PAINT INFO Remember to stick with the medium that you have chosen to finish the guitar with. Never mix lacquer with water base. This will lead to a cracked finish or lifting up off the clear coat. For my guitar I used a lacquer based paint that I got from an auto shop for one project and just plain white lacquer paint that i got from Home Depot. The waterbased paints and clear coats tend to be more expensive so that's why I chose lacquer. Make sure the surface has been cleaned and is dust free before you begin to paint. Try to find cans that have a fan nozzel because it makes it easier to get an even coat.

I use a coat hanger wire to hang the body and neck from when I paint. It keeps the guitar from touching any thing and makes it easier to move from one place to another. I like to dedicate one place for painting and another for drying to avoid any free floating particales from landing on the wet paint. I use a shed for painting and hang the guitar to dry in my garage.

SPRAYING TECHNIQUE Spray the body holding the can 6 to 8 inches away, moving either up and down or right and left depending on how you have set the nozzel. Start spraying from 2 inches outside the body and finish the stoke the same way. Don't stop or start the spry right on the body because you will end up with an uneven build up or paint drips. It is also good to spray a light "tack" coat first and let that dry for 45 min before laying on the thicker coats. This lets the paint adhere to the body better. You can also mount the guitar body to a square wooden stick that will fit inside the neck pocket so you can hold the guitar flat while you paint the top of it. This lets the coats build up thick and even, but watch for drips on the side.

After you have good coverage, let it dry for a few days or until it has hardened up enough. Inspect the surface for and runs or imperfections. If there are any runs them you can wet sand them flat with 800 grit wet sand paper and a sanding block. Usualy you will be able to see if there is any grain showing that you might not have filled up when you preped the body. If there is them apply a few more coats to cover it up and wet sand it to make it level.

RACING STRIPES Once you have checked out the color coat and are satisfied with the results and have let it dry completely, you can move straight to clear coats or add some racing stripes... or any other design you feel comfortable painting on. I did a paint splatter on the guitar I'm currently working on and it looks awsome. Plus it was realy easy. I just sparyed some black laquer paint in a pan, dipped a brush in it and splattered it on to my liking. For racing stripes make sure you get auto masking tape so you don't get any bleed through when you paint. Decide where you want you lines to go and tape them off. Use a garbage bag to cover the rest of the guitar and make sure all the other areas of the body are covered and taped off to prevent any unwanted spray from getting on the guitar. Spray just enough coats of paint to cover up the base color. You don't want it to be too thick because you will lay daown a clear coat on top and wet sand to level out the finish. If it is too thick it will take much more coats of clear and more sanding than you will want to do just to level it out.

CLEAR COAT Stew Mac sells nitrocellulose lacquer that works realy well for guitar finishing but if your like me you can't afford $10 a can for paint. Or you can check out reranchthough I haven't used any of their products they are a little cheaper. I use Deft spary lacquer. You can get it at Wal-Mart for under $5 a can and it works great. Use the same basic steps that you used when you sprayed you color coats, keeping in mind that you want enough coats so you don't cut through the clear top coat when wet sand and polish it out. Now comes the waiting. The paint has to set for several days to a month to let the solvents that are in the paint to rise to the top and harden. The paint will feel dry but you will notice that it might feel a little sticky or soft when you touch it. I like to do a "nail" test on mine. I use my finger nail and push it into the painted area in the neck pocket to see if it is still soft. No one will see the inside of the neck pocket so it's ok if you scratch it. Once it has cured completly you shouldn't be able dent the finish. It could take longer than a month for certain finishes to harden completely but trust me, you will be glad that you waited. For more information about all the different types of lacquer or clear coats products that are out there and how to choose what may be right for you, check out the drum foundry they have some great info.

WET SANDING You can wet sand with 600 or 800 grit wet sanding papers that you can get from the hardware or auto body shop before you apply the clear coats. You can get precission paper from Stewart Mac Donald that are suppose to cut better, last longer and yeild a better result, but I have never tried them so that's up to you. When wet sanding there are a few things to keep in mind. First you will need to soak the paper overnight in water. You can add a little Murphy's Oil soap to it. It will act as a lubricant and help it cut better. You could even soak the paper in a solvent if you use a laquer finish but I use water because it cleans up easier and dosen't smell. Next be sure not to overly soak the areas that you have drilled holes in. If the water get in the wood it can cause a lift in the lacquer that could lead to cracks in the finish. This is why some people choose a solvent to sand with because it is more forgiving in that area. Start wet sanding with a 600 to 800 grit paper and gradually work your way up to a 2000 plus grit. If you use water you may experience a condition in you finger tips that comes with a prolonged exposure to it called "raisoning". Just let them dry out for a while and get back to work!

POLISHING Once you have completed the wet sanding you wil have a pretty smooth surface that is almost a dull shine. You can either hand polish the finish or use a polising attachment to buff it out. Stew Mac has a polishing pad that attaches to you drill. Or you can get 6" foam bonnets from an auto parts store that will fit over the sanding disk attachment you may already have. It is best not to use any thing made from cotton because it will cut through the finish. Stew Mac also has polishing compounds that you will use in order working you way down to the swirl remover. It's on the expensive side so I use McGuires polish that you can get from the auto shop. If you use a buffing attachment make sure that you uae a different attachment for each grade of polish. Don't use the same pad for each one. Also remember to wait 10 minutes after buffing before you wipe off the surface. The lacquer gets hot and soft after buffing so give it time to cool. You will have to hand polish the cutaways, don't attempt to use the buffer on the edges of the guitar or cutaways because you will burn though the finish.
I finished my last guitar in this pattern:
Wet Sand 800/1000/1500/2000 grit,
Buff Down using an orbital sander that had a "hook and loop" base or velcro that I had attached a polishing pad that Gator Grit makes and McGuiars step 1 cleaner polish
Hand Buff with McGuiars step 2 swirl remover
It took less time than previous finishes and looked awesome.
Once you have finished polishing, clean off the residue the polish left behind with a clean cloth ie: an old t-shirt, look closely to admire the shine and get that piece of broccoli out from between your teeth.

STAINED FINISHES Check out the master Dan Erlewine put a stained finish on a guitar with out the use of spray equipment or buffing arbor.
<p>Guys i have a problem please help! I have bought a handcrafted guitar with swirl finish. After a mount paint startet cracking (minting). Is there any solution to fix this issue. Thanks in advance! </p>
<p>Hello everyone. My name is Tyler. I need to install a new tuning system on my Jackson electric guitar. As of right now, it has the Floyd Rose tuning system installed... How do I install a new tuning system, and what kind of setup should I use?</p>
you don't NEED to use the string locks on the neck if you don't want to...<br><br>BTW it's a locking bridge not a tuning system.<br><br>as to tuning one string messing with the other strings' tuning, you can &quot;block&quot; the tremolo...with a wood block. wedge a fittingly sized piece of wood on the outside of the tremolo base under the back cover, on the side opposite of the springs. some people will also advise additionally using all 5 tremolo springs with it (loosen the 'claw' screws to keep the bridge level). tah-dah, now you can tune strings independently.
<p>That's just the same as manufacturing. I'm more of a fan of cigar box diy instruments.</p>
<p>GuitarDiyDude to anwser your question locking tuners lock your strings down so they stay in tune when you do bends unlike regular tuners where they have a problem of going out of tune when you bend your string when you are doing licks and bending strings!! Mini tuners is what gibson come out with its like tuning for dummies,you select standard tuning and strum all 6 strings and it tunes all 6 simutaneously for you!! So i hope thathelps you,Guitargod6666!!!!!!</p>
<p>I am interested in making an electric guitar and I was wondering what a locking tuner does that regular tuners don't. Ideally I would go for some Tronical tuners (they make Gibsons 2015 mini e-tuners) but the cost &pound;275 odd pounds. They make them for strat style as well if your interested:</p><p><a href="http://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-parts/pid33170/cid708/tronical-type-c-for-fender-guitars.asp" rel="nofollow">http://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-parts/pid33170/c...</a></p><p>Thanks</p>
Total cost????
Did you run a ground to your bridge on these? I'm doing a p90 setup. I'm using shielding paint but didn't know if it were necessary to ground as well. Don't really wasn't to have to drill that hole. <br><br>Also, BVB, this should work for bass as well.
Hey. Do u think that I could use this tutorial for a bass and just us bass neck, strings etc...
<p>Thanks for this, tons of useful info! </p><p>I've been trying to make a ceramic guitar body but I'm not sure how to pre-plan for wiring and electronics. Any suggestions? Attached are pics of my 'sketch' attempt. I've made a mold so the shape will be relatively the same. </p>
<p>Hi Matt,</p><p>I have made dozens of molds and tooling parts over the years. What I would do with a ceramic part is insert flexible tubing where the wiring would go. then I would pull it out after the part was made.</p>
awesome, thanks for sharing
<p>How do you do kind of like a Zebra pattern for the guitar.What do you mix on with the paint?</p>
Very good instructable.<br /> I build this one myself when I was 15. I wasn't alowed to buy one, so I asked my parents &quot;what if I build one myself?&quot; They said &quot;OK&quot;, but they thought I couldn't do it. Man, were they wrong... :)<br />
<em><strong>AWSUM GEETAR DUDE!</strong></em>
<p>email me to a killer supremely awesome guitar dude!!! &quot;vampire guitar&quot; j. ghostr@shaw.ca </p>
How much round about did that cost you? I have a guitar but I get bored easy and it'll be nice to actually build one myself
To be honest, I don't know. It was almost 40 years ago. <br>I only know that it wasn't half as much as a good ready made guitar would have costed me. <br>Later on I bought me a couple of other guitars. Not that my own build wasn't good enough, but just because I happened to love the ones I bought. <br>And to have a spare one of course... :-) <br>One of those, a guitar made by hand by a professional guitar builder, cost me a minimum of 4 times more than the one I put together myself. <br> <br>Maybe you could make a list of the things you need and look around in the guitar shop. You have a good chance of finding all the pieces in a shop that has a repair service. <br>For the wood, you can inform yourself at the local carpenter's. Maybe they have some leftovers they don't use anymore. If you're lucky, you can get that for free. Just check the quality of the wood. Don't use wood that has cracks in it.
Dear Merlin. <br> <br>I will soon build my own guitar (Im 12) and I have a question will the sound change if i make in the wood a hole to hold or carry the guitar and can i do it if i can that how big does it have to be ? <br> <br>Hope to get your replay as soon as possible. <br> <br>Max. <br> <br>
You can build a guitar in any shape you want. <br>Have a look at some of the guitars from different stars around; You'll see many different shapes, some even with a hole in the body to 'carry' the guitar. <br>Make the hole the size it needs to be so your fingers easily fit into it. <br> <br>As you can read in the comment of zenguitar below, it might change the sound. <br>I realy don't know how much that change would be. <br> <br>I have a question for you: <br>You write that you're 12, but your profile says you're 19. <br>Lost count over the years? ;)
Im 15 and i am wanting to build a guitar.. What kind of wood did you use on the body?<br>
Hi there,<br><br>I used Meranti for the body. The neck is made out of beech.<br>Have fun building your own guitar.
Does the shape/material effect the sound?
<br> Just a tiny little bit. Most of the sound is determined by the pickups.<br> If the guitar has a hollow body, the sound is influenced more. Especially if you play with a microphone eventually combined with the pickups.<br> That's because with a hollow body the body acts as an amplifier, not so with a solid guitar.<br> Since this is a solid guitar, the sound influence of the wood is practically zero.<br> The different woods give different looks, that's their main influence. ;)<br>
I'm sorry to disagree Merlin, but the woods used really do make a big difference to the sound of a solid body guitar. Both the neck and body are resonators, the string energy drives the woods which damp some frequencies and use that energy to emphasise the resonant frequencies. That drives the string's vibration through the bridge/nut/fretboard. It's a feedback loop.<br><br>That is why pick-up manufacturers are always careful to explain that their pick-ups will sound different depending on the woods and construction of a guitar. Seymour Duncan (among many others) has written about this a lot, a you can read more on the Seymour Duncan website. You can also study more at the FRETS website, GAL (The Guild of American Luthiers), StewMac, and LMI (Luthier's Mercantile International).<br><br>You are correct, insofar as the pick-up can only pick up the string vibrations. But those vibrations are substantially modified by the materials and construction. In an acoustic the hollow box is the amplifier in combination with the height of the saddle, but the tone comes from the woods by a similar mechanism to that of the solid body guitar.<br><br>Andy
does it make any diference on the finish i want to use danish oil on my first guitar <br>will that change how it will sound
The way a finish can change the sound is when it forms a rigid, hard, shell that damps the vibrations of the woods. So a good finish for a musical instrument is one that allows the woods to vibrate freely but still offers good protection.<br><br>The good news is that an oil finish is a very good option for finishing a guitar, and a lot of guitarists actually prefer the oiled finish on the neck. Danish Oil and Tung Oil are both suitable for a guitar. So if you are happiest using Danish Oil, go ahead.<br><br>One oil finish that many luthiers use and recommend is Tru-Oil, which was originally formulated for finishing gun stocks. It is the oil finish that Luthier's Mercantile carries, and if you Google for Tru-Oil you will find plentry of information about using it on guitars including some very good instructions. And those instructions will help you with Danish Oil as well.<br><br>And congratulations on making your first guitar, I promise you that you will feel amazing the first time you play it. And every time someone says 'WOW!! You made it yourself?' you will feel great.<br><br>Andy
Thanks Andy for the info <br> I am a machinist i plan on making everthing from the body to the pickups even the tuners so this will take awhile but will be fun <br>thanks vern
Sounds good Vern. I can make truss rods and pick-ups but need to get my machining skills up to speed before tackling tuners and bridges etc, although I am very tempted to learn in the future.<br><br>Being a machinist will be a real advantage for you. The woodwork on guitars is actually pretty basic, but has to be very accurate. Many years ago one of my luthiery teachers described it was working wood to the tolerances usually found in engineering. <br><br>If it helps, Schaller have very accurate drawings of all their hardware on their website. You can also get very good drawings of all Gotoh parts as well, but theirs are harder to find (hidden in the parent company's site and I can't recall the full details). It is worth having a look at those, and pay attention to the way the tuning posts are shaped. That radiused section turned into the post is important , it really helps lock the strings firmly.<br><br>Best of luck and I promise two things. There will be frustrations along the way, but once you are finished it is deeply satisfying.<br><br>Andy
This is true, i made a guitar out of MDF to test this and it sounded terrible
yes different densities in the wood can give different tones
man i wish i could thumbs up this comment!
Very nice. I love wood finished guitars so much more over painted.<br>So much fun to build instruments<br>
&nbsp;SIX PICKUPS!<br /> <br /> I can't even begin to imagine about what that would sound like but I'm sure it would be awesome.
Actually there are only three. They are humbuckers. The white ones I bought, the black one in the middle I made myself with little magnets and thin copper wire (0.2mm&sup2;). The magnets I got out of relays that were no longer used from an old telephone central.<br />
did you actually make your own pick-up??
Yes I did. It's the middle one with the black top.<br> It's not that difficult, but you have to find the right materials.<br> <br> I used a 4 mm thick piece of hardwood to make the base.<br> From twelve relays that came from a no longer used telephone central (many, many years ago) I recycled the magnet shafts (about 4 mm diameter and 3 cm long).<br> I drilled two lines of six holes (it's a humbucker) in the wooden base right at the center of each string and put the magnets in.<br> One row of magnets were put in with the north pole up, the other row with the south pole up.<br> If you cant drill the holes to be just a tiny bit smaller than the magnet shafts, you can apply some glue to it to make sure the magnets are in the holes very tight. They have to be unable to move.<br> The top of the pick-up I made from a 3 mm thick piece of plastic in which I drilled the same holes as in the base to fit the magnets through the plastic. Same goes here about the fitting in the holes.<br> Then I wound very thin (0.02 mm diameter) laquered copper wire around a couple of thick nails that had about the same size as the magnets.<br> These nails I had placed in another piece of wood at the width of the outer magnets.<br> Some 4000 windings go into one spool.<br> Some tape was applied to cover and fasten the copper windings.<br> The second spool was wound in the opposite direction.<br> Next I placed the two spools over the magnets and connected them so that they were connected as serial spools.<br> The start and end of the complete spool went through a 1mm hole in the base and were secured with a drop of glue in the hole.<br> <br> You have to be carefull not to break the wire while winding a spool. If that happens, you have to start over. The spool needs to be in one piece for the best results.<br> <br> I used two ballpoint springs and a couple of metal screws to attach the pick-up to the front plate of the guitar.<br> The screws drive into the wood directly. I drilled a smaller hole and tapped wire in it. Because it is hardwood this works.<br> The springs and the screws make it easy to adjust the height of the pick-up to the strings.<br> <br> That's it for my mini instructable.<br> I don't have any pictures of the works because it was so long ago and instructables.com didn't exist at the time. As a matter of fact there was no internet, nor personal computers at the time either.<br> But I guess everybody understands what I have written here.<br> I bet you can find more info on humbuckers and how they work on the internet. I found my info in some electronics books at the time.
&nbsp;you should put out a pickup making instructable.
That's excellent!!!<br />
This is sick! <br>I love everything about it. Good job Merlin. :)
i herd about some british dude forging aluminum cans&nbsp; to make the guitars body or whatever its called&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; i admire the british culture
Well, maybe he's into soft metal rather than heavy metal... ;-)<br />
lol nice one
<p>If you did build a guitar out&nbsp;of aluminum cans, than why don't you post a pic of one?</p>
I never stated to have build a guitar out of aluminum cans.<br /> Please read the comments and replies in the correct order.<br />
Sorry&nbsp;but you did say &quot; I sure did m8.&quot;
That was about the guitar in the picture I posted. At that time there was no mentioning of the 'canned' guitar...<br />

About This Instructable


1,335 favorites


More by gbuilder: Build Your Own Electric Guitar!
Add instructable to: