Articles, Blog

How to make a Guitar Neck

November 22, 2019


What is up everyone welcome back to this
episode of Home Built Workshop. Today is an episode that a lot of you have been
waiting for, and I’m making some necks Check it out! The time has come for me to finally
build my own electric guitar necks so without any further ado, let’s jump right
in and get these things done. So I’m gonna start this out with some maple
that I machined from a slab of maple. To prepare this piece of wood, I cut it dow,n
ran it through my planer and then ran it through my drum sander to make sure that
it’s nice and flat and we’re right at three quarters of an inch. There’s a
couple of defects on this board that I want to work around. There’s a knot right
here and also I think this is some spalting just beginning right here along
the edge. I also don’t want that in there although I do like spalting I don’t
think that it’s going to be stable enough without some sort of
stabilization process to make it usable for this project, but it’s nice and solid
no spalting no knots all the way up through here and I think my template is
just gonna fit on here perfectly so I’m just gonna drop my template in place,
position it where I can avoid the pieces that I want to avoid and I’ll trace it
out now attach the template to the neck
blank using some double-sided tape and using a template bit in my router
I’ll route it to the exact shape of the template this is not sponsored by Radian Tools
but their router bits are really really nice.The finish that their router bits
give is amazing. Now before I remove the template I’m just gonna drill some
small pilot holes that’ll mark the location of the tuners now I just need to carefully pry these
apart now I can move on to the truss rod now I’m gonna carefully measure the
width of the neck and mark out a centerline now I’ll use some double-sided tape to
stick my routing jig to the neck. Then using a spiral down cutting bit in my
router, I’ll rout out the truss rod channel to a depth that’s exactly the same as
the truss rod. So now that I’ve got the truss rod slot routed, I need to cut a recess in the end that’ll accept this barreled
portion of the truss rod I’m going to use this drill bit that’s made
specifically for drilling this recess now I can draw a center line on the fret
board clamp it in place and using a fret scale ruler I’ll mark out all the
positions of the frets then using a machinist square I’ll draw a line across
the entire fret board now when I’m marking these out I want to be very
careful that I make a nice square line across there so to make sure
everything’s lined up I put my pencil on the pencil mark slide my square up to it
and then make my mark now with my fret slotting saw in a jig to hold it
perfectly square to the fret board I’ll cut all the slots to the proper depth
for the fret wire that I’m using now it’s time to install the truss rod
and glue the fretboard in place I’m gonna use a nice solid clamping call so
that I get nice even pressure all the way across the threat board the whole
time I’m tightening the clamps I’m watching my center lines to make sure
nothing moves I’ll let that glue dry for a couple of hours then I can come back
trim off the excess and route it flush with a template bit now using this belt sander I’ll remove
some thickness from the headstock this will also help bring in the radius for
the transition between the fretboard and the headstock there’s one little spot
that’s hard to get to that belt sander but a sanding drum in the drill works
really good now using a special stepped drill bit
I’ll drill the holes for the tuners using the pilot holes that I drilled
earlier for alignment and now I can glue in some homemade
maple fret markers now using some adhesive back sandpaper on a radius
block I’ll begin the process of hand sanding the radius into the neck it’s a
fair amount of work to do this by hand but really if you start off with a
heavier grit sandpaper eighty a hundred it’s not that bad
just got to go really careful to make sure you don’t go too far because it
does go fairly quick I’m trying something just a little bit
different for the side markers on this neck I’m actually using some bamboo
skewers that I’ve cut down so one last thing I want to do is cut a little
recess where the logo is gonna go to do that I made up a little jig that holds
the neck in place using a template bit in my router will allow me to cut the
recess right where I need it I worked pretty good I’ve got all the
frets cut ready to press in I have a front press that I was going to use for
this but I don’t have the right radius insert that is one thing that I did not
check before starting this I’m using a radius that I don’t have the insert for
little brass insert that helps put even pressure on the frets so we’re gonna
have to do this old-school style what do you say let’s carve a neck I’m
gonna start out with a spokeshave and remove the majority of the material then
I’ll switch over to a saw rasp and refine the shape I’ll finish up with an assortment of
rasps and files followed by more sanding than you could ever imagine well after a
lot more sanding than you ever care to think about
we got a finish neck turned out really good I haven’t done the finish on it yet
because I’m gonna wait until it actually has a guitar body to go with but this
thing is ready for some finish hardware decals and a nut but the majority of the
work is complete there’s still a little bit of fret work that I need to do I
need to level and crown they feel pretty good they went in really well I’m really
happy with the way this thing came together I think this is gonna look
really neat with a nice flame maple it’s gonna come out really good when we get
some finish on there so thanks a lot for watching this video guys I hope you
enjoyed it I know a lot of you guys have been waiting for this video I know I’ve
had a lot of feedback from some of you guys on me making my own necks well
we’ve finally got it done and I am excited now I just need to get some
bodies made to put these necks on so thanks a lot for tuning into this video
I hope you guys enjoyed it in the video description you’ll find links to my
social media pages website my web store and a bunch of other things you might
want to check out thanks a lot for watching everybody and we’ll see you
next time

52 Comments

  • Reply zardozica January 26, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Nice job

  • Reply 74dart man January 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Great video and great work! I'm definitely going to watch this again, before attempting to build a neck in the Spring. Gotta get these winter projects finished first.👍😎🎸🎶

  • Reply MrDoeboy356 January 26, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Awesome work buddy.

  • Reply GI Customs January 26, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Great job Jeff!

  • Reply Reynaldo Valle January 26, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Great craftsmanship love the video keep up the good work God bless you and family and friends

  • Reply Randy Epp January 26, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you! Starting on a neck in a month or so. Nice to get multiple perspectives on how to build a neck. Thanks for taking the time to film and explain the process!

  • Reply maerck3 January 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Like the design of the head stock! High quality necks!

  • Reply Seth Galitzer January 26, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I see you've got a lot of jigs for this work. This clearly isn't your first rodeo. 😁 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply ER Webster January 26, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Good stuff man, thanks for sharing. I really appreciate the balance between a bird's eye view of the process and the little details.

  • Reply HAZEYDAZE January 26, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    nice… i build cigar box guitars, i cant wait till i build a real guitar….

  • Reply Rick Ashe January 26, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    I wanna hear you play this thing when your done you do an awsome job tho im givin you a thumbs & sayin WAY cool

  • Reply Brandon Boyer January 26, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    What blade did you use on the band saw? TPI and width?

  • Reply Antonio Saucedo January 26, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you sr!!! Great video!

  • Reply Brandon Wright January 27, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Are you planning to sell any of the guitars you make?

  • Reply James Stone January 27, 2019 at 3:03 am

    Do you have to take the neck off the guitar to adjust the truss rod? I didnt see an access point besides in the heel.

  • Reply Loki Gui January 27, 2019 at 4:48 am

    good luck on your guitar line.

  • Reply kev andrew January 27, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Awsome Jeff thanks for the instruction take it easy

  • Reply GuitarNTabs January 28, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Excellent video, Jeff!
    Thanks for making these guitar related videos, I really enjoy them!

    While we're on the subject… Would you consider making some fret beveling files, where instead of a flat bottom, the bottom had a radius to it – for example, a 9.5 or 12" radius? Wouldn't that be kind of interesting? 😊

    Have an excellent day
    Looking forward to hear from you
    All the best 😊

  • Reply Kewl Beans January 28, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    there really isn't enough on youtube about this.

  • Reply ABRAHAMIC.DESIGN January 28, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Great lefty neck. Well done!

  • Reply DJ BASS SEVENTYFIVE January 28, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    GREAT JOB JEFF!!!! AWESOME!!!

  • Reply Bruce Sutherland January 28, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Is there any reason you don't have the truss slot in your template? Even a couple of pilot holes could allow you to skip the measurement step to center the slot. The other thing you could do is make the router sled fit exactly onto the neck shape so you just peel the template then drop the sled on and go.

  • Reply Dane Nichols January 29, 2019 at 1:13 am

    Your process and results look great. Maybe the grain runout on your maple didn't parallel the edge of the board but angling the blank to avoid the splat could make the neck weaker because the grain is slashed rather than straight. Maybe the board was sawn crooked I couldn't tell in the video.

  • Reply joeofdoom January 29, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Why did you make what appears to be a bolt on neck? if your going custom wouldnt it have made more sense to do a set neck or neck thru design? I appreciate seeing some fine woodworking skills though.

  • Reply Kegan VanSickle January 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Great video and killer neck Jeff! I love the design of the headstock. Do you sell your guitar necks?

  • Reply Bill Miller January 29, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Excellent!!

  • Reply Macks Power January 30, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Woogie, your face is looking much better!

  • Reply TigerTigerPantherFox January 30, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Routing that maple was brave!! haha Good Job!! 🙂 What's the Drill bit for the truss rod recess… Any links?

  • Reply Mike Krause January 31, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Im interested in that fret cutting mitre jig. Do you just hold that in place on the line or does it clamp to the neck in some way?

  • Reply Christopher Kaesemeyer February 1, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Wow great video! Zero dislikes that’s awesome. The template router bit, is that the actual name? I really need one of those for my router. I just got a router a few months ago with no information about it or instruction and I have been learning through trial and error what the different bits do.

  • Reply Bruno Condor February 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Nice job Jeff ! Like the shape of the headstock i Greets from Belgium.

  • Reply Janarcus February 12, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    excellent tutorial, nice voice and detailed explanation and tips!!! Thank you!!

  • Reply Carlos Marques February 14, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Hey there, i think you could make the fret board darker by using a torch and gently burn it at the surface, i think it would look even cooler, just a idea, a couple months back i commented on a video saying that i was looing for a tutorial on how to make a neck and you happened to just make the body and already have the neck, i'm glad you did the neck tutorial, very cool man, you should make a costume body too to go with it (i didn't check if you made any more videos making bodies)

  • Reply M C February 16, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Bro wear a mask when you sand!

  • Reply Ridzuan Yahya March 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Great video… you present it in a very friendly way to. Subbed!!

  • Reply Temple Guitars March 26, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    I enjoyed every second of this! Bring on Hayley Guitars!

  • Reply Robert Tomkinson April 6, 2019 at 12:44 am

    You make it look so easy. Isn't 3/4" too thin? Both my "commercial" guitars have 0.9" thick necks(at the heal and from back of the headstock not including fretboard). Shouldn't you start with a 1" thick piece of maple?

  • Reply Tom Nealon April 18, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Looks great and I'd love to try it. How would one do this without all the jigs?

  • Reply Lawson Russell April 22, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I assume you're left handed, if not, you've got a problem, unless you want an strange model.

  • Reply The edge water bunny April 28, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    9:12 undertail ?????

  • Reply Joe Peerce May 19, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Do you make necks for people and what would you charge for one ( right handed )

  • Reply Joe Peerce May 20, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I tried to email you about the neck,it returned the email saying that the [email protected] account does not exist

  • Reply Joe Peerce May 20, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Ok I see what is wrong

  • Reply Stephen Castro July 4, 2019 at 11:20 am

    great

  • Reply Justin Giles July 16, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Do you sell them necks

  • Reply Dudeman DudeBro August 11, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    I’m glad to have found this. Thank you for the great video. Considering your shop and everything, are you in the business of selling necks at all? You have probably been asked a thousand times, but I am very curious. Thanks

  • Reply Mc FishyFushy August 26, 2019 at 9:37 am

    how many hours did this take ?

  • Reply Robert Clark September 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Can you show how to restore a whole electric guitar so we can follow along with you

  • Reply Marco October 19, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    You make it look so easy and simple. You have to make a video of the final result. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Calon Rocker October 25, 2019 at 11:39 am

    The easiest instructional video of making a guitar neck on YouTube. Thank’s!

  • Reply Mcclane12000 November 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Nice one! I've made a couple now (including one from plywood!), Just wondered if you've tried putting tuning pegs on yet as the headstock still looks pretty thick? I only ask because mine didn't even make it through the other side!🤦🏻‍♂️

  • Reply Tom Alexiou November 21, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you Jeff for making it look so easy.Now to get started! Happy Thanksgiving from Toronto Canada!

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