Hi everybody,

at this stage of my first batch of builds I need some advice from the pros.

I am happy how everything is progressing, and everything is looking good. After routing and sanding however, the bodies are not 100% to template anymore. I figured all that really matters is correct neck and bridge alignment.

If I match the neck template with the center line of the maple top, the neck would stick out about 2mm in the cutaway (especially for one of them) SEE PICTURE. I was thinking of drawing a new center line and making sure the neck template is not overlapping.

Also, when is the best time and the proper way to drill for the bridge? it is easier before carving the top, but my intuition says I should wait until after routing the neck pocket and fitting the neck. Then I can measure the exact bridge position, right?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Tags: alignment, bridge, les, neck, paul

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When aligning a neck, you need to make a straight line in the center of the body and every thing is measured from there. The center of the body can be determand  by measuring 1/2 way between the lower bout and 1/2 the middle of the waist. make a straight line from the two dots you make.

the center of the neck should be in inline with the line you make on the body.. then you can measure for bridge and  pickup locations... just my two cents..

Peace, Donald 

Hi Micha,

Stop building all five at once and concentrate on building one from start to finish as a prototype.  That way if you make a mistake you are not going to repeat it on all five.  Your level of building expertise is basic and mistakes such as the one shown are going to happen - as they have happened to most of us in this trade.

Couple of options for the mistake you have here and it depends on a bunch of things as to how you chose the appropriate fix.

Firstly, if you are going to deviated from the center-line of the maple cap it will be noticeable at 2mm when you place the bridge.  This is OK if its your own personal instrument but not if you are trying to establish yourself as a maker of quality instruments. 

Secondly, center  the neck pocket and make the instrument a gold top or a black painted (pigmented lacquer) finish to cover the goof.

Thirdly, recenter the neck center-line by 1 mm and make the neck 1 mm thinner at the body join - nobody will notice that.

Finally, slightly angle the neck installation (don't think I'm kidding - the original makers of this instrument have some shockers when it comes to getting the "drive train" aligned on their guitars) so it meets up with the bridge on the cap center-line - it's a fractional angle change and not noticeable if done well.  You will need to make sure the pickup routes and the stop-tail positioning is relative to this new slightly angled center-line.   This is the hardest fix but technically the one I would choose to recover the instrument to within acceptable quality guidelines.

Do not locate the bridge and stop-tail until you have fitted and adjusted the neck tenon so as to have the neck perfectly on center-line (or close to perfect).  This will be the hardest thing to do and you need to do it, as I said, firstly on one instrument only to see what happens when you glue in the neck.

Unless you have a CNC or a load of experience carve the top before routing for pickups and locating bridges and stop-tails.  You will also need to route the neck pocket, dry fit the neck and get the angle right on the completed top before proceeding.

There is a lot of advice around as to best make a carve-top and some of it will be better than the advice provided here - but, take my advice and stop building five at once - you need to get to the end on one instrument only to validate the process before finishing the total build.

Good luck,


Good advice on building only one at a time Rusty-- I only do that my self-- that way if you make a mistake then it can be fixed and be a lesson on the next build-- 

Peace, Donald

Hey guys,

thanks for your input! The solution with adjusting the neck angle sounds really good!

After carving the tops I will freeze 2 of the 3 builds, that was the plan. The instruments are for me and my friends, so if cosmetic mistakes come up, everybody is forgiving. Of course, the function and playability can not suffer. I just found a great article on how to do a setup and play the guitar without drilling the bridge but having a temporary support underneath it until you find the right intonation point. You still have to drill the tailpiece first, but that I think you can measure well after gluing in the neck.


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