Jump to content

Multiscale fretboard cutting templates

Recommended Posts

Hi all - I'm a member over at TDPRI and a friend suggested that I post this on the projectguitar forum as there's been some multiscale discussions here recently - 

Anyone who has laid out and cut a multiscale fretboard by hand knows that it's a bear. More than one? A production run of 3 or 4? Good luck! Here's my solution - 

The first time I used this template, I had a multiscale fretboard in my hand after 6 minutes, and I wasn't trying to go fast. Those who have cut these out know why I was giddy and giggling :-) 


I cut these these out  on my laser cutter.  Now for the disclaimer - I make guitars, not templates. This IS NOT a sales post - if you need more details on how to make these, please post and also offer ideas. If you want to have some made, for lasercutting I would suggest ponoko.com, but a CNC cutting service might actually produce a better template in the end, using only a .25" bit. 

The drawing  depicts a new method for the average luthier to easily cut swept frets using a Stew Mac type style circular blade...

The jig consists of 2 parts - the lower part is the indexer, it has two .25 rounded pins... and the upper index that fits to the indexer to actually align the frets for cutting. It goes without saying that you should offset the pins from your blade.

Also, this is designed for use on a radial arm type setup, although it could adapt to a table saw.




With a standard fret template, accommodating fretboard tapers and width's is easy... you don't have to. Fret distance to intonation point is the same from one side of the board to the other. Not so with a multiscale template - as you depart from the plotted fretboard edges, the scale lengthens or decreases, depending on direction. To further complicate matters, the slant of the frets changes for different nut sizes and bridge width's - so you have to do a compromised plot that will accommodate the majority of designs, but probably not all of them.

For example - the attached image depicts a template that is plotted for a 1.7" nut width, and a 2.125" bridge spacing for strings. This is fairly reasonable, and will accommodate most 6 string guitar designs. If your nut width is 1.75" or 1.68", the intonation point isn't much different and you can still use this template. Same with string spacing at the bridge - a little wider won't make enough difference to matter.

If, however, you intend to use this template for a 8 string with a 2.25" nut and 3" string spacing at the bridge, then your intonation points WILL change, because your effective scale length has increased on the bass side, and decreased on the treble side. This should not be an issue for most luthiers building these types of instruments - if you have the skills to build one of these, I expect you can figure it out :) - just be aware.

Bottom line is: If you depart outward from the plotted fretboard (nut and string spacing), scale length increases on bass & decreases on treble. If you depart inward, scale length decreases on bass, and increases on treble.


The fretboards are designed using fretfind2d, and then I convert them into templates 

Hope this helps someone out! :-)




  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...