Introduction: Multiscale Hollowbody Recycled Wood Guitar With Composite Fretboard

About: I am a physicist. I am a developer. I like to build musical instruments.

There are many technologies, like carbon fiber, 3d printing with Titanium, and others.
I want to have all the technical stuff so I can build other technical stuff. And I think, what if I can make my composite just like carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is very good and it's easy to work with the material. I want to use it in the guitar building process.

And I think, can I make my own carbon-like material?

Am I a trembling creature or do I have the right?

Step 1: Choosing Materials

I know, that carbon fiber is made from a reduction of cellulose.
I wonder if I can create a composite with no reduced cellulose. Near my home market, I can get Jute fabric.

Jute fabric is a rude and tough material with high tensile strength. Jute's tensile strength is not like carbon fiber, but I hope it is enough.

To be frank, my composite has less strength than wood, but it looks cool :)


For fretboard:

- Jute fabric

- epoxy

- black paint

For the rest of the guitar:

- wood from recycled been

- some frets 2 mm wide

- head machines, which left from other projects

- noname pickup for 7 string guitar

- 7 single bridges

- 4 variable resistors

- piezo pickup

- toss rod

Step 2: Build a Composite

I have marked out all fabric into 150 mm wide strips.
Put all these into the black dye. These stripes I clamped to an antenna which clamp to dry it. It is simple to make a composite. You have to take fabric and glue it together in layers. So I don't glue everything to the table I put my jute stripes on foil and cover with glue.

After two days I get the workpiece from my improvised press. If you have measure closely carbon fiber you will have noticed that it is very dense. In the case of jute, it is very loose. To make it dense you have to subject it to high pressure. To do his I have a few clamps and bricks and I use them all. But my composite was not as dense as I want, and not as tough as carbon fiber. This workpiece waited for me to use it for two months.

Meanwhile, I was thinking about what guitar creature I want.

Step 3: Guitar Creature

I have done two guitar projects and my friend asked me to build him another one, a regular guitar.
I like all musical instruments, but guitars more than others. But I love to build strange guitars. And I decided to build another strange guitar for another friend for their birthday. And this guitar might by some to be very strange. One day, at my job, I make a sketch.

My fretboard was exactly the right width for 7 strings. And I have 7 machine heads.


I don't think so!

Main characteristics: scale:

690 mm - 725 mm

27 frets

two pickups (another piezoelectric)

Calculating a multi-scale fretboard is easy. You need to know the first and last scale. Frets are like lines from the point of the fret position, from the shortest scale to the longest.

Step 4: How to Process a Composite

Processing the composite and getting it ready for use was hard.
Dry epoxy stuck in the sandpaper. Even if I used the coarsest grade of sandpaper I had to clean it every 5 minutes. One way to facilitate this work would be sanding with water. But I was working on some tables. I can't use water all the time because the tables are made from old and dry wood, which easily absorbs water. Finally, I made the surface flat. First I glued it on a Wood veneer of ash. Then I glued it onto the neck.

Step 5: Compose All to Guitar

Like I said, I mainly use wood from a scrapyard.
I have one very nice piece of spruce and one table's leg and so on.

Step 6: Installing Frets, True Story

I had to install the frets twice.
The first time I set the frets thinking that the fretboard was flat enough. But, because my fretboard is not wooden, the frets bend the neck towards the beck. I have to get rid of all of them and bend the neck to make the surface flat again. After that, I install all the frets successfully.

This happens because my composite is not wood. It is more like plastic. This means when you have to deal with wood and install the frets in the wood, the wood resists wedging. In the case of this composite, there is no resisting and wedging leads to the neck bending.

Step 7: Installing Furniture and Other Troubles

I have installed machine heads, pickups, and other electronics.
I use aluminum foil to shield from stray electric fields. I have a rectangle-like main pickup, it has two coils mounted by screws. I want to make my pickup more parallelogram-like. I have done this by remounting the coils to other holes in the frame.

Troubles started when I installed the single bridges. I bought them on the internet and made calculations using only data from the vendor. In fact, everything is not as it is in reality. The single bridge is a small banded steel plate with detail for a string. So the banded plate is wider in the place where it is banded. Because of that my bridges have a trapezoidal shape, and the strings were wider than I want at the end of the fretboard. To reduce this extra width I sanded the bridges to a parallel shape and the strings sat as they should. After that, I removed all the furniture from the guitar, painted it with lacquer, and installed everything again.

Step 8: Saving Private Truss Rod

I have built a thin and comfortable neck.
When I started to work out the truss rod I figured out that it wanted to break through the backside of the neck!

It was very scary when you have almost finished the instrument and you figure out that you are making a pile of rubbish. So I started to research how I could fix it.

Firstly I thought that I could strengthen it with a small metal plate. But, when I am installing it I actually break through the neck. I figure out, that the truss rod has broken through the neck because of how thin the neck is. So I try to move the truss rod forward towards the head, where there is more wood. And it helps. I can manage the normal bowing of the neck with the rod.

Step 9: Photos and Test the Sound

After all the troubles and researching I have an instrument that is pleasing to the eye, sounds great, and works well.
This work log proves that you can make a musical instrument from anything, even from rags :)

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