Introduction: How to Build Your Own Guitar

How to build your own guitar from scratch.
This instructable will help you learn how to customize your own guitar, starting with a body blank.

Step 1: Shaping the Guitar

Shaping the Guitar is a difficult step. This will take a lot of time and will be challenging. You must obtain a body blank that can be bought at any wood specialty store. For my guitar, I just used a large piece of swamp ash, but you can also get different types of wood such as mohagony, but they will cost you anywhere from $55-$240. The first thing you should do is mark out where you are going to cut out on the body blank. I did this by tracing an old guitar onto the body blank. This may not be the correct size of a body, but you can always customize the pickguard to make it fit. To cut out the guitar body, I used a 1/4" blade on the bandsaw. To start, you should cut off any excess pieces of wood from the body blank that aren't needed. Now you must do a lot of relief cuts in the sharp turning areas of the cut. The best thing you can do is to take it easy and slow and slowly make your cuts.

Step 2: Sanding the Guitar

Now, you must sand out any relief cuts left in the corners. As you can see, the bandsaw has left cuts in the corners that need to be sanded. For this, I used a sanding drum attached to the drill press. This is time consuming, but worth it. Once you have this all sanded down, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Neck Cutout

This next step includes routing, chiseling, and drilling. The first thing you need to do, is to take your guitar neck and trace it onto the top of the guitar. Now, you should take the router, set it to the right depth, and stay close to the line. Now you should clean up the corners with a sharp chisel, and if necessary chisel the space bigger. Now you should place the neck in the space and mark out where you want to drill the holes. You then should take the correct size drill bit and drill out the holes for the screws, but do not go too deep. The easiest way to install the neck is to soak the screws in soap, so they go in easier.

Step 4: Attaching the Strap Buttons

Now you have to attach the strap buttons by taking the right size drill bit and drilling into the guitar to the proper depth and then screw the buttons down.

Step 5: The Pickguard

For this, I used a standard stratocaster pickguard, but it did not fit. I ended up having to cut the pickguard apart on the scroll saw, so it changed from being a stratocaster pickguard to a telecaster pickguard. Now I only need two pickups for my guitar which will save me money. I will also now need a telecaster bridge.

Step 6: Routing the Pickup Cavity

The next step in this process is to make a template for the routing. What I did was trace my pickup onto a thin piece of wood. I then roughly traced around the outside of the pickguard a little bit bigger than the size of the pickup. I then took a very small router bit and routed out the drawing of the cavity. If this is not big enough, you should expand it as needed.