so far ive done angled necks , scarf heads , bolt ons ,neck through, but i have not done a tapered neck and figure it is my next step .  I dont want it too skinny on the head end and not crazy fat on the body end . just a nice slight taper .  my thought was use an average guitar neck and half it but that leaves neck looking and feeling like an arrow . who has done a tapered neck and doesnt mind whispering a few secrets ? O.o

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Eric (Badfinger) does his with a taper, IIRC, and I know I've seen others referenced...hang on a sec..

The Search revealed these:

Contact the builders; StarrCBGs(Donovan) does all his with a neck taper...

I'll offer my two cents...I take the body and rough neck blank, before shaping, and lay them together as if built/finished. I decide scale length, mark a line on the neck where nut will be, and place a piece of masking tape across the box or solid body where bridge will be. Then I make marks at the nut location indicating the string spacing ...then I use a long straight edge and draw a line for the two outside strings (same process for 3, 4, 5, 6 string) to their respective locations on the bridge. Note: I typically space strings at the nut at 3/8", more or less, and a slight bit wider at the bridge.

Once the two outside string lines are marked, I measure 3/16 inch outside of those two marks at the nut, and the bridge. This second line is your cut mark. 3/16" may seem like too much, but after cutting, sanding, finishing, the edge of the neck will be at a comfortable width and not be too narrow at top, or fat at bottom....instead, more symmetrical and balanced.

I haven't done a square one in over three years neither, I'd taper a one string neck personally, I think rectangular necks look (and feel) like shite..

Fact is your picking and your fretting hands want different spacing from each other

WARNING:  If you'd prefer to learn this by making your own mistakes, don't read on.  Additionally, if you'd like not to make my mistakes, please don't follow my directions.  Additionally, if you don't want to agree with the way I do it, then don't read on.  Hahaha.

Ron is right.  I double taper my necks.  The width across the fretboard doesn't taper all that much, usually.  The thickness will taper and it depends on what I'm building - mainly down to the number and intended gauge of strings.


Here's my rough process:

  • I start by gluing 2 pieces 1x2 together for a 2x2 profile that appears quarter sawn.  The sticks are short edge toward the fretboard when oriented on the guitar.  Strong like bull.
  • determine scale length.  Mark nut location, rough bridge location and where the neck will meet the box.  I always start with a 36" stick even if I am not going to do a thru neck.  I'll cut it down later.
  • Depending on what you're doing for a headstock will determine when you start shaping the back of the neck.  Get that sorted out now.
  • Tape off the fretboard area and just down the sides of the neck a little bit.  You don't want to taper the width yet.
  • Now I usually start rounding the back and tapering the thickness to suit myself.  I air guitar intermittently  while carving.
  • Once the back is roughed in, it starts to get tricky.  Next is gluing on the fret board - not fretted yet.  Glue and clamp, but take care to ensure you glue up to the point where it will meet the box.  You can leave the nut end long and cut it down later if you make a mistake of a few mm.
  • Trim up to the nut location for your desired scale length, if necessary.
  • Mark and cut your fret slots.
  • Now you can finally finish tapering the neck for width and thickness.  I don't measure much of this at all.  I watch it reach a point I'm happy with.  The width taper should be very modest, in my opinion.  The thickness should be comfortable to play all up and down the fret board while providing all the strength you want.
  • Finally, put in your frets and finish the neck with stain, clear coat, or whatever.

BTW, there is a lot of sanding in there.  Plenty of rasping, but not much swearing unless I make a mistake.


Here's the video describing my last complete resonator build and it shows the taper I put in the neck.  If you want to step up your game, build a reso with a fixed saddle position.  That will make you sweat the details!  I have changed my building procedures after learning from this one.  I'll pass on my biggest lesson for resos.  Don't fret it until almost last when everything is in place and you can measure your final scale length as it acutally is, rather than try to build to a specific scale length.  I'm talking mm accuracy here.  If you fret it nearly last when the bridge and nut are fixed, then you can make the minor adjustments.  If you fret it based on the nut location and where you think the bridge will be, then you had better well be right.


An excellent and informative reply. I learned a lot from it!!

Thanks Dan.  I've left plenty of room for mistakes. . .I mean learning opportunities. . .in that summary.  I've built more than a dozen but less than 20 guitars now, I think.  I think there are always ways to challenge yourself and not become bored.  I've tried all sorts of different techniques on each build and I'm just starting to get into more complicated carvings and rudimentary inlays.  The possibilities are almost endless.  Well, they are endless if you don't have a plan to sell the guitar for a set amount of money which would either limit materials, your time investment, or both.  I'd never make any money at this hobby.

I do it almost completely backwards from this, I wouldn't dream of cutting fret slots after I profile and taper, waaay too hard, ill do that shit while it's all still square thanks :)

Ps I find my big 12" disc sander indispensable for tapering necks in
I do round the back, but do not taper the width before cutting fret slots. I like to sort of rough it in and get fairly comfortable with what the actual scale length will be vs the targeted scale length. With a floating bridge it isn't so critical, but a fixed bridge compounds the stress of hitting all the measurements dead nuts.

I have made a neck cradle for handling the rounded back. I also clamp the neck in a vise when cutting the fret slots. The edges are still square so I can mark and cut perpendicular slots. Just the back is round.

Thanks guys ! exactly what i was looking for . i wanted a challenge and this seems like it . just needed a little push in the right direction . still dont have power tools so this should be fun haha . that double taper is beautiful . again thank you . so much you guys have learned and instead of keeping it all to yourselves you dont even hesitate to pass it on .

I got no trade secrets!  I totally respect the guys who do and I'm not trying to take money out of anyone's pocket, but I'm happy to share what I've learned.

My next attempts will be adding a binding to the edge of the fret board so you can't see the fret slots.  I used to think it was silly to frig around with all these details on a CBG, but now I realize why some of the builders do it.  Always have to keep things interesting.  :)

i use mostly scrap and cheap stuff . the next one will have a type of binding . i was in walmart and found this stuff called "craft lace" its a flat square small plastic string . im trying it on this one now . i just got tired of straight necks . it gets boring doing the same thing over and over . i can slap a guit together in a few hours . after i get my necks down how i want them im going to look into making boxes out of tone woods . that way they will be full blown guitars but with the soul of a cbg . ;)


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