Introduction: My Home Built Guitar
This is a instructables to show you all how I made my home made guitar. I'll also try to show what parts I used, where I got them and what could have been done better.
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Step 1: Research
I spent a lot of time here on Instructables and Youtube looking at people building their own guitars. It´s so easy to find lots and lots of projects there's not even need to place links here. However it takes some time and thinking about ideas and strategies to decide what you want and how it should be done. If you want to you can buy a kit including all parts you need. I decided to build mine from scratch.
I also decided to make my guitar half accustic That means that I can play it and hear what it sounds like when I sit alone at home. If I want anyone else to hear what I play I need som kind of amplifier.
Step 2: The Shape of Your Guitar
Next step I printed out the shape of my guitar. I decided I wanted a Les Paul shaped body in a "half-accustic" version. One side where you can find inspiration of the shape of the guitar is here.
However, as before, google it and you will find a lot more..
Find your shape, put in at a paper and cut it out. In this step you can experiment with multiple versions, however you need to decide which one to use.
Step 3: Internal Building Frame
First of all a litle disclaimer. A lot of people will propably be annoyed by this step and the next letting me know that this is not how to build a guitar. However I just try to show how I did and it workee for me.
As you can see in the pictures above I cut two pieces from the paper template in som plywood. Between the pieces of plywood I put a number of small plywood parts to act as distance. This distance will also decide how "fat" your guitar will be. mine is about 1 dm (4").
In the pictures You can also see how I left a hole for the neck in the front piece of the frame while I saved that part in the back frame. I afraid I didn´t get a picture of that
Step 4: Covering the Front and Side of Your Guitar
In this step I guess I went a bit off whats expected. I got inspeiraed of this Instructable where the maker used only popsicle sticks (!!)
However I decided to cover my guitar with those small sticks you can get in your local paint stor which is (supposed to be?) used to stir your paint.
I began with the sides which were kind of tricky. To adapt to the round shapes of the guitar I sometimes had to cut them on the length. On reason to take the side before the front is that you then can cover the end-parts from the side with the top sticks.
After covering front and side I stabilized at the inside by gluing 2 extra sticks before drilling a hole. U can see the in the image above. As next step I had to cover the inside of the guitar with generously amounts of wood glue to make it tight. There shouldn't be any holes between the sticks.
Last part of this step is the use sandpaper until the guitar is as smooth as you like it
Step 5: The Neck
I had some problems to decide what wood I should use for the neck. I actuallt found a peace of hardwood somewhere which I had cut off from a door, which was to tall, some time ago.
The width of the neck obviously have to be the same as your hole in the guitars body. I shaped the form of the neck with a band saw (very rough), a knife (most part) and sanding paper (finish) until I was happy with the shape.
My best tips how to do this is to compare it with another guitar you like to play and try to get it as similair as possible
At the head I made my niggest mistake with this guitar. I made the head to small so it was a bit trickt to fit the tuning screws properly
Step 6: Put It Together and Paint
Ok, now you´ve come to a very comforting step since from now it actually looks like a guitar. You should put the neck and the body together. Before you glue the neck at the proper place at the body you need to consider the angle between the parts. Hold the neck where it should be and check the height between the strings and the neck.
One tips is to put a straight piece of wood where the strings will be and check so the height is correct. Remember that once you glued the strings at place it´s very hard to redo it. At my guitar I got the strings a bit to far from the neck from what would have been ideal.
You might also want to consider if you want to paint the body before you put the parts together. I chosed to put tape on the neck when I spray painted the body but it might have been easier to paint the body before.
I used spray paint at my guitar. One reason for this is that I wanted the paint to seal all possible small openings in the body which might have been missed while gluing the inside. I first put 2 layers of white paint on the inside. When it dired I tried to put fire flames ( I know, I'm not an epic artist concerning taping fire flames...) with tape before I put on 2 more layers of black paint. When it all dried I removed the tape and sprayed two more layers of vanish to have a glossy surfice.
Step 7: Parts Used
I bought most equipment I needed for my project at ebay. Here comes a purchase list to help anyone who try anything similar. (hope the links will stay alive some time):Bridge (3.49 US$)
(Since the height between strings and the neck were a bit to high I wanted a rather low bridge. This one was lower then anything I managed to do myself)Fret wire (3.29 US$)
At first I had some plans to make my own pickup inspired by this instructuctables (and some more)
However only the copper wire needed to spool would have cost me more the the pre-wired picup so I made a shortcut here...
Tuning screws (3.92 US$)
The strings I just bought in local music store (needs to be stell strings).
Step 8: Frets
Now you need to measure the distance between knot and bridge, ie how long are the strings. You also need to decide how many frets you want.
With this information you can calculate where you should put the fret wire using this calculator
You will recieve a value in mm or inches with many decimals. In this step it is important to be patient and get it right. You don´t want the strings in the wrong postion.The side can also be used to calculate the angle between the body and the neck.
You will recieve every frets position from the knot and from the fret before. It is adviced to always measure from the knot to avoid retroactive misstakes.
When you attach the frets to the neck you should first start by marking where every fret should be with a pencil. Then step a step back and make sure its looks right. Every fret space should be a bit smaller then the one before.
When you got the positions right you need some thin saw to make the spaces where you should press in the wire. There's a "tap" on every piece of wire and you need a club or hammer to put the wire in place. It should stay in place by this but if you want to you can use some glue to make it even more solid.
Step 9: Finallizing
So the last steps is to put all parts together. U need to make a hole for the pickup. Easiest is to start making small holes with a drill and then use a stick saw.
Drill holes for the tuning screws and screw them tight.
Decide where you want volume and tuning control and your output jack. Since I bought the kit its rather self-instructing how to do. As you can see in the image above I couldn't put the pickup straight. This is to compensate that every string is straight above every magnet in the picup.
You need to screw the bridge in place. You need to know where it will be to calculate the fret positions last step.
To make it more robust I glued some wood under top top of the guitar for the screws to the bridge to fit in.
You also need to attach the backside of the guitar. I made the backside from a piece of spare ply wood I found. The backside of the guitar is about 5mm thick (1/5"). It was painted together with the rest of the body.
I have a very simple setup where I connect the guitar to my iPhone using an iRig and to a bluetooth speaker via a 3.5 mm contact. I bought my iRig at (you've guessed it already!!) ebay
I will get back with a video when I'm playing the guitar as soon as I'm able to.