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How much is it to make a guitar from scratch?

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I am thinking about making a guitar from scratch. My brother did it once, and it came out pretty bad. I don't like playing it at all. It cost him a bunch to make it. It was back when 7 strings just came out, so the hardware might have come down, but it was still too much for crap. How much have you spent on your completely home-made guitar?

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the wood will generaly run u about 100$, 10$ for fret wire, 10$ for pots, and 5$ for the output, after that, it all depends on ur tastes, u can spend 100$ more.... or grab a set of used 7 string pickups for about 10$ a peice of ebay if ur not to picky, bridge probably about 30$ u might want to get that new, and tuners, 20$ (if u shop around), nut 3$?, and what ever u want to spend on paints..... so ur looking at around 200$ base price.

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I would suggest looking at a few of the suppliers on the Project Guitar list. Some that I would look most closely at are StewMac, Warmoth, and LMII. B)

The prices can vary, and it does depend on how much you do your self, and how much you buy done. And, quality does cost $$$.

Have fun, and remember the camera. :D

Guitar Ed

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We'll the first guitar will cost you alot if you buy all the tools you need to build one.. then after that it's not bad.. just the initial cost is what get you. Since KrazyDerek gave you baseline prices for the guitar parts etc. I'll give you a list of some tools you'll need:

Must Haves:

18", 12", and 6" steel ruler'

Sash Clamps

C Clamps

Shooting Plane


Feeler Guage Set

Rasp, and other shaped files

Pin Hammer or Fretting hammer


Coping Saw

Variety of Drill Bits

Good Drill

Gent's saw

Needlenose Pliers

Wire Strippers

Diagonal Cutters

Soldering Gun

Sandpaper of Various Grits

Paint and supplies

Fret Slotting saw

Fret Tang Pliers and bending pliers


Fret Crowning Files

Fret End Dressing Files

Radius Sanding Blocks

Nut Slotting Files

Fret Beveling File or Oilstone

Plunge Router and router bits, etc.

Allen Wrenches

Basic Phillips and Standard Screwdrivers

Titebond II Glue, hide glue, and a good epoxy resin glue

Very good Respirator

Spray gun.. unless you use Aerosol cans

Foam Polishing Pads

Polishing Compounds various types.. medium, fine, hand glaze, and swirl remove

Inlays and tools for doing inlays

Optional Tools(makes life easier):

Drill Press

Arbor Press with Fret pressing cauls

Neck Jig (stew-mac)


Fret Slotting Miter Box (stew-mac)

Digital Calipers

Buffing Arbor System (stew-mac)

Planer and Joiner

Scroll Saw

Band Saw

Electric Handheld Sander

Fret Bender (stew-mac)

Drum Sander

Table Router

I'm sure I missed some things .. but this is basically what you need.. lol.. don't faint.. your first guitar is gonna be expensive unless you have a good friend who has most of these tools.. which is a big plus!!!!

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Optional Tools(makes life easier):

Neck Jig (stew-mac) - brians tutorial <--woopse i thought u meant the support caul

Dremel - the one thing u that could do almost everything u need if u know how to overuse it enough

Fret Slotting Miter Box (stew-mac) - 64.50$, non 90degree paper weight

Digital Calipers - spend 20$ less and get a good set of the old fashioned ones.

Buffing Arbor System (stew-mac) - what?

Fret Bender (stew-mac) - another one of brians tutorials

see above....

just a couple recommendations to save u money...

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you can't cut shell well with a power saw, hand cutting with a fret saw is preferred, water jet is used in commercial app's, some scroll saws might be smooth enough to use but I wouldn't hold my breath.

as for cost

I can't see doing an electric that is decent for under $250, and you can spend as much as you're willing, it doesn't take long to spend $1500 on woods and shell :D

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ebay isn't that great for tools, u usualy get hit up when they add on the shipping costs like.... 36 for a drill press.... ouch.. no wounder it's only 25$ for buy it now. U might be able to find a better deal around ur home, just make sure u always shop around.

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The best piece of advice I can give when buying power tools like routers, bandsaws, and drill presses, is buy the BEST you can afford. When buying floor mounted tools, like a floor stand drill press, buy one that has a cast iron base, when you buy a band saw, if you can get one with a cast frame not the stamped metal. Buy a band saw with ball bearing guides if possible. I have gone all through the buy cheap buy over and over again deal, after a couple years you can easily pay for a better tool. If you only think you'll build one guitar and never use the tool again, cheap is fine, but what I think you'll find, is when you HAVE the tool, you'll use it for many things. Buy good, buy once. Yes, even good ones wear out, but generally a good tool has replacement parts. I bought a Craftsman router for my first router, it was mostly plastic, and it was only $50 less than my porter cable router. When the Craftsman finally started to wear out, it was more to rebuild it than to replace it! that was after only one year. My porter cable has thousands of hours on it in guitar and cabinet use, and it's still as stable and strong as new. When it does wear out, there are easily accesible replacement parts.

Also, when looking at tools like bandsaws, don't buy the one that you think you can make do what you need it to, try to save the extra money for one that you know will do what you need, it saves frustration in the end.

I just bought a bunch of new tools for the new shop, the new bandsaw was $560, the new drill press was $300. The dust collection system is $200. Even when you buy your little tools, my first inlay saw is one I actually got from Brian, it still works fine, it's about an $8 handle. I use it now for putting in guitar strings for seating nut slots. My new inlay saw handle was $30, it's a swiss made Grobetts saw. Might seem excessive for a mini coping saw, but blades last longer because they go in dead straight, it is lighter (you may not think the weight would matter, but after 5 hours of cutting shell it does) and the handle is way more comfortable. It was definitely worth the $30.

There are places you can save money, but power tools are not the place I like to do that, to start with, I like to know my tools are built not only to last, but built to be safe as well. I've had cheap bandsaws before, and they throw the blade more often than I'm willing to deal with. Doesn't take much from a thrown blade to remove a finger in a hurry.

Oh, files and chisels, buy the best you can, you won't regret that, there is no more beautiful tool than a SHARP chisel, but a dull one will take a finger off right now. If you buy GOOD ones, they will hold that sharp edge way longer.

Just my opinion, but it's coming from a guy who really believed he could save money by buying less expensive tools, and the ones I have aren't the best I can buy, they are simply the best I can afford that will safely and properly do the job :D

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That's a lot of tools Guitarfrenzy. And, I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that there are required tools.

I would say that there are tools that you need in at least of one of each type:

1) Tools that go up-and-down.

2) Tools that spin around.

From what I've seen here on this forum, people have gotten good results with really simple hand tools. A hand saw (goes up-and-down) used to rough out a neck, and a power drill (spins around) to hog out wood for a pickup cavity. Add a sharp chisel and a file or two and you can do just about anything with that. Not that I would want to. :D

The more tools you have, the easier it gets. I have a few tools that go up-and-down: scroll saw, hand saw, hack saw, coping saw, jig saw, sabre saw. And, I have a few tools that spin around: drill press, hand drill, electric drill, dremmel, my head, etc...

With a little work, you can convert certain tools. My drill press becomes a drum sander with a sanding bit. Same thing for the dremmel, it has polishing bits and sanding bits, and router bits. It can become nearly anything (that spins around)


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The best thing to do is buy the neck.. the neck takes alot of tools... It's the most expense part to build... but he did say from scratch.. and I hate to say it.. but it's not cheap.. I'm just being as honest and realistic as I can be.. It's not a cheap hobby.. but then again it's alot of fun.. and please build anything you can and save money... don't go out buying all these tools at once.. you'll drain your pocketbook quick...

You can make alot of these tools.. radius blocks, nut files, just to name a few.. but it's gonna take a while to learn how to and build them.. so you must be patient.. Listen to everyone.. they make some great points.. You don't have to have all these tools.. you just need to know someone who has them... For instance, my uncle has a drum sander that sands flat the tops and backs of the wood.. kinda like a planer except a flat sander.. and boy that helps out alot and makes the job alot faster... so just depends on how much patience you have.. and what friends you have.. lol.. anyway Good Luck Bro!! And take pictures!!


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