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Decisions, Decisions


Topic starter

Hi All, 

A newbie here. Excited to be here!!

Ive just finished watching Mark's Design and Build Electric courses such a great experience and am pumped to get started. I am now ready to start the design process, but I have decided I want to go against the grain a little bit and build a tele style guitar.

I just need a little advice and any help would be greatly appreciated.
I currently play a Strat which has been modified and has a compound radius 10" -14". I have found a readymade rosewood fingerboard with the same compound radius, however would a compound radius be too hard for a first time builder ?

Also should I stick with the set neck detailed in Mark's course or should I get Mark's bolt on neck course and go with a bolt on neck?

Thanks again everyone

4 Answers

Hi @c-cap. Welcome to the forum of our wonderful community!

My first scratch build was also a telecaster. So go ahead, it is not harder to build.
In my opinion, you should go for a bolt on in that case 🙂
I don't think a compound radius makes a difference in building a guitar.

The only phase where it really matters is in the setup. By then your guitar is already built 😉

@Koendb Thanks so much for the warm welcome and for taking the time to answer my question!
Perfect, ill move forward in the bolt on direction. Thanks again!

Hi @c-cap,
Welcome to the best guitar making forum in the WORLD!!!!
I agree with @koendb in that the tricky bit would have been making the compound radius fretboard in the first place. As this has been done for you it will just be a normal build and the compound element will be taken care of at the set up stage with bridge and nut settings (although the process would be same for a uniformly radiused fret board.
Have fun, ask lots of questions and post lots of pics as you go along. @boo can’t stay up there forever!!

@darrenking thanks so much pumped to be here.
Great!! This makes me feel heaps better I shall move forward with the compound finger board. Thanks again!!


Hey @c-cap welcome to the forum, you are going to enjoy learning how to build guitars.

I started with the set neck method in Mark’s online course and then applied a lot of the stuff I learned to then build a Tele. I would highly recommend doing that, you will have enough to learn without complicating matter, especially if you are a noob. I’m not saying you can’t do it, it’s certainly possible, but I think it’s just better to build your skills first before going off script. 

I was the same when I started, I wanted to build Strats and Teles but I’m so glad I learned another construction method too. Once you have built one guitar, I’m quite sure that you will want to build more. I now build all kinds of guitars, set necks and bolt on, it will serve you well to have more strings to your bow (so to speak). 

The choice is yours though and whatever you decide, you have this forum to reference and ask for help when you need it. 


Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸

Hi @boo
Thanks so much for your response!
I’m def looking at all options so I’m glad I’ve reached out while I’m in the design phase. I am still considering a tele style body but with a set neck so I can follow Mark’s videos while I do it. I still haven’t watched the bolt on course which I plan on doing now so I can make my final decision.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond I’ll let you know what I decide. Loving this forum so much already!


Welcome @c-cap. Enjoy the ride. 


🗝️ "Life's what you make it"🗝️

Thanks @Russ pumped to be here! Appreciate you taking the time to reach out


Hi @c-cap welcome to guitar making. I'm still making my first electric, I went a little off script by building an explorer. Every question I ever asked @markbailey about going off the beaten path of the course, he always replied by saying you can use the course to build whatever, it'll just take you more time. And boy was he right. The course is designed to be a follow along so all the decisions have been made (with good reason) in advance, once you deviate from that you find yourself having to make decisions for yourself which for me, became paralysing and halted my build completely. That said, I have been able to build a guitar neck and explorer body and currently at the sanding phase with no real trouble. 

At the end of the day whatever you chose you'll be fine and there's so much support here as the members are absolutely amazing but it's highly unlikely that this will be the only guitar you ever build, so there is argument for making the first the easiest and that's exactly what the course is designed to do.


Good luck with your build.

Hey @cheesewhisk
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my question.
It is encouraging to know you have been able to build the explorer using Mark’s course.
I’m honestly not too fussed at how long this build takes. I want to take my time and get it right, but I can def see what you mean about decisions holding you up haha.

I’m still not 100% decided yet so I think I’m going to do a couple mock up designs and a bit more research and go from there!!

Again thanks so much for your response. Everyone has been amazing in helping me move forward.