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Dimensions Of Raw Lumber For Neck Construction


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Hey all!

First off, thanks for having such a GREAT resource for an amateur-woodbutcher-turned-guitar-maker to reference. I have done dozens of furniture making projects, so working with wood isn't toally foreign to me, but building musical instruments IS. Also- I have no electric guitar for side-by-side reference

Well, I may as well start off with the first dumb questions:

I have read through the tutorial about building a neck, a fingerboard, etc. However, nowhere in the tutorial could I find the dimensions (in inches, if possible)of the raw lumber needed to create a neck. I live in a town of 200 people that is roughly seven hours drive from the nearest Rockler store, so buying lumber is mail-order only, and I can't make any mistakes in ordering.

Dumb Question #1: What size block of wood do I need to begin making the neck?

As to the fingerboard, what dimension should the raw lumber be for the fingerboard? I intend to create some fairly intricate mother-of-pearl inlays for the fretboard (I have MOP experience, but again, not with musical instruments) Does this affect the dimensions of the fingerboard wood- as far as the thickness of the wood is concerned?

Finally, for MOP inlays, is there a wood that is better to work with? My inlays are semi-tribal in design, and I am looking for something that will be decent to work with.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me with these questions! I hope to have a completed project by sometime in Spring of 2008!

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Dumb answer: depends on the size of your neck.

Draw out the plans full size, including a detailed drawing of how you want the neck, and get a plank of wood that'll accomodate that, either with or without a scarf (I reccomend with, if you're doing an angled peghead, and order some extra legth so you can mess up a few times before you nail the joint, although you should be fine if you've got prior woodworking experience). A little oversize is always handy. Of course, you can also just order from luthier supply places, and you're then guaranteed to get something suitable (ie, if it's not, send it back for a replacement, which normal lumber places won't do).

Fingerboards: again, calculate scale length, draw out full size, done. Thickness is generally in the 3/16"- 1/4", finished, with radius complete. I reccomend ebony for a first-time inlay, because it's easier to hide any routing mistakes. Also, unless you want to jig up immediately and buy slotting templates, get a pre-slotted fingerboard from one of the supply houses. One of our members (Jon) sells slotted fingerboards in all kinds of woods if you're interested.

In terms of neck, though, besides neck joint and nut dimensions, maybe carve shape, acoustics and electrics aren't very different.

Also, get a book. Melvyn Hiscock's 'Make Your Own Electric Guitar' is great.

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