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First Time Builder Help

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Hey i'm new to guitar building and i am going to build one with my friend. I was thinking, before starting out should i use lumber and glue it together. I dont want to spend $60 on a blank and ruin it. Also, where can i get plans for a fender stratocaster, and is there any free ones on the internet?

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It seems that you are a just getting into building guitars. Therefore I recommend you to buy "Make your own electric guitar" by Melvin Hiscock or "Building Electric Guitars" by Martin Koch. Both books are great and tell you how to build guitars in detail. There are so many problems you'll face during building your first guitar that you won't find all the answers in a Forum at least not without asking 100+ questions....Both books are really worth there money and are must-have items for starting builders.



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Hi Ziki,

Welcome to the insanity. Personally, I don't suffer from it: I enjoy it.

And I second what MK said. Either or both of those books would be of great value to, as would reading through the various threads on this web site. Also, check out the tutorials on the main www.projectgutiar.com site. There is a TON of information there.

Have fun, and take lots of pix.

Guitar Ed

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Didn't see a question about plywood, but if the question is "can I use it", the answer is "you don't want to."

Gluing together 2 pieces of lumber side by side is standard practice for making bodies and tops, but you still want to be using decent wood, and you will need to have them properly jointed together.

I don't mean to profess any sort of expertise-- I'm at the same level of skill as you, and the only step ahead I have is that I've read the Koch book, and everything I could find on the internet and on this forum... but I'm a total newbie at this, too. Still, my experience already has been that $60 will be the least of your expenses, and if you're going to put all the work into making an instrument, you're better off with a proper body wood so that you will have a worthwhile product at the end, you know?

If you really want practice in cutting shapes, etc., you can use other cheaper woods, I'm imagining-- though the 'feel' for cutting each wood is different. But when it comes down to making the actual guitar, you should at least get a hunk of alder or ash, two of the more budget-friendly woods.

There's a chance that no matter how careful we are, our first projects are not going to work out as beautifully as we hoped for-- but if we're 'practicing' or learning a new craft, we might as well use the proper materials so that we'll know what we're doing for the second and third projects!


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Any kind of scrap would you have lying around could be helpful!

As an incidental note, I tried a practice run on a scrap piece of 1/8" plywood that came with my wood. I discovered that the top layer splinters and gets in the way very quickly, and I also quickly realized that when I get to cutting the real deal, some sort of mechanism to blow dust out of the way will be helpful.

All things I wouldn't have known if I hadn't done a bit of practice! More practice to come....

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I've cut my first guitar body last weekend, after I did a lot of practicing on scrap wood. I'm glad I did.

If you are planning on cutting your body using a router, cut it in several runs, taking small peaces of wood on each run. Don't plunch your router bit into the wood because the bit can take out large chunks of wood.

Take your time. If you get tired or you don't feel like it anymore. STOP.

Take a pause and start again afterwards.

I made my own templates first. It takes time but you learn a lot during the process and it will make the real work easier.

Go for it.

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