Introduction: 3 String Slide Guitar

About: i am a photolab technician and an incurable packrat. i have made swords ,chainmail, crossbows.cameras,bike trailers,kayaks,guitars{slide and electric},knives,various film winders and vacum easels for the phot…
this is my homemade slide guitar.
its made out of junk and scrap and is pretty easy to make

Step 1: Gather the Bits

materials used:
1. birch board 1x3x30 inches{this is a good size if your going to make a slide guitar as the usual string length for such a beast is 22 inches}.

2: set of tuners from an old junked guitar{you know the kind all three are mounted on a stamped sheet metal bar on those crappy old student guitars that tear out the bridge after a few years in the closet} save the strings too.

3:a magnet and coil of copper wire . i used a coil from a soleniod that came out of a scrapped photo printer but you can make your own out of any insulated{varnished}copper wire . as for the magnet i took the steel magnet from an old stereo speaker.{you can use a real guitar pickup if you have one to spare}

4: a 1/8 phono jack.

5: a couple of pieces of aluminum or brass to make bridges {mine were cut from an old window frame}

6: a couple of those bolt/screws that are used as leg mounts on furniture.

7: various screws and last but not least a powerade cap{its like gatorade}

Step 2: Shape the Board

i was a bad boy and didnt document this step as i had no idea it was going to work at all but here is an early photo after it was sort of done and tested.{the copper pipe was added to get an idea of what shape the body should take}
but basically you shape the neck and headstock, drill the holes for the tuners,decide where the pickup goes and mill a pocket, lay out the hardware where it has to go and predrill all holes,

Step 3: Fret Markers

to get an accurate set of fret marks you will need to use a fret calculator.
here is a great online one
while your there check out the whole site its great for do it yourself guitars
be very careful to properly mark the frets then if you want you can cut them in with a fretsaw {i used a hacksaw} and you can fill the shallow cuts with white paint or bits of brass wire or leave them empty like i did

Step 4: Pickup

the pickup is just a copper coil wrapped around a magnet.
a real guitar pickup will work better here but almost any coil of a decent length will work {experiment first before you start}
the two leads from the coil go to the jack located on the lower edge of the board
first use a hole saw to cut a circular pit in the wood where you want the pickup(cut it the shape of your pickup or coil) dont cut all the way through or you will seriously weaken the wood.
run the wires back through a trench cut in the back{should be a nice neat slot . mine looks like a trench} to the pickup slot which should be located past the bridge to avoid too many holes and voids in the stressed part of the neck
after its wired and tested glue the pickup in the cavity and cover with the powerade cap{or any non metallic cover} glue in place if necessary.

Step 5: Locating the Nut and Bridge

when you decide what scale length you want to use mark from the nut{up at the place where the strings come up on the neck} the full scale/ string length {22 inches} then mark that place as where the bridge goes.
screw both pieces to the board{predrill or youll break lots of screws in the hardwood} 3 inches behind the bridge drill 3 holes 1/8 inch through the board for the strings to go through.
insert the strings (go from thickest to thinnest) lead them up over the bridge and over the nut then tighten them up with the tuning pegs
you`ll notice at this point that the strings dont come anywhere near the neck like in a regular guitar. that because you dont push in the strings with your fingers to fret the notes you use a bottle neck or a section of steel pipe held across the strings to change the effective lengths of the strings

Step 6: The Body

well this guitar doesnt have a real body it has a lower limb which is shaped to fit over your thigh so you can play it sitting down.
mine is made out of a chunk of mdf {medium density fiberboard} two holes are drilled through the end peice and into the end of the board and is held on either with screws of a screw/bolt used to screw legs on coffee tables and such.
its not terribly strong but it could be reinforced with a dowel between the body and the neck up at the point where it curves back towards the neck.
you might depending on your skill level want to bend some hardwood to make it or just use a bit of plywood scrap{stronger than what i did but uglier}

Step 7: Finish

varnish the neck to keep the wood from swelling and to pretty it up a bit
get a guitar slide{steel or glass) plug it in to you favorite amp. and torture you neighbors.
seriously if you dont know how to play a slide guitar your gonna make some awful noises but thats not covered here
any questions just ask

Step 8: Finish

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