#1
So I've been lurking here accountless for a while, but I thought my upcoming project would require an account.

Anyways, I've been playing guitar for about 3 or 4 years. I started out with a squier strat, and then moved up to a MIM Fender when my first guitar got some serious wiring issues. Now that I've been playing a while I thought it might be nice to do my first build (at least mostly from scratch.) This comes from both my love of guitar and tinkering with things. I have a few questions before I seriously get going though.

1) Where do you experts start when it comes to the build? Wood type? Pickup type? I'm fairly clueless on both of these things, although less so on the pickups after reading the official thread.
2) In general will this cost me more or less than buying a guitar new?
3) Is my first guitar build going to be a lost cause? And if so should I buy all cheap equipment so that it doesn't matter, or is there a chance that I could do well my first time?

FWIW: I'm looking to get a thick, bluesy sound a la Hendrix, Cream, but I would also like to be able to get some shimmering trebles like those used on Paul Simon's Graceland album. I know that I'll have to use different types of pickups, but which ones/how would I configure that?
#2
1) Id go with the commonly used materials. Woods like alder, mahogany, maple, walnut... a quick google search with give you a list of good woods for guitar building.

2) If you have no tools then it will be pretty expensive. Id say you're looking at $500 and up unless you go for a completely bare bones build (this is without buying tools). In general, it will cost a lot more when you start but it will get less expensive as you get better and acquire more stuff

3) if you have any woodworking experience then you should be able to make a fairly nice instrument with patients. Without any woodworking experience then its going to be really daunting in the very least! You could buy a pre made neck and just make the body if you dont have much experience. Id recomend this because i feel the neck is the hardest to do if you dont know how to cut a piece of wood. Its a very exact piece of the guitar that has little room for error, where the body only has to have the neck pocket and the bridge holes exact.
#3
The tools you will need are. Table Saw, Router, Band Saw, Belt Sander, Drill Press, Clams, Calipers. These are just the basic tools you need to get the job done. Some such as the Drill Press can be bought as cheaply as $100-150 for a decent small one. Others could enlighten you on other tools that you would need but for the moment I just know of the basics.

I also completely agree with michaelbot9000 if you dont have a lot of experience working with wood then you might want to just get a premade neck. You can find bolt on necks all over the place pretty cheaply but warmoth has the best. If you want to do a set neck or neck through build then go to stewmac.com as they have premade necks for set and neckthrough.
#4
I'm new to this as well, but I can tell you how I've been starting off. So far, everything seems to be going well, though I've only just done a rough cutout of the blank. I feel very comfortable in going further though having done a lot of research.

1 ) There are a bunch of resources about different tonewoods, a few I found helpful were the tonewood thread here in the forum (there's a link to it in the central hub IIRC) and warmoth's descriptions of different body woods. As far as pickups go, there are a LOT to choose from... if you want to stay on the cheaper side, check out some like GFS or something. You can also look into the Dimarzio's and SD pickups, put these are pricier. If the cheaper ones don't have the sound you're going for, then go for it. Also, make sure to watch LOTS of tone demos or try them out yourself before buying.

2 ) Depends how nice of a guitar you're building and what kind of guitar you're comparing against. More than a cheapie definitely, but less than a Gibson.

3 ) I'm trying to build myself a nice instrument the first time around, which is going to take lots of patience and double-checking everything I do before doing it. I've got a lot of wood scraps left over from the body that I'll be testing drilling/routing on to make sure the wood works like I think it does. Just remember that once you do something to the guitar, there's no going back.

Hope that helped.
#5
Quote by Darkdevil725
The tools you will need are. Table Saw, Router, Band Saw, Belt Sander, Drill Press, Clams, Calipers. These are just the basic tools you need to get the job done. Some such as the Drill Press can be bought as cheaply as $100-150 for a decent small one. Others could enlighten you on other tools that you would need but for the moment I just know of the basics.

I also completely agree with michaelbot9000 if you dont have a lot of experience working with wood then you might want to just get a premade neck. You can find bolt on necks all over the place pretty cheaply but warmoth has the best. If you want to do a set neck or neck through build then go to stewmac.com as they have premade necks for set and neckthrough.


Though helpful, you don't ABSOLUTELY need all of them. You can do with a Dremmel instead of drill press and router (though it will take a lot longer), and a jigsaw instead of a table and band saw.
#6
Thanks a lot guys, I'm really excited to get going.

Does anybody have any experience mixing and matching very different pickups on the same guitar? Is that a bad idea? I'd always thought it would be pretty cool.
#7
Quote by qaz923
Thanks a lot guys, I'm really excited to get going.

Does anybody have any experience mixing and matching very different pickups on the same guitar? Is that a bad idea? I'd always thought it would be pretty cool.


A lot of people do it already.
#8
Quote by Wisthekiller
Though helpful, you don't ABSOLUTELY need all of them. You can do with a Dremmel instead of drill press and router (though it will take a lot longer), and a jigsaw instead of a table and band saw.


Yeah I know that, I just wasnt going to suggest them cause there is a lot more room for error with those.
#9
Quote by qaz923
Thanks a lot guys, I'm really excited to get going.

Does anybody have any experience mixing and matching very different pickups on the same guitar? Is that a bad idea? I'd always thought it would be pretty cool.

Lots of people do it, that's how you get a lot of versatility in an instrument. You can get some interesting-sounding middle positions that way as well.
#10
I'm thinking of using swamp ash, but i hear the quality can vary quite a bit. How will I know if it's a nice piece of ash so to speak