Like A Fender
Recently in need of an instrument project, I settled on building an electric Fender style with a flat top. Part of this decision rested on the fact that I had for some time been storing some body material for just this type guitar. The wood is Western Juniper which may or may not work out but the nice thing with this type guitar is that the neck is removable, the hardware could be pulled and the body trashed if it’s that bad. Other reasons for this build were: learning a new type build, it will give me some freedom to try some new ideas.
Using hardware I had on hand I began by laying out the Bridge and Stop locations for a TOM, (Tun-o-matic), set up based on the neck to body location along the scale length, in this case 16th fret. Which is normal but I had to make sure things would fit because my body blanks are short.
Once everything is laid out it’s time to begin on the necks. The necks will be Cherry, (another part of the experiment). These are very similar to necks I make for my Archtops so I’m gonna follow that pattern, leaving off the heel piece, binding and tenon.
With the necks done except for headplate and logo I moved back to body construction. After making a template, I rout the neck pocket, next the pickup cavity is routed with my existing humbucker template. Cavity routing always makes me a little anxious which is fine ‘cause it makes me take my time and be sure every thing is correct and secure. I get the neck pockets and pickup cavities done and prepare to set the necks.
At this point I have discarded one of the two bodies and will continue with just one guitar for now. I really didn’t like the shape of it and will use the extra neck another day. I also finished drilling/ routing for the bridge, tail stop and control cavities. I made a template for control cavity with cutouts for both cavity and it’s cover fitted for two cts pots.
As I was about to declare the body ready for spraying, I realized that I had not made access for the ¼” jack, oops! Now, the body is ready to spray and l have only to trim the headplate veneer, final sand and tape the fingerboard so the neck will be ready to spray as well.
The jack location is taken care of, the neck is finished, all is sanded and being sprayed initial sanding coats. I am also making the truss rod access cover which I will spray along with the control cavity cover.
With the first few coats sanded and any surprise finish issues taken care of, I’ll spray a few final coats of Lacquer, then let it cure before buffing.
After buffing the body and neck it’s time for hardware and electronics on the body, fretwork and tuner installation. Once the neck was installed I started stringing and adjusting. I’ll work the action down a little at the nut and the bridge and that will be it. I played a while plugged in and it sounds very good.
After final adjustments and a few days of me playing, I took this to my good friend and expert strings player Neal C. He gave it a smile and a thumbs up.