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Join date: Jul 2004
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If you feel this should be added to, PM a mod and they will handle it.

Post 1: Getting started
Posts 2&3: Pickups
Post 4: Electronics
Posts 5&6: More supplies (worldwide)
Post 7: More useful sites and some builds
Post 8: Repair, Frets, Forums/groups, some videos
Post 9: Pedal buildings/mods
Post 10: Finishing, electronics, wood, pickup winding
Post 11: More supplies
Post 12: Australian suppliers
Post 13: Electronics and guitar suppliers

ALL credit given to chrisb0109, Cmogi10, power freak, sillybuuger12, cc2003btw, dave293, mnbaseball91, AlGeeEater, and leftyrockr. Thanks to Invader Jim for renovating what used to be a messy unorganized thread.

Posted by loonyguitarist: - templates

Posted by chrisb0109:

Probably two of the best sites for a beginner or anyone else to visit are and Both of these sites have most everything needed for a first, second or even 100th guitar project. also has just about every category of stuff concerning guitar building.

I have been asked to include a pic of some of the tools so here they are.


as well as these websites, good guitar wood can be found at local lumber yards. However if you are going to go searching through lumber yards, make sure you know what you are looking for. If it is freshly cut it will need to dry for a VERY long time before it is stable enough to work with.

Finishing Supplies:
stains can be from any hardware store.



Tutorials and Helpful Websites: (defreting a bass) (fanned frets) (fanned fret calculator) (wiring) (Soldering advice)


Basic Tools Needed:
Here are some basic tools so that you know what you need before you get yourself into this.

Bandsaw (very very helpful)
Belt sander
hand drill
table router (not required)
table saw
chisels and other wood carving tools (mainly for inlays)
and of course basic tools like rubber mallets, sand paper, etc


belt sander

drill press

Posted by sillybuuger12: It is one of the best wood supliers in the UK and is also rather good for parts

Posted by powerfreak:

Fret Calculator:

It is pretty self explanatory: You put the scale length of your guitar/bass you want to make in cell D2, press return and the spreadsheet automatically works out the fret distances for you. It works out fret to fret distance, distance to the nut and the remaining distance to the bridge. You can use either metric or imperial.

I have included a large amount of frets (96) so that the electric players can use the "harmonic hot spot" pickup placement. This is where you put the pickups in a place where harmonics are greater, these fall under the 12th frets (octave positions) 7th fret (7 frets after the octave position or 5 frets before depending on how you look at it eg. 31st fret, 43rd fret, 55th fret etc.) 3rd fret (3 frets after octave, eg. frets 27, 39, 51 etc.) Basically anywhere you can play open string harmonics easily will be a harmonic spot. I personally don't believe this is the case but whatever strokes your goat

This is an Excel spreadsheet document in zipped form, you will need win zip or similar and excel. I don't know what versions it will work with but I use whatever version comes with windows XP.

Virtual Guitar Building sites:

Posted by cc2003btw:

Here's some more websites for materials in the UK. - Hardware sales etc. Various woods for sale Lots of stuff here PDF catalogue for Craft, very good choice and price for an internet dealer. Deserved a mention, excellent inlay materials sales. Also do custom inlays on demand. Finishing supplies

Posted by leftyrockr:
This is a great pedal schematic website that I found recently. Have Fun!

Experimentalists Anonymus

Posted by t heff:
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Join date: Jul 2004
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Posted by mnbaseball91:

The only way I've seen people calculate neck angles before is drawing a full-scale diagram and measuring. I'm sure people do it other ways too, but there's no info about it anywhere that I've seen. I came up with a basic formula for calculating the neck angle on a guitar. You can do this on any scientific calculator. I believe it can be done on the Windows calculator also, but I haven't tried.

sin^-1 ([bridge height - fretboard height - fret height] / distance from bridge to last fret)

I'm almost positive that it's correct. Note that you're combining the fretboard and frets height and subtracting them from the bridge height, so be careful if your calculator does funky things with order of opperations. Measure the bridge height at its lowest position.


Posted by AlGeeEater:

Simpler version of above formula.

Posted by sillybuuger12:

Pickup FAQ (page 1)

1. Interesting and Informative websites
2. Manufacturers of pickups
3. Manufacturers of acoustic pickups
4. Pickup wiring diagrams and mods
5. Different kinds of pickup:

a.The Difference Between Single Coils and Humbuckers
b.Passive Pickup Systems
c.Active Pickup Systems
d.Low-Impedance Pickups with Separate Pre-Amps
e.High-Impedance Pickups with Separate Pre-Amps
f.Onboard E.Q. Circuits

6. Changing pickups for beginners
7. Credits and thanks

1. Interesting and Informative websites;threadid=23631

2. Manufacturers of pickups;cat=pickups

3. Manufacturers of acoustic pickups

4. Pickup wiring diagrams and mods

(Note that wiring for pickups vary from each model)

5. Different types of pickup

A. The Difference Between Single Coils and Humbuckers.

General knowledge and the basics

Pickups are essentially magnets. Your strings are made of magnetic metals; usually electric guitar strings have a steel core wrapped in nickel, or are just plain steel. Your pickup creates a magnetic field that when the strings move, disturb. This disturbance is transferred to an electrical signal by your pickup, affected by all your guitar's electronics and eventually reaches your amp and is turned into vibrations which you hear as your guitar.

Pickups get their magnetism from either a magnet attached to their base, or from magnetic pole pieces. Pole pieces are the metal cylinders that come out of the pickup under each string. The pole pieces are wrapped in magnetic wire (usually copper), which increases the strength of the magnetic field. One set of pole pieces wrapped in copper wire is called a coil of a pickup.

More advanced stuff
There are 3 main types of magnets used in passive pickups; Alnico II (2), Alnico V (5), and Ceramic.

Alnico II is the lowest output and the smoothest/warmest/bassiest of the 3 main magnet types. Alnico V is higher output than Alnico II and has more trebly/midrange bite than Alnico II. Ceramic is the highest output of all and the most trebly/biting. In general, Either Alnico II or Alnico V can sound good distorted or clean, but ceramic pickups generally produce a tone that isn't as pleasing clean, but somewhat preferred for heavy distortion.

Depending on the type of wire used to wind the pickup, it's thickness, how it was prepared and how old it is, the wire can affect the pickup's overall sound greatly. Companies generally do not list information about what wire type they use in order to keep their pickup formula somewhat guarded. In general, the more wire that is used will give you a greater output and a bassier tone.

As you may have noticed, if you pick closer to the bridge of your guitar, the sound you get will be quieter and more trebly than it would be if you picked closer to the neck. When pickups were first made, they didn't account for this and your bridge pickup would sound very quiet and trebly, while your neck pickup would sound very loud and bassy. Eventually, people began to realize that if you over-wound the bridge pickup, so that it became hotter and more bassy, and under-wound the neck pickup, so that it became quieter and more trebly, that you could create a greater balance between the pickups. In general, bridge pickups will still sound more trebly than neck pickups, but not in all cases.

Pickup divisions

There are 2 main different pickup constructions, single coil and humbucker (2 coils). Single coils and humbuckers come in all different sizes and shapes.

Single coils

Here is a pic of a generic single coil

The first pickups created were single coils. Along with picking up signals from your strings, which they were supposed to, they also picked up stray radio frequencies (RF) which you would hear through your amp as an annoying buzzing sound. The orientation of this RF signal is related to which way the wire is wound around your pickup. Meaning that if you wind the pickup clockwise, the RF signal will travel in a different way then it would if you wound the pickup counter-clockwise. If you have 2 signals being used at once, where the RF signal is different in each, they will cancel each other out, or at least lessen their collective sound greatly.

Humbuckers (covered and not covered):

Humbuckers are essentially 2 single coil pickups that share a large magnet at their base. Each coil of a humbucker is wrapped differently, so that the RF signals they create cancel each other out.

The only purpose in creating humbuckers was to "buck" the hum that single coils created. However humbuckers did not, and do not, sound just like single coils without hum. Since a much larger magnet was used, and there were 2 coils of wire, the humbucker created a much louder signal.

There are many other differences between humbuckers and single coils. Some will say that humbuckers are only good for distortion and single coils only good for clean. This is only personal taste, and many people (There are too many people who use Gibson style guitars for clean to begin to list them) use guitars with humbuckers for playing clean. Also, guitarists such as Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Ywingie Malsteen, Kirk Hammet (Metallica), both of Iron Maiden's guitarists and many others have used single coils for metal.

I could begin to describe the tonal differences of humbuckers and single coils to you, but it would be best if you went out and played alot of guitars and found them out for yourself. I could say single coils have more "quack" or "twang", but what you think of as quack may be different than what I think of, so it'd be best you come to your own conclusions.

These links have clips of many different pickups, use them to help you make decisions about pickups
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B. Passive Pickup Systems
All basses and guitars generate an output signal by means of a pickup that translates some of the vibration energy of the strings in to voltage that gets sent to an amp. ?Passive? instruments send this raw signal to the amp, and passive volume and tone controls can only attenuate the signal and treble response, that is, make it quieter. In order for passive magnetic pickups to generate enough voltage to drive an amplifier, they must be wound with a large number of turns of wire. This causes high inductance in the coil, and a high impedance output signal. This has the effect of rolling off the extreme high and low frequency response and making the signal more susceptible to loss and degradation in the cable on the way to the amp. While this sounds bad, it?s one of the reasons passive pickups can sound ?punchier?, because the ear perceives more midrange when the high treble and low bass are rolled off. The powerful magnets and larger wire coils in passive pickups can also produce strange electromagnetic interactions with the strings and adjacent pickup coils, causing irregular response curves and dynamic effects usually not seen in active pickups. Both of these factors contribute to the unique voice and continued popularity of passive pickups.

C. Active Pickup Systems
Typical examples are EMG pickups and the Duncan/Basslines Active Pickups. These generally use low-impedance pickups with a smaller number of wire turns. This causes less loss in the high and low end, and generally allows a much broader, full-range, hi-fi sound. Unfortunately, it also means the voltage produced by the pickup is very low, not nearly enough to drive an amp through a long cable. So these pickups have miniature amplifiers, called preamps, built into the pickup housing itself. Thus the signal only has to travel a fraction of an inch before it gets amplified and buffered into a low-impedance output. These systems often, but not always, provide a higher output signal than passive systems, so you don?t need to turn up the gain as much on your amp, which can add noise.

To confuse matters, active systems can use passive volume and tone controls just like passive pickups. These controls are almost always have different values for potentiometers and capacitors, and you usually must use the parts supplied by the pickup manufacturer. In addition, because the connection from the pickup coils to the preamp is made inside the pickup housing, options like series/parallel switching and coil tapping are rare and generally not available unless the manufacturer has specifically designed the pickup for it.

D. Low-Impedance Pickups with Separate Pre-Amps
This kind of system is essentially an active pickup with the preamp taken out of the pickup housing and mounted separately in the instrument?s control cavity. This approach is typical of some Bartolini and Lace Sensor designs. You gain the ability to do things like coil-splitting and phase switching, because the pickup wires are accessible before they go into the preamp. However, adding a passive bypass switch is usually not a good idea, because the passive output of the pickup is so low. The preamps that go with these systems have a lot of gain to boost the output of the pickup?s signal to a useful level, and usually also offer some kind of active tone shaping E.Q.

E. High-Impedance Pickups with Separate Pre-Amps

This is essentially a passive instrument with high-output passive pickups that has an onboard preamp. All preamps will buffer the pickup?s output to a low-impedance signal and many add some gain to help drive your amp with less noise. This helps maintain signal integrity and retains much of the high and low end that would get lost in the cable run, resulting in a kind of ?ideal? passive sound. With this system you retain all the switching options you have with a passive instrument, and you can easily bypass the active circuit with a switch for a more ?vintage? sound, or as a fail-safe in case your battery runs out.

F. Onboard E.Q. Circuits

Most of these preamps also give you onboard active tone controls, where you can boost as well as cut frequencies, just like the E.Q. in your amp. There?s no sonic benefit to using these onboard controls rather than the ones on your amp, and they?re usually not as clean or quiet. The main advantage is being able to control your sound from the instrument, especially when going direct into a recording console or P.A. system.

6. Changing Pickups For Beginners

now you?ve chosen you pickup your probably wondering how the hell to install the bloody thing! Well whatever you do don?t take it to a shop because the WILL rip you off do it your self here?s the idiot?s guide on how to do it

All your electrical components inside your guitar are connected by a metal called solder. Solder is a mix of lead and tin, and melts at a relatively low temperature. It is melted over a wire and electrical terminal, hardens in only a few seconds, and then you have a nearly permanent electrical link between the wire and whatever you've soldered it to. Solder is commonly melted with a soldering iron, here's a picture of one.

They work by heating up alot, you putting the tip to some solder, the solder melting over the wire and electrical terminal.

If you want to change pickups, you'll need to get yourself a soldering iron of your own, you can pick one up at radioshack for like $8. I'd reccomend a 35 or 40 watt soldering iron. One would tend to think that the lower value iron you get, the safer you are from messing up your guitar, but it's actually the opposite. If you get a low value soldering iron, it will take a longer time to heat up solder to the melting point. During the time it will take to heat up the solder, the heat will travel through the whole component, and could warp the plastic and sillicone parts inside. If you have a hotter iron, you'll hold it there for less time, heating up whatever you're working on for less time.

Picture it like this, if you put something in the oven or microwave at a high power for like 3 seconds, the outside will probably get hot, but the inside will still be cool. If you put it in there at a medium power for a bit longer, the whole thing will get heated up.

You'll also need to buy solder for installing new pickups. The industry standard is 60/40 rosin core solder, this is the same stuff that's used basically by everyone in the world, and is fine.

I also advise getting desoldering braid. It's a metal braid that sucks up liquid solder. So if you have alot of solder somewhere, you just heat it up and touch the desoldering braid to it, the braid sucks it up like a paper towel does water, and your joint is clean.

Now, you know what you need to buy, this is how you actually change your pickups.

Take off all of your strings

Unscrew the pickup you're removing.

Locate the wires from that pickup and carefully desolder them carefully. Be sure when desoldering or soldering anything that you let the component you're working on cool down before you work on it again, or you can overheat it.

Totally remove the pickup

Screw the new pickup into the pickguard.

Follow whatever sort of diagram you're using.

Test that everything works by plugging the guitar in, selecting the pickup you changed and tap on the pickup's coils with something magnetic, and listening to if you get a sound from your amp. If you hear any sort of noise, then you did it right, restring and play.

Posted by Cmogi10:

Time to learn some luthier slang.

Bolt-On = The neck is bolted-on or screwed in. Usually has 3 or 4 screws
Ferrules =

Finish = The paint or stain on a guitar
Fretboard = Fingerboard
Head = Peg Head
Jack = Input or Output Jack(Whatever you want to call it)
Locking Bridge = A bridge that is locking means that it doesn't go out of tune. Even if you do a divebomb, it will still stay in tune. The most popular type of Locking Bridge would be the Floyd Rose.
Neck-thru = It means that it is a neck-thru guitar. A neck-thru guitar is a guitar where the middle is the neck and 2 wings of the body are glued onto the middle neck piece.
Neck Pocket = Where you put the neck into for it to be set/screwed in.
Nut =

Pickguard = Scratchplate
Pots = Potentiometers
PU, Pup = Pickup
Route = Something that was routed into the guitar. For instance where you put your pickups was routed.
Router = A device that eats away at wood at a very fast pace, so you can make room for the pickups and other things.
Saddles =

Scalloping = Filing down the fretboard so it kind of creates a curve. This allows for faster playing, smoother string bending, clearer notes, easier sweeps, better tapping:

Set Neck = It means the neck is glued into the neck pocket.
Shielding = Insulating the control cavity of the guitar to prevent signal jumping
Tremolo = Bridge with whammy bar or is able to have a whammy bar and do divebombs.
Truss Rod = A steel rod that is in the middle of your guitar/bass neck that stops it from warping.
Tuners = Machine Heads, Tuning Keys, or Key Holes
Veneer = A thin piece of wood that is glued on top of the original wood. This usually has a stain on it.
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Daves List continued

wood cont

UK -

Australia -


Finishing -


UK -

Inlaying -


Tools -




Carbon Fiber/Composites\

Electronics/Pedal Building

USA Enclosures


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Daves List continued

Useful Sites

General Building Nut slot calculator Physics of the acoustic guitar

Documented builds Strat Les Paul Steel string acoustic Dreadnought Classical Tele style Double bass Violin Bass Semi hollow bass Acoustic,00.html Various intruments Variax transplant.
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
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I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
My Avatar Kills Fascists!
Join date: May 2005
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I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
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I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
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They will sell you guitar bodies, blanks, necks, custom fretboards (a la 36 frets ) inlays, and just about anything except the actual hardware. You can check it out if you would like and post the site on the guitar building 101 thread you have.


Hi there,

I was checking up on the thread "getting started on customising" and I noticed that a very good company who makes scratchplates for most guitars, in particular its in the Uk isn't on the list. I've bought a couple of plates from them so i'm sure they are great. The company is Aurora project.

Thanks for your time.
Master of the Penguins
Join date: Aug 2004
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Parts suppliers in Australia/NZ.
Originally posted by dave293

Durobond Paints
Based in Brookvale, Sydney They sell a range of nitrocellulose lacquers

Gilet Guitars
Based in Botany, Sydney. They sell wood, binding, inlay materials, hardware etc. They sell mostly acoustic woods, but also sell a small range of solid body, archtop, violin and viola wood. They will slot fretboards to any scale length for an additional charge.

Hollingworth Guitars
Based on the Gold Coast, Queensland Mostly acoustic supplies. They also run 2 courses a 5 day course in which you put together a kit in there workshop, with full supervision and tuition or a intensive 20 day course in which you learn to build a guitar from scratch

Sell premade bodies and necks, hardware, pick guards and strap locks.

Stairway to Kevin
Sells copper shielding tape, ferrules, resonator parts and other hardware.

General luthier supplies

Australian Luthier Supplies

Lazarides Timber Agencies
15 Hurricane St
Brisbane QLD 4014

Mathews Timber Pty Ltd
Rooks Rd
Vermont VIC 3133

Trend Timbers Ltd
Cunneen St
N.S.W 2756

F.Payton & Son
P.O Box 135
Artarmon, N.S.W 2064
Luthier supplies, wood and pickups

Ormsby Guitars
Based in Perth. They sell most things needed for building or customizing. They sell wood, hardware, pickups, books, inlay supplies, tools, lacquers etc. They will do any steps you are not comfortable in doing e.g scarf joints, slotting fretboards.

Australian native timbers used in guitar building.

Queensland Maple ( flindersia breyleyana )
- Used by guitar company Maton for necks, acoustic backs, sides and solid bodies. Similar to mahogany in sound.

Bunya ( acacia melanoxylon )
- Used by Maton guitars for solid bodies and soundboards.

Victorian Blackwood ( acacia melanoxylon )
- Used for Acoustic backs and sides also veneers.

Queensland Walnut ( endiandra palmerstronii )
- Used for Acoustic backs and sides

Victorian Ash/ Tasmainian oak (Eucalyptus regnans )
- Used for solid bodies and tops.

Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii )
- Related to Bunya, Blanks can be purchased from Gilet Guitars, Suitable for solid bodies

Lacewood (Cardwellia sublimis)
- Used by Warmoth for solid bodies, Tone similar to Alder.

(Eucalyptus marginata)
- Has been used for fretboards, solid bodies and mandolin neck. Is very heavy and open grained

Other Links
Has loads of links for Australian luthiers.
A University of N.S.W study on the physics in how acoustic instruments work.
Invader Jim
Join date: Aug 2005
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EU=Ships throughout Europe
NA= North American only
WW=Ships Worldwide

This will be split up into categories, The first will be mainly components (Or a little bit of everything), the second, pcb and board materials, then hardware/enclosures, large scale suppliers, and lastly, amp part suppliers. Added in Guitar parts as well.


Smallbear WW
All Electronics Corp WW
Futurlec WW
Parts Express NA & EU
Pedal Parts Plus
Gold Mine Electronics WW
Cascade Surplus
Allied Electronics NA
Angela Electronics
New Old Sounds

Fast Components
RSH Electronics WW
Nikko Electronics
Rapid Online EU
Bitsbox Electronic Components WW
Farnell Distributors WW
Vintage-Parts WW

Banzai Effects WW
Musikding WW

Tayda Electronics WW

Futurlec WW
Altronics (Available to some small countries around AU, but not WW)
Jaycar Electronics WW

PCB & Board:

Watts Tube Audio WW

Mega-UK EU

EVATCO Electronic Valve and Tube Company WW


BYOC (US Only, but have distributers)
General Guitar Gadgets


Pedal Enclosures WW

Large Scale:

Mouser WW
Digikey WW

Amp Parts:

Antique Electronic Supply WW
Tube Depot WW
Watts Tube Audio WW
Musical Power Supplies- PTs and

Tube Amp Doctor WW

The Tube Store WW

Tube Amp Doctor WW
Tube-Town WW

Verduin Electronics WW


EVATCO Electronic Valve and Tube Company WW

Guitar parts:

Stew Mac WW
All Parts

Guitar Project

Denmark (Danish)