View Full Version : Anyone here built a guitar????

Bo McCorkle
02-10-2011, 9:33 AM
Okay guys starting on my most ambitious project yet.... A custom guitar. I was thinking like a Gibson explored except with neck thru construction and a 25-1/2" scale. Anyways. I'm just extra curious if anyone has any dimensions to work from for the neck or fretboard or knows of any good books that are actually worth the money??? Or if anyone here could kinda tutor me. My idea was to just glue up some scraps and see if I could come up with something close then start the real build. Anyways. If anybody can help or point me in the right direction that'd he awesome. Thanks a ton:)

Ken Fitzgerald
02-10-2011, 9:37 AM
Bo....the answer is yes....and if you'd like, I'll transfer this thread to the new Musical Instruments Forum where it is more appropriate and you will probably get more responses.

Bo McCorkle
02-10-2011, 9:46 AM
Awesome!!! Yes please and thankyou!!!:)

Matt Wolboldt
02-10-2011, 10:28 AM
The first (and only) electric guitar I built, I used "How to build an electric guitar and bass". Had a lot of nice colored photographs and tackled either a bolt on neck or through body construction. I don't recall if it talked about a set neck. Also have you visited either stewmac.com or lmii.com?

Bob Stroupe
02-10-2011, 11:42 AM
You might find this pdf useful. By the way the place the link came from tdpri.com has a great forum called tele home depot. Of course it is telecaster oriented but a lot of good electric guitar building information gets past around there.
The shape of the fretboard is dependent on string spacing, scale length, and it needs to be short enough not to interfere with the neck pickup.
This is about the easiest way to get the dimensions:
As for neck thickness 3/4" at the nut including the fretbaord to 1" at the heal transition will get you pretty well inside the ballpark, but there is a lot of personal preference that goes along with neck shape and thickness.
I can recommend the book that can be found at the second link Building Electric Guitars by Martin Koch. All the information is there and well organized.
However, pretty much all the information is online if you have the time to search for it...

Kyle Iwamoto
02-10-2011, 1:27 PM
Check Carvin Guitars. They sell a complete strat clone kit. All you need to do is finish and assemble. This may not be what you want, but it will give you lots of experience in making your own for dirt cheap. Grizz sells kits too I believe, although I did not try one. The Carvin guitar is really nice. They make a bass kit too. 4 and 5 string.

Tim Mahoney
02-10-2011, 11:22 PM
Don't just throw scraps of wood together to build what you think will be a guitar. Look into some of the books that are mentioned in this post. Very good books to get you started. tdpri is a good forum for Fender telecaster types. Gibson also has forums with all kinds of info. The most important info I can give is to talk to good guitar players. They are interested in how the guitar sounds. If it doesn't sound good it doesn't matter how good it looks. Learn what makes a guitar sound good and the rest is easy. The woodworking part of building a guitar is the easiest in my humble opinion. Gettting the neck angle to the body or headstock angle to the neck or fretting the fretboard takes some serious thinking and preparation. Also be prepared to measure in metric as it is very precise but makes it easier to get it correct. Lastly, give it a try and keep trying until you get the reward of a huge smile on the face of a guitar player. Well worth it.

Dave Fifield
02-11-2011, 2:29 PM
I've been building acoustic and classical guitars for a few years now and apart from drilling 10mm holes for tuning machines and using pre-made 650/640mm fretting templates, have not had to resort to metric at all. I use a digital vernier caliper all the time, measuring sizes to an accuracy of 0.001" (1 mil) or less.

I learned both the metric and imperial systems (I'm from England and went through the big transition in my teen years), but I lean much more to the imperial system and find it easier to envisage sizes of things in inches rather than mm or cm. YMMV!

Dave F.

Tim Mahoney
02-11-2011, 8:43 PM
I actually use both metric and imperial. I lost my small 6'' imperial for a few weeks and resorted to the metric until I got around to moving my work bench to find the imperial. That is how I started with the metric and learned to like it. I mostly use the imperial for my other furniture projects.

Bryan Morgan
02-11-2011, 11:16 PM
I've built a few. I basically just copy whatever Mark Crenshaw does. :) Read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Building-Electric-Guitars-Hollow-Body-Semi-Acoustic/dp/3901314075/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_3

Jarrod Nelson
02-26-2011, 2:06 AM
Another vote for tdpri. Great group of chaps.

I've built two teles now. I love both guitars and am very happy with both. Lots of ways to skin this cat, but I'll give you my formula for success.

I bought a template that I knew was accurate. I think that company is out of business now, but there are good downloadable PDFs available from tdpri.

I built my own bodies, but bought the necks from Warmoth.

I took my time, did lots of research, and enjoyed the journey. It really isn't that hard. Anyone visiting this forum probably has more then enough woodworking skills to accomplish this.

Start simple and expand as you learn. My current build will have a neck I built as well as changing up the body a bit.

Good luck and enjoy.

Brandon MacDougall
03-02-2011, 12:42 AM
we build violins and guitars but mostly on the CNC..


Russell Sansom
03-02-2011, 3:06 AM
You can actually string up a 2 X 4, whittle the neck down to playable size, tie on some frets or glue on straightened paper clips, and away you go. Using 6 harpsichord wrest pins, you can have a 2X4 up to pitch in an hour.
I wouldn't be so discouraged about trying things, before or after you learn to make a guitar. It will show you some of the riddles you have to solve to make a real guitar. Afterwards, Cut off the drilled up head and you can return the 2X4 to the woodpile and noone will be the wiser.

Perry Underwood
05-02-2011, 9:57 PM
I just finished building a neck-thru version of a Gibson RD. Here's a photo of it.


If you'd like to read about the build process, please visit http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=42300.

Henry Smith
05-03-2011, 6:56 AM
One of my close friend is very good in building custom guitars like Gibson...!!!
If you are interested to see some of his built guitars then you can contact him at harrisonsmith10@yahoo.com ...!!

Jack Briggs
11-07-2011, 9:38 AM
I've built a few......................


Kenneth Crisler
11-30-2011, 11:32 PM
I've built a few......................


Jack, those are gorgeous. Hope they play half as nice as they look. ;)

Pat Pollin
02-25-2012, 10:57 AM
This is a great book - Melvyn Hiscock's Make your own electric guitar

I have Martin Koch's Building Electric Guitars which is pretty good too but I preferred the details and layout of the previous from my time spent looking at it.

Bill Blackman
03-15-2012, 12:12 AM
Anybody really serious about instrument making should check out the Musical Instrument Makers Forum. They have a broad spectrum of instruments covered but guitars are probably the biggest. There are guite a few quite accomplished makers that regularly correspond. You can get a number of expert opinions on almost any question you can think of. You can post pictures of your work, as well. A great site!

A lot of forums do not like to publish urls but you can Google the title and get directions.