How to build a guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Guitar55, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Guitar55

    Guitar55 Who was that masked man? Silver Supporting Member

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    My son has decided that he wants us to build a guitar together over the next year and a half before he goes to college. He wants a double cutaway slab. Where can I find good instructions and where can I buy the wood?
     
  2. theaxedoctor

    theaxedoctor Member

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    Get a plan from stu mac or lmi. Here's a few links. The stu mac plans are good, but I wouldn't purchase my wood from them. I've gotten some really good wood from lmi, but it's pretty expensive. You may be able to find some very usable wood at a high quality lumber yard, but it might be easier for you to use pre book matched wood from a luthery supply company. I've gotten some good wood from Condon's lumber in White Plains NY. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Books,_plans/Building_and_repair:_Guitar,_electric/Building_Electric_Guitars.html

    http://www.lmii.com/carttwo/thirdproducts.asp?CategoryName=Plans%2C+Other&NameProdHeader=Electric+Plans
     
  3. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    Look up "guitar wood" or "luthier wood" on that innernet thingy. I know I have purchased wood from a dealer in NJ in the past, but cannot recall the name. Then search "guitar building books" on that same innernet thingy. One that comes to mind is Melvyn Hiscock's book, Make your own guitar" or something like that. It is spiced with plenty of British "humor".

    I am presuming, by your inquiry after wood procurement, that you refer to your desire to "build a guitar" as just that, as opposed to the general TGP definition of "screwing some pre-fab parts together". I applaud your intention and ambition, and I, too place myself at your disposal for any further consultation during the process via PM if you like. I hope you have access to a good assortment of precision power tools or a very sharp pocketknife! Cheers!
     
  4. Guitar55

    Guitar55 Who was that masked man? Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. Our plan is to build the body from scratch and buy a neck et al. My guess is that even for an LP double cutaway I should be looking at a bolt-on neck. I'll either be renting the tools or imposing on some friends.
     
  5. cherrick

    cherrick Member

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    I've done 1/2 dozen builds over the last several years and here is what I now do:
    1. buy a body unfinished from USA Custom Guitars in the Northwest (http://www.usacustomguitars.com)
    2. buy a neck unfinished but fretted from the same guys
    3. If it's to be a Fender style build, I get the parts kit from Callaham Guitars (http://www.callahamguitars.com)
    4. pickups - you can read reams about these. My favorites for a Fender style build are either David Plummer (http://www.zhangbucker) or Don Mare (http://www.donmarepickups.com).

    For a LP double cutaway I would let others here recommend a kit vendor for the body/neck. A LP double cut with a bolt on neck is not common, so you have your research cut out for you. On the other hand there is this: (http://usacustomguitars.com/wolfpack.html). Ask the guys at USACG if they will double-cut the body for you or do it yourself (cut the upper bout).

    If this is your first build, I would recommend that you build a Tele with a bolt on neck. If you must have double cutaway, consider a Strat build. You can then use Gibson style pickups and wiring parts and get by much more easily.
     
  6. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    my first question would be "do you know how to set up a guitar?" next would be "wire it?" etc. i'd teach myself the basics of flying before hopping in the cockpit. :)
     
  7. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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  8. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

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    Lets see...

    1. Depth of Build - Ask yourself and your son how deep you want to go down the rabbithole with it, 100% dead-from-scratch-to-intonated-and-playing, ...or pre-built neck, pre-built body, pre-finished body, etc.
    Decide this first, a lot of the rest (of what you'll need for supplies and tools) ...will hinge on this decision, or maybe it's vice-versa, ...if you don't have all the tooling necessary to build dead from scratch, you obviously won't go all the way down the hole, but find the comfort level you want to start at, it will help all the other decisions.

    2. Have a Plan - Decide on the guitar specifics, the timetable involved, tools and materials list, vacations or other interruptions coming up, etc. Nothing wrong with veering from a plan, but better to have one and steer left or right from it than not to have any charted course at all, your finished result will be far better if there was a written or .doc'd plan involved.

    3. (Part of 'The Plan') Be able to 'see' the finished guitar in your head as best as possible, imagine it down to the smallest detail and .doc it all down, .doc as many notes and details as your head can think of, then integrate each new part, process, or thought into The Plan.
    If you do this, your guitar will have, by the end, probably some cool details that you would have thought of too late to add otherwise.

    4. To help with the .doc process, break the guitar down into sections, this will help with specificity when it comes to cool add-ons and parts requirements, and there are more sections than you might think, the headstock alone could take an entire evening of planning...maybe not, but it helps. Your finish type and finishing schedule might take you a few hours alone just to nail that part down.

    5. Tool list - do a checklist of all the power tools you have at your disposal, see if there are any major gaps that will require you to rethink 'The Plan'.

    6. Materials list - start a .doc and start listing every single part you want to use for the guitar, all the way down to fretwire, inlay materials, knobs, switches, woods, laminates, bridge, jacks, every single piece that you'll need.

    7. Suppliers list - using your materials list, start sourcing your parts for availability and pricing, always combine whenever and wherever you can. Don't be afraid of buying some things used if it suits your purpose, ...I hardly ever buy pickups new, for example...:rotflmao

    PS, for wood, Google or search for your local Hardwood Supplier, trust me, you will have one nearby and that's a big part of the FUN is finding it and walking through the place picking out the wood for Your Guitar!
    ...And more likely than not, the guy will have already been serving guitar makers and will know how to help you choose what you want.

    8. Finishing supplies - decide what kind of finish you want to put on it, then figure out if you have the equipment to apply that kind of finish, inside or outside, time of year you'll get to it, etc., whatever it may be.

    9. Find a good Forum where you can ask questions all along the line, there are several really good ones out there. Here, the TDPRI, Project Guitar, ReRanch, and many others out there.

    10.Believe it or not, the more orderly you approach it, using The Plan and keeping track of everything via The Plan as your 'go-to' centerpiece, the more enjoyable it will go, because you are under a 'controlled burn' of your own making.
    Where it can (and does) go south on people and start to become 'not fun anymore' is when things that weren't considered crop up unexpectedly, on their own terms and time, not on yours...:omg

    But that pitfall is easily circumnavigated by thinking it all through then adding it to The Plan, and you will pat yourself on the back more than a few times as you think of some things, add them to the plan, and tell yourself, damn, if I had forgotten that, it would all have gone Straight to Hell...:rotflmao


    It's not that hard really, just keep the .doc handy and add to it every time you think of a new part required, or a new step that needs to be considered and integrate it in.

    And really, it's a Hella Lot of Fun!
    :aok:dude:dude:dude:aok
     
  9. Corinthian

    Corinthian Member

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    It would be cool if you documented the project on here
     

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