Planning the Project

For me personally, besides the varnish, planning is the most important thing in building a guitar. Both the one and the other can completely destroy a whole work. Of course you can't plan or foresee everything, but the worst mistakes can be avoided absolutely by simple construction. Popular mistakes are, for example, that the string spacing on the bridge from the standard bore leaves too little space on the side of the fretboard, or that the fretboard makes a neat bend on the top after the body transition because the top curvature does not match the neck angle. It is therefore best to draw both the side view (this is the view from the side, so no strings!) and the top view on a scale of 1:1 and then take the measurements from this plan. But I have made it much easier for myself. Since this guitar has been copied several hundred thousand times, there is of course someone who has measured the thing and is now selling the plan. You can get these plans for example at Elderly Instruments or Luthiers Mercantile in the USA for 10US$. You need two plans, one to look at and hang up, the other one to mount on 8mm MDF boards to make stencils (buy 1x, copy 1x?).

Schedule of Bodies Plan of the neck

Now that it is clear what size the guitar is, the measurements for the material can be taken from the plan:

Designation Quantity Dimensions [mm] Material
Ceiling material 1x 3x550x430 Bavarian hazel spruce
Back / Sides 2x 2,5x120x870 Rosewood
Fretboard 1x 6x60x510 Rosewood
Neck 1x 100x75x590 Mahogany, 2-fold, mirrored
Bridge 1x 11x48x175 Rosewood
Bracing 1x 20x50x510 Spruce
Fret 8x 5x15x400 Slotted Mahogany
Neck block 1x 95x70x33 Spruce
End block 1x 120x80x19 Spruce
Soundhole rosette 1x - black / white with abalone
Binding - 1,5x7x800 Herringbone / ABS vintage white
Floor ornaments 1x - Zipper Stripe
Tuners 1x 3 L / R Gotoh, Kluson style
Paint - - Filler Water-based, high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer
Glue - - White glue, Speedbond
Fret Wire - - Dunlop Medium Wire
Inlays Fretboard - D45 style Abalone

I bought an 8mm thick MDF board and cut out the top, neck, fingerboard and bridge from the plan with scissors. Then I glued the pieces of paper with spray glue (white glue or similar has a lot of water in it and distorts the plan). On the band saw I cut very precisely along the outline and with file and sandpaper I worked my way to the desired size.

Different templates Ceiling Template

In addition to the templates described above, I made another one for the head plate shape, the neck foot, the bridge.

Routing template web Template head shape
Template neck base

A little more laborious is the production of the frame form. You need 28mm thick MDF boards. On one of these boards the outer contour of one half of the guitar is drawn and a step shape is drawn on the opposite side to facilitate the positioning of the ferrules. If one half of the board is cut and processed and then used as a starting template with the router, the rest of the guitar half can be copied with this form (6 pieces in total). To position the starting form on the board, you put two dowels through Ø10mm holes in both MDF boards. With these holes the copied boards can be glued together without much rework. The mould halves are then screwed together using small boards. To make sure that the frames fit at the waist, the frames are clamped with two counter moulds, held by a strong rope tensioner.

Zarbenform OOO