Oil Can Guitar




About: I'm an apprentice toolmaker based in Swindon, UK

I decide to do this project when i first saw people doing them in Africa just for something to play around with. i also saw you could buy them so went to see how much they were which came up to be about £150 to £300 plus as there pretty unique.

Now me being a poor apprentice engineer who had just finished school like a year ago i decided to make my own one and was able to at a 5th of the price.

Step 1: Collecting Parts

I built the guitar around a donor guitar which i got for free and a 1 gallon/ 5 litre oil can which i got from a mate i new at college.

The individual parts needed are stated bellow...

  • A 1 gallon oil can
  • A guitar neck with six machine heads - doesn't matter what kind, i choose a fender stratocaster copy so i could make it look like one.
  • 50mm (2") square wooden block - this goes straight through the guitar which the neck and everthing else is screwed onto to prevent any bending and it coming out of tune.
  • 25mm (1") thick wooden bored cut to fit can - this is what the can screws on to which is screwed onto the can.
  • insilation tap and foam - this will be used to insulate the can from the circuit
  • fender style bridge - I choose the standard series with a whammy bar attachment
  • 3 pick ups
  • 5 way fender switch - this is used to change between pick ups to make a variety of sounds without having to touch the amp.
  • 3 potentiometers - these alter the voltage passing through which intern alters the sound made - i had one for volume and two for tone like a standard fender stat.
  • 1 auto jack

  • 1 2A473J capacitor
  • some wires - i used several different colors on mine to make it easier when it came to construction.

Step 2: The Can

I started by playing around with the oil can by cutting it out to suit an old scratch plate which i used as my template.

Step 3: The Wood Work

i now started playing with the inside of the can which i used some piece of wood which i had in the shed.

The board i wanted to fix the can to and also all the electrics with the bridge.

I then used a router to mill the boarded to slot everything into.

I then fixed the board to the wooden block which i then intern fixed the neck to using four heavy duty screws.

Step 4: Electrics

I then began working on the electronic of the guitar, unfortunately i haven't got many photos of this but i used the circuit diagram from another guitar which is off a genuine fender strat.

circuit diagram found on site bellow...


Step 5: First Assembly

Once i had got the main parts done i was able to assemble the guitat for the first time to get a feel, see if it worked and if it sounds ok which i was then able to disassemble it then paint it

Step 6: Finishing Toaches

I then painted the can with the classic red which fenders are known for then modified the scratch plate and added a scrap and a set of stings.

The guitar of course has its own unique theme with regards to sound with a kind of tiny affect which makes it great for western or rock and roll. but it does work well with other guitars in a group while turning a few heads in the process =D.

If you have any questions about or anything to do with it just leave a comment and il try and help the best i can.

Step 7: Audio

Here is some audio of the guitar

I just did a few basic things as i'm not that experience with playing guitar.

hope it sounds ok =D



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11 Discussions

FlavioM2James B warren

Reply 3 years ago

The file seems to be corrupted... I have downloaded it two times to no good...
If you feel comfortable , it's better to upload to youtube or other video service and put the link here. It will also save bandwith for instructables site.
Even more curious now :)

James B warrenFlavioM2

Reply 3 years ago

will do mate, i'm away at the moment so il try and get some on by sunday

James B warrenlappalainen

Reply 3 years ago

will do mate, i'm away at the moment so il try and get some on by sunday