I’m planning out my first electric build and have a couple of question. First, is there any reason to leave a space between the box lid a neck as in my acoustic builds? Second, I’m planning on adding a heel for the first time. Is there any rule of thumb for how much the heel should stick out from the box? Finally, I’m going to install a snake oil humbucker. How do I know how much to notch the neck for clearance?
Thanks for your help! CBG builders are the best.
The answer to the first question depends on whether you're planning to do a piezo (pickup senses vibration of the box) build or a magnetic pickup (pickup senses vibration of the strings) build. The former benefits from the nice resonance of good acoustic quality, the latter is less sensitive to what's going on with the box itself (and thus whether the neck is in contact with the lid, etc.)
Mock up a heel and neck with scrapwood and see what your hands like, or just look at dozens of images of CBGs and ballpark into some nice neutral 'popular' territory. There is no rule.
Oh, you're installing a humbucker. Okay, that's magnetic. Buy the pickup, then lay it out on the neck and add the thickness of the box lid and actually measure what you're going to need to do to make space appropriate for it.
Note that with the neck and the pickup, test-fitting is the only way to be sure. Pickups aren't made to aerospace engineering tolerances, so it's not unreasonable to expect that every now and again you'll get one where the dimensions are just a little bit off due to (parts from China, assembled by worker on a bad day, your supplier hates you, fill in your own reason here ___________) so you shouldn't ever take it for granted unless you're building additional slop in (in which case you don't need to know the exact dimensions).
Test-fit. Feel what works on the neck and heel. Experiment. Enjoy.
Hi Michael, Marks has pretty well covered your question, but I'll show you what I do.
I don't usually do a neck through so I need to have a heal on most necks, especially on 6 stringers.
I also use a heal [or a neck block] outside the box so as to have more sound chamber area inside. I do not glue my necks in, I use screws or bolts to secure them through the heal/neck block. Pictures may explain better. For a more stable neck I will put a neck block inside and a heal outside the box, the neck attaches to both.
As for size consider the gluing area you think you will need for a strong joint, and how it looks compared to other components. Taff
Some very nice build pics there, Taffy.
If you truly intend it to only be played plugged in and with a mag pickup, then no space is needed between the neck and lid. Now, in my opinion (no hard data to support this statement) if you want to occasionally play unplugged or use a piezo pick up (either a rod or disc), then I'd put some clearance under the lid. Again, just my opinion. There are others here who I also respect who do not worry about clearance between the neck and lid, but I do it.