Introduction: Bamboo Guitar

About: I like to dabble in a bit of everything: woodworking, metalworking, sewing, electronics.

This is an electric guitar me and my dad made back in 2014 out of a couple bamboo cutting boards.

Step 1: The Shape and Neck

This was my first build, so I decided to go ahead and buy a pre-built neck. Maybe next time I'll feel a bit more ambitious and make my own. I went with a maple neck with a Strat style headstock.

I started by outlining my telecaster on a large piece of paper, then slowly changing the lines until I got this funky fin shape. I ended up buying two large bamboo cutting boards for my wood.

Step 2: Pickups

I like the simplicity of the Les Paul Jr., so I decided to go with a single P90 pickup. This one was a Gibson pickup, but if I had it to do over again I might have gone with a Seymour Duncan. I also had to order the pickup as a "soap-bar" and get a separate "dog-ear" cover and plate.

Step 3: Layout

I used my Epiphone Les Paul as a guide on where to put the bridge.

Step 4: Cut-Out

I used a scroll saw to cut out both boards separately.

Step 5: Glue-Up

A generous amount of wood glue and clamped it up to sit overnight.

Step 6: Sanding the Edges

Gave it a whirl on the belt sander, and cleaned up any excess glue and cutting discrepancies between the two boards.

Step 7: Attaching the Neck

After the glue dried, it was time to route out the neck pocket. I looked up the angle Les Paul necks are usually set at, I believe it was 5 degrees.

I went ahead and put in the tuning pegs. I got Fender locking tuners, and am very happy with them.
Bolted in the neck.

I guess I could have saved a few dollars and gone with a generic plate.

Step 8: Placing the Bridge

We used a couple bolts and some washers to make a temporary floating bridge, while I found the proper spacing.

I strung up both "E" strings and finally got the bridge in a spot where they both intonate well.

Marked and drilled the holes to mount the bridge.

Drilled the holes for the volume and tone potentiometers too.

Step 9: Routing the Pickup Pocket

Now that I knew where the bridge was going to be, It was time to route out the hole for the pickup.

Step 10: Drilling a Hole for the Pickup Wire

Drilled the hole for the jack, as well as a narrower hole for the pickup wire.

Step 11: Sanding

Lots and lots of sanding.

Step 12: Stain

Alright, so this was my first go around. I bought “all purpose outdoor” wood stain from Sherwin Williams, not exactly the most traditional method. I was using sponges and old socks, so my coat wasn’t exactly perfectly even. Oh well, it’s “pre-weathered”.

Step 13: Wiring

Exciting, we're almost there!

I looked up the original wiring diagram for a Les Paul Jr. and just followed that.

I used tin snips to cut out a cover for the electronics. It's not fancy or sexy, but it sort of fits my rough stain job.

Step 14: Finishing Touches

I ended up stealing the string tree from my Tele while I waited for the one I ordered.

All the hardware is in place and I broke out a fresh set of strings!

There she is in all her glory!

View this project on Instagram and Imgur.