The Body

My method of building guitars is quite often the same in the early stages: I do the design on a scale of 1:1, draw with the appropriate templates for milling and then make them. For the body I need the following templates:

  • Outline
  • Contour start top curvature / thickness "natural binding
  • E-Trade: outer contour
  • E-Trade inner contour
  • Millings pickups, neck

The guitar is a solid electric guitar. Mahogany together with maple gives a presumably heavy body (the raw scantling has already glued about 5kg - way too much!). To avoid this, you can mill so-called "resonance chambers" into the body. That sounds really great, but if you don't overdo it, it's only for weight reduction.

When such chambers are made, it is important to ensure that the stability and sustain are maintained. I take chamber widths around 3-4 cm and partitions of 8 mm. A good distance to the bridge must be kept (4-6 cm).

In the following the different steps of the manufacturing:

The body was glued (top onto bottom), then the contour was sawn out, the outer contour was milled to fit exactly with a flush milling cutter and roughly sanded with sandpaper (120'er). This blank is now further milled.

Milling of the electronics compartment:

The ceiling is still flat, so first the electronics compartment and the battery holder are milled out.

Milling of the electronics compartment

Milling of contour approach

The top measures 19mm and tapers over the whole length to binding strength at the horn front (approx. 6-7mm).

To create the wedge, the ceiling is milled off on one side. For this purpose I fix a piece of wood of appropriate thickness on the thin side behind and thus raise the blank. With a sharp cutter and in several infeeds the wedge is created.

Important: especially curly maple is prone to bursting if too much is milled away - always slowly and the last layer 1-2mm thick.

Now the channel of the contour approach is milled. The starting point of the ceiling fillet must be milled along the outer contour using a half-round milling cutter. I do this using a template and a thrust ring. This way the channel creates a uniformly high finish all around between mahogany and maple - the later binding.

Milled contour approach

Carving the top

The arched top has a straight surface between the base of the neck and just behind the bridge. This has now been marked and carved with sharp carving irons and planes down to the contour channel.

Ceiling is carved

more planing ...

Ceiling is carved

Shapes the contour

even more carving ...

Forms of Cutaways

Here the cutaway is carved

Forms of the horn

Here the carved upper horn.

Almost finished contour

Besides carving, you also have to sand (80'er, then 120'er)

Shaping the contour

The body back is ergonomically shaped.

Boring of the neck

The neck is cut. It applies as well to other milling: always free eg drill with Forstner drills - increases the service life of the cutter and the speed of working.

Attach the stencil

Mounting the cutting template for the pickups

Milling of Pickups

Milling the Pickups

Milling of Pickups

Drilling of the string attachment

Drilling the holes for the bridge and tailpiece.

Drilling the cable channels

Drill holes for the cables (aim a long drill through the hole of the output socket).

Drilling the cable channels II

Finished electronic compartment with battery compartment, cable holes (also to the piercing sleeves because of the ground connection!)

Now we continue with the construction of the neck!