#1
Alright,
I've spent a ton of time on this forum just looking around, but made relatively few posts, but I have a question.

I'm a relatively broke graduate student. I really want to build my own guitar, but I have almost no money, and even fewer tools. I was chatting with my dad about it today, and he and I thought it would be really cool, and unique, to attempt a build with mostly hand tools. I'd buy a drill and a dremel, and do everything else the old fashioned way.

So my question to you experts is, is it even possible to do this well? I don't want to handmake a crappy guitar. Time is not as much of an issue as money, as I don't really care how long it takes to do it, and I am obsessive enough to finish the job.

Well UG GB&C, am I dreaming, or is this realistic?
Gear:
2003 Fender Standard Strat w/ Texas Specials
2010 EBMM BFR JP6
2012 Babicz Identity Dreadnaught
2015 Gibson Les Paul Traditional SR
Line 6 POD HD500
Peavey XXX 112
Fender Blues Jr
#2
It depends on how well milled your wood is.

The only power tools you really "need" are a bandsaw, a router, and a planer, and a joiner maybe.
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#3
^you could get away with a jig saw instead of a bandsaw if needed, my friend's brother did it.
#4
It'll go a lot faster if you get a hold of power tools any way you can. Borrow them, or see about maybe hiring or renting the tools, or maybe even sneak into a workshop and use the tools while no one is looking lol It'll make things a lot easier for yourself.
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#5
Quote by Øttər
It depends on how well milled your wood is.

The only power tools you really "need" are a bandsaw, a router, and a planer, and a joiner maybe.

coping saw, chisel, hand-planer

nah screw cutting out a guitar with a coping saw, it was hard enough when i cut mine out with a jigsaw. I might have to take the chisel approach on mine but i'm not looking forward to it, pickup and control cavities sure but i'm worried about the whole tight neck pocket thing.
#7
If you have a friend with access to a wood shop see if he can mill the wood for you, cut it with a bandsaw, etc...
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#8
im attempting a build with a jigsaw, router, files, rasp, sand paper, and a hand planer, although i might outsource planning jsut for speed and to make sure its done right. besides a shop up the street from me will charge me $5 to plane a few boards real quick.
#9
Quote by Diamond Dave
coping saw, chisel, hand-planer

nah screw cutting out a guitar with a coping saw, it was hard enough when i cut mine out with a jigsaw. I might have to take the chisel approach on mine but i'm not looking forward to it, pickup and control cavities sure but i'm worried about the whole tight neck pocket thing.


I thought about that, and I figured I could chisel out the bulk, and clean it up with a dremel...

or do a neck thru....
Gear:
2003 Fender Standard Strat w/ Texas Specials
2010 EBMM BFR JP6
2012 Babicz Identity Dreadnaught
2015 Gibson Les Paul Traditional SR
Line 6 POD HD500
Peavey XXX 112
Fender Blues Jr
#10
Brian May. I dunno if he didn't use power tools, but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't use them because his whole guitar was basically scrap coz he was poor, and he now has a high quality guitar that he's still recording and performing with.

It most certainly is possible, but you can bet that it's gonna be a whole lot harder.
#11
Quote by chris024
im attempting a build with a jigsaw, router, files, rasp, sand paper, and a hand planer, although i might outsource planning jsut for speed and to make sure its done right. besides a shop up the street from me will charge me $5 to plane a few boards real quick.


Let me know how it goes... I think i'd just be that much more proud of it if I did it mostly by hand.
Gear:
2003 Fender Standard Strat w/ Texas Specials
2010 EBMM BFR JP6
2012 Babicz Identity Dreadnaught
2015 Gibson Les Paul Traditional SR
Line 6 POD HD500
Peavey XXX 112
Fender Blues Jr
#12
Quote by Diamond Dave
coping saw, chisel, hand-planer


lol... I had to use a handplanner on my guitar... i glued together some of the chunks of wood, had slight error... couldnt plane cause the planer was 12" wide, guitar was 13" ...lol so i hand planed it, worked fine. then glue the maple top on.... just slightly higher on one side of the bookmatch, handplaner .. too riskey might cause tear out.. .so i had to use a scraper... great fun... its litterally a slightly sharpend rectangle made of metal... takes off about 1µm per scrape...lol handy tool tho... shaping the neck i used a contor plainer. Electric tools i used: Router (for pickup cavitys and such, but you would use chisels and drill out majority of the "filler" wood.) Bandsaw (you could use a coping saw, or a lot of sand paper ) Sanders (sanding block/sand paper), Anyways im sure its possible... its the "old fashioned way" and they did it..lol Good luck!
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#13
Quote by Ethanb08
so i had to use a scraper... great fun... its litterally a slightly sharpend rectangle made of metal... takes off about 1µm per scrape...lol handy tool tho...

that reminds me of one good thing about hand tools vs power tools, its a lot harder to suddenly cause catastrophic damage to your guitar

i almost had a bad run in with an electric planer on my build and got close to having about 10mm less wood left on the body than i wanted lol
#14
it's hard with limited power as is. I use a bandsaw, router, table saw and sander. It's still not for the timid or the inexperienced unless you plan on having your 1st guitar be a learner guitar. a.k.a learning how to build one!
#15
Guitars have been around fo hundreds of years, how do you think guitars we're built before you could walk to your nearest hardware store and buy a router?

You could argue that without a lot of prior wood working skills its harder to get a guitar built as cleanly and professionally looking as you can with power tools, bu its definatly possible.




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#16
I'm building a guitar at the moment. The only power tool I am using is a drill. Cavities with a fastener bit and a chisel, body with a coping saw and shaping with spokeshaves.
#17
I'm glad to hear many of you think it's doable, and I'm certain when I get around to this, I'll be bugging those of you with experience building with hand tools with questions!
Gear:
2003 Fender Standard Strat w/ Texas Specials
2010 EBMM BFR JP6
2012 Babicz Identity Dreadnaught
2015 Gibson Les Paul Traditional SR
Line 6 POD HD500
Peavey XXX 112
Fender Blues Jr
#18
It's possible a lot of work though a few power tools even if there cheap crap will help you a lot. With acoustics I can see it being a lot easier to just use hand tools since there isn't much that is done with power tools besides binding and cutting which with a jap saw and a coping saw you could do pretty fast but that's a lot more complicated than electrics.
#19
Quote by kenan6346
Brian May. I dunno if he didn't use power tools, but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't use them because his whole guitar was basically scrap coz he was poor, and he now has a high quality guitar that he's still recording and performing with.

It most certainly is possible, but you can bet that it's gonna be a whole lot harder.




dude it wasnt scrap wood, he built his guitar out of a mantle that came out of an old castle. the wood was like 500 years old and he built his guitar with his dad when he was like 15
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