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Making Guitar Bodies

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Every guitar has the usual shape of being able to fit in your arms. Is there an easy way of designing it to do this with geometry?

I am a little new to this. I have been reading a book on the subject for about a month and a half. I usually build robots but I wanted a hobby that dealt with wood and sound. I play guitar and base guitar. It seemed like a perfect fit.

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You have to think of it like art. I don't think there's an easy way to do it well, but I don't consider myself much of a visual artist, and I've designed two body styles that I really like. I designed each one differently. Here's what I did.

The First One: I started off with a book full of graph paper and just started sketching things until I made something I liked. Then I traced it on to another piece of graph paper with a minor change or two. Rinse and repeat about twenty or thirty times, and there you go.

The Second One: I found a picture of a guitar I liked on the internet and opened it with Paint. Then I traced the outline, and erased everything else. (A little time consuming, but it goes quickly, and for some reason, I find that process relaxing.) Then I did the same thing I'd done on paper. I changed one little bit at a time until I had something I liked.

If you're better at this than I am, you might just sketch something you like and be good to go. I'm sure some people probably do that. If you want to go with the geometric approach, you're probably best off to look into the work of Bo Diddley.


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I'm pretty much in agreeance to the above. What I have done is;

Get a piece of Melamine offcut out of the shed (preferably on MDF) Trace a good design in pencil (in my case a Stratocaster) then erase sections at a time and gradually re-shape it into something to your liking...or draw what you think you'd like then erase after

Draw and erase with a smooth and controlled action pivoting from your wrist-joint. It can take many hours and I find I have to "walk away" and come back to it

Or on the other hand you can do what I'm considering with my current chunk of Mahogany and go the Bo Diddley way as stated above!

I've even wondered what kind of sound and sustain you would get from bolting a neck onto a tree-trunk


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I failed 2nd semester geometry...

Cant help with your question of design and geometry...LOL!

Just remember that the design has to be playable. It has to be thick enough to hold the electronics. It has to be thick or big enough to BALANCE correctly on a strap. Being comfortable to play while sitting can be a big consideration. Fret access is more important to some people than others.

To meet the above *REQUIREMENTS* guitars become rather limited in shape. All too often I see someones sketch of a new design, and it's obvious the guitar wont balance and will neck dive like a boat anchor. This means it is a failed design. Might look really cool, but if it cant be played comfortably, it's worthless except to decorate a wall.

It's pretty easy to mod a shape you like. A little more work to start from scratch, but many "scratch" designs look like some popular model thats already been done. Just how many variations can one perform to a "V"? cut out here or there- change the angle- change the size- change the back between the points of the wings one of several ways... but its basic shape/design are the same as the origional flying "v" with very few exceptions. (moser being the biggest exception) You could make the same arguement for single cutaway and double cutaway.

It's really hard to be origional and have a functional shape at the same time because there are so many design considerations.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone- I just want to remind people of the things necessary for a successful shape.

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me and some other forum members use a program called ACDsee Canvas

its a mix between a cad and illustrator, that i find extremely user friendly(i picked it up within 2 days of never using it before, no previous cad experience)

when i design a body i take who would be playing into consideration and more or less design a guitar around a persons body, then mess with the design

once im satisfied with a design ill leave it for a few weeks, come back to it, adjust what i dont like anymore and then print it out, transfer it to MDF and then use that as a template for future builds

in the future i would like to model a human body in a 3d cad then work with designs based on that

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I use google sketchup, and after a learning curve, I find it a fantastic, intuitive powerful tool. And its free, so no, I don't get paid for my endorsement.

I have been able to experiment with every aspect of the design of the guitar before even touching a piece of timber.

Now I like touching my wood as much as anyone(ooh err), but with good hardwood becoming extinctMaghogahy CITES, I want to be 100% on every detail before I hack into it.

Plus, I don't get alot of time to spend in the workshop so I need to have a good plan.

Plusplus, i'm an engineer so its the nerdy way to do it.

so checkout sketchup - oh and 3dwarehouse, heaps of guitars already drawn by others. its like having a variax kisekae!!

good luck

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