I'm still pretty new and don't know a lot, but I want to try and possibly build a guitar. I'm obviously not ready, but I'm hoping by summer I will be. I've read more about GB&C in the past month or so than I have anything else in the past year. I have a base understanding of most things (except wiring, not a clue). I'm a huge fan of Tom Morello, so I want to build an Arm The Homeless guitar. The best way for me to learn how to do this is to go through the steps of how to do it.

I've read a lot and looked up what I need to know, but it isn't enough. I was thinking that if I made a thread and went through all the things I'd need to learn and get to make this happen then I'd be that much more likely to do it instead of just saying I will.

I don't want this idea to be in my mind and for the next 9 months just say "come summer I'll do it" and then not know enough to do it or just put it off longer. Anyways, after that long winded intro, here's what I have so far.


From my research, here's what I've found the Arm The Homeless guitar is made of:
-Bridge PU- http://www.guitarcenter.com/EMG-EMG-81-Humbuc king-Active-Guitar-Pickup-301504-i1323627.gc
-Neck PU- http://www.guitarcenter.com/EMG-EMG-85-Humbuc king-Active-Guitar-Pickup-100220459-i1323629.gc
-Ibanez Edge Floyd Rose Tremolo (couldn't find link)
-Locking nut(?) on a 22 fret Performance Guitar neck with a rosewood board (Is the locking nut built into the Edge Tremolo?) (No clue about the neck)
-Banana http://www.vintagekramer.com/Electric/ripleyb anhead.jpg (Yet again, where can I find this/how hard would it be to build?)
-Whammy bar

^Did I miss anything?


Now as far as wood goes, I'm pretty clueless still. It seems to me that making the body itself is the hardest part. I have no idea on how to get the wood, how to cut it, and so much else. The biggest challenge I think will be making all the holes in the wood for the pickups, wires/pots, and output jack. I think this is what I'll need to learn the most about, along with wiring. I think wiring would be a lot easier to learn though since there's diagrams I can just follow those.

Body Shape

I can't find what kind of guitar it was originally, all I've seen is that it was a "performance guitar". This being said I don't know how I'll find a template for it. It looks like it's just a Strat style guitar though, so I guess this would be sufficient (it's page 3 from the Templates in starter pack v1, the Strat template): http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r42/courtkid101 2/Picture5-12.png
^I don't want the pickguard though

I saw on the Tom Morell forum they believed it's an Ibanez Roadster or a Kramer Pacer. The Pacer looks a little different though, especially on the top cutaway.


I don't exactly understand templates and how you cut the wood though. The way I imagine it is you have an actual size picture (as I've seen posted before) and then you put it over the wood and cut. If it's something like that then what's all that in the template there?

My assumed order of how to make a guitar:
1. Make body
2. Cut holes for pickups, controls, etc.
3. Paint and put on lacquer
4. Make neck
5. Install pickups, controls, and trem.

edit: Cut down useless info etc. (thanks jim)
There be no shelter here.
Last edited by courtkid1012 at Sep 12, 2009,
I say you PM Brock and ask him to send it to you. I like your initiative as well, I'm a procrastinator too.
Bari Build

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Quote by salsawords
I say you PM Brock and ask him to send it to you. I like your initiative as well, I'm a procrastinator too.

It's also a lot of a "help me learn how to build a guitar" thread. It wouldn't be enough to just know what I need, a wiring diagram, and how to do things that only apply to the arm the homeless guitar. If it says how to make the body and everything then maybe.

After reading through that Tom Morello forum I was kind of brought down about the idea of making an AtH guitar since they were all "make your own design, be original! you're so stupid! Just because someone's your idol doesn't mean you have to copy them EXACTLY" I'll see what GB&C has to say about it though.

Also, would it be hard to find the body pre-made and then just paint it and put in everything? I'm not sure how capable I'll be of making the body myself.
There be no shelter here.
Yea I did. I accidentally hit post message while revising it though which is why I sent the 2nd PM. I'll read through it and edit the OP accordingly.

edit: responded to PM
There be no shelter here.
Last edited by courtkid1012 at Sep 11, 2009,
Have you read my tutorial in the Starter pack?

Next update it will be finished, my PM to him with the rest didn't make the upload for V.1.


If you would like, grab a strat body from eBay or something, and refinish it. You can also get Kramer style necks from eBay - Performance Guitar is now defunct and you can't get anything.

As I see it, you have a cheap(er) option, a more costly option, and a relatively expensive option:

- Strat body from eBay, Neck from eBay (Tom's only has 22 frets IIRC), the CORRECT pickups (EMG HA's, not 81/85 combo.), Ibanez Edge III trem, locking nut.

- BYOB and neck, Correct pickups, Edge III, locking nut.

- eBay body and Warmoth neck, Correct pickups, Double Locking OFR, locking nut and tuners.

Mix and match to your liking.

Also be sure to practice drawing or painting the hippos as he painted them; they are NOT stickers like a lot of people assume:

This was the best photo I could find of the hippos.

EDIT: photo and link failed. Copy paste to see it. http://penguinguitars.tripod.com/RATM/ATH.jpg
build 1, finished 1/15/11

Every time I try to pick it up like falling sand,
As fast as I pick it up,
it runs away through my clutching hands.
There's nothing else I can really do...
Last edited by Copaman at Sep 18, 2009,
In my experience I've found it easier to make the neck first, then the body. This is because the shape of the neck heel will drive and dictate the shape and size of your neck pocket route in the body. The final neck angle will also drive your centerline on the body and where you route the pickup and bridge mounting positions, as well as properly locating the bridge in relation to the guitar scale. Thus I would re-order your progression to:

Quote by courtkid1012
1. Make neck
2. Make body
3. Cut holes for pickups, controls, etc.
4. Paint and put on lacquer
5. Install pickups, controls, and trem.