Well, it’s not a tele, and there’s no way it’s getting done in 2 months, but watching the Challenge builds take shape inspired me to take a hack at a scratch build. I’ve assembled a LaCab clone from parts, and I’ve built my own speaker cabinet, and done some basic mods to a couple of my guitars, but that’s the extent of my experience, so I’m definitely qualified for the Beginner Class. In addition to lack of experience, I have few and crappy tools. No table saw, no jointer, no drill press, no spindle sander, etc. My jigsaw and circular saw have stamped metal shoes that are warped and can’t be adjusted to bring the blades square to the work surface; the laminate trimmer I started out with (that’s another story) came with a plastic base that also couldn’t be brought square to the work surface, etc. All my “outdoor” tools and materials have to fit into a closet smaller than a phone booth when I’m done (I do all my work out on a covered deck and a patio). Still, looking at build threads where guys are doing great stuff with even less equipment and/or space than I have made me think that my lack of tools is a lame excuse (I think the sight that finally tipped the scales for me was the fella using 2 wooden blocks and a hacksaw blade to cut fret slots). Also, the home-made jigs thread showed me that there are a kazillion different ways to skin a cat, so I figured I could find a way to, say, cut a straight line, for example. (Still puzzling about how to drill a straight hole, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.) I’ve wanted to have an offset body guitar for a while. I checked out a few Jazzmasters, and I quite liked them, except that they’re HUGE slabs, and the few tremolos I tried seemed really squishy. Then I saw the Grosh Electrajets, and soon after that, flatfive’s electrajet-inspired build thread, and I thought they looked really cool. Also, when I saw flatfive make his template by copying the body from a photo, I realized that I could do pretty much whatever I wanted about the body shape, if I just got the neck pocket and the bridge in the right places. So I started designing my template—in MSWord, of all things. It’s limited and wacky for drawing, compared to a “real” graphics program, but you can lay down a grid, measure and specify dimensions, draw Bezier curves, insert jpegs, print to PDF—and I already have it. I actually downloaded a CAD program (Cadintosh) and cracked it open, but was immediately discouraged by the interface. It would have taken me weeks to figure out how to draw curves, and anyway, I don’t need that level of precision. What I did instead was piggyback on flatfive: he got a photo, marked a grid on it, and then transferred the picture onto a full-sized grid by hand; I just pasted the pic of his template into Word, traced and measured the grid lines he drew, turned on the grid function in Word and set the lines to the same distance as the ones on his picture, and traced the outline in Bezier curves. (You can see at this point that I had already started fiddling around with the treble horn.) Then I started tweaking it—rotating, scaling to a more-user friendly 1cm=1inch scale, and messing with the curves. There was something, for example, about the cutaway and horn that somehow seemed like it was from a different guitar, so I messed around with that a little bit. I also pulled the lower cutaway in a bit more to help my little fingers reach the high frets. I stretched the length about 5% because I want to get one of those GFS Extrem vintage-style vibrato units on it; it's still gonna be tight. . . . Then, since I already knew I wanted Jazzmaster pickups, and since the Jazzy is a classic offset body shape, I decided to cross the Electrajet with a Jazzmaster: thus the Electramaster was born. I used a Jazzmaster template from the awesome Jazzmaster blueprint thread to locate the neck pocket, pickups, bridge, etc., and the more I looked at, the more the outline started to reflect JM influences. More petite than a Jazzmaster, a little more streamlined than an Electrajet, it turned out rather uncomfortably close to a Duo-Sonic. :neutral: A quick look at the headstock design; it's almost there (somehow the distance between the tuner holes is extended, though they still line up with where the nut slots will be, I think: I spent about a week focused on the design aspect of the build (not including the months of daydreaming I did before starting in earnest), but I have to say this part's been considerably more trouble-free than what has been going on in the analog realm. Next episode: Tool Troubles.