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Absolute Beginner Needing Help And Advice

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Hey guys,

I am totally new to all of this building malarkey and need help from all you experienced smart guys out there.

Basically, I am going off to uni September next year and want to build a guitar as a final project for me and my Dad before I go, just for something we can spend time together doing cause I'm gonna miss my old man. :D

All I have decided on so far is the pickups I plan to put in, they are bare knuckle miracle man (humbucker) pickups.

I don't know what to use to make the body, how to do it or anything like that.

Any help or advice would be very welcome, I have read the tutorials on this site and have the book reccomended in the solid body tutorial but that's all my knowledge and experience.

So in all honesty what do you guys think my chances of success are? I think I will buy a pre built neck as it is my first build and a neck is too easy to screw up.

So if you have any advice on wood, tools, design, suppliers, anything would be greatly appreciated.

Thankyou very much!


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i think you should either build a les paul or a strat as they are both classy,but since its your first build maybe a tele or a strat, still classy just much easier than a les paul,woods: Les paul=Mahogany+ Maple , Strat= Alder, Tele=Ash/ Maple (not what they need to be made of just what the factories often make them out of)

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Hey man, thanks for the advice. Not sure what I was going to do for the design yet, but I was actually planning on doing a unique shape. Do you think that is too optimistic for a first build?

We both already have quite competent woodworking skills so the cutting shaping etc willbe no problem.

Out of interest does anyone know how deep I need the body to be to have plenty of space for the cavities? I was going to go for about 4cm but just thought one of you might have some of your wisdom to impart to a youngster :D

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There's nothing inherently different between building an existing guitar shape and building your own --it's the same process.

Spend the time designing your guitar and especially making the templates for it, that will make everything possible.

For the thickness, that's a matter of preference too --do you like les paul's? Then you'll want your body to be more like 50 mm.

Strats/teles are about 45 mm, maybe a little shy.

40 mm is getting a little thin already --but again, it's a question of taste. I like this size--makes for a light guitar.

The thickness also depends on whether you plan to carve, etc. And the type of neck you'll use --set neck vs bolt on vs through-neck, etc. And of course the type of wood--maple vs mahogany vs ash or alder, etc...

Like I said, spend the time thinking out the guitar you want. Sounds like you're really well-equipped to make just about anything.

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cheers man,

I think I will go for a happy medium of about 45 mm! I am planning on buying a prebuilt strat neck (bolt on) so is that gonna be thick enough? I may rebuild the neck at a later date but for now I think I will concentrate on doing a really nice job on the body!

I was thinking that I will probably do an SG shape this time, I like the shape and it's the only "standard" shape of guitar I don't already have! :D

Thankyou very much for your feedback and encouragement guys, it means a lot to! You're all such lovely people

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Right, I'm gonna go for it! Thankyou all so much for the help and encouragement! Tomorrow morning I will draw out my final design and plans for the body etc.

I will be sure to post pictures and everything as the project progresses and I will be sticking around anyway, there's a lot of nice people here and I have a lot to learn about everything! :D

Thankyou again! And if anyone has anymore hints or anything like that feel free to post here or PM me or whatever you want to do! :D

And once again thankyou for the help and being so welcoming you are all lovely people and have persuaded to pursue this as a more serious hobby and to stick around for geneal guitar discussion! Thankyou! B)

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Hey idiot ( :D you sure you like that name?) --you understand that a strat-style neck will be 25.5" scale and an SG -style body will normally be laid out for 24.75", right? (In case you'll be working off an existing plan). Just checking.

Make sure you place your bridge for the exact neck you'll be using.

But you can find plenty of Gibson-style bolt-on necks. Seems like an SG with a Fender headstock would look a little funky...maybe if you did the Epiphone batwing thing?

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do you have any idea where I would be able to buy a prebuilt SG bolt on neck?

I live in the UK and the only replacement parts you can actually buy (to my knowledge) are strat and tele necks and bodies :D

But thanks for the advice, I don't know things like this which is why I come here!

Oh, and some opinions, here are 3 of my favourite designs so far, I know they look a lil shoddy but that's cause I am quite poor at art (don't worry, for the actual painting etc I am getting a friend to help me!) But which one(s) do you guys like?

Thankyou all!

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Pics didn't come through.

I believe Warmoth makes 24.75" bolt-on necks, and I know Mighty Mite does too --I'd say your best bet is to hit up ebay (look in the US and Germany especially). There are plenty of ways to get a good neck --for example, if you're not too picky about the headstock, I'd recommend a Samick Greg Bennett neck (3x3 of course) --they come up all the time ...the neck on my Samick Royale RL-1 is great ...in fact, I'm considering taking the neck off and building a body around that, because the Royale is just too bulky for me.

But there are other options--just have a look around.

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Practice on construction grade wood before you go on to expensive tone woods

Here are some tips:

1. Measure twice cut once. You can never be too careful

2. You can always take more wood off if necessary. Its kinda of hard to put it back on(especially on a $150 quilted maple top)

3. Draw a grid on your guitar so you know how to place everything.

4. Always leave a little extra wood when cutting it out with a band saw, scroll saw, etc.

5. The design part is important so measure carefully.

6. Make all your mistakes on the scrap boards. Learn from them and try it again on another scrap board.

Success is within your grasp if you follow these 6 steps!

Here are the tools I use most when building my guitars:

My plunge router>>> This is my best friend when I do my carve tops, round edges, route pickup cavities, route the electronics compartment, etc.

Band saw>>I do all my shape cutting on a band saw.

Orbital sander>>>I finish my carve tops off with this sander

Spindle sander>>>I do around my cutout shape with this sander

Good ol' hand sanding with a block>> do my fine sanding by hand with the carve top, and with a block around the side(This is so the sides will be even)


If your going to do an sg I would use mahogany. What kind of sound are you going for?

Take a look at these links>>

1>>> http://www.hoffmanguitars.com/woods.htm

2>>> http://www.wingsguitars.com/tonewoods.html

3>>> http://www.johnsongtr.com/Tips.90.0.html


Will at http://www.soundat11.com/ is a great supplier for mahogany woods. I would highly recommend him. I bet he will give you a deal if you tell him that I sent ya.

1>>> http://www.soundat11.com/

2>>> http://www.roberto-venn.com/RVStore/electricwoods.htm

3>>> http://www.lmii.com/

4>>> http://www.gilmerwood.com/instrument_wood-solid_bodies.htm

Hope this helps you on your guitar building adventure!


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