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Building My Very First Guitar


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I dont know anything on how to build a guitar

here are my specs

construction: neck thru

body style: gibson lp but to a slightly larger scale (black)

body wood: mahogony

binding: white(front & back)

neck wood: preferable maple

frets: 24

fret wire: dunlop

fingerboard material: ebony

neck and head binding: white

head: cross between a gibson lp and ibanez shape

bridge: tune a matic

nut: graphite

pickups: emg 81 & 85 (battery cavity on back)

tuners:gotoh

Switches: 3-way switch

knobs: two (1 volume & 1 tone)

extras: a preamp booster

maybe some effects switches and a kill switch but not sure if I can do it thats all

note I am thinking of making the body slightly bigger to be proportionate to the 24 fret neck

also i want the slope that you see on most gibsons on the body, the body height is high towards the pick ups and as you move to the edge it gets more shallow and looks like a nice groove

any recommendations?

suggestions are welcome

Edited by wildchild247
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- No reason to scale up the body, really. Might want to simply put the neck joint at a different place, but the distance between nut and bridge/relative location of the pickups will be the same. The rest of the body will just look...bigger. Not that that's a bad thing, per se.

- Get Melvyn Hiscock's book 'Make Your Own Electric Guitar', which explains guitar design/neck angle, top carving, and lots more stuff in some detail. Armed with that, peruse the various tutorials on the PG main site, and the pinned stuff here, and use the search function for more pertinent discussions. The more you read/know before you start building, the more likely your first guitar is to be a success.

- on-board effects don't seem like a great idea to me. If you get bored of 'em, you have a bunch of dead weight in a guitar. An EMG Mid boost circuit or similar can be nifty, though. Kill switches are pretty simply done.

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Welcome, but beware guitar building becomes addictive!

I agree with what Mattia said, and definately buy the book and keep it handy. I'd also want to know if you have had woodworking experience before? If not much, I would suggest that your first build be a body only and buy a neck. Maybe, just a suggestion. Odds are, even with decent skills, there are mistakes that you might make along the way that may result in a guitar that you are not entirely happy with (I know my first was that way...even though it looked great).

You should also read through all of the tutorials on this site, if you have not done so already. Good luck, and keep us posted

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Change of plans

I am gonna make the guitar a bolt on so it would be easier for me to build because if I screw up I dont have so much work on my hands

I am gonna buy the book

Melvyn Hiscock's book 'Make Your Own Electric Guitar'

and according to wood work experience, I done woodwork for a year and I made a pencil holder and a wooden sword, I have used a router, belt sander and some other equipment I dont know the name of

btw I dont have any of the machinery

Update on my guitar

********************

here are my specs

construction: bolt on

body style: gibson lp (black)

body wood: mahogony

binding: white(front & back)

neck wood: flamed maple

frets: 24

fret wire: dunlop

fingerboard material: ebony

neck and head binding: white

head: gibson lp

bridge: tune a matic

nut: graphite

pickups: emg 81 & 85 (battery cavity on back)

tuners:gotoh

Switches: 3-way switch

knobs: two (1 volume & 1 tone)

extras: a preamp booster and a kill switch and an angled jack that goes into body like an Ibanez JEM

*****************************

Any alterations to be made to the body to make the 24 fret neck fit?

How would I make the slightly grooved shape on front of body, like on most gibsons

would I have to create another piece of wodd to go on top?

How hard is doing binding on body neck and head?

What is the procedure like on painting and finish?

sorry for all the questions but I cant wait to get started

thanks

Edited by wildchild247
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Good to hear you're gonna make the plunge into the dark depths.

If I can give any advice it would be to buy the books ,

spend the time looking at the archives and tutorials in PG and

just read til you're brains a'poppin'. :D

Heaps of valuable information in here for all types of guitar builds.

Alot of the questions I wondered about were in the archives and whats more,

all I had to do was hit 'search'.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have some more fact gathering to attend to . :D

Good Luck !

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My first build had a lot in common with yours. It's not done yet. I shelved it for now because I kept running into problems with either the techniques or the equipment.

I'd also follow Doeringer's advice and buy the neck. I will likely do this for subsequent builds. Might even go with the neck-through route so that I can avoid neck angle and/or tight pocket. Not that those things are necessarily rocket surgery, but with the limited time that I have to work on such things, if I'm going to go partway I might just go whole hog.

Or, more concisely: don't worry about your first project being your "dream" guitar. Save that for later. Make your first project one of the kinds of guitars that fuels your passion, but try to pick the most basic one possible. Sure wish I had chosen a non-carved, non-bound, easy bridge (strat, one-piece wraparound, etc), etc., kind of guitar for my first.

It's not too late, mind you. I can keep this one shelved and do another one.... hmm.... :D

Greg

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I am gonna test my skills first on cheap materials

anyone recommend some cheap materials that could be useable for a guitar

mainly the body and neck

how come there are no tutorials for apply binding to the guitar body, neck and head?

Is there a tutorial which explains the scale length for a 24 fret neck?

I was thinking looking at my ibanez the 24 fret neck doesnt go in that much and allows enough room for playing, why would the gibson style differ

I think making the body scaled slightly will help compensate for a longer neck

could someone explain in depth?

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I'm gonna disagree with Greg: build what you want to build, but just don't expect perfection the first (few hundred) times. My first woodworking project of any seriousness, and first scratch-built guitar, was a carved top (in and out) chambered set neck electric. Binding was a pain, mostly because of the carve and inadequate tools (did it with a dremel).

Cheap wood: Basswood body, plain maple neck, maple or indian rosewood fingerboard.

Scale length has nothing at all to do with the number of frets. Buy Melvyn Hiscock's 'Make Your Own Electric Guitar', and read it, and it'll demystify scale length, which seems to be cofusing you.

Basically, shorter scale length will make the neck shorter, assuming the same number of frets. Add a few frets, you add a little to the fingerboard, and probably to the neck. The differences we're talking about here are so minute it seems pointless to scale bodies to compensate for different numbers of frets or scale lengths; look at PRS guitars, some 22 fret, some 24, bodies the same. If anything, to keep the same number of frets over the body (ie, keep the extra 2 'clear' of the body), you probably want to scale down the body to make sure the bridge and pickups are relatively in the same locations. But there's really, really no good reason I can think of to do it, short of just wanting a larger or smaller body, which is also fine.

Either way, we're talking about less than an extra inch of fretboard (about 0.8") which means moving the neck pickup towards the bridge a little.

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ok I think I got the scale thing down

if I was to keep it at 24.75 for a gibson lp I would have to move the neck pick up slightly

but if i was to scale it to 25.5 i should have sufficient space and not move the neck pick up

please let me know if I got it

You place the pickups after you define the scale. Just draw it out, and it'll be pretty obvious. You probably won't have to move your neck pickup much (maybe a little) a 25.5" scale with 24 frets compared to a 22 fret 24.75" scale. But I'm really not positive.

Just draw out your plan, full scale, accurately, and it will answer a lot of questions.

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The most important things I have found so far are great planning , patience, good references (which you have plenty of here), and a full scale drawing. The drawing will let you figure out exact neck angles, hardware placement, and every other minor detail. If this intimidates you, there are plenty here with CAD experience that can help you. The Hiscock book tends to be the bible of guitar building around, and for a extremely good reason. It helps you a ton and leaves with with very few questions.

I'm not sure you still want to make the body larger or not, but also take into account that extra size also means extra weight. So think about how you'll be playing, sitting the extra weight is barely noticeable, but standing for a gig, and your shoulder will feel it.

If you want wood to just practice on and not make a working body, pine is great. It is cheap, easy to find in many sizes, works very nicely, and when your done with it and are ready to discard it , it burns nice and hot in the campfire.

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1) Again, get the book, read it, then read old discussions (the 'what tools do I need' question has been answered many, many times before), and THEN come back and ask more questions.

2) Buying is a good idea for most tools if you're planning on building more than one guitar. Most important thing with tool buying: buy the best you can afford, and only buy the tool when you need it.

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When I started I thought it would be cheaper to rent than to buy a router, so I checked at the hire shop; £17.99 to rent per day, checked at local DIY shop, £9.99 to buy! Theyre probably not the same quality, but I've had no trouble with mine. Plus it has plenty of features (dust extraction, variable speed, free set of router bits). Renting is dead money, If you buy it you can keep it for future.

A router is a very useful tool btw.

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If you can't afford/don't have space for a decent-sized bandsaw, you'll want a jigsaw. Bosch makes a great one, I like my Metabo, DeWalt's fine, etc.

Routers: get one. Bosch and Porter-Cable are good brands, ditto DeWalt. PC's 690 with two bases (fixed and plunge) or the equivalent Bosch, the 1617 (I think that's right) are good models. If you have too much money, Festool. Amazon sells them, Grizzly's got some stuff, and your local superstore is bound to have something as well, but if you've got a Woodcraft or Rockler around, those are also good places to buy stuff from.

Hand tools: Lee Valley has good stuff at fair prices. Nicholson rasp(s) if you want to go that way, and the Veritas line of planes is very nice if you want new (although old Stanleys are great value, if you know what you're looking for). For bits, infinitytools.com and/or routerbits.com carry good quality bits. Don't get sets, just get individual bits you want/need (template bits and roundovers, the odd regular straight bit are good).

Seriously, though, get the book, decide how you want to build your instrument, what tools you think will be right, and then buy them. This isn't something you should rush; take your time reading, and buy a tool once in a while.

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Also I was thinking of having some hollowed parts in the body for better sustain

I'm not convinced you'd get better sustain...

It will make it lighter though. [obviously]

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should I have 3 battery cavity routes?

2 for pick ups and 1 for the booster

Its up to you. You can run any number of battery powered systems from one battery....it'll go flat faster but it will still work just as well whilst its still charged. My personal preferance would be to have one battery on board and buy 3 or 4 rechargable batteries and always have the ones that arn't in your guitar charged up so you can swap them if the one inside goes dead. Some people put more than one battery in but the only advantage I see is that you'll have to change them half as often (unless you're using two batteries so you're running on 18V which does have some benifits).

Robert

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Sustain schustain. If you just want sustain, go build a concrete guitar, or something. Zero damping, lots of 'sustain'. Hollowed bodies have effect on tone, and if you want to know what, use the search feature. Or go play a few semis and make up your own mind.

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ok so hollowing will not have much benefit

but for the battery query I am gonna create 3 cavities for the pick ups and booster

I am gonna have 2 for the pick ups and 1 for the gain booster

is there an alternative for putting the battery inside where the control cavity is?

Query about a situation

If I had a 2 battery compartment and hooked that to my pick ups and one of the batteries died would the other battery still be in use or would it go dead altogether

thanks

Edited by wildchild247
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You can put the batteries wherever you want to, really. Anywhere there's space that won't cause structural issues, common sense-like.

Also, you really don't need three batteries for most decent electronics (think EMG). It's absolute overkill, and 9v blocks are pretty heavy. I've got a pair in the guitar I have with active electronics (EMGs + Mid boost pot, second battery runs the 3-band eq/preamp for the piezo saddles). The EMG stuff lasts a long, long time before running low, ditto the preamp. In mine, both batteries fit into the control cavity, standard Warmoth rear route, containing 4 pots, a 3-pot mini wired preamp board, three mini switches, and the two batteries. It's a tight fit, but it fits, padded out with some foam.

If you run pickups on a pair of batteries (18volts), you run the two batteries in series, so you run them both down at the same rate, in theory. You replace them as a pair.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok i just finished my exams

and I am going to get the wood

I will keep a diary of my progress and post pics whenever i can

so what i am going to do

1. buy wood and clamps

2. glue the neck together

Update on my guitar

********************

here are my specs

construction: neck thru (easy access shape on back)

body style: gibson lp (black)

body wood: mahogony

binding: white(front)

neck wood: mahogany w middle maple

frets: 24

fret wire: dunlop 6150

fingerboard material: ebony

neck and head binding: white

head: gibson lp

bridge: tune o matic

nut: graphite

pickups: emg 81 & 85 (battery cavity on back)

tuners:grover

Switches: 3-way switch

knobs: two (1 volume & 1 tone)

extras: a preamp booster and a kill switch and an angled jack that goes into body like an Ibanez JEM

*****************************

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