I build my own guitars as well as playing other guitars.

I only build about a dozen a year. Many people "assemble" guitars from kit parts, but to me building a guitar means taking wood with bark on it and making it a guitar - not just screwing some parts together.

It is not that hard to do and is very affordable. You don't need a lot of fancy tools - I have a table saw, bandsaw, planer, sander and some hand tools.

I have left some steps out here but if anyone wants to build their own guitar I say go for it!

This guitar has a Honduran mahogany body, African ebony fretboard, a Lollar P-90 and a nitro finish. I also made the pickguard out of plexiglass.

It only takes about 4 days to finish a guitar. I built two while these photos were being taken. The other is identical except it is more of a "50's Tele White" then a TV Yellow.

In this photo - L - R you see how wood is received - it still has some bark on it. I have shown the various stages. You can see the neck blank on the right is marked for the headstock angle.

Here is an African ebony blank that has been slotted. It also has to be dyed because the color is not naturally uniform

Here is a neck blank after the channel for the truss rod has been added

Here is the rough neck shape after being band sawed.

Here is the truss rod being test fitted and also note the extra long neck tenon

Adding the sides of the headstock:

Gluing in the neck - note the silicone that will keep the truss rod from rattling:

Gluing on the fretboard:

Note how long the neck tenon is. It is more expensive to do this, as you need a longer straight blank.:

Fretting the guitar:

Finishing the guitar - I spray very thin coats many times to build up a nice finish:

Ready to be assembled:

wow good work, that looks like a really thick guitar tho.
Schecter C1 Hellraiser FR
1967 Ventura Les Paul Copy
Marshall JCM 2000 Dual Super Lead
EXCELLENT BUILD! i wish i had the proper tools to build one..
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Here are some sunbursts:

Gibson style:

This is more of a custom type:

Here is how I carve the tops:

hmm carved before gluing on, thats new, and to me seems awkward. Any reason you do that?

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I made four of them as an experiment and had never done it before. It didn't make things any harder to put things together.

Learn by doing
Whoa, that's intense from my perspective. I want to do that now! Do you like cut your own wood or just Home Depot it? Still, I seriously want to try to make my own guitar now.
This is the sort of thread I've been searching for for ages.

I can't afford power tools like band saws and stuff so would a coping saw do? or would you have a better saw in mind?
That is AMAZING!! The LP looks great have you got any pictures of it finished? I would love to see how it turned out.
It turned out nice. Before I ever started with good wood I got about 10 2x4's for about 1.15 a piece and squared them up. Then I glued them together and figured out how to cut the wood, etc...

If you look at the pic of the fretting you can see the old body sitting in the pic with an orbital sander on it.

Tools are not expensive - my bandsaw is a Sears and it goes for about 200.00. I got it on sale for $129.00.

You cound do it with a coping saw but it would take you forever.

Always cut everything a little big - you can refine and sand it later.

You can buy your wood from a boat builder or hard wood supply place HD is way too expensive and they don;t carry good wood for this.

The Jr cost about $30.00 in wood to build - and it's Honduran kiln dried mahogany - just like Gibson uses. You save a lot by getting a planer and doing the final surfacing yourself.
Last edited by SenorSmiley at Jun 16, 2008,
Yeah I don't mind if it takes forever the first time because I'm not expecting the first try to go exactly as planned.

How did you decide on the angle for the neck?

EDIT: and what sort of glue did you use too? I read somewhere that hide glue is good, but not that easy to do
Hide glue is good because you can take it apart. I used regular wood glue - titebond.

If you want to use hide glue you need a glue pot to mix it, etc ...

I have a few guitars I used as a guide and did a lot of measuring to decide on the angle.
Thanks alot
Hopefully I can build a guitar then.
Oh sorry, another thing I meant to ask, did you build or buy the truss rod?
I used a combination to do the top.

I bought the truss rod for that one because I was making two at once. I have made them in the past as well.