Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How To Make A Guitar Neck In One Hour

I've always felt the hardest task we luthiers face when building a guitar is making the neck. Not only does the process require skill, but it also demands stamina. Excluding the fretboard, the process of sawing, shaping and sanding a neck usually takes me a full day to complete. And after I have finished the work, I can really feel it in my shoulders and elbows.

To speed up the process and save my joints, I've added a new jig to handle the work of carving the back contour of my guitar necks. It's called the Scheltema Neck Jig and was designed and developed by fellow luthier Bill Scheltema. You can see it in action and download the plans from his youtube video. Here are a few photos of my version:

The jig slides back and forth over my router while the neck is rotated
from side to side.

I use a 1/2" diameter straight bit to do the carving as
I slide the jig back and forth.

The end result is a perfectly formed "C" shaped contour that tapers
from the heel to the headstock. The cool thing about this jig is that I can
achieve different contours by changing the half-round pucks at each end
of the jig. Any contour is possible. All that left to do is blend the contour
at each end and lightly sand out the tool marks.


  1. Wow, amazing jig! I´ll begin the neck shaping of my guitar in few weeks but with the hard way at least this time.

  2. Thanks for this posting. A question: I've watched the youtube vids and waited for the download link for the plans and was unable to find it. Do you have that link?

    1. The link to the plans is in the commentary under Bill Scheltema's video. It'll take you to the tdpri forum where he first posted them.

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