Introduction: Make a Guitar From a Hollow Core Door

We reclaim the floors, the walls, the siding, but those pesky, cheesy hollow doors almost always go straight to the dumpster - or at best become a table at the yard sale. I wanted to give one of these some real value so i made it in to a bass guitar.

A full Instructable follows (with pics - i'm finally following the rules!) and here are two videos about these.

The first video - and where most of the pictures in the Instructable come from - was made from a very thin door and ended up failing. It needed a little more cross strength. I made another the same way from a better hollow door (second vid) and I just completed a 6-string version.

I also attempted steam bending the sides from the door (failed) so I skip over that in the instructions. Watch the vid for info. The second bass I left the sides open and the 6-string I filled the edges with solid wood and used plywood veneering around the sides.

Have a look. Share pics if you make one!

Be good,

tim

Step 1: Materials List and Design and Cut Your Body

You will need:

Materials:

One hollow door

Some scrap hard wood, at least a 2x4x 18" or so...

One guitar or bass guitar neck with tuners

Whatever guitar bridge, pickups and electronics you wish to use (volume knob, tone knob, 1/4" jack, wires etc).

Tools:

Measuring equipment

jig saw or better

sandpaper/sanders

files/rasp

razor

router

drill/screwdriver

soldering iron and accessories

glue

clamps

tape

mallet and chisel

You want to make sure there is solid wood where you are going to mount your bridge, so pic a spot of the door near where the doorknob would go (the thickest solid edge inside the hollow door is there). Or you can create a wood block and glue it in there the way a neck block is created (read on).

I prefer making my own necks but for this build i used a store bought neck I had laying around. I really don't know where it came from.

I have a bandsaw so i cut it out with that, but a jigsaw will also work.

Then carefully make your measurements for where your neck and bridge will go. You need to know a little about guitars to do all this, or just copy one you already have laying around.

Step 2: Creating a Neck Block

I used a piece of reclaimed white oak which i cut to the proper height, width and length to fit in my guitar and rout a neck pocket. It ended up being about 1 1/8" tall X 3" wide X 8" deep.

If you use a thin crappy door like the one in the photos, you may choose to run a solid block the length of the instrument to make it more solid.

I glued the block in to place, shaped it and used a template to rout the neck pocket in to place. Copy an instrument you have if you haven't a template or experience with this. I always end up fine tuning with a chisel. Also, I hogged out most of the wood with a forstner bit before using the router.

Step 3: Layout Electronics

After you've figured out where everything will go, it's time to put it there. On the thin hollow door, i was able to cut with a hole for the pickup and electronics cavity with a razor blade. on the thicker door, i needed to drill starter holes and use saws.

drill the appropriate size holes for your electronics and wire them up. It is real easy to get wiring diagrams off the internet, and you can ever do all sorts of creative things.

I used a thin piece of aluminum from an airplane wing to cover the cavity on the back because i happened to have one. You could use anything - even another piece of door.

Step 4: Put the Bridge On, String It Up!

It's important the bridge gets attached to a solid piece of door for strength under pressure. On my first bass, I missed the mark and had to cut open the back and add more hard wood to the interior. If you can't get the bridge into the door's solid wood, put a piece in there. Then string it up and rock out! watch the video(s) to see it work.

Thanks and be good,

Tim

Comments

author
smalcolm (author)2016-05-29

Have tried making one just accoustic?

author
timsway (author)smalcolm2016-05-29

it doesn't have a lot of sound without electronics. to thin. i have made other acoustic basses, but i don't think the door is the best option. it'd be fun to try a cardboard box!

author
Meglymoo87 (author)2016-05-17

Cool!!

author
timsway (author)Meglymoo872016-05-17

thanks!! -t

author
chasmoth (author)2016-05-13

Back Door Bass. I love it.

Looks pretty light, sounds Danelectroish. I like the cardboard core idea, but I'll bet the bass wants the wood cores. Good job.

author
timsway (author)chasmoth2016-05-13

cheers man. the cardboard one could work with more reinforcement. it's a poor man's eb-2 ;-)

author
kakbit (author)2016-05-12

Great idea!

How much does the bass weigh? I've been looking for a light weigh bass for some time. This is a alternative I definitely can think of.

author
timsway (author)kakbit2016-05-12

i don't know the exact weight but it is very light. way less than a normal bass guitar and about the same as an acoustic bass guitar. thank you! -tim

About This Instructable

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Bio: i am an artist and musician. i make things of use out of things that no longer have use. i think the hip term is ... More »
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