How to Build a Flying V Guitar Body

By Wade Shaddy ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Slab of mahogany, 17 x 18 1/2 x 1 5/8
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Compass
  • Band saw
You can put one or two pickups on a Flying V.

The Flying V guitar body is one of the most sought after designs to ever come out of the minds of guitar builders. With its simplicity, it can easily be copied because there are no real dimensions except for the original circa 1958, which are the ones to follow for authenticity. By using these dimensions, you can draw your own Flying V, cut it out in your own shop at home and come very close to the original. So buy your neck online, buy a slab of mahogany, get out your pencil and band saw and build your own Flying V.

Lay your mahogany slab out flat. Choose a top and bottom. Using a tape measure, find the exact center of the slab. Use a straight edge draw a line extending all the way across from top to bottom. At the top of the slab, make a mark 2 1/2 inches to the right and 2 1/2 inches to the left of the center line—3/4 inch down from the top.

Set a compass to draw a 2-inch circle. Position the compass up from the bottom corner, and make a 1-inch outside radius. This will be the bottom turn around point of the Flying V. Do this to both corners. From the beginning point of the radius on the outside, measure up approximately 19 inches to the mark that you made on the right side of the center line. This is the upper point of the guitar body.

Continue the line on the inside of the radius 11 inches to the inside of the crotch of the body. Draw another 1-inch radius here and continue that line down to the inside of the radius on the other side of the V.

Continue the line around the 1-inch radius back up to the top of the guitar, 3/4 inch down where you made the mark on the left side. Draw out your neck, pickup and control pockets. Cut out the guitar body with a band saw.

Tip

Get a picture of a Flying V for reference, then lay the dimensions out on a piece of stiff cardboard first. Do one side of the Flying V design then cut it straight down the middle, trace it on a piece of paper, then flip it over to mirror the image to get the other side symmetrical. Trace the other side, then cut it out and use it for a template on your mahogany slab. Adjust the drawing to suit your style.

Warning

Make sure you set your compass for a 2-inch circle. A radius is half the diameter.

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.