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)

Step 1: Design Your Guitar

I designed my guitar in Adobe Illustrator CS6. This was useful because I was able to export the drawing paths as a .dxf file which can be interpreted by the CAM software and cut with a cnc machine. My design was inspired by my dad's old guitar, a Gibson Marauder. One of the main design features I wanted to include was the iconic dragon from the Welsh flag. I decided to engrave the dragon into the pick guard and define its shape based on the dragon's body. I recommend printing or drawing out a full scale version of the drawing to be sure that the dimensions of your drawing are accurate. 

When designing a guitar, there are two basic pickup setups that are the most commonly seen. The Gibson Humbucker setup and the Fender Stratocaster setup. For this guitar, I wanted to use the humbucker style setup because it lends itself to my dad's playing style. 

In this guitar, I used a Gotoh Tune O Matic Bridge and Tailpiece setup. In order for this to work correctly the neck must be mounted to the guitar at a slight angle. Gotoh recommends between a 1.5 and 3.0 degree neck pocket. I designed this guitar to have a 2.0 degree neck pocket angle; the process used to achieve this angle is described in step three. 

Selecting the wood you are going to use has a major impact on the tone of the guitar. The selection of the parts is also critical to determining the sound of the guitar. Selecting parts to achieve a desired tone is an entire instructable of its own, and one that should be written by someone more experienced than myself. I bought by neck pre-made from Warmoth guitar parts online. This is also where I got most of the rest of the parts I used. 

Will you be able to add a whammy bar to your guitar if u want to?
<p>I have been researching home built guitars for several months. This is without a doubt the best looking one that I have seen. Everything from the assembly to the finished product projects nothing but pure quality. Thank you for sharing your build with us! I plan on assembling my parts list in the next few weeks and move on the design. Thanks again for the photos as well. They really help a person such as myself who has never built anything like this.</p>
<p>Duuuuuuuuuuuuude that guitar is so sweet I would definetly buy it if you sold it. Does it sound good?</p><p>Nice job!</p>
hey will the guitar work with just one pickup and a amp plug in spot <br>
Could I do this without a CNC mill and just do it with a router
<p>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! </p>
<p>Does the guitar body you are painting already have a finish or is it raw wood?<br><br>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. <br><br>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. <br><br>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. <br><br>Hope that answers your question?<br>Charlie<br><br><br><br><br></p>
<p>This is beautiful.</p>
<p>Thats extraordinary...</p>
<p>Thats brilliant</p>
<p><br>Its wonderful :)<br></p>
<p><br>Its interesting :)</p>
<p><br>Thats cool<br></p>
<p>Thats helpful</p>
Bad ass
That's cooler than a polar bear wearing sunglasses.
Love this, super cool.
Very cool indeed!!!
Wow! Nicely done!
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.
Thanks! Im going to look into that for sure. Thanks for the tip! <br> <br>charlie
I'm a luthier, and I have to tell you this: BRAVO! Excellent work, my friend!
Thank you. I recently finished the pick guard and guitar. Ill be updating this soon with some more pictures.
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!! <br>
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!
I know nothing about guitars, but I like how you made it! It looks like off the shelf, nice work.
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. <br> <br>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.
My router is an old Dewalt. 2.5 horsepower, 25,000 rpm. I like it because its pretty compact, but has got a pretty serious amount of power. I used a swamp ash blank from Warmoth guitar parts which was 1.75 inches thick. I cut with a lot of passes, never went deeper than a quarter inch per pass. I used 2 flute end mills, at about 30 ipm.
&quot;I snapped the heads of the neck bolts&quot; <br>Ah, I had the same problem when I built my tele, but with just the one screw. Nice looking guitar.
very nice i have been thinking of building a new guitar and slapping one of <a href="http://www.tronical.com/tronical-tune-registration/#down" rel="nofollow">these </a>on it
Very nice !!!...
Nice design, I like the finish and Welch dragon pick guard. I appreciate your careful planning and attention to detail. I've never seen copper foil used as EM shielding around guitar pickups before, it's piqued my interest to look futher into it. Well documented project, and well written ible.
Thanks! I appreciate the complement!

About This Instructable




Bio: I got started making remote controlled airplanes from scratch as a kid. I really like building my own stuff!
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