I don't claim to have invented this design, but here's how I make a robust neck through with a heel, leaving plenty of space under the lid for pickups/bracing etc. There are plenty of ways to go about this, and no right or wrong way. However this design helped me overcome a number of obstacles in my early builds. I will skip over quite a few basic aspects of CBG building so it might be an idea to have a grasp of scale lengths etc. first.

This article is not aimed at seasoned builders, but rather those who were just starting out. Or even more specifically, myself about 3 years ago when I started making these!

The only thing this diagram doesn't show is 'back angle', which I use on all of my builds to improve ergonomics. Just imagine the block at the front on the box is lower than the one at the back. It's that simple, and can make a big difference to how well a guitar plays. This, along with some other tips is covered in another how-to here.

So - you need a 1 metre length of hardwood, and a separate fretboard (6.5mm/1/4"). Cut the neck blank into 2 pieces. This will depend on the kind of box you are using. You want the upper piece to extend into the box by about 100mm, and the lower piece to extend roughly 40-50mm from the front of the box, creating an overlap of roughly 6"/150mm (see the picture above). You can use whatever headstock design you prefer, scarf etc.

The first job I do is cut and glue up the scarf joint. I cut the scarf using a jig and a big chop saw. Along with the Dremel and drill, these are the only power tools I use to make necks.

To glue up the scarf, I clamp the two pieces of the neck to the bench and then apply a clamp at the joint. If it slips, move the pieces back and try again. You want to get this right. Some people swear by sprinkling a little salt on the glue to stop it slipping. I haven't tried it myself. Once the glue has fully cured I slice off some material from the top side to bring the thickness of the headstock down to about 15mm.

While this is drying, time to take a look at the fretboard:

So at this point I've marked the frets using a metre ruler and Stew Mac's Fret Calculator, scored them with a knife and they're ready to slot. It is worth investing in a purpose made fret slotting saw and mitre box for this job. I've drawn a centre line and marked across the frets diagonally to place the marker dots. Carefully drill them out to the required depth. This would be much easier with a pillar drill but I don't have one.

Once the fret slots are cut, I taper the fretboard. This step is completely optional, but since trying it I have found it impossible to go back to square necks. If you want some tips on doing this, I wrote a 'how to' here. Once you're happy with the shape of the fretboard, you can add your side dots, if you wish.

In the below picture, I am gluing all of the remaining parts of the neck together; the fretboard, the lower portion of the neck that runs through the box, and the headstock 'wings' which will allow me to get a bit more creative with the design. These are made from fretboard scraps. 

I leave the neck in the clamps for 24 hours. I know many people would say this is unnecessary but I prefer to err on the side of caution. This is what it looks like after taking the clamps off. In this picture I have already used my mitre box to create a 'slope' where the two neck sections meet which will be the basis of the heel.

...and after tapering. Again, this is an optional step, and there is a 'how to' here.

So here's the neck so far. Time to get shaping - in part 2!

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Comment by RTZGUITARS on November 3, 2015 at 3:32pm

Great Stuff man, this is what makes his a cool site.

Comment by Eric Gallagher on November 3, 2015 at 3:14pm

Hard to say. It's my first build and it seemed like a good idea in place of a real resonator. I'm building two more CBGs with similar sound hole designs, so I guess I'll never know. Couldn't hurt.

Comment by Richey Kay on November 3, 2015 at 3:00pm
I love it Eric! Does it have the desired effect?
Comment by Eric Gallagher on November 3, 2015 at 2:58pm

Great! I work them the same way. I also add a reflector beneath the sound hole. I used a bath tub faucet flange (or similar). The sound hole cover is from a Mason jar lid.

Comment by Richey Kay on October 22, 2015 at 4:59pm
Shhh! It's a work in progress, don't tell anyone!
Comment by Rooster on October 22, 2015 at 4:54pm

You updated this lol..........for a second I thought I was losing my mind ;-)

Comment by Richey Kay on July 23, 2014 at 1:25am

Hey John. Yes you could have them spanning the width of the box if you wanted to...I tried it myself and found it unnecessary. I just use offcuts from the neck blank I'm using so they're always the same width as the neck. For the notches I would highly recommend a backsaw if you don't already have one, and a coping saw for the horizontal cut. Cut well inside your markings and use a large flat file to neaten them up.

Comment by Jon Leslie/Runaway Veal Music on July 23, 2014 at 12:36am
Richey,
The supports under the notches/either side of the neck in box....how long do those support beams span length wise and and are they notched at all. A previous build I went side to side of the box with supports and followed the notches of the box. Actually the support beams helped to straighten by bad off notches.
Comment by Richey Kay on July 20, 2014 at 2:07am
Cheers Wayfinder - I love making these so if you have any requests let me know! ;-)
Comment by Sawbones on July 17, 2014 at 1:42pm

To yours!I meant to slay!!!!!

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