#1
So while I was banned I had a lot of time to read about making guitars. I learned a lot, but not enough. I don't think reading is enough to learn to make a guitar, so I thought why not make a thread about it? 3 weeks later here I am.

How did YOU learn to build a guitar?
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#2
Research, kit builds, spending countless hours on this forum and googleing how to build guitars!!!!!!
#4
I learned by researching on the net. I also can't stress how important it is to do all the setup work on your instruments yourself. Nothing will teach you about how a guitar "works" than setting them up.
#5
you gotta know wood. go out into the forest, make friends. have a talk with them, whisper your secrets, be gentle. respect the trees. then go and cut one. you'll probably mess it up the first time, but the times they are-a changing. you need experience. i need it as well. im going out into the woods now
#6
you don't learn a song just by reading the tab, and likewise you don't learn how to build a guitar just by reading about it. Start with a kit or disassembling and re assembling some of your current guitars for practice then move from there.
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#8
Several years of doing setups and repairs, replacing electronics, disassembling and assembling guitars from parts....basically, I knew a lot about messing with guitars in general before I considered building one, but it was all self taught.

Then I had probably a couple years of reading books and researching actual building, a lot of that time was spent because I didn't know much about real woodworking.
I bought a bunch of tools and built some prototypes that I never finished. I wanted to learn how to use my tools and discover some techniques on my own, that was time well spent, and because of that when I built my first guitar from scratch it was a success.
#9
My 1st guitar was an acoustic from scratch and I just kinda fumbled my way through. I had the book by William Cumpiano about building acoustic guitars but his instructions didn't fit with the guitar I had in my head because I wanted the tone you get from offset soundholes and had no idea how moving the thing would change tone. It took me about 5 guitars before I understood how the little changes would effect the overall tone of the instrument.

My work on electric guitars has been 100% trial and error. I was set in my ways long before I ever picked up a book about electric guitar instruments.

So IMO the best way to learn how to build a guitar is to build guitars. Eventually you will find something that works for you. It's important to start by reading but if you are like me you will never copy the methods of the people that wrote the books.
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#11
I've learned by reading an ungodly number of build threads. The GBC Starter pack helped too.

My biggest learning experience has been making mistakes, though.
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...
#12
I joined UG, learned from everyone here, then when at it.
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#13
I learned a ton while I was putting together the GB&C Starter Pack. Other than that, just a lot of reading online and lurking in this forum
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#15
^It's quite amusing, but the advice given has been really quite useful. Luthiery is a "learn by doing" kind of talent.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#17
Quote by Luxifer
lolcatz at this underlying argument of empiricism vs rationalism :P

No the way I see it, you have to learn how to do it and then do it to gain the experience, you cant just do one or the other. Without learning what a scale length is you will never build a guitar that works through experience.


I personally buy all reputable books I can get my hold of, read them and then start planning a million builds




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#18
Honestly, just this forum and disassembling my starcaster. Also I had a *very* little bit of woodworking experience, which helps.
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#19
..... what is scale length ....... ?

back to the knowledge debate - i still believe that building guitars or ANYTHING for that matter, is a mix of experience and rational thoughts. i'm with Immanuel Kant on the compromise between the two opposing philosophy theories.
#20
so question, would it be a good idea to go buy a pawn shop special just to take apart and re-build?
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#21
Quote by Luxifer
..... what is scale length ....... ?

back to the knowledge debate - i still believe that building guitars or ANYTHING for that matter, is a mix of experience and rational thoughts. i'm with Immanuel Kant on the compromise between the two opposing philosophy theories.

length of nut to twelfth fret. double it. that's where you put your bridge.

edit: a pawn shop or even a squire or other cheaper guitar. practice fret repair and replacement. as well as nut making and pickup changes ect. the list can go on and on. even scallop it if you want
#22
to build guitars, you dont need to know much about guitars.

you need to know all about wood working.

thats like... looking at porn, but not having any hands to beat off with.

oh hey, i understand, the penis goes into the ....etc... but ive got this raging erection, oh but no hands.

the hands being knowledge of working with wood (possibly literally?), the porn being understanding a guitar, which is a block of wood, and basic understanding of scale length, how to use a ruler, and a calculator.
#23
Quote by LP Addict
to build guitars, you dont need to know much about guitars.

you need to know all about wood working.

thats like... looking at porn, but not having any hands to beat off with.

oh hey, i understand, the penis goes into the ....etc... but ive got this raging erection, oh but no hands.

the hands being knowledge of working with wood (possibly literally?), the porn being understanding a guitar, which is a block of wood, and basic understanding of scale length, how to use a ruler, and a calculator.


what a colorful metaphor you've got there.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#24
Quote by LP Addict
to build electric guitars, you dont need to know much about guitars.

you need to know all about wood working.


Fixed.

This is why so many people have heard me say that I don't consider my electric guitar builders to be luthiers. Technically they are, but it seems that most have no idea how the guitar actually works and when they give advise about choosing the instruments it's typically not very good. Just 2 years ago one of the most popular "luthiers" on the forum was saying that Nitro had zero effect tone and would sound the same as bare wood, set necks have more sustain than bolt on necks, and Seymour Duncans pickups will always sound better than anything hand made because you need a machine and lots of money to produce any pickup that is good. We both know that those statements are false but at the time this "world class luthier" actually believed this crap. Just goes to further your point that a person can build excellent electric guitars but know very little about how the guitar works. In the electric world it's all about woodworking skills and using the same types of materials as the name brands.

/rant
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#26
Quote by CorduroyEW
Fixed.

This is why so many people have heard me say that I don't consider my electric guitar builders to be luthiers. Technically they are, but it seems that most have no idea how the guitar actually works and when they give advise about choosing the instruments it's typically not very good. Just 2 years ago one of the most popular "luthiers" on the forum was saying that Nitro had zero effect tone and would sound the same as bare wood, set necks have more sustain than bolt on necks, and Seymour Duncans pickups will always sound better than anything hand made because you need a machine and lots of money to produce any pickup that is good. We both know that those statements are false but at the time this "world class luthier" actually believed this crap. Just goes to further your point that a person can build excellent electric guitars but know very little about how the guitar works. In the electric world it's all about woodworking skills and using the same types of materials as the name brands.

/rant



Agreed, as an ex-builder of acoustic guitars i usually overlook the whole acoustic building thing. theres much more to acoustic makign than woodworking. the only woodworking required is prepping the lumber, the rest is careful measurements and tons of finess and experience. an electric guitar is two blocks of wood with frets and holes in them.
#27
yeah, I don't think I could ever build an acoustic instrument. Thats just hardcore. Especially archtops.
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#28
I had always took apart my first guitar and tinkered with the insides, and stuff like that, then I took it apart and refinished it.

Then I figured a while later, when in my shop class..." I need another guitar, but no one makes the shape I want for a generally affordable price... wait i'll just make my own ... So I found a website that would help me... which was Project Guitar. Started to build with research from various websites and project guitar. Used woods the same as the real model... a wolfgang...Finished it and now play it as my #1 guitar. Then about a year or two later I found UG... and I've never built a guitar since...


but I plan on doing one soon...

hopefully...
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#30
Yesterday i started reading this thread and got really inspired to find a cheap guitar to practice on. Today i went into a pawn shop on a whim and saw they were selling a First Act electric for fifty-some-odd dollars. It seams to me to be a sign. But i was wondering, does UG think this is a good investment?

EDIT: i dont mean to thread jack or anything
#32
First, when I had pretty much no clue about building guitars I wanted to build a guitar similar to tom morello's arm the homeless guitar cause I wanted his tone, the killswitch and trem etc. So I started buying parts off ebay, then I saw another body and a preloaded pickguard cheap and bought that too. When I was assembling them I learnt a whole heap of stuff. Then when they were finished they were both pieces of shit so I didn't even play them and just left them to gather dust. Then I learnt a whole heap more here and UG, plus a shitload of research on google and I'm now rebuilding those guitars and just starting to build guitars from scratch.
#33
Quote by courtkid1012
So while I was banned I had a lot of time to read about making guitars. I learned a lot, but not enough. I don't think reading is enough to learn to make a guitar, so I thought why not make a thread about it? 3 weeks later here I am.

How did YOU learn to build a guitar?


Hi Friend
Your music is awesome but I think you need a bit improvement. You can make your music excellent by work a bit hard on it. If you want any help relating to guitar playing you can take from Learn Guitar
#34
You have to really immerse yourself in it. You have to think of every aspect and plan for all the challenges. So firstly you need to spend time here and on google and then go onto planning. It heps to draw things out and make sure you know all the measurements.

But then again you cant think of everything so thats where experience comes in. You are most probably going to make a mistake or two and you learn from them.
#35
I've been going around here for a long time and I've learned so much from watching builds and all that. I've done a little customizing but I hope to do a full build some day.
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