Want to know how to make a top acoustic guitar? Well today, we’re going to show you the steps it takes to do just that! This guide will give you the basic knowledge on how to build a guitar from scratch, as well as let you know where you can go to get additional help putting your very own personalized guitar together.
This guide is written by Rey, a former student of the MI guitar building classes. If you can get out to Hollywood Blvd and have the money, I strongly recommend you check them out. Either way, carry on reading this guide to the bottom for a full overview of what you need to do to get your custom guitar made.
By the way, if you’re looking for the best guitar lessons you should check that guide out.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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How To Make A Guitar Step By Step
Hey guys, today I’m going to look at how you can create your very own customized guitar. There are approximately five steps to creating your own guitar, all of which I’m going to give to you today. After this, I’ll also share a few important tips that will help take your guitar building skills to the next level. So:
Step 1 – Knowing The Scale Of Your Guitar
Before you can design your guitar, you should know some important rules. The most important rule is to know your scale. The scale is the length from the top of the bridge to the base section of the guitar. To determine the scale of your guitar, you should measure from the front of the guitar (where it meets the ideogram on the neck) and multiply that by 2.
Step 2 – Designing Your Guitar
Ok, so onto the most creative part of the process.
Once you’ve got your measurements down, you can start outlining some basic designs on paper. You can let your imagination go wild at this stage, or if you prefer, stay with a more traditional design. You could also in theory come up with a ukulele type design if you wanted.
If you’re having trouble with coming up with a design idea, one option is to look at other guitars out there and seeing what’s available. Or have a look at the following guide on picking the right guitar to ensure your guitar has all the right features.
Once you’ve finished your design, you will need to trace it onto the wood that you will use for the body. If you want to make the body of the guitar thicker, you can get a 1/4 “piece of birch wood, and glue between the two selected pieces. Many guitar makers like to do this.
Step 3 – Drilling The Necessary Holes
Now it will be time to drill holes into the guitar body. To get a more precise hold, start with a drill piece that can create a hole smaller than the screw. If you find that your holes are too small, then you can move up to the next size drill piece and re-drill the holes.
Take care of the depth you drill as well as the placement. A good way to do this is to size the screw piece, and mark it with a piece of tape. This will give you a measuring tool, and will help prevent your holes from going too deep.
I recommend you use a drill piece that has the same circumference as the screws (including the thread). This is so when you place screw in the holes, it’s easier to simply turn them.
Step 4 – Preparing The Guitar Body
Next, no matter what type of guitar you’re making, you need to prepare the body. A sanding block, grit paper, some elbow grease and a little patience will ensure you create a flat and even surface. One tip though, you should never use your hands to sand the rounded edges into share. Rounding using the tips of your fingers can cause depressions in the wood’s surface, so make sure you’re on a flat surface and use a sanding block instead…
Step 5 – Paint Your Guitar And Finishing Touches
Painting your creation to reflect your personality is exciting. This is the last creative part of project. When spraying the body, keep the distance about 6 to 8 inches away, moving up and down. Begin spraying 2 inches outside the body and complete the stoke in the same way. Do not stop and start the right spray on the body because you end up with an uneven build or paint drips.
It’s also a good idea to spray a light coat first at first, and allow paint to dry for 45 minutes before laying on additional thicker coats. Additionally, make sure the surface has been cleaned, and is free of dust before you start painting. This is so no dust gets under the paint and causes uneven parts in your guitar.
After you have painted the guitar, allow to fully dry and harden.
Additional Guitar Building Tips
As I promised, here are some additional tips to take your guitar building to the next level. Many budding musicians want to jump right in, cut the wood, drill the holes, and custom create an amazing guitar. Unfortunately, doing this will inevitably make your miss several important steps. Here are a few tips that will give you a better finished product, so take note:
- Different woods will produce a different tone, but many creative types will select any wood without thought. Don’t be one of these people, the wood you use for your guitar is all important.
- Beginner players cannot typically tell the difference between using a lower quality wood, compared to a higher grade expensive wood. So, what wood should you be using? Well maple guitars all but guarantee superior results, and many musicians also enjoy the warmer tones of mahogany. Either of these woods is a good choice.
- The most difficult task is the neck of the guitar. By taking guitar building lessons, you will become more aware of how to handle this part of things and learn how to get it right every time.
And that’s how to build a guitar in basic steps. Constructing your own guitar is a creative process, and a challenging one at that. When you have your own personalized guitar at the end of it though, it will all seem worth it.
If you don’t have the tools or means to build your own guitar, you may want to consider taking guitar building lessons or join a workshop. Here you will be able to get all the materials and tools you need to build a good quality custom guitar from scratch, as well as get additional tuition on this potentially complex subject.
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Rey is a music enthusiast who loves to play almost every musical instrument. He also enrolled in guitar building classes way back college to enhance his knowledge on guitars. Not just by playing it, but also by building it.