Things you will need.

Drawing….: )


An office program with a spread sheet. I use Open Office. It’s free.

A soft plastic ruler that you can easily read. 

Disclaimer. I’m on a mac. Mac has weird ideas on where things should be. They call it “Intuitive”. I’ve learned that you have to stick your head up your backside. Then run in circles until you hit something hard enough to knock yourself out to understand what they mean by “Intuitive”. So this means that I wont be able to tell you “to do this you go here, click on a drop down menu….”. I’m going to resort to the ‘find this. it should be.’ for you people on a real computer. One that doesn't rely on psychic abilities. 

Let’s start. 

Your planned guitar shape should be large enough to about fill the piece of paper. You can work with smaller drawing. But the smaller it is the more pixilation and distortion you will have along the lines. Make sure you have a clean drawing. No extra pencil lines or a lot of eraser marks.  The larger and cleaner your plan the less pixilation and blurred lines you will have. Make sure you have the neck at the body sized the way you want it to look on your guitar. You will use this to size your plan perfectly. You don't need the entire neck. Just where it's at on the body. 

Scan your plan to your desktop. If needed drag and drop your plan into a photo program so you can crop or cut away the plan till your shape is very close to or right at the edges. Save or drag and drop this new sized plan to your desktop. 

Open your office program and choose spreadsheet. Drag your plan onto the spreadsheet. Keep the plan right at the top left corner. Most likely you will have to find where you can change the view size to see the entire plan. Now you need to find a few tools in your spreadsheet to help resize and view your print out.

Before going to this next step. Make sure you choose to see the plan at 100%. Even if you cant see your entire plan. The most important part is where the neck goes and how wide it is . Make sure you can see that.

First find where you can resize the picture. Or it may be called graphic or object depending on the program you use. You may have to click on your plan to find it. On my mac it's the format dropdown menu. Try right clicking on your plan. You might get a menu with this option. You should have the ability to change the plans hight and width. And have an option to keep it’s ratio. VERY IMPORTANT. Make sure you turn on keep ratio. This will allow you to change either the hight or width wile maintaining the shape of your plan. Don’t try resizing the plan with your mouse. If you want to widen or stretch the plan do this after you do the next step.

Here’s the messy bits. Use the program to resize the plan until you get the exact measurements of your neck size. Use that soft plastic ruler each time you resize. Yep, one the screen. As long as your view is set to 100% you should get an accurate measurement.

Next messy step. Somewhere in your program there should be a page preview. Try File or Edit’s drop down menus. Click it. Now you will only see what each piece of paper is going to look like once printed. Make sure your page preview is set to 100% sizing. Now scroll through these separate pages. On my mac I have to use the up and down arrows. Find the page with with your neck. Print just that page. If this is on two pages go back and move the plan so you see this on only one. Then go back and print that page. Remeasure your neck size. If all is good you have a perfect sized plan ready to be printed out. Cut apart and puzzled together so each edge is lining up. 

If you had to move your plan to get a full picture of your neck's size just move it back to the top left corner. Then print.

Edit on April 30.

To avoid having problems lining up the pattern make a grid of lines on your drawing. They really don't have to be straight. Just something to help line up the separate sheets of paper once printed. I had a rough time of it on this first one. 

You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Email me when people reply –


  • OK I been playing around with this and have learned an even easier way to put things together. 

    Use legal size paper when printing. 

    Size your final drawing on your spread sheet. Remember to measure your neck pocket right on the computer screen. Or have an object you can cut and paste to the spread sheet the exact size of your neck heal. Then copy this to a draw program. Convert to original size. Then add your measuring grid. Group everything and export as a gif or jpg. Paste this back into your spreadsheet. Recheck the size and print. Now you wont have to draw out the grid. Every copy will have the exact same lines. Glue the paper directly on the wood. Use a paste or spray to keep from wrinkles. Then once done mineral spirits will take it right off. 


    Not only is this easier to line things up. But going from letter to legal paper you go from six sheets to four for an average size guitar body. 

  • I had a plywood Strat body that I used as a template. Then I would make changes to the drawing to get something different. Here's 3 picks of guitars that came from that.306699093?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024306699950?profile=original306700966?profile=original

    • Those are awesome guitars Paul! Using the body as a template instead of cutting it up is a great idea too. 

  • Update on technique.

    In some spreadsheet programs. Once you choose to view it in page view the program divides the main spreadsheet into the pages. You get to see the page lines when you view the entire spreadsheet. This is how this can help you when printing and lining up your template. 

    Use the page lines to better center your drawing. This can also help you keep that most important neck measurement on a single page. Another thing you can do is use the corners of each page. If your drawing is completely hollow you can do this to help line it up. Find all the page corners within your drawing. Use the fill option to color in the two cells on each page's corners. Once printed you can line your template up using these colored corners. You can even use these as 'keys' to allow you to line up the paper by placing them at the edges. Opposite of each page. 

  • Template

    • :....... Then make the mods on the new templet. What's nice is being abl...."

      thanks mom. : ) My left hand doesn't know what my right hand is doing at times. Actually the word can be spelt either way. 

      quoted from


      1670s, templet "horizontal piece under a girder or beam," probably fromFrench templet "weaver's stretcher," diminutive of temple, which meant the same thing, from Latin templum "plank, rafter," also "building forworship" (see temple (n.1)).

      The meaning "pattern or gauge for shaping a piece of work" is firstrecorded 1819 in this form, earlier temple (1680s); the form was altered1844, probably influenced by plate, but the pronunciation did not begin to shift until much more recently.

  • Here's a different Danelectro body pattern I've modified. There will be more mods done before I'm done. I'll be able to tape copy paper together and trace this pattern. Then make the mods on the new templet. What's nice is being able to use real parts to trace out their positions on the template. Use the same body template to do pickguard or back routing looks.  

    Any shape I can come up with that will still keep the neck to tail piece stable. And I've got a few off the wall ones I want to try. All I have to do is draw them. 


  • Awesome guitar Richard!

    I'm starting from scratch. Or in this case, scraps. Don't have a guitar to cut up. So I'll print out the templet and cut it out of some plywood that'll be glued together to make a thicker body.  A piece of 3/4, 1/2 and top it with 1/4. Still not sure if I want a pick guard or pickup rings. Still working on it. I did squish the body a bit to make it smaller in length. 

    Plan on making this a "double neck" using one six string neck with two different three string tunings. Modifying the nut and bridge. Going to try this first with one of the regular guitars I have. I'm thinking I may need a way to deaden the three string side not in use. Not that I can't play three strings at a time. I'm afraid of unwanted overtones if the two sets of three are tuned in different keys. 

  • Richard, That's the reply I would get when looking for help on a mac forum. "It's intuitive." That's all I would get. Really don't think they knew either. 

    Here's that pic.


  • Here's a pic of a plan I'm going to make. It will have a mostly solid body of ply. Yes it's an old Danelectro guitar that i'm modding. Ya, I know there is extra pencil lines. I'm trying two different looks.

    oops will have to try this again later. site is having probs 

This reply was deleted.