A collection of frequently asked questions and helpful information related to Electric Herald. If you have your own question that does not appear on this page, please send it via the contact page.
The Electric Herald was first created in June 2016 as a central database for free guitar templates and modern lutherie guides. Over time, the scope of content grew to include helpful web-apps, resources for CNC machinery, and helpful tools for lutherie businesses. While acoustic instruments and low-tech tools are addressed and supported, there is a focus on electrical instruments using modern tools & methods for construction, modification, and repair.
Currently, Electric Herald is managed and written by Joel Bennett. Inquiries related to guest submissions and cooperative content production can be sent through the official contact page. Before submitting content, please make contact to ensure your pitch will be received positively.
Generally, anything that will help amateur or professional luthiers learn or improve on skills related to building, repairing, or modifying stringed instruments will be well-received. Product-related content is welcome as well, but please ensure that it is providing readers with valuable information. Submitting guitar templates for publishing (with proper accreditation & backlinks) in the free guitar templates section is encouraged.
Content based around industry news, obscure or entertaining lutherie/guitar content, historical information, and material/hardware reviews are also accepted. Please communicate your pitches before sending them.
Proper authorship accreditation and related backlinks are included for all guest submissions. All backlinks include followed relation attributes for maximum SEO value (rel=”followed”).
All inquiries related to advertising opportunities can be submitted through the contact page using the appropriate subject category.
Advertising proposals are considered on a case-by-case basis. Electric Herald does not endorse products. Submitting content, products, or service promotion unrelated to Electric Herald’s content and audience is discouraged. Traditional display advertising is handled by Google AdSense – do not ask for display advertisement placement.
Electric Herald currently does not operate any social media accounts.
How do I purchase a product?
The shop uses a standard cart system, simply follow these steps to complete a purchase:
1. Locate the product you would like to purchase on the shop pages. You may narrow your category by clicking the initial category page links in the product list. You may navigate through further pages using the buttons at the bottom of the product list.
2. Click on products you are interested in to visit the product page for more information. If you would like to select a product for purchase, simply click the “Add to Cart” button. Many products will first require you to select an option from the dropdown list provided just above the “Add to Cart” button (including all templates in the shop).
3. Once an item has been added to your cart, your cart icon in the top right corner of the screen will update its quantity. A message will appear at the bottom of the screen to confirm the successful addition. You may continue to browse products and add more to the cart, or you can click on the aforementioned cart icon to view your selected products and continue the purchase process.
4. After clicking on the cart icon to navigate to you shopping cart page, you may adjust your item quantities or eliminate items altogether using the provided buttons. Click the “Update Cart” after adjustments have been made to update the price.
5. To continue the purchase process, click the “Proceed to Checkout” button to load the Checkout page. There, you will have the option of logging into your account if you have previously created one. Accounts are not necessary for purchasing, you may manually enter your billing details, select payment method (credit card or PayPal), and click the “Place Order” button to complete the purchase. If you would like to create an account at this time, simply click the provided checkbox.
I purchased a digital product - where is it?
Digital products can be downloaded from three different locations: on the purchase completion page (after payment and redirection), in the purchase notification email, and from within your account.
At times, PayPal purchases have been known to fail to redirect to the purchase completion page. If this is the case, simply check your email account for the receipt message from Electric Herald.
If you cannot locate your purchase receipt email in your mail client, check your spam folder. You may whitelist the following email address:
If you cannot locate your download links still, simply access your Electric Herald account profile and navigate to the Downloads page:
Why should I make an account?
Making an account is not necessary for making purchases. However, if you choose to make a free account during checkout time, you will have the benefit of keeping your billing and shipping data saved for future purchases.
The account also allows you to access your past order summaries, a list of available digital product downloads (from past purchases), and your profiles for the Luthier’s Directory.
How do I access my account?
How can I find out more about a product?
Many of the items available for purchase have limited amounts of data on their product pages. For templates and models, this is due to this data being associated with an existing brandname model. If you are not familiar with the model you are considering purchasing templates/models for, you may find that data on various vendor sites. Any questions that remain may be sent via the contact page.
How do I use the templates / CAD models to create a guitar?
Please refer to the Template Usage FAQ page.
Are any other Filetypes available for the digital products?
If you require a specific format which is not listed as an available product option, you may send a request on the contact page.
Please be aware that available filetypes include those with maximum compatibility and industry standards (ex. DXF, STEP, IGES, PDF). If your software cannot import them properly, be sure to describe the exact issue you are experiencing to help reach a suitable resolution.
Will physical template sets (MDF) be available for purchase again soon?
It is unlikely that physical template sets will be sold here on Electric Herald.
All production of physical template sets is now handled by Krushinsky Guitars (USA).
Is it possible to request templates/models that do not appear in the shop?
Yes – any requests can be made through the contact page. On many occasions, an unpublished free template may already exist for the model you are searching for. If the particular model needed does not have an existing template / CAD model, there is a chance it may be added to the publishing list. Due to high volumes of requests, it is more likely that you will be directed to the custom template creation form (with a starting price of $150 USD).
How do I use a guitar template?
There are two ways you can go about turning a digital template into physical guitar pieces: by printing or by CNC machining.
• Printing Guitar Templates | Suitable Filetype: PDF
The process of printing guitar templates is a low-tech, low-cost method that utilizes hand tools. A full walkthrough of the process (using free software and a standard printer) can be found in the Template Printing article.
If printing the template at home with a standard printer (A4 sized paper), the process requires the template to be split into multiple pieces and reassembled after printing. To avoid having to edit and reassemble the template, you may opt to bring your PDF file to a print shop (or send it to an online printing service). Guitar template prints usually fall within the range of $3 to $5 USD (using A0 paper).
It is recommended that you make multiple prints of your templates if you do not have the parts separated. Many of the templates sold in the Electric Herald shop include a separated parts PDF.
Once printed, the template parts can be cut out and fixed to wood using tape or light glue (an Elmer’s glue stick is fine). They can then be cut out using a hand tool, such as a router, band saw, jig saw, or coping saw.
• CNC Machining Guitar Templates | Suitable Filtype: DXF
If you own a CNC machine, or have access to one, a DXF template will be compatible with whatever CAM software you are using. Your CNC machine may have proprietary software that can be used to read the DXF file and program the machine, otherwise you’ll need to select some CAM software.
Many CNC operators choose Autodesk’s Fusion 360 for its enterprise level features and reasonable pricing (completely free).
Once you have selected a CAM software option, you’ll need to locate a post-processor (software) to ensure your CAM software can program your specific machine.
While we can’t cover the process of setting up every CNC machine users with an X-Carve and Fusion 360 as CAM software can use this article to get set up for carving out guitar parts from DXF templates.
When you have your CAM software and post-processor setup for your machine, you may open the DXF template in your CAM software and program some toolpaths. You will create toolpaths using your own router bit selections’ specifications. After programming, you may export a gCode file using your post-processor to tailor the machine code to your specific CNC machine.
Once gCode files have been exported, you can use a gCode feeding software application to connect to your CNC machine’s controller and upload the gCode files, providing your machine with the data needed to run your programmed toolpaths.
It sounds complex, but once the basics are down, it’s quite a memorable process.
Are the guitar templates accurate?
All guitar templates are created using key measurements taken directly from their respective models. Body & headstock shapes are created using a highly accurate method involving lens distortion corrected imagery and critical measurements. You can see the process being performed in the Template Drawing Guide.
Neck pockets (for bolt-on models) and control cavities are drawn with perfect fitment for their parts (neck heels and cavity covers). You may wish to route these cavities with a slightly larger offset – a gap of .015″ / 0.381mm will allow for a tight fitment without resistance.
Which filetypes do I need to build a guitar?
There are three filetypes you’ll find available for download when purchasing guitar templates in the shop: PDF, DXF, and AI. All three can be used to create guitars, but each suits a unique set of needs.
• PDF | Portable Document Format | Supported by all operating systems as a standard document file format.
This is the most common filetype you’ll find available when searching for guitar templates. They are best suited for those who wish to print out their guitar template and scribe around the part outlines manually. This can be achieved with a variety of tools, such as routers, band saws, jig saws, and coping saws.If you aren’t using a CNC machine for your work and don’t need to edit the templates, this is the format you want.
• DXF | Drawing Interchange Format | Compatible with all CAD & CAM software as a standard format.
The DXF format is the most widely supported sketch/drawing format available for CAD/CAM software. It is specifically useful to users wishing to build guitars with CNC machinery, as well as users wishing to extrude 2-dimensional templates into 3-dimensional models.
Another common drawing filetype for CAD/CAM software is the DWG format. Both DWG and DXF were created by the AutoCAD company in 1982. DWG is the native format for AutoCAD software (and can store both 2-D and 3-D work), while the DXF format was created to address 2-D drawing compatibility needs with other CAD/CAM software options.
For 2D templates, DXF offers near 100% compatibility in the CAD/CAM software industry.
• AI | Adobe Illustrator | Compatible with Adobe Illustrator only.
Adobe Illustrator is a vector drawing application with a fairly hefty price tag. This filetype may be limiting for some users, though it is meant primarily for editing. It is absolutely not necessary for printing or CNCing guitar templates. Users with access to Illustrator who wish to make changes to their guitar templates before creating their instruments will find these files most useful.
The Adobe Illustrator native format can be converted to more compatible vector formats (such as SVG) with the help of some web apps. We cannot officially condone them, but a Google search will provide you with the necessary sites.
How do I print guitar templates?
Printing guitar templates can be achieved using a home printer by breaking apart the template into manageable sizes (small enough to fit onto A4 paper). Please refer to this article to see one such process. Virtually any image editing application capable of opening a PDF file can be used to break your template into a grid of smaller images, which can be reassembled after printing.
Be careful not to scale your images at all – not during the editing process, exporting process (use a suitable filetype – exporting back to PDF is recommended), or the printing process (leave at 100% scale – it is recommended that your grid cells are made smaller than the paper size to ensure default margins will not interfere).
For singular prints, it is recommended that your PDF template files are placed on a USB thumb drive and brought to a professional print shop. Size A0 paper is usually suitable for any template. Do not scale the templates before printing.
How do I use a CAD model?
CAD models from Electric Herald can be used to make guitars using CAM software and CNC machinery. Their advantage over templates lies in the ability to program your CNC machine to route out 3-Dimensional features. DXF templates are limited to 2-dimensions, so hand-tools are required for completion of the parts.
Since each CAD/CAM software option varies in its features, you will need to consult other resources for information on programming your toolpaths. The same goes for acquiring post-processing files and, if needed, gCode feeding software for your CNC machine.
If you happen to own an X-Carve CNC machine and use Fusion 360, detailed post-processing information for your CAM exports can be found in this guide.
Which model filetype should I use?
Filetypes available for Electric Herald’s CAM models are STEP, IGES, and F3D. Compatibility differs, so please read below for more information.
• STEP | Standard for the Exchange of Product Data | Open compatibility.
The STEP format was developed as a solution for cross compatibility of CAD files between various software options. It has a very reasonable file size and is continually being developed and improved.It is a native CAD file and only undergoes 1 translation during export. If you do not use Fusion 360, this is the first option you should try.
File suffixes can appear as .step, .stp, .stpz, .ste, or .p21.
• IGES | Initial Graphics Exchange Specification | Wide compatibility.
The IGES format was actually developed by the US Air Force for their own CAM software (Integrated Computer Automated Manufacturing – ICAM). Pretty interesting fact, but unfortunately it has not been updated since 1996. It is not a CAD native format, and therefore undergoes 2 translations – once when exported, and once when imported into CAD/CAM software.
It is included as an option for older software compatibility. It is still widely supported by CAD/CAM software options as an open format. The file sizes are quite large compared to the STEP format. If you cannot open the STEP or F3D file formats, the IGES format should be used.
File suffixes can appear as .igs, .ige, or .iges.
• F3D | Fusion 360 | Vendor-specific format.
The F3D filetype should be used with Fusion 360 only. It may have cross-compatibility with other Autodesk products.
Are the CAD models accurate?
Electric Herald’s CAD models are created using templates made with dimensional information directly from their namesake models. This allows for a high degree of accuracy. You may see the modeling process being performed in this article/video guide. There is also a video guide which focuses specifically on accurate fretboard modeling located here.
See the answer above that addresses the question of template accuracy for a better idea of how accuracy is achieved.
Is a model better than a template?
Both models and templates have their specific uses. While models are superior in their ability to turn out complete, finished guitar parts, 2-dimensional templates may be preferable for users who wish to create modified instruments. After cutting the basic shapes of the instrument using a 2-dimensional template, the third dimensional details, such as contours, body cuts, neck transitions, etc. are left to the user.
While the same results can be achieved by creating toolpaths using only 2-dimensional aspects of a 3-dimensional model, many find it easier to program their CNC machines using simple lines from a DXF file.