Introduction: Homemade Cutaway Guitar - of an Existing One!

These are instructions how to make a homemade cutaway guitar of an existing one.

CAUTION: Not for beginners!

You must be able to handle with wood etc.

Get a guitar

A Guitar

General documentation
Acoustics for violin and guitar makers

Step 1: What You Need

Ok, here is what you need:

1 existing Guitar. (cheap one!)
1 Hotair gun
1 Saw (here japanese)
1 thin small saw (here a automatic). Needed for make small radius cuts. [german: Um sehr enge radien zu sägen.]
1 glue
1 paring chisel (small one, here 6mm) [german: Stechbeitel]

+ Lot of patient and time ;-)

Step 2: 1st Do Checking and Draw a Mask

First do checking if the cut is practical. If you can do it.

Check for parts witch must be cut off.
Check for parts inside the guitar.
Check also witch side. Left hand or right hand guitar differs!

Prepare a mask, a template. With paper or with transparent foil.

Draw with little dots the "cut route" on top and on bottom of the guitar.

Make sure, that you will saw better less material then too much!

Step 3: CUT!

Do the cut! - But think better twice then ... cut away material that you need (as I did unfortunately)!

1st the top, then the bottom, then on the neck. NOT the side! (The side will be bent.)

Step 4: Prepare for Bending

So then, do preparation for bending the body sides (ribs). [german: Zarge]

Clean up.
Remove the paint (german: Lack) on the body side.
As shown in the picture.

Depending on what (german: Zargenverstärker ) you have:
  • cut them, if not already is so. As shown in a picture below.

The trick here is, that the body side needs to be very good prepared for bending.

CAUTION: Do not bend the body side if dry!

Step 5: Bend

Bring water on the body side. With a spray.
After a minute or so, the body side is wet and very easy to bend.

So you can just "open" the guitar, so that you can look inside it :-)

Step 6: Prepareation Again (for Definitive Bending)

Do some preparation on the bottom.

The body side will take place *inside between* the bottom and the top.

So, remove some wood (german: Verstärker oben und unten), if they disturb.

See pictures below.

Step 7: Bend!

This is one of the most critical part.

  • Put water again on the prepared body side.
  • You should be able to bend the body side very easily.
  • Maybe some heated up air is required, maybe not.
  • Make sure, that the body side does not move away.

You see, the body side is broken a little bit. Also some wooden parts disturbs.

You can also see the missing wood of the bottom side. (So better cut away less wood.)

But, anyway does it looks like a cut away right now?!

Step 8: Glue and Repair

  • I used simple white glue. PVAC. (german: Schnellabbindender Weissleim)
  • So in 5 minutes, the glue is dry.

As you can see I cut away too much wood on the bottom side.


So here the reparation.

  • Add wood that was cut way before.
  • Glue it.
  • Cut away wood. And do preparations with sandpaper.