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The neck of our self-assembled Martin Guitar Kit is ready to be finished and glued onto the body. Huw Price rocks the joint…




1 Blue chalk on the neck block shows up on the dovetail to reveal the high spots where wood needs to be removed

I admit that I would’ve got to this point of our Martin kit build a lot sooner had I not been distracted by making a fingerboard. I’m quite excited at the prospect of finishing the neck and setting it into the body – so let’s dive straight in…


Setting the neck correctly is fundamental to the tone and playability of acoustic and archtop guitars. In addition to conforming perfectly to the guitar’s centre line, it has to have just the right amount of back angle to achieve a playable action. Too little angle, and the action will be too high; and too much will require excessive saddle height, and the fingerboard tongue will ramp down like a ski jump beyond the 14th fret.

Martin’s neck joints are cut on a CNC machine and they’re very accurate. The neck drops most of the way into the joint, with about 5mm proud of the top. I apply chalk to the angled sides of the neck block and when I push the neck in and then remove it, chalk marks on the neck’s dovetail reveal the high spots. Using a very sharp chisel, I shave waferthin slivers of wood away at the high spots and refit the neck. The process is repeated several times, and it goes a little deeper on each test fitting. The fit also gets tighter, requiring a firm tap on the heel to knock the neck back out of the joint.

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About Guitar Magazine

The August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now and this month it’s all about Player power as we run the rule over four new models from the Player series: Fender’s replacement for the Mexican Standard line. As well as more traditional configurations, the Player series contains several guitars and basses that are far from standard, such as the nifty HH Jazzmaster that readers of the print mag can find behind the barn doors of our special edition cover. Elsewhere in this month’s issue we fly to Iceland to find a man dipping guitars in volcanic hot springs, investigate the issue of gender politics in the guitar industry, meet band-of-the-moment Boy Azooga, get to grips with an incredible staple-pickup ‘56 Les Paul Custom and put hot new gear from Collings, ThorpyFX, Fractal, Keeley, EarthQuaker Devices and more to test. On top of all that we have not one but two fantastic competitions with pro Audio-Technica monitor headphones and a one-off custom-painted Strat up for grabs. It’s a hot one, alright – download your copy of the August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine now.