Trying my hand at my first cnc guitar, help please

Ive played for years, always wanted to build one. But im lost at a couple of things.

How deep should i pocket out for my pickups? And how deep should i pocket out for my bolt on neck?

I have built two guitars from plans from a magazine. There are lots of plans that are free. The experience of your own guitar playing and/or copying a current guitar will help you in placing your pickups and other electronics. I included a quick search for a guitar and there are thousands out there to find that may be your exact configuration and/or electronics.

Gibson-Firebird-Studio.pdf (305.5 KB)

Two of many good sources are and Chicago Music Exchange

Almost anyone that sells guitar parts has the technical specifications for the components as well as the OEM maker of the pickups and so forth.


Should i just make them as deep as the pickups i plan to use? Or if i do a 1" deep pocket and fit anything in there, would that be a mistake?

Im gonna try my hand at making my own neck too, i really want to do a purpleheart and epoxy inlay fretboard.

What would be standard depth for the channel of the bolt on neck?

I found a rough sketch online for a bc rich copy im gonna base my body off. It has the holes pre marked for everything, i just dont know what to set my depths at

With that firebird would i just be running all the wiring out the back? I saw this one online too, and want to do it as well, but it didnt have a pocket like the bc rich one i found for the wiring, knobs, and amp input

Because of this YouTube channel, I built my own cigarbox guitar, with minimal cnc usage. Carved the neck out with a 4 1/2" grinder, and hand cut the slots in the fretboard. I don’t play guitar, and it did surprise the people that can.


So you need to decide what hardware you re going to get for your guitar before you start building it. The pickups have technical specifications that dictate how far they are away from the strings but individual tastes dictate exactly how far away they are. So different styles of guitars and pickups dictate how you machine out for the pickups.

Here is a Stratocaster that has a plastic guard with all the hardware mounted on it and there is just a big cavity on the body that this fits into. The pickups have screws and springs that you use to adjust the distance of the pickup from the string.

More advise on the pickup distance is:

Start by setting all of your guitar pickups to 3/32” (0.093”, 2.38mm) on the bass side and 2/32” (1/16”, 0.0625”, 1.98mm) on the treble side. Remember, this is the space between the top of the pole piece and the bottom of the string, held down at the last fret.

So pick your hardware and build to that hardware.

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