Step by Step Guitar Build 3 – routing and pickup selection

This entry is where I ran into my first problem with the guitar. So I hope this is helpful to show people what to avoid doing.

I was going to go for a les paul style bridge and tailpiece. For those that don’t know, both of these bits of hardware need to have a piece hammered into a hole in the guitar (once the hole for it has been drilled out) for the bridge/tailpiece to then mount on. The piece was roughly 1cm wide, same as my router, so that’s what was used.


The problem was that these were now too wide for the bridge mounting pieces to sit into. Therefore the bridge would be loose. Now, the pressure of the strings does hold it down, but it means inaccurate intonation and therefore not playable guitar.


  1. First, with the suggestion from my Godfather, the mounting pieces were wrapped in masking tape to widen them, and covered in some glue, then placed in. That solved the looseness problem, but they were then practically cemented slightly out of place which added another problem for intonation.
  2. Second solution….find another bridge. That’s what I went for in the end and this is what I advise anyone else to do if this is their first build. Find a bridge that is just screwed into the guitar. This way, you only need to drill in a few screw-holes which is much easier a task.

Pickup selection:

I went with a Strat style pickup configuration. This was because all my other working guitars at the time were humbuckers, and I was (and still am) a huge fan of Robin Trower who is famously loyal to Strats.


In this photo you can see how much planning I did for lining up the pickups. Use a ruler, draw out lines to guide the placement of the pickups as above. This massively helped the routing as well.

You can also see that the surface of the guitar gets really scratched in the process. Don’t worry, the sanding will come later!


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