Hey guys,

I've been dreaming about making my own gear for a long time, but ditched the idea because I'm not very handy at the moment I understand electrics but never really worked with it. Carpentry is totally new to me.

Now me and the misses are thinking about buying a house and renovating it ourselves (to a certain degree). To do this, we'd be taking classes in electrics and carpentry Note that the level of these classes probably isn't as high as it is for someone who actually studied these things in school.

This might just bring my dream a little closer, so in the future I'd like to build some basic pedals first, then maybe try a Fender Champ copy or something in the same vein. These are circuits that I understand, now I just have to build them - preferrably without being electrocuted in the process.

My questions:
- Do you guys think that electrics and carpentry classes would be enough to learn the basics?
- What's your DIY background? You learnt it at school? Through classes? Maybe you're working in the DIY sector or maybe it was a lot of hit and miss at the beginning until you got it right?
- I've read that, unless you're copying a vintage amp, it's usually cheaper to just buy the amp instead of building it. This seems a bold statement to me. Any feedback would be great.

I hope I don't come across as a complete ******, but any help on the subject would be appreciated.


Basic carpentry is very different from luthiery. Carpentry is mitre joints and dovetails.

Modern amps are mass produced in factories by a mix of micrometer precise machinery and skilled professionals who make hundreds of them a day, using mass produced components that were bought at mass wholesale prices. You on the other hand will be paying retail price for all the components and hacking it together with a single soldering iron and little experience. It will totally be more expensive.
Last edited by johnnykbop at Jul 31, 2013,
@ johnnykbop,

I was thinking about this as well - most parts will have to be bought at retail prices which is probably the biggest cost.

But then again, how do the people on this board start their quest into DIY amp/stompbox building? Actually buying parts in mass quantities, hunting ebay for parts or...?

At the moment I don't have the knowledge nor the experience to start a project like this, BUT I'm willing to learn. The thing is, I don't know where to start. Did the people on this board learn the trade by taking luthiery classes or did they find their own way? This probably sounds ignorant and impulsive, but I find this stuff very interesting.

Anyways, thanks for the helpful reply

As far as stomp boxes go, there are various kits available to build basic pedals. Once you get better at that sort of thing and get an idea of how each part changes the sound, you'd start switching parts out and experimenting.

The fact of the matter is nobody gets into the DIY side of guitars because it's cheaper. It's mostly for the satisfaction of making something yourself, making something unique, making something that the retailers don't offer.
Yeah, those stompbox kits look like a great way to start and to experiment with different sounds/components.

Thanks for the heads-up! The cost of it wouldn't keep me from trying a DIY project (as you said, it's all about the uniqueness factor and the satisfaction of building something) but it's certainly important to realize it's gonna cost more.

At least now I understand why boutique amps are so bloody expensive
Quote by johnnykbop
Basic carpentry is very different from luthiery. Carpentry is mitre joints and dovetails.

I completely disagree with this statement. I originally stated building furniture as a hobby. Learning how to joint and mill wood, router basics, joinery, etc. are all used when building a guitar. When I decided to build a guitar, the only issue was learning how to build a guitar, not the actual underlying woodworking techniques.

even your cite of mitre joints disproves your own point as a scarf joint is a mitre joint.

just make sure the local class is more geared to what people would think of as woodworking and not framing.

Perry Ormsby was a carbinet maker before becoming a luthier. all of his techniques are clearly adapted from his former trade.
Last edited by Rusty_Chisel at Aug 1, 2013,