Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How About A FREE Electric Guitar Plan?

That's right, to celebrate Leap Year, I am offering a set of plans for both my Envirocaster guitars FREE OF CHARGE. This amazing offer will expire on the last day of March, so don't miss out. Collect them all! Share them with your friends or anyone who might be interested in building their own electric guitar. Click on the links below to get your free plan(s):

Envirocaster Single Cutaway Right Hand

Envirocaster Single Cutaway Left Hand

Envirocaster Double Cutaway Right Hand

Envirocaster Double Cutaway Left Hand

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cutting Out An Envirocaster DC Body

Today, I made a couple of Envirocaster bodies. Here are some photos of how one came to life:

I used a template made for me by Ronny at

The body is Alder with a flamed Maple top.

I used a Wagner Safety Planer to thin the body from 2" down to 1-3/4" thick.

To round over the edges, I used a 3/4" round over bit in my router.

Tomorrow, I will rout the control cavity and drill the jack and wiring holes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Like Magic, One Long Board Becomes Five Bookmatched Tops

What started out as an 8 foot long, heavily flamed Maple board...

...quickly became 5 bookmatched tops.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Cool Way To Radius A Fretboard

I love building electric guitars, but the one task I never look forward to is generating the fretboard's radius. Like most small builders, I have always relied on radius sanding blocks to help do the work. The problem is, it takes at least an hour of vigorous work to get the job done. And that's for just one fretboard. If I have a stack to do, I'm in big trouble. My shoulders just can't take the work.

Over the years, I have tried a variety of jigs to help generate the radius, but none of them seemed to work very well. But then, after watching the movie "The Pit and the Pendulum," I hit upon an idea; What if I flipped the pendulum, attached the fretboard to the swinging end and ran my router along the centerline? I know that doesn't make any sense, but here are some photos of what I came up with:

The router slides along the top rails while the fretboard swivels on an arch from side to side. There are pins on each end, which can be positioned in different holes in order to change the radius to whatever I need for a given build. Best of all, I can even generate a compound radius! I can do a consistent radius from 7.5" all the way to 24" and everything in-between. If I place the pin on the nut end at 10" and the pin at the heel end at 16", I can get a compound radius. It really works and the results, so far after testing a couple of fretboards, is extremely smooth with only a 1/2" straight cut bit.

It only took me about two hours to make this jig. I used two sheets of 2'X4'X3/4" plywood, some woods screws, a couple of 1/4" screws for pins and a pair of skateboard bearings to help the router mount slide smoothly. If there's enough interest I'll post the plans for the jig. In the next day or so, I might upload a video of how it works as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Next Round Of Guitar Builds Is Underway

I call this luthier porn...

For those of you with a keen eye, all the necks in this photo are lefties.

Bocote. Love the grain!

One-piece Honduran Mahogany body. This one aint for sale.

Two Maple fretboards with Walnut marker dots flank a Wenge fretboard with mother-of-peal marker dots.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Next Guitar Build: A Tomahawk Just For Me!

For my next build, I plan to make a no-holds barred Tomahawk. This one will be made from a one-piece slab of Honduran Mahogany with a bolt-on Bocote neck and a Wenge fretboard. Best of all, it'll be just for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Great Guitar Is Only As Good As The Templates Used To Make It

I've said before that the quality of your build is directly linked to the quality of your templates. Cut corners here and you will see the results in a poorly shaped body and neck. One way to guarantee quality and save time is to have a set of templates made for you. I sent a copy of my vector plan to Guitar Building Templates and had owner Ronny cut a set for my new line of guitars. For a very reasonable price, he sent me templates for two guitars made out of a material that is much harder than the MDF boards I usually work with. Best of all, they were made on a CNC cutter, so the quality is perfect.

If you don't want to spend time making and perfecting your own templates, I encourage you to order a set from Ronny. Money well spent and precious time saved.

Both Highline Envirocasters guitars are for sale on eBay

Check out the listing for the Single Cutaway and the Double Cutaway. Both are a steal, especially when you consider they were made by hand in the USA.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Highline Double Cutaway Guitar Is Finished!

I love this one! Check it out:

This one and the Single Cutaway will go up for sale on eBay tomorrow. I'll be sure to post links for both auctions.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The First Envirocaster Guitar Is Almost Ready To Sell

All that's left to do is tune it up and set the intonation. Up next is the double cutaway version, which should be ready tomorrow. Hopefully, I can get both guitars up on ebay by Sunday or Monday.

Check out the way I oriented the pickups and ground the front edge of the bridge plate at an angle to match.
My goal was to put the bridge pup as close to the bridge as possible.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sticking With The Plan

Yesterday, I was set to use a pair of control cavity covers for my Envirocaster guitars, which I had fabricated out of black plastic. I resisted the temptation and went instead with some birdseye Maple I had lying in my scrap pile. Then, I got to thinking about how much plastic I have in these guitar builds. In truth, these is only a very tiny amount, but that doesn't include the water-based topcoat. It's an acrylic lacquer. Now I have to rethink my opinion of plastic. In some cases, plastic is actually better than the alternative. I will always choose water-based lacquer over nitrocellulose lacquer.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thinking Of A Guitar For Myself

I've sold just about every guitar I have ever made. All I have left is an acoustic and a Strat. Over the past couple of years, I have been saving up some wood for an over-the-top build for my own personal guitar. Flamed Maple, a one piece slab of Honduran Mahogany and check out this fretboard:


Friday, February 10, 2012

Putting The Shine On

Yesterday, I wet sanded one of my Envirocaster guitars and put it to the buffing wheel. For subscribers to my newsletter, I will detail how I achieve a mirror like shine in the next issue.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brian's Lean, Mean, Green Machine

Brian from up in chilly Wisconsin ( a place near and dear to my heart as that is where I competed in my first Ironman triathlon) has sent me some photos of his stunning guitar. Based on the Caractcus plan, Brian took matters into his own hands to make it truly his own. Not satisfied with the flat top as spec'd in the plan, Brian gave his a nice carve. Beautiful work Brian and I hope there'll be more!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How About Some Single Coil Soup?

What's for lunch today? How about a tasty blend of paraffin and bee's wax with big chunks of single coil tone. Ummm... so good you'll be tempted to eat it with a fork, but use a spoon, you'll want to get every drop!