So I have decided to try my hand at "building" a guitar. I will admit that I have only been playing for a few years and only own 1 acoustic (cheap yamaha starter) and 1 electric (half decent Ibanez) guitar. I have wanted a new guitar for a while but cant afford to shell out all the cash at once, so I have slowly been accumulating parts over the past few months. I am only 22 years old and on a limited budget (damn college loans) and I have access to very few tools, but hopefully enough to build a half decent guitar. I did buy a pre-build neck. I just don't have the means of building one from scratch at this point.

Body: 2 piece maple - quilted maple veneer
Neck: Premade - maple with 24 fret rosewood fretboard - 25.5" scale - custom inlay
Neck P/U - Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz
Bridge P/U - Seymour Duncan TB-6 Duncan Distortion
Bridge - Gotoh Floyd Rose, R2 locking Nut
Tuners - Economy
2 volume - 1 tone - 3 way switch

As of right now I am planning on a Black/Red quilted maple burst; red in the middle fading to black with the rest of the guitar (neck included) high gloss black. The headstock would match the QM red/black body. All hardware is black. My neck inlay has a slight bit of green in it, so I'm still back and forth on color. This is my current inspiration for color scheme.
Red/Black QM Guitar

The body will hopefully be cut and shaped by tuesday or wednesday. Routing to follow once my templates arrive from that wonderful man in the brown truck.

Current Pics

Hand Drawn Body Plan

Mock Up

Body Mock Up

Neck Inlay

2 Piece Maple Body Blank

Quilted Maple Veneer

Any comments, criticisms, or other general ideas are more than welcome!
Updates to come,
Dude, I think thats going to be one sick guitar. Please post pics when it's done, I would love to see it.
This is the body blank I bought. Its right around 11 lbs, which I believe would be heavier than a poplar blank of its size. It is in direct light on a dark oak floor, so that may be deceiving.

I ordered the veneer from CertainlyWood.com. I called them up and talked to a sales guy, explained my project, and this is the set he sent me. I am very happy with its grade and size. I have more than enough for a few stain test runs before I jump into it.

I am going to buy some analine dyes and see how they come out on some of the extra areas. I really like the deep red/ black, but I am concerned with it contrasting the neck inlays. Any input?
Last edited by Synkid at Jul 2, 2011,
I'm not sure that red would go with green. Is there any way you can modify or change the inlays?
My stuff

Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ibanez ADC120
Tanglewood TGRF VS
Blackstar HT20
Roland Micro Cube
Quote by lfcagger
I'm not sure that red would go with green. Is there any way you can modify or change the inlays?

you dont like Christmas? you could get inlay stickers to cover them maybe
"It's not about who has the biggest stick, it's about how hard you can swing it"
I just found this picture...

Its an interesting idea. I would have black hardware of course. Thoughts?
Quote by Wisthekiller

Always voting for dragonburst.


i was just about to say something about that but he beat me to it! i vote the dragonburst with black hardware
"It's not about who has the biggest stick, it's about how hard you can swing it"
Progress update

So it turns out my neighbor (widow)'s husband was into wood working and is willing to let me use his old stuff...

So I rough cut the body with the band saw

Then I did some sanding and filing for the basic shape

I am still waiting on routing templates to get through the snail mail system but I think I may work on the arm and back contour for the rest of the week. I also don't know how I will shape the neck pocket, but I'll mess with that after I rout it.

I'm still leaning towards that green, maybe just a little darker. Convince me otherwise!
are you thinking this kinda of green?

if so i agree with green

or the dragonburst
"It's not about who has the biggest stick, it's about how hard you can swing it"
Yea I'm thinking a dark green quilted maple faded to black around the edges, then the back of the body and neck all black as well. The headstock would also be green QM. I'm also making some minor modifications to the horns, just to make it flow a little better.

On another note, my body right now is a full 2 inches thick. I would like it a little thinner, but the only even way I could think to do it would be with a planer. Is there a way to make it a little skinnier with other tools but still keep it uniform? I plan on adding some arm and back contour, but I was hoping to take a little more than that.
So I ended up reshaping the guitar a little as I didnt like the over all execution of my design. I didnt take any pictures but it should be noticeable.

I made a neck pocket routing jig with some old grade stakes I found in my basement

I bought some MDF templates online for the recessed floyd and humbuckers.

More grade stakes to raise the templates

Some MDF board pieces to raise the rear cavity

Here I used the stake again as a routing guide for the recess for the back plate. The top left is the piece of a trash can I cut out to make the cover.

Onto the humbuckers

Routed out the electronics cavity mostly by hand, but again used the stake for a top guide. I accidentally drilled all the way through the body when I was removing material. It is obvious in more pictures to come. I thought about using it as a hole for a pot, but since I am covering the top with a veneer I decided to use wood filler.
I know its not a Forster bit but it was all I had for the neck ferrules. The drill press is also my neighbors. I have been chasing him down all week for 15 minutes in his basement. I can't wait to have my own place/tools some day...

The Floyd Rose posts are drilled out. The "boo boo" from the electronics cavity is obvious now. I couldn't expect it all to work out on the first try though

I lined everything up before drilling holes in the neck. The string is tied to the fine tuners and clamped into the nut.

So that is where I am at right now. My plan is to veneer the top and headstock with the quilted maple. I ordered some black and forest green dyes. I will paint the back of the neck and back/sides of the body black and fade the green to black on top. Hopefully everything comes out alright. I don't have a paint gun or compressor so my only option is rattle cans and lots of sanding. I picked up 2 cans of minwax polycrylic gloss and some valspar primer and black gloss. I also have sand paper from 60 - 800 grit. I have to call valspar and minwax and find out what the total curing time is on their paints and clears so I don't mess anything up too much. Wish me luck!

Comments and Criticisms are more than welcome!
Thanks for all the good replies guys! I'm excited to get this thing done but I'm not looking forward to the curing times. Here's an update on my progress thus far.

I finally got the body sanded down for primer. Well, I actually sprayed my first layer or 2 of primer and realized what a terrible prep job I did. I ended up sanding back to wood and tried to get all the small dings and scratches out. It was along process of prime/sand/prime/sand/etc. but after a few days I got it to a decent place.

Finally got it to the point where I could put my first coat of black on this morning.

The neck was much easier. I reshaped the back of the joint-area to flow a little better with my body and sanded off the original lacquer. I don't have a picture with primer because it went much easier.

Now that my paint is drying, I rough-cut my veneer where I thought it would look the best.

I have plenty of scraps left over to test out my dye. I bought black and forest green powder dye from W.D. Lockwood (tools for wood working website). Stay tuned for some practice samples!
Looks good so far. AANJ is win. And Noice Veneer. Decide on a color yet?
Where's Waldo?
Yeah, I wasn't sure what order to do them in. I got a little anxious I guess and wanted to paint. I'm going to have to be extra careful in applying this thing, but I'm going to wait for the paint to cure up before I do anything. The timing isn't too bad because I'm on vacation next week. I plan on some dye/burst attempts over the weekend with the veneer scraps. Updates to come.

Well I dont know if I should call it an update because its more of a few steps backward.

The veneering was a complete disaster. I used titebond II and a 50 lb bag of sand from home depot. I tried to follow the tutorial on project guitar but I failed.

Needless to say I wasn't not happy. I tried using the tinfoil+iron trick but it ended up drying and cracking the veneer. I decided that the only thing left to do was to take it all off, strip it, and come up with a paint scheme for the whole guitar. I sat outside for a good hour with a pocket knife prying this thing off in little pieces. Then I stripped the entire thing.

The knife left some small gouges in the top of the wood, but I was able to sand most of them out. There are a few little spots but I am not too concerned about them. This guitar is for me (i.e. not a customer expecting something perfect) and its my first try. I'm not expecting it to have a perfect factory finish and all that. I decided on a little EVH-esque paint scheme with some extra striping and things. Hopefully it comes out decent. Here are a few progress pics but its drying now. I went with Duplicolor spray cans. I am trying to figure out the clearing process now.

The final top coat is a metallic forest green. Hopefully it will come out decent.
Check out my first build
Well here it is after the striping. The white stripes have the black outline then total forest green. The headstock looks really white but after a truss rod cover and tuners,most of it will be covered. I'm also going to put some sort of custom logo. I'm contemplating bursting the outsides black so it fades into the rest of the guitar. Thoughts?

Check out my first build
I think you would have been able to use that veneer if you used a different method to raise any dents you put in it. Instead of tin foil, just use a slightly damp towel and an iron. Put the towel on the veneer and iron over it, then give it time to dry before doing any major work.

Just a tip for future reference!
Digging this thread up from the grave

I finally got time to finish it.

This was my first time doing any sort of electrical work. I ended up wiring the 3 way switch backwards and had 1 weak ground but everything sounds good. Its heavier than any of my other guitars but its a beast with the gain cranked up.
Check out my first build
very nice work.
Bassist/Vocalist-Visceral Violation
Mesa-Boogie Big Block 750/SWR Megoliath
Warwick Corvette
sorry to hear the veneer didnt work out. it worked fine for my build... exept a couple places i still need to glue down

what i did was use a smaller bag of rice just for the contour and just used other heavy objects for the flat area.

tl:dr did u use an exacto knife for the edges? rule of thumb is go retarded slow
Quote by kangaxxter
The only real answer to the SG vs Les Paul debate is to get a Flying V and laugh at all the suckers who don't have one.

Quote by Blompcube

if you embrace inaccurate intonation it can be quite arousing.

So I'm trying to decide on where to put my strap buttons. Any suggestions?
Check out my first build
Back of the neck at the base is what I'd recommend. Other one at the bottom in the center, or maybe at the bottom of the curve, although that might be weird.
That is awesome! I love the EVH paint job
What kind of neck did you use? that headstock is sick lol also why did you use those god awful humbucker rings?
“More metal than your gran’s left hip.” - Paul Allender on his PRS signature guitar
Last edited by ibanez2011 at Nov 28, 2011,
I bought the neck off of ebay. The fretwork is better than expected. I reshaped the headstock a bit and formed the heel to fit my body style, then painted it. As far as the pick up rings go, after paint and clear coat some areas around the routs chipped when removing the tape. Most got covered up by the rings. For my first build, I'll take it.
Check out my first build
very impressive! looks awesome
Quote by BlackVoid
Every guitar and bass forum I've visited has some people chasing some magical tone that will shoot jizzing unicorns riding on a rainbow out of their amp.
That turned out pretty good. i've been contemplating building my own guitar, but i definitely have some research to do before that day comes. Please post some videos!