Introduction: Awesome Wooden Guitar Project

Picture of Awesome Wooden Guitar Project

This is a great little project to do in the weekend with a friend that will produce an awesome model wooden guitar which is a little smaller than half a normal size one. You can do it to replicate a guitar you think looks cool or you can just design your own for fun.

After making this i realized it would be awesome as a controller for Frets On Fire (guitar hero clone on the computer)and so i am going to make it into one and post a link to it here when it is finished.

Note- In my design i successfully made and inter-cultural blunder being that the Yin and Yang symbol are Chinese and the Rising Sun design is very blatantly Japanese, either way i like how it is, it has... personality.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Tools and materials:

Sandpaper and Files
A sheet of MDF
Paint, both spray and hand
Staitonary eg. pencil ,rubber, ruler
An old CD
A faraway look

Step 2: Design and Stencils

Picture of Design and Stencils

Now is where you make a decision, wether you want to make a custom design or to make a replica of a guitar you really like, either way you will need to print out a stencil. Find a picture on the interwebs of the guitar shape you want to replicate and print out the body of the guitar the size of an A4 piece of paper and then the head on whatever size you think will work, you can also cut out the pick guard of the guitar if your design calls for it. Then go on to cut them out and draw them onto the MDF with a neck that is a size you think is sturdy but still aesthetically pleasing. Then put them somewhere safe for future use.

Step 3: Cutting Out Your Shape

Picture of Cutting Out Your Shape

Once you have successfully traced your picture onto the MDF grab a jigsaw, some clamps, and a steady surface. The first time i did this i used eye and mouth protection but this time i errr... Couldn't find it?

Make sure you use your MDF economically so you have enough to make more if so you feel the need.

Step 4: Painting- Part 1 & 2

Picture of Painting- Part 1 & 2

After my first attempt at making these i got a few techniques down that i think worked well, feel free to diversify and make it your own but i'm the one making the instructable here.

There are 4 tiers in the painting of one of these guitars;
1- Undercoat, this should usually be the opposite colour of your background coat, this colour will be shown soon for the frets and pickups, don't ask.
2-Background coat, This coat depends on what you have chosen as your design, eg. my background coat is the white because it covers most of the guitar.
3-Foreground coat, this is the second main colour of the guitar, your scheme may not even have one of these but it is the less prominent colour in the guitar, for me this would be the red in the rising sun.
4-Details, these are things like the pickups and nobs, indeed these are classified details.

Step 5: Painting- Part 3

Picture of Painting- Part 3

After my original blunders and constant touch ups in my first guitar i decided i would do this right and "measure twice cut once" but in this case cut twice and paint once?

First trace around a piece of paper and draw in the shape of the guitar you traced what you want to be on the guitar, then cut tout all the things of the same colour, if you have more than one colour repeat the process.

Step 6: Details and Touch Ups (actually the Biggest Step)

Picture of Details and Touch Ups (actually the Biggest Step)

To complete the look of the guitar we need to add 4 things, Frets and fret dots, Pickups,Nobs and the brand sign eg. fender/gibson. Then you need to touch up any mistakes you made along the way.

For the frets measure along the neck and put 24 marks about 1 cm apart getting closer together towards the body and a little wider towards the head. After marking it with pencil you cut along the lines with a craft knife revealing the colour of the undercoat to make them more visible, this also makes it feel nice when you run your hands over it. If you want to put in fret dots put them on numbers 3,7,9,12,15,17,19 and 21.

For the Nobs you can either do them freehand or you can get an old cd and use it as a stencil (the hole in the middle) and then do a dot in the middle of it in the background or foreground colour (depending on were you put the nobs).

For the Pickups just sketch them out how you want them then cut around them in the same way as for the frets and for the dots in the pickups drill ever so lightly into the wood(just so there is a mark) and colour the indent black or other colours you prefer.

For the brand sign practice writing it on a peice of paper then write it on you guitar in pencil then either go over it with very light pain, sharpie or you can cut it.

And last of all touch up any mistakes you made along the way eg. over painting, sloppy workmanship, leaving grease stains on your frets, you know, the usual.

Step 7: Rock Out/ Make More

Picture of Rock Out/ Make More

Now you can throw away your old air-guitar and rock out on one of these, make more and mount them on your wall or you could make it into a FoF or Guitar Hero controller (coming soon).

Here are some pictures of the guitars me and my friend made.


DanielE88 (author)2016-03-07

Wtf I thought this would be a real guitar site.....I very mad because I followed every step but didnt even get a guitar with strings....I feel like a chump!

LucDaRocka1 (author)2012-02-04

nice shirt bro!

hollowthekiller (author)2012-01-02

Dude u could accually make a guitar if u make holes and add string and medal

geekqueen2010 (author)2011-03-13

it dont do anything! i want a real electric guitar! tell me how to make a real one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

amanadalal (author)geekqueen20102011-12-09

make money not a guitar! and then buy it!

mrmerino (author)2010-07-21

err, what does it do?

cleage001 (author)mrmerino2011-10-04

Looks good.

zaktanandy (author)2011-04-24

the party popper is a firework with a fuse!! xD

Thereyouhaveit (author)2011-03-04

The explorer was awesome , but the flying V let me down :( it's too thin ,compared to a V .

=SMART= (author)2009-01-14

Thats cool ! much better than air guitar !

Susan1 (author)=SMART=2011-02-03

My air guitar was a cheap knock off and buzzed on the 4th fret. Never again will I send in 5 box tops to Kellogg's again.

duck-lemon (author)=SMART=2009-01-14


coolguy2015 (author)2010-11-13

WTF!! i thought they were real guitars..

Aaron Hoffenberg (author)2010-05-21

Do you think that Jimmy Pages signature double neck would work with this? technique? 

KamiKatastrophe (author)2010-05-07

This Is A Really Rad Project. Totall Thumbs Up, Good Job Man.

hiandgoodbye (author)2010-01-08

how much does it cost with all the electric stuff and the stuff on the head of the guitar

santoskenneth8 (author)2009-09-04

what a baby

bloke2022 (author)2009-07-31

you do know the beatles were famous over 40 years ago, right?

geco4ever (author)bloke20222009-08-18

lol he was joking.

bloke2022 (author)geco4ever2009-08-18

i know. lol

LargePaperCup (author)2009-08-01

the explorers the best, the flying v is the worst :(

guitarookid39 (author)2009-07-12

coolieo :)

budd42 (author)2009-03-23

Ive made guitars before but i cant wait to try these great job

calgarc (author)2009-03-21

i should post pics of my custom strat with a cool suprize once its finished

dylannn (author)2009-03-02

yaaaaaa i prefer real guitars. those are sweet for hanging on walls though

benwalker (author)2009-02-27

Im not being critical, I think that it is great to knokc these things out for fun wall art or to play around with, but you could add piezo pickups from radioshack, a set of strings from walmart and a set of cheap tuners for under 20 bucks and have something that would be a little more fun. might have to use a more durable wood, but that is pretty much how I build my electric ukuleles.

duck-lemon (author)2009-02-06

Yeah he half made his a while back with his dad and stupidly made it in two parts and i had to re-attach them together using mi awesome skill and ingenuity. See my one i made using a process called thinking things through before you do them. Yeaeah

mynameisjonas (author)2009-01-14

"The first time i did this i used eye and mouth protection but this time i errr... Couldn't find it?" Include safety!!!!!! when MDF is cut it produces a lot of very very fine dust, furthermore MDF contains Formaldehyde (the stuff that is dangerous). so when you breathe it in, serious health concerns come up. When working with this stuff you should definitely wear a respirator and goggles!

sorry to come across as harsh :-( but other than that these things are awesome!

duck-lemon (author)mynameisjonas2009-01-14

Its okay i understand the safety issues, and i know what formaldehyde is, i also know it's used to preserve dead bodies after they are given to the funeral company.

GiggleCream (author)2009-01-13

They are too flat. For Example make a wooden pick gaurd and glue it on top. or wooden pickups., etc..

duck-lemon (author)GiggleCream2009-01-14

I thought of that but i wanted to keep it as one piece so as to not have any things that could go wrong, its more of a fun piece than an art piece.

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