Cutting Out The Electric Guitar Body

With a successful guitar template completed, I traced the template shape onto the body blank and prepared to cut out the guitar body.

I was a bit concerned with this step. My first thought was that I would have to cut very close to the tracing. Not being particularly skillful with a jigsaw, I knew this would be problematic. I then turned to the fine folks at Project Guitar Forum for advice. Their suggestion was to leave extra material all around which the router would later remove during the flush trimming step.

With that in mind, I left approximately ½” of material all the way around. Below is the body after the initial rough cut with a jigsaw:

Rough Cut Guitar Body

I then used a four in one file to smooth the rough shape. Here is the body after some clean up work:

Klein Guitar Rough Cut Body

To further illustrate where I left off with this step, here is the template sitting on top of the body:

Klein Electric Guitar Body Template

This step took about an hour and, overall, I’m happy with the results. However, I had to angle the template on the body blank in order to fit the dimensions of the Klein body. Typically, you want the grain to run lengthwise and this hadn’t occurred to me when looking into body blanks. That said I’m not concerned with the slight angle. Other guitar makers have had to do this in order to fit certain shapes onto available blanks and suffered no ill effects. I even found one guitar builder, Byrd Guitars, which intentionally runs the grain at an angle.

Now, onto the next step – routing the guitar body flush.

More on my first guitar project:

7 Responses to “Cutting Out The Electric Guitar Body”

  1. great pics! i like the last showing the template on top.

    1. Thanks Earl! I’m trying to make the build images as useful as possible. Hopefully, they will help others in their own guitar building attempts.

      1. Hello there Robert, Great pics indeed.

        I have all my parts for my Klien and am at about the same place (cutting out the pattern). I started the same way with the center line of the patten not inline with swamp ash center line.
        This was a great concern to me due to the fact of the tension on the glue joint (I looked forever on line for larger wood blanks but they just are not sold).

        I watched a lot of youtube Vids on guitar building as well as talked to one of my local luthiers and believe I am going in a good direction, My thoughts…

        place 2 holes in the pattern where they can afford to be (center of trem and center of neck pocket (may require a laser or straight edge guide).

        Center and fasten the pattern to the wood blank and trace ( there will be overhang where the pattern does not fit)

        remove the pattern and run both outer edges of the wood blank across a planer

        There are 2 very nice areas of wood on the body blank that can be removed/cut and re-glued to the body blank to fill out the rest of the pattern,cut,glue,clamp and dry.

        Now now there is a blank that will allow you to trace the complete pattern inline with the grain and the template will realign perfect with the 2 holes that were placed earlier.

        Sorry if this is really long winded I’m a noob HAHA.

        I’m going to take some pictures of my attempt and I stress attempt.

        Happy Building,


  2. Hi there! Mats here!
    We’ve been talking before. However, now, when JG guitars luthier Peter Clemmedson tries to make me a Klein replica body (as well), the plan bought from GAL with the extended bass string neck shows a considerable larger body than the original.

    He made a body out of the plan but then compared it to my original Klein and had to trim a large bit out of the body. The upper bout.

    So, pay attention to this when copying anything exactly from the plan. If you’re not going to have the extra strings, that is. But good luck, great pictures, and keep up the good work.

    1. Mats: Thanks for the feedback! My impression from the research I’ve done to this point was that the plan was essentially the Klein PLUS the four strings. Its good to have feedback from someone who actually owns a Klein. I haven’t had the pleasure of holding an original one but based on my “test fits” so far, I’m happy with the size of the body.

      To further clarify, I’m not looking to completely recreate the Klein. Its more of a jumping off point for exploring the subject of guitar ergonomics. Thanks again for the information!

  3. Sorry, stupid question perhaps, but on the drawing what is the object above the bridge? (Looks like a second bridge).

    1. Hi GL: Thanks for checking out the blog! Its a good question. The plan I’m basing this build on is from the Guild of American Luthiers. Here is their Plans Page. Scroll down to Plan 34 for a look. It’s a plan of Klein’s harp guitar – essentially, the Klein guitar with four additional strings placed above the standard neck. That piece above the standard Steinberger bridge is just the bridge for those four harp strings. I’ve merely deleted those for my project.

      Thanks again!