C Paul Needs

Bent neck Building!

Several kits put together to see how stuff goes together, and problem solve/fix.

Have been setting up my own guitars and basses forever, or at least it feels like. First go at a scratch build, although I will be using a pre-slotted fingerboard.

Ash body with maple top, maple neck with an Ebony fingerboard. Loosely based on the 70s Guild S-300, with 25” scale and PRS neck profile.


I feel that perhaps I should explain the ‘bent neck building’ tag line.. it doesn’t refer to guitar necks, it refers to me!

I had a fall while carrying gear out from a gig (my last), and fell headlong down four stairs. Yes, just 4. The powered bass bin I was carrying tipped me forward, and I bent my head back when I either hit it of the floor.

This put me in hospital for a few months, removing from a state of total paralysis (well, I could move my head). I literally started over, learning use a fork, to stand without fainting, eventually to walk after a fashion.

8 years on - I’m a way off what I used to, balance is awful and little strength in my arms. I DID manage to record an album of original songs, but was slowly stagnating mentally. So I started building guitar kits, and while looking for help I found this mad luthier relicing a PRS - sacrilege..

So. Here I am, trying to build my first scratch build - loads of errors, a neck blank screwed up but still have gritted teeth and have learned patience!


Cock-ups = new opportunities — Figure 1

Says it all really! Messed up my neck blank, but have got hold of a nice piece of maple and a gorgeous ebony fretboard to go on top of it.


The headstock will be three aside, but will be similar to the Fender type concept of not having a headstock angle. Just trying to work out a good-looking shape that doesn’t look too small. I may, if lucky, get away without string retainer thingies, but if not, it’ll just be the one to get a string break angle for the D and G strings - they’ll be close to each other due to the straight bridge to nut to tune path.



Top’s on.. — Figure 1

And that bit’s done!

Following on from the router sled work, the back of the guitar is now at the thickness I want, and is sanded ready for the maple top to be added.


And that bit’s done! — Figure 1


That’s my next job - book match the maple and glue the two halves together. Then a rough cut ready to pin and glue. Quite looking forward to that little challenge!

Progress.. and not.

Bent neck Building!

Plan drawn for body, jointed the two ‘halves’ of the blank, cut to shape (that ash came from a Kevlar tree!), and now thinning and levelling that part to accept the maple top. I really don’t want it too heavy, and sort of an SG thickness.


Progress.. and not. — Figure 1


Progress.. and not. — Figure 2


Progress.. and not. — Figure 3



I have my neck blank, and although it’s probably thinner than I would have preferred, beggars can’t be choosers and I’ll scarf joint a head stock and probably glue on a tenon, depending on final body thickness. At this stage though, I’d say that’s more than likely to be the outcome.


Progress.. and not. — Figure 4

Along the way I’ve also ‘made’ myself a router sled from 9mm MDF. It’s somewhat inaccurately cut (😂), but as I made it while seated because of my disability, and inability to cut any line straight - even with a circular saw - it’ll do the job until I rebuild it with decent wood for the rails and the sled.

Progress.. and not. — Figure 5

This is pretty much where I’ve got to so far. I’d managed to plane a significant bow into the top, so am using a wasteboard flattening bit with the sled to make a flat surface to glue the maple top to. I’ll probably finish this tonight.


Progress.. and not. — Figure 6


By the way, this is the sled board I mentioned to Ben Crowe, that should win me some kind of award for persisting in the face of adversity!