Plans For A Through Neck Solid Body Electric Guitar

Discussion in 'Plans, Designs & Software' started by pauls_49, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. pauls_49

    pauls_49 New Member

    Jan 2, 2016
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    Hi all, I am new to this site. I am in NSW Australia and a very keen woodworker. I'm currently building my 6th guitar, solid body,....and have part of my first acoustic guitar finished, waiting for me to get back to it, which I will.

    I would like to have a go at a through neck solid body electric guitar. The ones I have made so far are all bolt on necks. There doesn't seem a lot on the internet for specific plans for these. Anyone have access to any,..??,...........the idea of a laminated neck with some nice timber sounds very appealing to me. But I am thinking getting the neck angle correct and things like that would be critical.

    I have some machinery, don't have a thicknesser nor a jointer. Have a table saw and a home made drum sander and home made router table.

    Any comments would be welcomed,

    Regards, Paul
  2. bmac6502

    bmac6502 Member

    Mar 8, 2016
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    Oceanside CA
    There are not specific plans because neck-through guitars have to be pretty much custom designed instruments. With a neck through you are making a solid single piece guitar neck and body, so nothing can be adjusted later on. So if you want a different bridge, you have to nearly redraw the entire schematic. If you want a different scale length, or a different neck taper, or...well you get the idea.

    I just recently finished two neck-through guitars. But I didn't use existing schematics. I chose basic design concepts, chose critical specs like types of wood, type of bridge, locking nut or not, headstock angle, thickness of body, thickness, width, and taper of neck. I then took those critical measurements and drew the entire guitar out on my template material, casting center lines and string lines to determine things like neck angle, tuner placement on the headstock, and headstock shape. I made four templates for each guitar. A body shape template, a front profile of the neck blank, a side profile of the neck blank, and a headstock shape. Later on, I made three more templates, one for pickup routing, one for electronics cavity routing, and one for the holes where the controls come through from the cavity. Note that since I actually didn't follow existing schematics (and for one guitar I actually used a non-standard scale length), I withheld decision on the pickup locations. I actually waited until the guitar had a nut, a bridge, and frets, then I bought the pickups, wired the harness outside of the guitar, and listened to the sound of the strings to choose the right locations.

    I also worked without a thicknesser nor a jointer. I had a table saw but it was only good enough for rough cutting, its a cheapo and not accurate enough for anything but rough dimensioning. I was generously donated an excellent band saw by my uncle who is a woodworker and had just bought himself a new one. I had a router table with an offset fence. In retrospect, I struggled with jointing because of these limitations, and based on that experience, I wouldn't attempt a lamination without a thicknesser (mine wasn't laminated, neck was a single piece mahogany). But you say you are a keen woodworker, and have done some acoustic and bolt on guitars. If you feel comfortable jointing a fretboard to a neck with your current setup, you'll be just fine.

    A few things you need to watch out for in the build:
    1. I recommend planing the face of the neck blank flat, and using this face as the fretboard joint. Create the neck angle and headstock angle by making angled cuts that fall away from that face. This makes it so the long, load bearing part of the neck has the straightest, most continuous lengths of grain.
    2. You can lay out the side profile of the neck, and figure out what thickness of neck blank you need so that you can cut away the body and headstock angles. Alternatively, you can account only for the neck angle and use a scarf joint for the headstock angle.
    3. If you will be rough cutting the body shape with a band saw, rough cut the cutaways out of the two body wings before you glue the body together. Once it's got a neck on it, you won't be able to swing the guitar all the way around to carve out the cutaways without the neck hitting the riser on the saw. If you don't have a band saw, I guess you'd be removing all that material with the router? it will take a while and be hell on your bits if you are using harder woods, but do what ya gotta do.
    Here is a picture of my templates so you can get some idea of how I approached the rough cuts.

    And a picture of the necks ready for truss rod and fretboard

    And here is one of them finished...

    PhazeRCIL likes this.

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