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Lutherie - an itch that needs to be scratched

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Forum topic by live4ever posted 03-14-2010 01:11 PM 1108 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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live4ever

983 posts in 1697 days


03-14-2010 01:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m thinking hard about building a guitar (or two) – I’m not a particularly good guitar player but the thought of building them is for some reason VERY appealing.

I was hoping some lutherjocks could point me in the direction of some resources for lutherie – books, websites, etc. that explain the basic process, tools needed, and where some of the parts are obtained.

I really have no idea about it – just want to get a basic grasp of what’s involved.

Thanks!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.


19 replies so far

View Eagle1's profile

Eagle1

2066 posts in 1751 days


#1 posted 03-14-2010 01:57 PM

The woodwhisper had a video sieres on it that a member of the guild made it was quite interesting to watch them..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

669 posts in 1818 days


#2 posted 03-14-2010 02:28 PM

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1685 days


#3 posted 03-14-2010 03:55 PM

Also the guy that owns Grizzly seems to really like guitar building and if you look at their catalog, they have a LOT of supplies, books and materials.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2905 days


#4 posted 03-14-2010 04:30 PM

Stewart-MacDonald is a great source for parts and information. You can get them to send you a printed catalog if you want.

I’d like to build a guitar one day also. I recently did a little refretting work on my old Alvarez, and the urge to build one from scratch is growing.

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

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live4ever

983 posts in 1697 days


#5 posted 03-14-2010 09:34 PM

Thanks guys! I forgot to mention I was thinking electric. Acoustic would be fun too, but it seems like the sound quality would be more dependent on the build, and I don’t know if I’m ready for that!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View JimDaddyO's profile

JimDaddyO

288 posts in 1766 days


#6 posted 03-15-2010 01:35 PM

You can start as I did. I ordered the neck from MJW Customs and I am building the body. The neck is the hardest and I will leave that part for later, or the second build. I used Melvin Hiscocks Book as a referance and lots of help from forums where I met other builders on line. I have a blog on the build.

-- I still have all my fingers

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 1973 days


#7 posted 03-15-2010 06:40 PM

As Charlie said, Stewart-MacDonald is a good source.
You might also try these guys. http://www.lmii.com/

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Chardt's profile

Chardt

169 posts in 2288 days


#8 posted 03-15-2010 06:57 PM

Warmoth guitar parts is an excellent resource as well.

I’ve built several electrics, and it’s a lot of fun.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5513 posts in 2063 days


#9 posted 03-15-2010 09:10 PM

Go for it! I don’t even play and building a guitar has been the most rewarding project I’ve done yet. Would love to build another some day. I also took the approach of building the body and buying the neck. I started out using a set of cheap pickups but ended up upgrading to individual pickups and chose online schematics for the electronics, which I’d recommend to avoid sounding like a cheap China Strat clone.

Sites like MIMF.com, Projectguitar.com, and AX84.com were very helpful in building the guitar and the amplifier that followed.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Alonso's profile

Alonso

946 posts in 1925 days


#10 posted 03-15-2010 09:15 PM

Check out the blog from thewoodwhisperer

There’s a lot of footage of how to build an acoustic guitar on a 3 parts blog from Rick Urschel

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View miserybob's profile

miserybob

88 posts in 1731 days


#11 posted 03-16-2010 12:01 AM

John Ressler offers two guitar-building classes (one electric, one acoustic, each one week) at Marc Adams. They might be full by now, though. He’s a great guy – the class should be fun.

Here’s a picture of the OSB guitar made…

Here’s the link to his classes summer…

View ackychris's profile

ackychris

103 posts in 1700 days


#12 posted 03-16-2010 12:27 AM

I’m still working on the finish of an electric I started a while ago—when it’s done, I’ll post it here, but as far as resources go….Ger21 mentioned Melvyn Hiscock’s “Make Your Own Electric Guitar”. It’s an invaluable resource, definitely a must-read. Necks scare me, so I just ordered one on ebay—a Squier neck—and built the rest of the guitar. Expect to pay at least $40 for a decent, playable neck. I did a lot of my shopping on ebay, in fact, but a great source for inexpensive but pretty good hardware is guitarfetish.com. My finish is a nitrocellulose laquer from reranch.com (another good source for info on building and finishing). There are sometimes decent deals on pickups on ebay, otherwise try guitarfetish pickups, or shop for the brand names on zzounds.com or musiciansfriend.com. And if you have an electric you don’t mind taking apart, that’s one of the best ways to really figure out what you need to do.

Forgot to agree that Stew-Mac is a good source, but a bit spendy. I’ve decided to stick with inexpensive hardware (NOT electronics, though) until I’ve got a bit more experience, so I haven’t dealt with Stew-Mac much. If you’re on a budget, I suggest cutting corners anywhere but on the neck. And if you decide to build your own neck, too, make sure to post a detailed blog—with pictures!—here, ‘cause I wanna see how it’s done. :)

-- I hate finishing. I never manage to quit while I'm ahead. --Chris

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1697 days


#13 posted 03-16-2010 12:36 AM

Awesome – thanks for the links everyone!

Chris – that’s a great idea about taking apart an old guitar. I’ve got a Fender standard strat that I wouldn’t mind taking apart for my first build.

I’m sure like all things the cost can be as high as you want, but wood aside, how much do you guys typically end up spending on hardware per guitar?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5513 posts in 2063 days


#14 posted 03-16-2010 02:06 AM

Mine was under $150 for a used neck, used pickups, pots, hardware, strings, etc.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View ackychris's profile

ackychris

103 posts in 1700 days


#15 posted 03-16-2010 08:47 AM

I spent like $45 on the neck, $120 or so for a new set of Seymour Duncans, probably $15 or $20 on pots, capacitors, switch, and wire, $20 or so on a generic strat style tremolo bridge, $20 or $30 on a sheet of thick copper for the pickguard (and it’s gonna be YEARS before I try making a pickguard out of metal again), $100 on Reranch lacquer in the aerosol cans (sanding sealer, primer, daphne blue lacquer, and clear coat), and I might not end up using quite all of it. Probably didn’t need to spend that much on finishing, but I’d never done anything like it before, and 1) I wanted to use nitro, and 2) I wasn’t sure what sanding sealers, primers, and clear coats were compatible, so I decided to stick to one supplier for everything. Now that I’m starting to understand finishes a little more, I’d be more inclined to risk it and go with a cheap sanding sealer, primer, and clear coat from Home Depot or something, and maybe just a Reranch nitro for the color coat. It can get expensive fast, but now that I know where to cut costs, the next one’s gonna be a lot cheaper.

Oh, one tip—if you go with budget hardware like the bridge, plan on replacing the screws that come with it. A lot of the cheaper hardware comes with horrible screws that round out as soon as you look at ‘em. It took me about 4 rounded out screws and dozens of curse words to learn that lesson.

-- I hate finishing. I never manage to quit while I'm ahead. --Chris

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