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What/who inspired you to take the plunge?


JayT
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I was curious if there's any small, boutique builder(s) and/or particular design that inspired members to start building themselves? I'd guess many builders are great players that started out of a personal need for some feature and that snowballed into full builds.

For me, who always loved everything about electric guitars/basses but can barely play "cowboy chords" at best - it was 2 stories finally pushed me over the edge to give it a try myself.

First, I stumbled onto the documentary "Restrung" which tells the story of Randall Wyn Fullmer of Wyn basses. http://www.restrung.tv// this one-man operation is amazing plus his story is pretty interesting. So I started seeking out similar stories.

Secondly, I was listening to an interview with Brian Nutter/Nutter Guitars http://www.nutterguitars.com/index.html and he was telling the story of how he got started. Basically, at some point he was talking to some professional builder and asked if he could tour his factory...to which the pro replied "the factory is my mom's kitchen table" (or something like that) so he decided build his own. He has some awesome designs IMO.

The next day I started buying tools

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I was doing a lot of wood carvings and loved music, particularly blues guitar. I used to show all my carvings to my buddy who was a musician. He said as much as you love guitar, you ought to carve a guitar.

I said , huh.

I researched it for about a year, built a prototype....before I had learned anything about dimensions, and then built my first guitar.

My buddy said, now build me one. That was my first commission.

He's seen every build that followed, test drove most of them, and I'm sure wishes he waited till I had a few more under my belt.:D

I don't play worth a damn, but I can entertain myself well enough. I sure like building them, sales is not anything I enjoy though, so I have way more than I need at this point.

SR

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The former boyfriend of my daughter wanted some practise before attempting to go to a luthier school so he suggested me to join a course to get a full group. He managed to get in at the second attempt, I still join the course every fall. Building something that delicate effectively takes my thoughts off my daily IT job.

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In Jan/Feb 2018, I was researching how to build a cupboard under the stairs on youtube when I stumbled across Ben Crowe's first couple of build series. Watched a load of his videos along with Fletcher and BigD, then went down my local timber yard and bought some wood, finished my first guitar about a month later and was totally hooked by the end of it. I was posting on the Crimson forum at the time, where I got lots of help from @Bizman62. Started on ProjectGuitar when the Crimson forum shut down, glad I did because there is a real wealth of knowledge here and such a variety of builds to get inspiration from.

I finished the cupboard under the stairs at about the same time I finished my third guitar, much to the disgust of my Mrs, be she understands that guitars are basically my life now :D 

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for years I thought about building guitars from scratch but was held back by two things: didn't have a garage/place to do it and didn't think I'd be happy with the precision I'd get sawing fret slots myself.  If I'm honest the thing that got me to start building was the fact that you can readily buy cnc slotted fretboards.

built lots of partscasters for the reasons you describe - specific combo of features.

good question - fun to answer.

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2 hours ago, Mr Natural said:

starting at 3:16-this alembic bass did it for me. i have (unlike most bass players I know) been hooked on filter based electronics ever since I first heard/saw this.

I also am fascinated by "Big Brown" ... this link https://forum.phish.net/forum/show/1377253605 shows details of the controls & electronics if interested

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8 hours ago, JayT said:

I also am fascinated by "Big Brown" ... this link https://forum.phish.net/forum/show/1377253605 shows details of the controls & electronics if interested

i have always known that as the Godfather bass- and actually a few moments of some of my favorite music ever were made on that bass. I think the short scale gives is a bit of a better sound over "mission control" which is what I have been given to know as the name of the bass I referenced above. I have an email discussion somewhere in the cobwebs of my email with Rick Turner regarding these basses. Specifically I asked about the type of wood lamination on mission control and scale. The Guild is a shorter scale than mission control. i think it gives it "that sound" which I love so much. The sg bass he played prior (also short scale) at some point was fitted with  filters on it as well- and I love that tone he gets from it. 

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I have a lot of hobbies.  I like working on my car, motorbike, fitness, gaming (when I have the time) but out of all I love playing my guitar.  I don’t have time to do everything though so I have to visit my hobbies in periodic stages.  Winter time is guitar building time at the moment.

as a Myers Briggs ISTP personality type, I’m naturally inquisitive and also a ‘fixer’.  It makes me good at my day job in IT, and I seem to need to know how everything works.

I first started looking at project guitar when I was at university probably about 18 years ago,  I built my first guitar a year later over the summer break on a shoestring budget. it was horrible.

so then I built a 4x12 speaker cabinet and then rebuilt an old motorbike.

one winter it was snowing and I was bored so I built another guitar which I still play to this day.

ive only built a few guitars in total but I have built quite a few guitar pedals and used a schematic to build a JCM800 amp with some mods.

now that Ive done the wife and house thing I’ve managed to get back around to building again, partly because several promotions means I’m more desk bound than before so need to get out for fresh air and exercise.  It also helps for stress relief.
 

so that’s how I got into it and why, every now and again, I revisit this hobby.

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

@willliam_q I’m INTP.

Sophomore year in high school, last day of school, I saw a guy I knew come from the woodshop with a semi-hollow he tried to make. It was mesmerizing. I’d started playing guitar after being smitten by an ad for a Fender Lead II, and was struck by the romantic mechanical nature of the thing. Since I had taken every single woodshop class, the teacher basically said build what you want, just tell me the wood you need. I told him I needed billets of African mahogany 2” thick and built a Flying V. He got me beautiful pieces!! Anyhoo, after working on tons of other parts guitars, and when I got a bit older and had amassed some serious tools, I started building from scratch in my own shop and haven’t stopped.

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@komodo

so...advertising does work then 😁

you are fortunate that your school would  get the materials.  When I was at school we had to buy our project materials for technology class.  My parents didn’t have any spare cash until their later years so, although I wanted to, I was never able to afford guitar building until a few years later.

Some guys made very expensive equipment such as a grass topper for a tractor.  

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@willliam_q Yeah looking back now, it’s stunning that he got that wood. 

I work in marketing, and yes ads work 100% LOL. Though, it wasn’t just the ad - it was rock n roll in general. It’s like learning how to build a wizard staff imbued with arcane magic. Hell yeah I wanted a piece of that.

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  • 4 months later...

I was always very intrigued with music and in High School a friend of mine was a big fan of Slade. Dave Hill the lead guitarist had a thing called "The Super Yob" I would draw body designs in boring classes like English and Social Studies and finally made it in 1994. It was originally headless as you can see the tuning pegs used to be at the bas of the guitar (didn't work very well) I just used the fretboard and truss rod off a broken neck I got from somewhere. Made of Jarrah out off the firewood heap 

900961414_ScreenShot2020-07-25at2_39.48amcopy.png.81b5f0393a9ab857fbcbdf368d198205.png  1541235195_1998_07.21Firstguitarscopy3.jpg.f8233a24a0e4ade2d82699f019b2f3e8.jpg

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I’ve played guitar for 50 years, and always done my own maintenance. There weren’t any guitar techs when I started. A couple of years ago I was challenged to build a Telecaster from a kit. After that I started to build my own guitars, about one a year, changing the design each time to get closer to an ideal gigging guitar. That’s more about function than looks. Binding, for example, reduces the damage when you knock your guitar against something hard. Pickup switching options increase the range of sounds, meaning fewer guitars to carry. 

Two years ago I started make headless guitars. Their tuning is more stable, and I’m less likely to clout the singer when the playing area is small. The latest has a Klein style body:

jg12cJV.jpg


 

 

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When I was young and living in a small town in Holland it never occured to me that I could actually even buy an electric guitar!

After I found out I could, I bought one and regularly visited the guitar shop of Wim Heins in Holland who was also building guitars. I already started tinkering with my guitar early on, changing a SC to a humbucker in my strat, rewiring etc. The ultimate goal for me was to build a guitar from scratch which I wouldn't have thought possible if it weren't for Heins. 

and about 30 years later it happened: MAGIC!

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  • 5 months later...
On 7/24/2020 at 2:40 PM, Crusader said:

I was always very intrigued with music and in High School a friend of mine was a big fan of Slade. Dave Hill the lead guitarist had a thing called "The Super Yob" I would draw body designs in boring classes like English and Social Studies and finally made it in 1994. It was originally headless as you can see the tuning pegs used to be at the bas of the guitar (didn't work very well) I just used the fretboard and truss rod off a broken neck I got from somewhere. Made of Jarrah out off the firewood heap 

900961414_ScreenShot2020-07-25at2_39.48amcopy.png.81b5f0393a9ab857fbcbdf368d198205.png  1541235195_1998_07.21Firstguitarscopy3.jpg.f8233a24a0e4ade2d82699f019b2f3e8.jpg

Serious Bowie worship there. Hats off to you. 

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  • 4 months later...

I've been coo-ing over the Washburn N4 since about 1991 and I've always thought buying a replica was pointless, since I will never play anywhere near as good as Nuno.  I know I'd have buyer's remorse and so I just lived vicariously through youtube videos of people playing his riffs better than me.

I've seen enough now to know that I can replicate the tone by simply using the right bits in the right places.  It won't be exact, but it will be closer than my current guitars:  One custom Chibson with almost complete hardware replacements (the wood is good, everything else was crap), the other a 1994 Squier HSS FR, Reverse headstock, with new Pups and all new electrics. 

I think the point where it went from fantasy to reality was where I noticed I had almost a complete guitar's worth of spare parts in my guitar-maintenance box.  I thought: "All I need is the body, neck, fretboard and some glue...".

So, obviously I went ahead and bought new parts for every single item and the spares are still there in the box (they were crap, that's why they are spare!).

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I was in a local music store in the late 80's when the first wave of Quilted finishes were really hitting the market.

By that time I already had several Gibsons, a '73 LPC, a 347, and a '57 ES225TDC.

So I asked the guy behind the counter how they 'got' that kind of finish and he said he didn't have a clue.

To try looking it up on a forum or maybe on a builder's site.

I remember he said that guys who 'do that' were on 'forums' and liked to 'talk about it' (we're talking probably the late 80's, haha)

That's what started it, seeing the first Quilted Maple finishes hit the market and being totally fascinated by them.

From there, I looked up the local hardwoods suppliers in my area and just started driving around to them and talking to the owners.

Who all loved to talk about wood, of course.

So I spent hours upon hours upon hours just shooting the shit with hardwood supplier store owners.

They had a few other 'guitar guys' for customers and would tell me what they were buying.

And they had it ALL...boxes and boxes of burls of all descriptions, quilted lumber, Coco-Bolo, everything under the sun.

I was so spoiled and didn't even know it at the time.

The woods that were available to me Far surpassed my skills to work them at the time.

I remember the first woods I ever bought were Coco-Bolo and Kingswood (idiot) broke several saw blades just trying to cut the stuff.

But I was completely, utterly hooked.

And to this day, finishes are still my main topic of enjoyment.

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