How to build an electric Guitar

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Project by Obi posted 06-06-2008 07:15 PM 11686 views 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After speaking with a fellow Lumberjock and good friend about building an electric Guitar I decided to post the progress of how to build one here.

Since this is not a “Full-time” gig at the moment I am not doing this full time but I can get you through this as I build one (or 4 as the case may be).

In the first part of the building process you need to determine what kind of Giutar you want to build. The things to consider is Bass vs. 6-string. And then you need to decide whether you want a bolt on neck, a “set-neck” (which I havent done yet, but have a few Luthier friends that can help or a “Neck-Through” where the neck runs the entire length of the guitar.

In these first photos I have a Bass Neck with truss rod and fretboard already put in/on (truss rod has been put “in” the dado slot in the neck and the fretboard has been glued on).

One more thing you need to consider is what “style” of fretboard to use. There are several, what I call styles, ranging from 3 different Gibson fret layouts, a Fender layout and a Paul Reed Smith layout. All these are common on these different makes of guitars and the fret layout template can be purchased from Stewart=MacDonald ( from here on referred to as “Stew-Mac”.

The fretboard that im using on the Bass is a 34” scale bass layout.

To get started on this design I used a 3” x 3” piece of laminated Maple/Purple Heart/Brazilian Cherry neck and it should be 40” long (just to be safe).

There is no room for anything short of perfect as harmonics are very important. Everything must be square, strait and perpendicular.

After The neck is laminated, I cut a 12 degree rake 7” from the head of the guitar.

By placing a piece of self adhesive 60 grit sandpaper on a perfectly flat object and making sure that there are three lines (approximately 1 16th” apart from where the rake in the neck starts I turn the neck top-down and make sure that the head piece is perfectly strait, square and perpendicular.

this is all for now, you can e-mail me at if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Or bounce there from here

I’ll try to get some more pictures as soon as I find someone who can operate a camera.

19 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3897 days

#1 posted 06-06-2008 07:18 PM

Cool looking headstock on the middle one.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4260 days

#2 posted 06-06-2008 07:20 PM

That was quick… and thank you.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3897 days

#3 posted 06-06-2008 07:22 PM

Hey, I follow all the luthier threads. I am looking forward to following this. I’ve never tried building an electric.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4260 days

#4 posted 06-06-2008 07:30 PM

Building an electric seems much easier. An Accoustic seems too fragile. This thread might take a while to complete. I have about 5 bodies already cut out, five fretboards already slotted, now I just gotta catch up with the necks.

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 3723 days

#5 posted 06-06-2008 07:37 PM

I’m with Rikkor. Sort of a semi-professional luthier myself (semi-amateur?)

I’ll be watching, for sure—looks good so far, and some wild colors!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4241 days

#6 posted 06-06-2008 10:20 PM

Looks great so far. I’ll be watching.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4100 days

#7 posted 06-07-2008 02:39 AM

looks fun…i will be watching…then listening???

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3809 days

#8 posted 06-07-2008 03:17 AM

Cool, I am really interested in your project.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4269 days

#9 posted 06-07-2008 11:21 AM

Nice project Obi, where you been keepin yourself? mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4322 days

#10 posted 06-07-2008 01:38 PM

This should be an interesting blog.

The neck looks like it’s going to be a beauty.

I’ve made a guitar, but it’ll be nice to see your process.

Don’t worry about how long it takes, I’ve got patience.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4260 days

#11 posted 06-07-2008 04:57 PM

Mike… I’ve been in the shop. Between the guitars and the cam clamps I hardly ever take time out for anything else. Oh, wait… after I made the first guitar , which I guess Dick missed, I learned how to play it. Took me 30 days to learn how to play it well enough to play it every Sunday at church so I also have practice on Thursday evenings.

And I bought 40’ of 1/4” steel so I got started on a project to make 40 cam clamps. SO figuring the cost of making them it turns out basic cost of materials is about $2.00 and once I start mass producing them I can probably make 20 pair a day.

So I guess I have been a little busy.

Oh and I got a Bass that is across town at a friends I’ll get pictures of it to post.

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4100 days

#12 posted 06-07-2008 05:02 PM

obie…amazing…one more thing to think about in terms of your true genius…you are were waaaaaay ahead of the rest of us in terms of efficiency…the gas savings along on your transportation to work and back would afford me a new set of tools and materials a year…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4260 days

#13 posted 06-07-2008 08:43 PM

It wasn’t accually by choice as much as it was neccessity.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3608 days

#14 posted 10-25-2008 11:48 PM

Again nicely done For my particular way of thinking a jock or woodworker should make as much as he can for these luthiery and not rely on buying bridges etc already made. The stew catalogue is well done but most iof his jigs even, could be home made with a litlle ingenuity.Please keep them coming and good luck you’re a trre lumberjock regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Joe's profile


26 posts in 3483 days

#15 posted 12-16-2008 02:49 AM

Nice Job!

-- Joe Corbett 239-303-0101

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