Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Instruments > Gear Building & Customizing
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 10-16-2012, 11:54 PM   #1
Interitus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Cheap first guitar build

First post, so Hi all

I've always thought it'd be pretty awesome to build myself a custom guitar. And I recently started thinking about it again, and figure it'll be a good winter project. However, I'm currently in school, and on a very tight budget. So I'd like to do it very cheaply. Being my first guitar, and the fact I have two very good sounding guitars already, I am not concerned about this being the best sounding guitar. It is more about the experience of building a guitar from scratch (or as close to as possible), and learning how to do it, what to watch for, etc. I am mainly following this tutorial from Instructables as a guide. I've got two possible designs, one being a neck-thru, the other can be a bolt-on.

I know that the wood used has a big effect on the sound, but quality woods are out of my price range. I have a piece of old 2x10 spruce that feels and sounds very solid that I would like to use as the body, with another piece of spruce glued on for more width. But with the neck, I am having trouble finding a cheap pre-made one including fingerboard. Would spruce be an acceptable neck for this project? with perhaps an oak fingerboard? Or is there another more commonly available wood that I could acquire, that would be a better choice?
If I make this project, I am trying to stay $100-150 MAX. A quick ebay search revealed some cheap "build a strat" kits for $50ish, with everything needed, but I'm betting that they're not worth the money, even for my project.. I've been looking around on Warmoth, Allparts, and Stewmac, and most parts seem pretty cheap. But it still seems like this project will spiral out of budget. Think my price range is doable? Or should I hold off till I've made some money?
Interitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 12:03 AM   #2
Darkdevil725
UG Freak
 
Darkdevil725's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Texas
__________________
Love and Hate
You can't have one without the other - Me

My site for helping those with a low budget find good gear.
Best Budget Guitarist
Also my bad youtube channel.
Guess That Riff
Darkdevil725 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 12:23 AM   #3
W4RP1G
Please, call me Pig.
 
W4RP1G's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: USA
I'm guessing that your goal here is to get your feet wet in guitar building?

Buying a premade neck when you're trying to learn how build a guitar doesn't make too much sense. However, I can't see you keeping under your budget if you have to buy all of the parts and tools needed to build a guitar from scratch.
W4RP1G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 07:14 AM   #4
Revocati0n
Slammity slam
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Hey buddy.

Try going down to your local second hand/pawn shop to see if they have any cheap guitars that you can wrangle and take apart.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by iHurricaneGTR
i like to lick the lichen on the sticky stickers stuck on those who like licking lickers that like liking things.
Revocati0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 07:16 AM   #5
Culler Amps
Matt Culler
 
Culler Amps's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: King, NC
Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
However, I can't see you keeping under your budget if you have to buy all of the parts and tools needed to build a guitar from scratch.


This ^

Even without having to buy the tools, you'd really have to scrounge around to get all the hardware and wood for that budget.

You could possibly try to find a loaded parts guitar online for a donor. Probably the cheapest way to get all the hardware at once.

Carvin sells some kits that are top notch in quality, and semi-customizable, but they are out of your budget quite a bit.

Last edited by Culler Amps : 10-17-2012 at 07:17 AM.
Culler Amps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 07:40 AM   #6
rageahol
Registered User
 
rageahol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
I did mine for 300 euro not including tools (another 150). I even got the pickups for free. I would say, if yoou have a router, make the neck yourself. it's really not hard.
rageahol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 08:50 AM   #7
Interitus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
The only tools I dont have that I think would make the project easier is a planar and a bandsaw. I've got a router, jigsaw, circular saw, sanders and whatnot, so tools isnt an issue. Been spending that money over years
So it looks like the cheapest way I'm going to get the hardware is to scavenge a cheap guitar, which is fine. But if I make a neck from scratch, is cheap spruce going to handle well enough? And what about the fingerboard?
Interitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 02:40 PM   #8
W4RP1G
Please, call me Pig.
 
W4RP1G's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: USA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Interitus
The only tools I dont have that I think would make the project easier is a planar and a bandsaw. I've got a router, jigsaw, circular saw, sanders and whatnot, so tools isnt an issue. Been spending that money over years
So it looks like the cheapest way I'm going to get the hardware is to scavenge a cheap guitar, which is fine. But if I make a neck from scratch, is cheap spruce going to handle well enough? And what about the fingerboard?

I've never heard of spruce as a neck wood. I don't know the physical properties of spruce, so I can't make that call. But if you can't find anyone claiming that spruce is ok with a google search, you should probably avoid it.

Maple isn't too expensive. Or if you're feeling brave, neither is oak, but it's damn hard wood. Getting nicely quarter sawn pieces is a different story, but I'm guessing that you don't care so much about that.

Also, it's good that you've got that those tools, but you're still going to need a few specialty tools if you intend to build a neck from scratch. Fretting requires some special tools, such as the fret saw and crowning file, and radiusing the fretboard will require a radiused sanding block(unless you go with a flat fretboard). And you'll need at least a flat bastard file for leveling, and a pair of flush-cutting nippers for the ends of the fret wire.

And as far as things that you'll need go...you'll need a truss rod and fret wire. You might be able to get a cow bone from a local butcher, or just buy one from a pet store. And then all of the other components like the electronics, tuners, and bridge.

I honestly don't see how you could stay under your budget, unless someone gave you a guitar with most of the parts you need. But even then, the fret supplies will not be cheap.
W4RP1G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 05:01 PM   #9
BreeBreeMiikey
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revocati0n
Hey buddy.

Try going down to your local second hand/pawn shop to see if they have any cheap guitars that you can wrangle and take apart.

Agreed.
__________________
Guitars:
LTD KH-602
LTD M-15
Schecter Hellraiser FR (for sale w/hsc, pm me.)
BC Rich Bronze WarCock
BC Rich Ironbird1
Tokai Voyager
Jackson JS30 Kelly
Vester: Metal flake gold/black crackle
Vester: rainbow crackle
Carvin V220
BreeBreeMiikey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 10:30 AM   #10
seano554
Registered User
 
seano554's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ireland
What style are you gonna go for?
Guitar fetish has good quality stuff and it's not too expensive!
I built my second guitar with all their stuff for 250 or so dollars and shipping on top, and it sounds pretty damn good if I do say so myself. you can get the factory clearout stuff ow as well for really cheap so I'd give them a look. Plus the stuff in the clearance section is grand. I got my neck there for 20 odd dollars and I saw next to nothing wrong with it!
And since you have pretty much all the tools you need (I did it all with a router and jigsaw and chisels) I think you can definitely do this for relatively cheap! Just take your time, do the research and be inventive with ways to get around problems that need tools you don't have!

Just did a check there, I can get everything for a strat style guitar for 80 dollars from guitar fetish factory blowout section. Not a strat neck, but it's only the wrong shape! Shipping will be more on top of this, but still!

Last edited by seano554 : 10-18-2012 at 10:38 AM.
seano554 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
Interitus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Why did I not look at guitar fetish's clearance bin before? I've now found a good neck, strap buttons, output jack, and a lp style tuneomatic bridge and stop-piece. The neck looks to require a nut, but there's no measurements so I'm going to have to receive it and measure it before I can order a nut...

But I am confused as to what pickups and wiring guts I'm going to need. All I know for sure, is that I need a white pickup to fit my guitar design. Most of the coils seem to come in pairs or triplets, with a bridge and a neck pickup. A quick google was pretty vague, and seemed to indicate there's not much of a difference, if any, between the bridge and neck pickup of a set. If I were to decide between these two:
http://www.guitarfetish.com/Crunchy...oils-_c_50.html
http://www.guitarfetish.com/VEH-Vin...und-_c_165.html
What would the difference be between the neck and bridge pickups? I'm leaning towards the 'crunchy pat' coils, as they're cheaper... And how does the DC resistance change my wiring? Can I just buy one pickup? I'm guessing this would just eliminate the selector switch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seano554
What style are you gonna go for?

Style? I've got my own design for the shape of the body, if thats what you mean.. With a pre-made neck, I'll be sticking to a 6 string guitar.

Last edited by Interitus : 10-18-2012 at 07:26 PM.
Interitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 07:46 PM   #12
seano554
Registered User
 
seano554's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ireland
The only difference so far as I know between the neck and bridge pickups id the output of them. Usually the bridge one is higher output because the string vibrates that much less at the bridge. Anybody feel free to correct me if I've got this wrong!
The wiring depends on what you want. Number of tone pots, volume pots and if you want to do anything with the pickups. Humbuckers are fun cause you can coil tap them, choose phasing and stuff. Of course you can have as many or as few pickups in the guitar, and choose the toggle accordingly; 2 pickups, 3 way toggle. 1 pickup, no toggle. 3 pickups, 5 way toggle. That's the usual standard anyway.

By what style, I meant specs and such.. What pickups, electronics, bridge, design, neck etc
Also, I'm guessing this is your first build so unless you are pretty good with wood I would recommend you buy the cheapest stuff you can and then if it turns out well, upgrade it! As in, the crunchy pats are gonna cost ~45 Dollars whereas you can get others in the clearance bin there for half that, plus the rings! Then if the build turns out well, you can drop the extra cash on better stuff and have the old hardware for a future build to test.

Also, they are usually referred to as 'pickups' and not 'coils'.. A pickup is made of the coils. As in, a humbucker has two coils in it and then there are 'single coil' types, which as the name indicates are made up of a single coil. Just for future reference!
seano554 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 08:30 PM   #13
Interitus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Ok, well I added that VEH neck position pickup, went with the VEH cause it does actually sound quite a bit better, and if the guitar turns out well, it'll sound good!

I've got the one pickup in my cart, and I'm gonna go with two 500k potentiometers, one for tone and one for volume. I have lots of capacitors lying around, and research shows that a 0.022 microF cap should be good?

Just gotta pick out some cheapish tuners I think and I should be able to place the order!

Update : D'oh! over $100 before shipping. $155 US after shipping... which puts it a fair bit over my original budget, but it doesnt look I could really reduce this cost any more. Cause seriously, the neck was only $25! And the parts are good so if this really goes to hell, I can use 'em on the next guitar.

Last edited by Interitus : 10-18-2012 at 08:53 PM.
Interitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 08:38 PM   #14
seano554
Registered User
 
seano554's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ireland
Experiment with the caps, but I think that's the standard for humbuckers though, yeah!
seano554 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2012, 04:04 AM   #15
stlouisfan37
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Take a look on Ebay for tuners...I just got a set of brand new Grover Rotomatics for about $20, including shipping
stlouisfan37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:17 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.