some extra tools, a Neck Taper or Neck Profile Pattern and quite a bit of setting up.

You could also use the same technique to Profile the Headstock, but it is a little fiddly so I prefer to do it by hand, which is why I took a little more care in that area when cutting out with the bandsaw.

Skip Tip!

If you prefer working by hand you can skip this step and clean up the sides of the neck with a plane or sanding block - do this AFTER the fretboard is glued on.

Profile the Neck (Optional)
09:06

Install the Truss Rod

What you need

  • Truss Rod
  • Fillet
  • Glue
  • Clamps

You will need to make a fillet to go over the truss rod and take up the space between the Truss Rod and the Fretboard - if you are lucky you can use an off-cut from your neck or you will have to find a suitable piece of scrap.

The fillet is deliberately made to sit proud of the neck surface - it will be planed or sanded flush in order to glue on the fretboard in the next step.

IMPORTANT

Make sure you have the truss rod the right way round!

Glue only on the sides of the fillet - any wood glue will do.

You do not need a great deal of clamping pressure - I use spring clips.



Install the Truss Rod
03:22

NOTE: it is easier and quicker to use a fretboard to mark out the body - I suggest you skip forward to the next lecture and mark out the body before gluing the fretboard - then you can be making the body while it is drying.

Glue the Fretboard

What you Need

  • Plane
  • Sanding Block/s
  • Blade
  • Straightedge
  • Fretboard
  • Fretboard Caul
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit 1.5mm
  • 1.5mm Pins
  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Glue
Always 'Dry Clamp' first!

You might be surprised that I use no protection on the back of the neck - I am not using enough clamping pressure to damage the wood and it will be carved later anyway so that is fine.

IMPORTANT

If the Fretboard moves while you are putting the clamps on then you may be left with a large step where it overhangs the neck. This could result in the neck being too narrow.

After clamping check very carefully to make sure nothing has moved - if it has then you have ONE CHANCE!

If it goes wrong

Quickly remove the clamps, carefully pull out the pins and use a palette knife, ruler, or something similar to carefully prise off the fretboard. Use a damp rag to clean off all the glue, wait till it dries and try again. You will have to scrape the surfaces again to remove all the glue.

Glue the Fretboard
13:44
+ Making the Body - Part 1
5 lectures 17:33

Mark out the Body

What you need:

  • Ruler
  • 1m Rule
  • Pencil
  • Body Profile Pattern
  • Fretboard
  • Drafting Square
  • Pickup Pattern
  • Control Cavity Pattern

I use my Patterns and the Fretboard to mark out the body - you could trace from your drawing.

It helps to lay out your parts where you have marked them to check the position.

Mark Out the Body
05:27

Making the Body Intro

What you need

  • Grippermat

A brief introduction and overview of the body making process - I explain why it is important to do the jobs in the correct order and which cutters you will need for your router.

It is a great idea to keep your body on a piece of Grippermat - it protects the body from acquiring dents and helps to stop it slipping around while you work.

Making the Body - Intro
01:38

Drill the Control Holes

What you need:

  • Centrepunch
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 10mm (3/8") for volume and tone pots
  • Drill Bit: 12mm (1/2") for switch

In this lecture I demonstrate how to accurately centrepunch and drill holes for the controls.

Note: I would normally do this using my pedestal drill but I wanted to demonstrate that you do not need one to make a guitar so I used my cordless drill.

CHECK

The size of drill will depend on what controls you are using - drill a test hole in a piece of scrap first!

Drill the Control Holes
02:27

Route the Control Cavity

What you need:

  • Control Cavity Pattern
  • Double Sided Tape or clamps
  • Router
  • Top Bearing Router Cutter - 12mm x 12mm (1/2"x1/2")
Pocket Routing
The 'Pocket Routing Technique' is used to make all the unusually shaped 'holes' for the controls, pickups neck etc...

The Control Cavity is routed to a nominal depth of 14mm. This is to make sure we can use the same method to continue routing down to the final depth later on.

Route the Control Cavity
04:36

Route the Pickup Holes

What you need:

  • Pickup Pattern
  • Double Sided Tape or clamps
  • Router
  • Top Bearing Router Cutter - 12mm x 12mm (1/2"x1/2")

IMPORTANT

The pickup holes are both routed to a nominal depth of 14mm. They will be routed to final depth AFTER the neck socket has been routed full depth.

This is to ensure that we can use this same simple method to continue routing the neck socket down to its final depth later on.

Route the Pickup Slots
03:25
+ Making the Neck - Part 2
8 lectures 01:03:02

Carve the Neck

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • Clamp
  • Rasp or surform
  • Calipers (digital)
  • Scraper
  • Sanding block/s
  • Sandpaper: 80g

NOTE: I use a variety of tools to carve the neck - see the Tools PDF in the resources section for more info.

Carving the neck

I ALWAYS carve my necks the same way - concentrate on making the facets nice and flat. If you can achieve this then blending in is the easy bit - watch the shape emerge before your very eyes!

  1. Carve the side facets
  2. Carve the top facet
  3. Refine the side facets
  4. Blend in


Carve the Neck
19:31

Radius the Fretboard

What you need:

  • Neck Workboard
  • 10mm Pin
  • Adjustable Support (10mm Bolt or foot from a desk)
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Straightedge/s
  • Radius Guage
  • Sanding Blocks
  • Sandpaper: 60-80g
  • Radius Block (optional)
An 18" Straightedge is the most useful but if you can afford it, buy a set of various lengths then you will be able to detect more high spots.

Important

Using the Neck Workboard takes some setting up - it is essential that the neck is not bending under clamping pressure otherwise there is no point getting it straight.


NOTE: Working a radius into an Ebony Fretboard can be very hard work - that is why I chose Rosewood for this build and recommend using a premade fretboard for your first.

If you are not using a premade fretboard which already has a radius on it then you will have a lot more work to do but the methods are exactly the same.

I do not recommend using a plane for this job unless you are very proficient and the plane is super sharp! Stick to 60g sandpaper on a block.

Radius the Fretboard (Prepare for Inlays)
09:57

Install the Front Dots

What you need:
  • Ruler
  • Straightedge (or long Ruler)
  • Pencil
  • Centrepunch
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 5mm Brad Point
  • Inlays: 5mm Round Dots Mother of Pearl

Note: I highly recommend simple round dots for fret position markers as they are by far the easiest to install. Smaller sizes are also easier than larger ones and Mother of Pearl stand out clearer than anything else - in the video I use a 5mm Brad Point Drill Bit and 5mm MOP dots.

Brad Point Drill

These have a point at the end which locates into the centrepunch - this helps to keep the drill from moving out of position for more accurate drilling of holes than a standard twist drill.

Install Front Dots
07:03

Prepare for Fretting

What you need:

  • Fretslot cleaner (or Fret Saw)
  • Small Triangular File

There are various tools you could use to clean out the fretslots - I like to use my fretslot cleaner and fretsaw for the awkward ones but a vacuum cleaner helps. A fret slot guage is also useful to check the depth of the slot.

IMPORTANT

Every job you do can make your next one easier or harder.

Take your time!

The success of your FRET JOB depends on it...

Prepare for Fretting
05:57

Install the Frets

What you need:

  • Fretwire
  • End Nippers (flush ground)
  • Neck Support
  • Hammer
  • Superglue
  • Radius Block and clamps (optional)

For more information on fretting tools see the 'Tools' PDF in the resources section at the end of this course.

Install Frets
10:28

Install the Side Dots

What you need:

  • Inlays: 2mm white plastic rod (or 2mm MOP or ABA)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Centrepunch
  • Cordless Drill (or hand drill)
  • Drill Bit: 2mm
  • Superglue
  • End Nippers (flush ground)
NOTE: If you want you could use 2mm Mother of Pearl or Abalone Dots instead but I wanted to show you another method.

IMPORTANT

Remember to put two dots on the twelth fret! Don't worry if you forget - just put three in a line and call it a custom job.

Install Side Dots
03:09

Clean Up the Sides of the Neck

What you need:

  • File
  • Straightedge (or long ruler)
  • Nut (optional)
  • Set Square
  • Sanding Block/s
  • Sandpaper: 80g

This job cleans up the excess fret and side dot material sicking out from the sides of the neck. It is better to start with the file as the sharp metal will rip the sandpaper.

During this operation we can also set the width of the nut - if you do not have one yet then you could take the measurements from your drawing - mine is 43mm.

It is important to remove any steps where the fretboard meets the neck and make sure to keep the heel square to ensure a good fit in the body later on.

Double check that the neck is straight and remove any high spots as necessary.

Try to do your best but don't get too hung up about it - We will repeat this job when we fit the neck into the body.

Clean up sides of Neck
03:27
Fit the Neck to the Pattern

Before we go ahead and route the neck socket into the body it is a good idea to fit the neck into the pattern. If you have not yet made a neck socket pattern then now is the time. Please see the resources section for your downloadable PDF patterns

What You Need

  • Neck Socket Pattern
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Bandsaw (or hand saw)
  • Sanding Block
Fit the Neck to the Pattern
03:30
+ Making the Body - Part 2
6 lectures 33:01

IMPORTANT!

DO NOT ROUTE THE NECK SOCKET YET!

Unfortunately I am not perfect and managed to get my notes mixed up which resulted in me doing this in a order other than intended - making my job of sanding the edges more difficult. If you would like to avoid that:

Skip to Lecture 41: Cut Out The Body

...and then return here to carry on...

However - it is not much of a deal really. If you cut out the body first it will make sanding easier - but you will have less support for the router when performing step 3 below - routing to final depth. I will leave it to you dear reader to decide.

Route the Neck Socket

What you need:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Neck Socket Pattern
  • Clamps
  • Router
  • Router Cutter: Top Bearing 12mm x 12mm (1/2" x 1/2")
  • Router Cutter: Top Bearing 12mm x 25mm (1/2" x 1")
The final depth of the Neck Socket depends on the thickness of your Body Blank - aim to leave 10 to 12mm (1/2").

This is way too deep for one step so we use three:

  1. Route as deep as possible with short cutter
  2. Route as deep as possible with short cutter
  3. Remove pattern and route to final depth with short cutter
MOST IMPORTANT

Never let the bearing go under the pattern or you will end up with a pickup shaped neck hole - or worse!

Route the Neck Socket
05:55

Routing Final Depths

What you need:

  • Ruler
  • Grippermat (or Clamps)
  • Router
  • Router Cutter: Top Bearing 12mm x 12mm (1/2" x 1/2")
  • Router Cutter: Top Bearing 12mm x 25mm (1/2" x 1")
FINAL DEPTHS
  • Pickups: 18mm
  • Pickup Ears: 25mm
  • Control Cavity: Body Thickness minus 6mm (1/4")

CHECK!

If you have followed my recommendations then you will already have all your parts - check each one as you go to make sure it fits OK - your parts might be different to mine.

When Routers Attack!

Make sure your cutter is tight - listen for unusual noises and you usually get plenty of warning that something is amiss. If in doubt - stop and check.

Routing - final depths
05:14

If you came here from Lecture 39: Route the Neck Socket - well done! Do this first and then return to continue building - I think it is easier overall that way.

Cut Out the Body

What you need:

  • Bandsaw
  • Body Profile Pattern
  • Top Bearing 12mm x 12mm (1/2" x 1/2")
  • Router Cutter: Top Bearing 12mm x 25mm (1/2" x 1")
  • Router Cutter: Bottom Bearing

This is again a two step process - you can skip step 2 if you prefer to sand the edges by hand but it is hard work.

  1. Rough cut on the Bandsaw
  2. Route the Profile

IMPORTANT!

If you have already routed the Neck Socket (like me) you will have to be very careful to make sure the bearing does not go under the pattern at any time!

Cut Out the Body
08:59

Radius the Body Edges (optional)

What you need:

  • Router
  • Router Cutter: 6mm Radius (1/4")
It is nice to round off the edges, but of course it is not essential, so you could skip this bit.

IMPORTANT

Make sure the bearing does not go into the neck socket!


Radius the Body Edges (optional)
01:59

Make the Belly Carve

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • Clamps
  • Rasp (or Surform)
  • Sanding Block/s
  • Sandpaper: 60g or 80g

Belly Carve
03:32

Drill the holes

What you need:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Centerpunch
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 2.5mm (Strap Stud)
  • Drill Bit: 22mm (Jack Socket)
  • Pickup Link Holes: 10mm EXTRA LONG

TIP

Clamp the body to stop it moving while you drill the holes and you will avoid what happened to me...

BONUS!

Of course I snapped the drill on purpose just so I got the chance to show you guys how to fix it :P

Drill the Holes in the Body
07:22
+ Finiting and Finishing
7 lectures 01:09:51

Fit the Neck

What you need:

  • Sanding Block
  • Sandpaper: 80g
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Bandsaw
  • Neck Angle Jig
  • Router with Baseplate
  • Router Cutter - any standard router cutter will do

There are two parts to this job

  1. Fit the neck
  2. Set the Neck Angle

To fit the neck we sand the sides of the heel until it slides in comfortably without too much force. Once this is done we can set the angle by routing the back of the heel.

IMPORTANT

The strings must arrive at the right height for the bridge - make sure to check!

Fit the Neck
13:25

Final Shaping

What you need:

  • Clamp
  • Rasp or Surform
  • Sanding Blocks
  • Sandpaper: 60g or 80g
Now is the time to clean up the Heel and the Volute of the neck.
Final Shaping
07:23

Sanding

What you need:

  • Sanding Block/s
  • Sandpaper: 80g, 120g, 240g

Learn to love it.

Sanding
08:28

Glue the Neck

What you need:

  • File
  • Radius Block (optional)
  • Scrap of wood
  • Clamps
  • Masking Tape
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 1m Rule
  • Glue
  • Glue Spreader (an old phone top up card is perfect)
  • Water
  • Toothbrush (or rag)

CHECK!

Make sure you have done all these BEFORE you glue the neck.

  • Check for sanding scratches
  • File the angle on the side of the frets
  • Fill the Fret ends
  • Level the frets
  • Check the pickup link holes are drilled
ALWAYS
Dry clamp first to make sure all is well before applying any glue.

Double Check!

Use a long ruler or straightedge to check the alignment of the neck and the neck angle.



Glue the Neck
12:43

Drill the Bridge Holes

What you need:

  • Masking tape
  • Ruler
  • 1m Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Centrepunch
  • Cordless Drill
  • Drill Bit: 11mm (check)

IMPORTANT

Every bridge requires some sort of mounting holes - You will need to accurately mark out and drill these for the guitar to function well.

Wilkinson Wrapover

The bridge I am using is a wrapover style which mounts on two Bridge Mount Posts - this is great - we only need two holes!

They are spaced 82mm apart and 6mm behind the scale length line.

The bridge must be centered on the lines which extend from the sides of the neck.

CHECK

You must check your bridge to make sure you are drilling in the right place and with the right size drill - it may be different to mine.

TEST

Drill test holes in scrap wood to find the best size drill for your Bridge Mounting Posts (or screws).

Note: I normally use my pedestal drill for this job but I wanted to demonstrate that it can easily be done by hand.

DOUBLE CHECK!

Everything twice (that's three times!)



Drill the Bridge Holes
09:44

Finiting

Nobody likes this word, it is a silly guitar makers word meaning knocking the sharp edges off, checking for glue where there shouldn't be, and filling any holes that shouldn't be there.

What you need:

  • Sandpaper: 240g, 320g
  • Superglue
  • Accelerator for Superglue
  • Masking Tape
  • Wood Filler
  • Abrasive pad (artificial Wire Wool)

Last Chance

This is your last chance to achieve perfection before finishing (applying a finish).

Check

Before you go any further double check that all the parts fit.

NOTE: On a complicated build sometimes it is worth completely assembling the guitar to make sure everything is OK before finishing it - there is nothing worse than doing major alterations on a freshly finished instrument.


Finiting
12:12

Apply the Finish

What you need:

  • Clean Bench
  • Finishing Oil
  • Rags
  • Gloves
I HIGHLY recommend a natural rubbed finish for your first build - spray finishing is a whole other course (yes -coming soon!). BUT, I will answer your q's on spraying and other types of finishes - just ask.

IMPORTANT

Sit back now and enjoy your handy work - if you got this far you have earned it. Why not take a picture and post it on the course dashboard for us all to drool over?

Apply the Finish
05:56
+ Fret Dress
2 lectures 23:26

Fret Dress - Part 1

Level the Frets

What you need:

  • Masking Tape
  • Straightedge (notched is better)
  • Truss Rod Key (5mm Allen key)
  • Marker Pen (optional)
  • Levelling Tools

For more information on tools for fret dressing please see the Tools PDF in the final section of this course - Resources.

The Fret Dress

There are a few steps to this procedure - this lecture covers the first step - levelling the frets:

IMPORTANT: Before you start trying to level the frets - set the truss rod to get the neck as straight as possible

  1. Level the Frets
  2. Re-crown the Frets
  3. Dress the Fret Ends
  4. Polish
Fret Dress - Part 1
11:38

Fret Dress - Part 2

What you need:

  • Re-crowning file
  • Stanley Blade
  • Fret End Dressing File
  • Sandpaper: 320g or 400g
  • Wire Wool
  • Lemon Oil
  • Rag

For more information on tools for fret dressing please see the Tools PDF in the final section of this course - Resources.

The Fret Dress - Final Stages

This lecture covers the final stages AFTER levelling the frets:

IMPORTANT: Before you start re-crowning the frets they must be as level as possible! If you still have high or low spots go back and repeat the previous lecture.

  1. Level the Frets
  2. Re-crown the Frets
  3. Dress the Fret Ends
  4. Polish

Fret Dress - Part 2
11:48