Instructables
Picture of How to build an Electric Guitar.
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. 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

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!

Step 2: Body building

IMG00974-20110610-1520.jpg
IMG00975-20110610-1520.jpg
IMG00976-20110610-1520.jpg
OK folks, there is a lot going on at this stage of the game so look to the image notes for the fine details. To begin with I need to make it clear to all the guitar experts out there that this build is strictly a working proof of concept and by no means the only way to do things.

Choose your lumber. For me, I had on hand enough good quality 3/4" birch plywood to do this in 3 layers. I am saving the solid mahogany and flame maple for the next build. So, let's look at the process.
1-40 of 82Next »
ShawnD13 months ago

Can you use any type of wood for the body or will it mess up the sound?

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.

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.
fatere1 friger7 months ago

could you also make the base and the neck out of teak if you wanted to or would that ruin the sound?

bwilson4210 months ago

What would you say to actually using the Masonite for the body?

sepperson111 months ago
Very cool man, great job
hibbly1 year ago
How long did it take you? Where did you get all of the supplies and how much did it all cost?
friger (author)  hibbly1 year ago
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?
hibbly1 year ago
Would you do an instructable on a DIY humbucker
friger (author)  hibbly1 year ago
Um, no, lol. I haven't the foggiest.
Vandirac1 year ago
@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 ?
friger (author)  joshua.ortiz191 year ago
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 ?
friger (author)  joshua.ortiz191 year ago
I don't see why not? Go for it!
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.
581501_10151152423626651_1734955833_n.jpg376711_10151152432131651_1306645687_n.jpgIMG01902-20121227-1022.jpgIMG01901-20121227-1021.jpgIMG01902-20121227-1022.jpgIMG01901-20121227-1021.jpg
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.
badideasrus2 years ago
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.
DoctorWoo2 years ago
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!!
Timothy952 years ago
Wonderful Instructable! I am building a American Stratocaster Delux with Walnut. Thanks for the information!.
mrsocky2 years ago
Do you think it would be possible to make a guitar, using the same process as this, but made of good quality MDF?
friger (author)  mrsocky2 years ago
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,
tmuck3 years ago
So how ridiculous would it be if I made an electric ukulele?
I actually did a bit of looking into this, determined to make an electric uke without just putting a soundhole pickup or something similar into an acoustic. Based upon what I found, your best bet is to use an electric mandolin (see "Mandobird" for an awesome example of a solidbody, or you could do a scaled-down version of a stratacoustic, if you were more into the hollow-body idea). If you made your body and neck in this size you could harvest parts from a mandolin. For further inspirado, check out ukeleleunderground.com - their forums are full of people who are completely obsessed with all things uke. I'm sure you could get a lot of detail questions answered there. I have this on my long list of things I want to build, where I'm sure it will stay until after I've constructed a home-made Les Paul, rebuilt my Epi acoustic, added a custom tailpiece to my son's half-scale acoustic, and added inlays to my SG. I'll probably get around to making a tele-lele (or should I call it a ukecaster?...) in a few years if I'm lucky.
friger (author)  tmuck3 years ago
Not ridiculous at all, major funky for sure, I'm trying to imagine how a uke would sound pushed through a 100 watt Marshal stack with a ton of overdrive. DO IT
tmuck friger3 years ago
I love my acoustic uke but i'd love to experiment with an electric one. Even better, an electric one that I made. I just wish I had more time to put toward this project, not to mention the tools that I don't have. :/
friger (author)  tmuck3 years ago
Why not make a piezo pick up, they take about 10 minutes to put together and the parts are easy to get, then just tape it to the body of the uke near the bridge?
tmuck friger3 years ago
I'm really showing my inexperience here. "piezo pick up"?
friger (author)  tmuck3 years ago
Are you familiar with those window alarms you can get at the dollar stores?
tmuck friger3 years ago
not even a little bit. :/
friger (author)  tmuck3 years ago
OK, give me a day or 2 and I'll post a short Instructable on how to make a piezo pick up. Watch for it soon.
tmuck friger3 years ago
thanks so much :)
1-40 of 82Next »