Fender Guitars are some of the most recognisable guitars in the world. With success comes imitation, and Fender Guitars are some of the most imitated and duplicated guitar bodies around. For most aspiring guitar builders, the Fender Stratocaster or Fender Telecaster will be their first design of choice. With basic curves and standard shapes, Fender Guitars make for an easier first build. With a few basic tools you will be able to cut out your own Fender templates to help make your build easier.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fender guitar body
- MDF board
- Sharp pencil
- Straight edge
- Scroll saw or band saw
- Half round bastard file
- Sand paper
Scribe a line directly down the middle of your half-inch piece of MDF (medium density fibre) board using a straight edge. MDF board is available from most home improvement stores.
Place a Fender Guitar body on the MDF board so that the scribed line bisects the guitar body. It is important that you centre the body on the scribed line as best you can. The vertical centre line will serve as a locator when you map out your bridge, neck and pickup locations as you build the actual guitar.
Trace the Fender Guitar body with a sharp pencil. The pencil tip should ride as close to the body as possible to achieve the most accurate shape. Use a sharp pencil. If pencil graphite gets onto the guitar body, it can be wiped off without the use of chemicals.
Cut the guitar shape out using a scroll saw or band saw. Cut slightly outside of the line.
Smooth the edges with a half round bastard file and sandpaper. Slowly work your way to the line that you traced with pencil. The smoother the line, the better the template will work when you route your project body.
Tips and warnings
- If you do not have a Fender Guitar body to use as a template, you can locate a picture of the Fender you want to copy on the Internet. Most guitar supply websites offer "full front" pictures of guitars. Print the picture on a one-to-one scale and then cut the picture out. Use the picture instead of the guitar body in step two. The use of a picture will only be as accurate as the scale. Using an actual body is the preferred method.
- Wear proper eye and respirator protectors when cutting MDF board.
- Although the Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster are public domain shapes and can be copied without copyright infringement, many people prefer to start with these shapes for their basic design and then add in their own styling to make the shape more their own. After you trace the basic shape onto your MDF board, take some time to add in your own changes.
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