Picture of Custom Electric Guitar
This is a step by step guide on how I built my Custom Electric Guitar. I designed this guitar for my dad as a Christmas present. This is my first instructable, so go easy on me. This is also the first time I have ever built a guitar, so if you notice something I'm doing wrong please leave a constructive comment. If you have any questions or suggestions, please post them or message me. In my conclusion, I discuss things I would have done differently and things people have suggested to achieve a better end result. You may notice several mistakes in the photos as you read this instructable. Those problems are addressed in the conclusion. 

MANY tools are required to complete this project, but in many cases alternative tool options are available to complete a job. I used a cnc machine I built on this project, however alternative methods can be used to cut out the guitar and parts. I only listed major tools and I'm sure I missed a couple things. The prices are pretty rough and vary depending on the supplier. Most of my parts were ordered off of Warmoth. The stains and such came from StewMac. 

BE SURE TO WEAR YOUR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WHEN WORKING WITH POWER TOOLS AND PAINTING! I have worked in a lot of different shops, and been both a victim and witness to a few serious shop accidents. If something makes you nervous, you probably shouldn't be doing it. I almost lost my left index finger doing something seemingly straightforward with a drillgun, it was stupid. Don't be stupid. Its hard to make cool stuff or play guitar if you are missing fingers. 

Swamp Ash Blank (14 x 19 x 1.75") ~$90
Pickguard Material w/ Red Tri-layer (12 x 16") ~$10
Warmoth Neck (V-1) 25.5" Scale Length ~$220
Copper Tape
Tracing paper

Tune O Matic Bridge ~$20
Tune O Matic Tailpiece ~$20
Seymour Duncan SH-1 Pickup ~$80
Seymour Duncan SH-5 Pickup ~$80
Gotoh Tuning Machinges x6 (three left, three right) ~$7 ea.
Electrosocket Jack ~12$
Neck and Pickguard Screws 
Push-Pull Potentiometer (500k) ~$10
Potentiometer( 500k) ~$5
LP Switch ~$12
.047 uF Cap ~$1

CNC machine w/ various end-mills
Sandpaper (100, 150, 220)
Wet Sanding paper (800, 1000, 1500)
Foam Polishing Disks (for screw gun)
Drill Press
Screw Gun
Forestner Drill Bits
Soldering Iron
Screwdrivers (phillips and flathead)
Wire Strippers
Helping Hand
Heat Gun
Exacto Knife
Cutting Matt

Polishing Compound (ultimate compound, and scratch x)
Microfiber Cloths
Paper Towels
Alcohol (for staining)
Gloves (for painting)
Ventilator (for painting)

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bulldawg132 months ago
Could I do this without a CNC mill and just do it with a router

Hey! My friend asked me to paint this type of rainbow design on his SG electric guitar. I have not done this before,I've only drawn on my brother's guitar. I know that I should prep the guitar body before painting with a primer and such,I don't have the best materials to work with but I saw that you could use acrylic paint on the guitar. I just want to know if the paint would be able to stick to the primer,and if a normal wood varnish would work,because I think the varnish would 'eat' the paint. Can you also please give me a few pointers to help me? I know I can do this,I just need to prepare the guitar in the right way,thanks!

Does the guitar body you are painting already have a finish or is it raw wood?

If you are using raw wood, you usually want to start with a grain filler to make sure the finished product comes out glossy smooth. On this build, I used swamp ash, which usually needs to be grain filled. However, I skipped grain filling because the players preference was to see the grain through the finish (which is unusual). Some species of wood don't need grain filling, because the grain is much smoother. Like maple, for instance.

After grain filling there are several options for finishing depending on the look you are going for. But most guitar finishes are lacquer. The one I used I bought clear and dyed transparent cherry red with a bit of transparent mahogany.

Since you want to paint a design onto the guitar the process is a bit different. I would say paint your design on after grain filling (If necessary). Then, clear coating over it with Instrument Lacquer. This would allow you to wet sand and polish your design, which would give it a glossy professional look. You can also make sharpie designs or distressing(scuff marks) permanent this way.

Hope that answers your question?


paverphalange8 months ago

Thats fabulous

motherprune9 months ago


cobbledbeard9 months ago

This is beautiful.

mousepaper9 months ago

Thats extraordinary...

Thats brilliant

amazedgreen9 months ago

Thats astounding

fastbobble9 months ago

Its impressive

gorgeddamp9 months ago

Its wonderful :)

clearedeager9 months ago

Its interesting :)

illrings10 months ago

Its interesting :)

airbugger10 months ago



headlymph10 months ago


tealrink10 months ago


grousebandit10 months ago

Thats cool

harechubby11 months ago


clapfilk11 months ago


cheshirecorn11 months ago



spongeraffle12 months ago

Thats helpful


Danmo Ma1 year ago


sepperson11 year ago
Bad ass
mrmerino1 year ago
That's cooler than a polar bear wearing sunglasses.
Love this, super cool.
BunnyRoger1 year ago
Very cool indeed!!!
Wow! Nicely done!
MAApleton1 year ago
This really is so so cool!!!!
Great build! I don't know if you are aware of this but you can get bolt/screw extractors. The way they work is you use a small drill (good quality that can drill through steel) to drill a small hole, you then screw in the extractor which cuts into the hole in the bolt anti-clockwise and the bolt comes out as you are screwing the extractor in...I hope that all made sense.
charlieCG (author)  bricabracwizard1 year ago
Thanks! Im going to look into that for sure. Thanks for the tip!

curbowman2 years ago
I'm a luthier, and I have to tell you this: BRAVO! Excellent work, my friend!
charlieCG (author)  curbowman2 years ago
Thank you. I recently finished the pick guard and guitar. Ill be updating this soon with some more pictures.
tonyvelour2 years ago
Question: Why did your bolts snap, and why do you think other people had the same experience? If I want to build out a guitar like this, how could I avoid that problem? Thx, cool guitar!!
charlieCG (author)  tonyvelour2 years ago
I should have drilled the pilot holes slightly larger. The screws would require less torque to sink all the way in. Also, screwing them in by hand for at least the last inch would help prevent putting too much torque on the heads. My screw gun has a clutch, but I didn't set it low enough. Thanks!
hertzgamma2 years ago
I know nothing about guitars, but I like how you made it! It looks like off the shelf, nice work.
friger2 years ago
Nice build, and as far as snapping neck bolts off, been there done that. What I ended up doing was to remove the neck and was fortunate enough to be able to grab the end of the broken screw with a pair of vise grips and back the bolt out of the neck then replace it...after a drilled the hole to the proper dimension.

I'm curious about your CNC machine. What horse power is the router and how thick was your blank. I am just finishing up the body of an ash Stratocaster and I've managed to destroy 2 very expensive Freud router bits and I think one of my routers may have pooped the bed over the job.
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