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Electric Solidbody Neck Design

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Hey everyone,

I am working on my first scratch build that is based on a Harmony H44 Stratotone. I'm working on designing the neck right now and I'm having a bit of trouble finding resources on neck design. I can find a ton of information on replicating a historic neck and profile, but nothing on how to create your own. I hope this makes sense, but maybe explaining what I am trying to achieve will be helpful: I want to make this guitar with a 24.75" scale, 22 frets, and a fender modern-C shape on the back (still deciding on fretboard radius). How would you guys approach this? Any resources that I might find helpful? 

Thanks in advance! 

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Hi and welcome!

As I've often said there's basically one single "must" in guitar building, the rest being looks and ergonomics.

That one "must" is that no matter what scale you choose, the 12th fret has to be halfways between the bridge and the nut, more specifically between the inner edges of them. Building from scratch makes this a bit easier as you can find the right place for the bridge after you've seated the neck in place at least temporarily.

As for shaping the neck profile, knowing what shape you're after is a good start. A quick googling by "modern c dimensions" seemed to give some measurements which can help. If you know the width and the thickness at both ends (rather 1st and 12th frets) you can then take the crosscut picture of the profile and scale it to right size and make a couple of templates. The inner U in the pictures is for the 1st fret and the outer for the 12th. Simply transfer the shapes to a palm size piece of board.

If you have access to a neck you really like, you can use a contour gauge to copy the exact shape at both ends of that very neck.

A simple way for rough shaping the neck goes like this: Cut the taper first. Then thickness the palm side of the neck, it usually is thicker at the heel. Divide both the 1st and 12th fret positions into four and also divide the thickness into two at both ends. Connect the dots with lines. Carve the material off between the side line and the first quarter line to a bevel. You can then divide the bevels to four and the rest of the side to two and knock off the ridges. There's videos about that method in Youtube. You can then shape the ends using your templates, then connect the grooves. It's also possible to jump right to that stage, make grooves to both ends of a square block and connect them.  Here's a sketch about what I mean:



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Thanks guys! I appreciate the info and recommendations. I have searched the forum but I've found more of trying to re-create a design, rather than create one from specific specs (I don't have or have used a neck with the specs I am looking to achieve). After thinking about it for a bit I think the best course of action for me right now is to create the specs that I want in CAD, and model in a Modern-C profile and then use some scrap pine or something to build the neck and test how it feels. This allows me to dial in the shape while also practicing building a neck.

Thanks again for the help, looking forward to being more active in this community

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