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It is not uncommon for a guitarist to take an interest in the luthier craft of building guitars. There are certainly instances where it’s more affordable to build a guitar than to buy from a manufacturer.
If you have an interest in building your own acoustic guitar, you’ve come to the right place. These are some of the best DIY acoustic guitar kits that provide an opportunity to build your very own guitar.
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StewMac Dreadnought Kit – Best Overall
When it comes to acoustic guitar styles, the dreadnought is by far one of the most popular and enduring. These guitars are often chosen by musicians of all ilk for their full-bodied and throaty voice.
The StewMac Dreadnought Kit is perhaps one of the best acoustic kits for this very style of guitar. Within the kit is everything you need to build the guitar, much like a model for a car.
However, unlike the model car, this is a guitar you’ll actually be able to play. Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside.
The body of this kit features a AAA spruce top with the book-matched back and sides made of Rosewood. Routing for the top’s rosette has been done, and the soundhole comes precut.
This kit also features a neck made from Mahogany. A truss rod comes included, which will fit between the neck and the Indian Rosewood fretboard.
The neck and the body are designed to connect at the 14th fret. StewMac has included a convenient neck joint on the neck for an easy installation.
One thing to note is that the fretboard comes pre-slotted. You’ll be able to install the frets, which also come included with the kit.
The StewMac Dreadnought kit also features some fairly high-quality hardware components for this model. These include:
- Bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Rosewood bridge
Another important thing to note is that you will have to source your own tuners. StewMac has omitted these because guitar players tend to have their own preferences.
For aesthetic purposes, StewMac has included the binding, inlays, and a decorative rosette.
To aid you in your build, StewMac has included an instructional book and a step-by-step DVD. A mold made of cardboard is also included to give you a scaffolding to build the guitar’s body.
What’s So Great About The StewMac Dreadnought Kit?
When perusing this list, you’ll inevitably see that this kit is priced close to our best premium kit recommendation. What, then, makes the StewMac Dreadnought Kit the best available?
While its price might not be its best selling point, the materials provided certainly are. StewMac is one of the most trusted guitar parts stores in the industry.
Because of this reputation, it’s a fairly safe bet that these kits machined in their shop are of top-notch quality. This means that the guitar will not only be easy to put together but will also be a playable instrument.
Perhaps the best thing about this kit is that you’ll be involved with every small detail of the guitar’s build. Of course, this is minus the fact that all of the individual pieces come pre-machined.
Regardless, the StewMac Dreadnought Kit is certainly an excellent starting point in building your own guitar.
StewMac really goes above and beyond, especially with the instructions provided. The included instructional book is 36 pages long and the DVD goes through every step in detail.
In other words, let’s just say that putting this guitar together will not be a confusing feat in any manner. The fact that StewMac includes a cardboard mold shows you this guitar is meant to be played.
This specific model’s design was inspired by vintage Martin dreadnoughts. By the time you’re through with the build, you’ll have a truly classic dreadnought to cherish.
Aside from the tuners, the StewMac Dreadnought Kit has everything you need to put a guitar together from scratch. You really can’t beat the value and experience that this kit can provide.
Many guitar kits tend to produce guitars barely fit to be a toy. This kit from StewMac shows it’s serious in the intention to produce a worthwhile guitar.
StewMac 1933 OM Kit – Best Premium
Have a little extra to spend and prefer concert acoustics to dreadnoughts? Do not sleep on the StewMac 1933 OM Kit.
As its name would suggest, the StewMac 1933 OM Kit is based on the iconic 1933 Martin OM model. This means that, by the time you're through with this build, you’ll have a beautifully-sounding guitar.
In this kit, you’ll get a AAA Spruce top, with Rosewood sides and a Mahogany back. All of the pieces used in the body bracing come included for you to put together.
One thing about the 1933 OM Kit is that the top comes with the rosette location pre-routed. The back is also book-matched for easier construction.
This kit’s neck is crafted from Mahogany and has a neck joint crafted at the 14th fret area. You’ll attach an Indian Rosewood fretboard to this neck, which has been pre-slotted for 20 frets.
You’ll find that this kit comes included with:
- Rosewood bridge
- Pre-slotted bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Fret wire
- End pin
- 2-way truss rod
- Bridge pins
Every included item requires you to install it yourself, which is a plus for those looking to gain experience. If you didn’t notice, you will have to supply your own tuners, although the locations have already been pre-drilled.
StewMac has made sure you’ll have no questions when it comes to putting the 1933 OM Kit together. They’ve included an instructional book and a DVD guide with this kit to guide you through.
Also included with this kit is a cardboard mold to help you piece the guitar’s body together. This will help to ensure that you put the top, back, and sides together at the correct angle degree.
It seems as if the only thing missing here is some age and the Martin headstock logo.
What’s So Great About The StewMac 1933 OM?
Like the aforementioned Dreadnought Kit, the 1933 OM Kit is worth every penny and amount of time spent on the build. You’re definitely not going to regret this purchase.
After all, the build schematics are taken directly from an original 1933 Martin OM guitar. This is about the closest thing to a real 1933 OM guitar, without the associated price tag.
And, let’s be real here, there aren’t many of us who can afford an original version of this iconic guitar. Fortunately, this kit can help you get your hands on a very close representation.
That is, perhaps, probably the best thing about this kit in particular. The 1933 OM is a legendary guitar model, and this is an excellent opportunity for a beginner builder’s early experience.
This kit does not only have everything (minus the tuners) needed for a complete build. It lets you be a part of every step involved in completing the guitar from pieces of wood.
StewMac has done the more difficult things for you, such as soundhole cutting, rosette routing, and tuner hole drilling. However, this allows you to focus on doing your very best at completing the build.
This kit provides excellent instructional guides to help ensure you won’t get lost during the build process. These resources alone will help you in your luthier experiences far into the future.
Where many kits tend to fall short of playability, this guitar is built to perform. This guitar shouldn’t feel like a toy in your hands by any means.
Definitely be sure to check this guitar out, especially if you love concert acoustic guitars. You can be sure that you’ll enjoy the experience of putting this vintage replica together.
C.B. Gitty Mountain Tenor 4-String Box Guitar Kit – Best Budget
On a tighter budget, but still looking to be able to put some sort of guitar together? One guitar for consideration should be the Mountain Tenor 4-String Box Guitar Kit by C.B. Gitty.
Sure, you might be wondering what in the heck this guitar is doing here. After all, guitars are supposed to have 6 strings, right?
While that might be true, 4-stringed box guitars are actually frequently used by blues, folk, and mountain musicians. This kit from C.B. Gitty allows you to craft this tone for yourself.
The box guitar’s body is fairly easy to put together by most standards. Simply attach the pieces and glue into place, and you’re ready to go upon drying!
Standard Plywood is used for the box guitar’s body. There are 2 feather-shaped soundholes that decorate each side of the guitar’s top.
Both the neck and the fretboard are crafted from Poplar. The neck has a shortened scale length of 23”.
There are 20 frets to be found on this box guitar’s fretboard. An important thing to note is that this guitar is designed to be tuned to open G tuning (GDGB).
The frets, nut, and tuning machines all come included and preinstalled on the neck. This kit also includes a floating wraparound bridge, saddle, and strings.
One important thing to note about this kit is that each component is unfinished. This means that you can color and apply the finish of your choosing.
Of course, there’s something to be said about the natural, unfinished look, especially on a box guitar.
An instructional guide is included with this kit to help you throughout the process. The kit even contains information to help you get started learning how to play the guitar.
What’s So Great About The C.B. Gitty Mountain Tenor 4-String Box Guitar Kit?
This Mountain Tenor 4-String Box Guitar Kit certainly isn’t going to be for everybody. In fact, guitar purists are probably scoffing at the fact that this instrument is even on this list.
However, for a novice builder, this kit provides an invaluable opportunity for gaining building experience. This kit is not too intensive and doesn’t require too many tools to complete the build.
The neck essentially comes pre-assembled, leaving much of the possible guesswork out of the equation.
In fact, even the timidest of people can easily build their confidence with something like this. Kids especially will be able to enjoy this guitar, and not just for the building process either.
Because of its shortened neck scale length, those with smaller hands will have an easier time navigating the fretboard. This can provide a great starting point for learning intervals on the guitar.
The fact that C.B. Gitty has included instructional music guides is a major plus. You’ll be able to learn the fundamental chord fingerings in no time!
Box guitars are an iconic instrument in certain areas of music, although it certainly isn’t a mainstream icon. Unfortunately, box guitars just are not as common as other types of acoustic guitars.
These guitars produce an exquisite tone, especially when used with a guitar slide. This kit allows you to have one of your own, and take part in a long lineage of musical heritage.
Plus, it comes at a seriously low price that is practical for any budget type. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a multiple instrumentalist, you’ll find this kit worth your while.
StewMac Triple-O Kit
The Martin 000 series contains some of the most definitive guitar models in the last century of music history. These instruments tend to cost quite a bit of money, making them an unreachable guitar for many.
Fortunately, the StewMac Triple-O Kit is available so that everyone can have access to this iconic guitar. This kit takes its build schematics from a vintage 000 series model to provide an authentic replica.
The body of this guitar features a AAA Spruce top with Rosewood sides and a Mahogany back. No worries about the sound hole, it’s already been pre-cut for you!
Mahogany is also used for the kit guitar’s neck, which features a dovetail neck joint around the 12th fret area. The fretboard is made from Indian Rosewood and is pre-slotted to fit 20 frets.
To match the fretboard, the Triple-O Kit’s bridge is also made from Rosewood. Attached to this is a bone saddle for the best possible resonation.
Bone is also used for the nut, which has been pre-slotted for convenience. Some fine-tuning may be required, but this is to be expected.
The other items in this kit include:
- Fret wire
- End pin
- Bridge pins
- 2-way truss rod
- Wood for bracing architecture
This kit essentially allows you to be involved with nearly every aspect of the guitar’s build. All of the areas requiring more detailed craftsmanship have been completed for easier construction.
Speaking of easier construction, StewMac provides every bit of detail you need to put the guitar together. You’ll get a step-by-step DVD and a 36-page book to help you get the job done.
If that wasn’t enough, StewMac also provides a cardboard mold to help you accurately construct the guitar’s body with precision. What more would you expect from a high-quality kit from StewMac?
Baosity DIY Kit
Need a low-cost acoustic guitar kit? Consider taking a look at the Baosity DIY Kit.
Like the aforementioned kits on this list, this offering from Baosity features everything to build a guitar from scratch. When completed, you’ll have a guitar in a classic dreadnought shape.
The guitar’s body features a Solid Spruce book-matched top, with the back and sides made of laminated Pine Plywood. You’ll have all the necessary pieces for the guitar’s bracing architecture within the kit.
Mahogany is used for the neck, which has a 25.5” scale length. This neck has been reported to be fairly rough, so you will need to spend time finishing it off.
The fretboard in this kit is made of Rosewood and has been pre-slotted for 20 frets. This fretboard has already been finished (sans frets) and features white dot inlays.
To match the fretboard, the bridge is also crafted from Rosewood. Other hardware featured in this kit include:
- Plastic saddle
- Plastic nut
- Chrome tuners
As far as this kit goes, it has elements that can definitely create a worthwhile acoustic guitar. And you’d probably have quite a fun time doing so.
However, if you’re not capable of extreme handiwork, you might not find this to be enjoyable. A lot of work will be required on your part to complete this build, including cutting holes and routing.
You’re even left to your own devices when building this guitar. Yes, that’s right, no instructions included!
To make things slightly worse, a mold is also not provided. You’ll have to source everything yourself.
With that being said, if you have all the tools necessary, this could provide an excellent learning experience. It’s not so expensive that mistakes couldn’t be made.
These are somewhat on par with StewMac kits, without the instructions.
Solo APK-10 Kit
Not looking to dive in and get completely wet when it comes to building a guitar from a kit? The Solo APK-10 Kit comes with most of the extremely difficult aspects already completed.
In fact, the APK-10’s parlor-sized guitar essentially comes pre-assembled. This body features a Spruce top with Mahogany used for the sides and back.
As you would expect, the soundhole is already cut, with binding and rosette installed. You might be wondering, what’s there for the guitarist to put together?
The answer would be that you’d be connecting a pre-assembled body to a pre-assembled neck and fretboard. All of the necessary machining has been completed to connect the neck and body as precisely as possible.
This neck has been crafted from Mahogany to have a scale length of 25.5”. The fretboard is made from Black Walnut and has 20 frets already installed.
A 2-way truss rod has been pre-installed in the neck, making this a breeze to put together. You’ll also be able to continually adjust this guitar well into the future.
Also included with the APK-10 kit are:
- Walnut bridge
- Bridge pins
- Chrome hardware
- Plastic nut
- Plastic saddle
It likely doesn't get much easier than this compared to other acoustic guitar kits. Simply connect everything together and you’re on your way to playing guitar.
Sure, this might not be for everyone. In fact, despite its affordability and convenience, its playability still depends on your luthier skills.
With that being said, this is another excellent entry point into the world of building guitars. It can serve as an introductory course on how much skill is required to build with every component.
This would also make for a great gift idea for the guitarist that enjoys working with their hands.
“Reso-Plate” 3-String Resonator Kit
I know what you’re thinking…Another box-style resonator?
However, the “Reso-Plate” 3-String Resonator Kit is an excellent kit offering a portal to backcountry, folk, and blues music. It even gives you the opportunity to provide your own personal flair by use of a license plate.
Yes, this resonator uses a license plate for its resonant plate, meaning you can put those old plates to use. Let’s be honest, they’ve probably been looking tacky on your wall anyways.
This box guitar is crafted from Plywood and can be put together with some wood glue and clamps. All of the hard work has already been pre-machined for your convenience.
The 23” scale length neck and fretboard are made from Poplar and have 20 frets. The frets, nut, and tuning pegs all come pre-installed.
Also included with this kit are a wraparound steel bridge and a raised saddle.
Overall, this kit provides an opportunity to create a personalized guitar with a unique banjoesque sound. Both kids and adults will enjoy this “Reso-Plate” kit.
Best Brands For DIY Acoustic Guitar Kits
Building a guitar from a kit can always feel like a massive gamble. There is no guarantee that the pieces will be constructed in a high-quality manner.
The following companies have a stellar reputation within the industry for building DIY acoustic guitar kits. Take a moment to learn about each of them.
Since 1968, StewMac has been providing the guitar world with every possible thing a guitar might ever need. In fact, there’s a good chance your favorite guitar tech gets his supplies through StewMac.
Aside from being a store, StewMac has its own custom shop which regularly produces kit guitars and replacement parts. StewMac has built an incredible reputation for nearly every aspect of its offerings.
Solo Guitars is a store and guitar shop established to provide the market with everything a luthier could desire. Everything from guitar body parts to hardware and accessories can be found through the company.
Since 2008, this specific brand has had partnerships with many well-known name brands within the industry. These names include Fender, Ernie Ball, Electro-Harmonix, and many more.
Top DIY Acoustic Guitar Kits, Final Thoughts
As you’ve seen, there are definitely options available when it comes to DIY acoustic guitar kits. Just be sure to remember one thing…
If a kit is fairly cheaper, be sure it doesn’t require quite a bit more work than an expensive model. Inexpensive kits sometimes lack the instruction found with higher-priced options.
Be sure to research everything involved with a kit. A cheaper kit may cost you more time and aggravation than anticipated.