While I acknowledge there are many instructables on building, modding and hacking guitars of all sorts; it is my intention to demonstrate how you too can achieve professional like results when building your own instruments. I am also going to take you through the more daunting task of building the guitar neck from scratch, something many builders avoid by re-purposing old or using "store bought" necks. And lets face it, if you play guitar then you know the neck can make or break an instrument, so why not make one to your own liking.

I hope some of you will find some inspiration from this Instructable and try building your own electric guitar. Also, if you would be so kind as to vote for this Instructable in the Epilog challenge. 

Step 1: Shaping Things Up.

OK, so you've decided to do this, now you need to decide on a body shape. Whether or not you decide to copy an existing body style or create your own masterpiece you will need some templates as building guides. I chose a Les Paul single cut away shape because I want one but could never convince my wife to let me spend several thousand dollars to buy one!
Great job, your guitar looks fantastic. Because I don't have a joiner or a planer, nor do I have the necessary woodworking skills to use hand tools, I plan to use birch plywood for a guitar build. I have read lots of negative comments about the sound of a plywood guitar. If you don't mind me asking, how does yours sound?
<p>Hi,</p><p>I just finished these 2 guitars in plywood.</p><p>They sound pretty good specially the red one with the EMG H4.</p>
<p>Fantastic looking guitars! Well done.</p>
<p>Thanks, your instructable helped me a lot !</p><p>This one was my first attempt. (really good to play Nirvana)</p>
<p>Love it, reminds me of the Bo Diddly guitar I built.</p>
<p>hi, are the electronics the same to add a tremolo bar? </p>
<p>Exactly the same. A tremolo bar is a mechanical distortion devise.</p>
the Bo Diddley inspired guit is super sweet. Beautiful! did you estimate the dimensions or did you find them elsewhere? I'm looking for a plan to build with my son and the Bo style is perfect. thanks for the instructibles they are great!
<p>Gosh, it's been a while since I built that one and have long since sold it. Thank you BTW for the compliment. As far as I can remember I just eye-balled the dimensions. But if you go to the Gretsch web site I bet you could get the dimensions.</p>
Where did you get all the supplies?
thanks for your instructable! It have me the final push to start making my own guitar, and 6 months later here it is!
<p>That looks fantastic! Glad I could give you the push you needed. I love the look.</p>
<p>I have to ask - if you are going to the trouble of DIY, why not build a full neck through body build rather than bolt in?</p>
<p>I'm not the OP, but the reasons why somebody wouldn't make a neck-through or a set-neck (aka glue-in):</p><p>1) With a Neck-Through, if you mess-up the body or the neck, you mess-up both. This way, you can re-make either independently. This is especially true for a first time builder.</p><p>2) The builder may prefer the &quot;snappy&quot; sound of a well-built bolt-on.</p><p>3) Bolt-ons only have a reputation of being inferior to neck-through because of the number of poorly made, cheaply made, bolt-ons. A properly made-bolt-on will only have one disadvantage over a properly made neck-through (and to a less degree a set-neck): you can't contour the heel in a bolt-on.</p><p>There are plenty of high-end custom builders that make bolt-ons, because their customers prefer it.</p>
<p>Well said. </p>
<p>That is an AMAZING project, well done! </p>
here's something that bugs me (i know, i'm getting ridiculous). how do you know the proper distances to space the frets?
<p>You choose the spacing but you could research normal spacing of guitars from professional manafacutrers like ibanez or fender</p>
http://www.sirgalahad.org/paul/fretcalc.html<br>This is the only thing you need now. Just plug in your numbers and Bob's your uncle.
<p>Can you use any type of wood for the body or will it mess up the sound?</p>
<p>Mahogany,Alder and Bass wood are common guitar body materials they have to be a relatively hard wood to get the best quality sound from your guitar,yet there are some really good sounding guitars made of ply as shown above so for your first one use some pine since it isn't expensive and it wont matter if you mess up,also it could sound good im not sure how pine sounds but would be good to get the technique down.</p>
Another question. Can you use birch for the neck?
I don't see why not, provided it has been well dried. I know that yellow birch and maple are about equal in density. Good luck on your build.
<p>could you also make the base and the neck out of teak if you wanted to or would that ruin the sound?</p>
<p>What would you say to actually using the Masonite for the body?</p>
Very cool man, great job
How long did it take you? Where did you get all of the supplies and how much did it all cost?
I honestly don't remember how long it took, it was a project that I worked on bit by bit over several months, but I can tell you that I didn't spend more that $150 Canadian dollars, or $150, Australian dollars, or $90 US dollars.
How good does it sound?
Would you do an instructable on a DIY humbucker
Um, no, lol. I haven't the foggiest.
@badideasrus No one mentioned simply because it is not true :-)
Cool I play guitar getting a new one
How'd you know where to put the bridge ?
The bridge is located with your scale length. If you are making a 22 inch scale then the bridge is 22 inches from the nut. You need to measure exactly from where the string leaves the nut to the first point of contact on the bridge.
you are amazing
Would this work with an electric bass ?
I don't see why not? Go for it! <br>
Thank you.
Here are a couple of pics of a guitar I just finished today. The neck and hard ware were salvaged from an Epiphone Special that had the body of an old trollop but a superior neck. The body I styled after the Gretsch Bo Diddley. I used pine with a flame maple top and a little trim of walnut.
Thank you. This instructable has been quite helpful in launching the creation of my own guitar.
When you glued the body planks together, what kind of glue did you use?
I used a good quality carpenter's glue,the yellow type. If you live in Canada you would look for the LePage's brand,if you are in the US look for Tight Bond.
i'm very VERY supriesed that no one has mentioned that bone dust is poisonous and causes cancer.... bone is a great material, but please use caution.
This is fantastic info! Great steps, and it actually solved a few issues I has having with drilling holes and making the neck. Thanks for the share!!
Wonderful Instructable! I am building a American Stratocaster Delux with Walnut. Thanks for the information!.
Do you think it would be possible to make a guitar, using the same process as this, but made of good quality MDF?
Hmmm, certainly not the neck but the body, yes. I don't know how it would resonate though. Try and get some HDF (high density fiber board). Also watch the dust from that stuff, it is very irritating.
I don't think you could use MDF for the neck, but for the body, i don't see why not,
So how ridiculous would it be if I made an electric ukulele?

About This Instructable




Bio: I live on the east coast of Canada, (New Brunswick). I have been tinkering and building things all my life and still manage to learn ... More »
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