The Absolute Worst and Utterly Terrible Way to Build a Folding Guitar




About: Christian, MECE student, amateur guitarist, occasional pipe smoker, human, probably not dead. yep.

in this instructable, I will explain how to create a folding electric guitar out of a few pieces of hardware and an old guitar. (you could use a new one, but I don't recommend it). this instructable is not for people not willing to compromise the structure and even playability of a guitar.

UPDATE:: there are lots of better ways to do this. I just documented mine. I know this compromises pretty much everything that a good guitar should have. the thing is, my guitar didn't have those qualities. so that's why I did it. I've actually already gutted and thrown out the guitar (kept the insides for replacements, see), but it would work if you needed it to.

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Step 1: Remove the Strings of the Guitar

you'll need to take off the strings. if you can't do this, just stop right now.

Step 2: Remove the Neck

there are four screws on the back. remove them.

note- there may be some glue holding it on. mine was old and has suffered some damage, so the glue was no longer holding.

Step 3: Remove the Pickguard

next, take off the pickguard. you'll generally want to just unscrew everything you see.

Step 4: Remove Part of the Neck

this is the point of no return. if you do this, there's no going back.

you're going to want to take off some of the end of the neck. it's hard to explain, so look at the picture.

Step 5: Attach the Hinge

you're going to need the best hinge you can find. I couldn't find a good one. anyway, mark and drill your holes, then screw on the hinge.

Step 6: Mark and Screw the Hinge Into the Guitar Body

now, mark where the hinge needs to go on the guitar body so that the neck swings out of place and back again. make sure you do this carefully; I did it wrong the first time. also, because my guitar is about as cheap as a turd, it's made of laminated plywood. which is not good for holding screws horizontally. so, I added a little shim on the other side to hold it.

Step 7: Put the Electronics Back In

um, yeah. make sure they go back where they should be. then put the pickguard back on.

Step 8: String Winder

this is the hardish part. we're going to make the apparatus on the back. first, get a large, round piece of wood. I found an old piano leg, so I used that. you need to drill holes for strings, axle, and pin (to keep it from turning).

the hole for the axle is drilled straight through. I would reccomend using a drill press. I don't have one. my axle is crooked. get my point?

the holes for the pins go in the sides. you might want to make a few, because you never know what position your cylinder might end up in.

the holes for the strings are drilled at an angle. they are this way because it causes less stress for the strings.

sorry about the ms schematics, this step took both hands. also, I forgot to take pictures.

Step 9: Mount on Guitar

now, you'll need to use L-brackets to mount it. I had to make mine, I didn't have any. make sure they're strong. I would reccomend one with four screwholes holding it to the guitar. then, put a bolt through it and it's mounted.

Step 10: I've Made It, How Do I Use It?

to use it, you need to put strings on it. first, put the strings through the six holes in the cylinder, making sure they aren't too big to hold the strings. (if they are, you could just use washer to hold them.) then, string it like a regular guitar.

to keep the neck down while playing, screw in the top two screws originally used to hold on the neck and tune. when you want to collapse it, unscrew them, then roll the cylinder until the strings are wound around it and are kept out of place.

I don't have an original picture for this step. suck it up.

Step 11: Ending Notes

when the guitar is closed, you may want to put a towel or something in between the neck and the body to keep it from damaging itself.

this guitar doesn't hold a tune. my guitar didn't hold a tune before, so that might be it, but be warned.

you may want to add side guards to the string organizer. on my design, the strings would fall off the side of the cylinder.

I know this is not an original idea. but it's original because I am the first to DIY this guitar (as opposed to the commercially available one).

this method doesn't work for fused neck guitars. only bolted ones.

you can endlessly adapt this method. I'm just documenting mine. for instance, ironsmiter added this comment (this is just an excerpt):

Step 4 ; It's usually called a Rabbet. Sometimes, mistaken for a Dado(which is really only a rabbet on the face side of the board, rather than the side).

Step 5 ; I think a Door hinge(maybe a little overkill) would be plenty strong, and a brass one might look nice too.

By using 2 dead-bolts on the back, and a piece of velcro strap, you could avoid the whole string winder issue. Basically, loosen the strings a bit with the tuning pegs, wrap the lower neck once with the velcro strap, undo the deadbolts, and fold. The strap should hold the strings pretty well in place, and the dead bolts should resist the folding forces well, when re-tuning the guitar.

I really like the strap idea- the string winder seemed like a good idea, but it doesn't work as well as i'd hoped. this just reiterates the idea that this isn't set in stone, and it's an endlessly changeable project.

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    44 Discussions


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 11

    sorry, I don't have a camera. but I really don't know how a video would help.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 11

    If you don't have a camera, how did you make the 'ible? Or do you mean you don't have a video camera?


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    I just thought that while i was here, I would mention again that this was an absolutely terrible idea and an awful way to go about doing this.

    how can someone, it two years, go from complete idiot (let's go cut up a guitar and throw in a door hinge!") to a pretty competent maker? (and if this is how the whole "making" thing is going to go, I should be able to do some amazing stuff by the time I'm 18 and allowed to buy all the "off limits" stuff in the hardware store.)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    now I'm seventeen and just finished building a pretty great catapult in engineering. man, this instructable sucked....


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    lol im so used to seeing right handed guitars, when i saw the pictures i figured it was some foldable guitar drawn and cut out of cardboard... LOL


    9 years ago on Introduction

    mexico. but it's a good one. some that come out of mexico aren't too hot.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    That was an Epiphone strat style. I have a similar one, same p-up combo & bridge but the headstock is the Batwing type that's on the new Wilshires. The only problem i had with mine were the stock pickups. I swapped them out & had a really nice guitar for about 150 buck total. Being left handed sucks, finding ANY guitar is half the damn battle.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    are you left handed? yeah. I was at guitar center. they have walls upon walls of guitars. I asked where the leftys were. they pointed me to a single support beam with about 10 guitars on it labeled "lefty land".


    9 years ago on Step 11

    this is very good project but it does terrible thing to guitar i wouldn't personaly tried it made it well done!!