Jay Scott Guitar

Private guitar and bass lessons, jam camps, guitar building and repairs in West Chester, PA

Guitar Building: Body Cut Sanding

Here’s a quick update. I decided some time ago to set aside this alder body for sanding experiments. It’s a little over five pounds, and I’m partial to keeping it closer to four. So, I figured that anything I sanded off would just lighten the load a bit.

I wanted to try going further with the belly cut, and get it closer to what Fender has always done with Strats. In my previous posts you can see what I’ve done (for myself and with my builders) with cuts up to now, and it definitely makes the instruments more comfortable to hold and play. My tool of choice, aside from the trusty rubber sanding block, has become the random orbital sander. It’s a great “wood eraser”, in that spot sanding and creating clean lines is easier with it than any other tool I’ve tried.

Check out the photos to see what I mean. On the left you can see where I left off previously. The overall shape is nice and works well, but the edge at the waist of the body is a bit soft. I wanted to try to clean and sharpen that up. In a couple of spots, the cut wasn’t as evenly concave as I wanted, so I tried to get that less lumpy. You can’t really see it in the photos, but it was easy to feel with my fingers. Working those down with the sander let me redefine the body edge, so that I have the opportunity to hand-sand a consistent edge radius all the way around. The third photo shows how much cleaner that edge is now. I’m a happy guy!

On to the final sanding, and then I’m thinking about staining this one. Another thing to learn!