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Building my first guitar

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Okay - As I have said this is my first guitar. To date I have purchased the tele template from guitar templates.com. I then retraced this onto a thicker piece of MDF board and smoothed out a few of the rough spots. In all the tamplate was very useful. I then cut the body and routed the neck pocket. I also have a neck from a neighbor's old tele. (I have a new one on order).

I guess my questions stems around where to mark my holes for drilling the bridge plate to ensure that I have the exact scale length (25 1/2"). If I look at my neighbors fender the string holes are in front of the mounting screws, where as the template came with the 4 mounting screws in front of the string holes. Is this due to different mounting plates? The bridge plate that I purchased seems to match the pattern on the template. Also when I measure from the front of my nut to the mounting holes on the template, I seem to be right at 25 1/2". Is this the proper way to do it with this style bridge plate? Or do I need to measure based on the saddles because on the real fender it seems to match where the saddles would be. The mounting screws on the real fender are more han 25 1/2".

Hope this makes sense.

Thanks for the help

This is my first post - pictures soon.


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This measurement is probably THE most critical measurement of the entire guitar.

If you don't get this accurate, then you got no guitar.

You have to have YOUR neck, and YOUR bridge to correctly assess location of the holes.

Using someone else's neck or bridge or both is a recipe for disaster.

The way I do it, I use the Stew-Mac Tele bridge router template, I sat my bridge on top of the template, lined up my string-thru holes with the holes in the template, moved the high E saddle 90% forward in travel, marked that spot, then scratched a line into the plastic across the template at that mark.

Then I measure my 25 1/2" scale out on the guitar body with the neck attached and in place, make a mark on the centerline at that point, and simply slide my template up until the line is sitting directly over my scale mark.

Done. :D

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Why only the low E?


It's the -high- E, and that's because the high E saddle will always be closest to the actual scale length itself. Due to intonation purposes, the rest will be set back a bit.

If you set your bridge too far forward, by the time you get around to intonating your low E, you might run out of saddle travel backwards.

If you set the bridge too far back, you might not be able to move your high E saddle foward far enough to intonate your high E.


WHy 90%?


To me it's just a good place to start. Technically, the high E saddle will never extend forward of your scale length mark, so technically you could set your high E ALL THE WAY forward, but I like 90%. It's a comfortable place for me is all.


I will wait until my neck comes in before making holes! I just looked at stew mac and did not see a bridge template?


The template I was referring to is the Telecaster Bridge Router Template. Technically, it's for routing the bridge pickup pocket and string-thru holes, but I use it as my bridge setting guide also.

Double-duty template. :D

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After looking Martin Kioch's book - he shows a very similar process. I must have missed that before asking my question.However, I think your description is a little better.

I will set all saddles up to about 90% and match them with my 25 1/2" line. From your description and Koch's I think I should be okay.



Can't learn without the simple or somewhat obvious questions :D

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