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-= Building a Guitar from Scratch with Absolutely No Woodworking Experience "


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As i always gotta push myself or smthg or whyever i wanted to gift myself smthg special for my birthday this year i ordered some fine woodworking tools, luthiers stuff and nice tonewood to build a guitar.

 

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I have no experience in woodworking, never used any of the tools i ordered before, all i have is watched a few yt vids, so it might be fun to watch me struggle and see how far that will go, maybe tell me what i should have done better or should do.

I´ll start by what has happend so far and update regularly until i burn or hold the finished thing.

Have fun!

 

I´ll put my planned specs here on the road to remind me when i´m lost...

6-string, 22frets

Neck (Bar Ash)
- glued
- slim shape
- Headstock 3+3, custom shape?

Fretboard (Maple)
- rounded edges
- black dot inlays? custom for 12th?
- Fender olschool frets
- fallaway from 13th
- compound radius 10-14"; maybe go to like 20" on the fallaway?
- Bone white nut

Body (Bar Ash)
- custom own created shape
- carved front
- through body stringing
- not too heavy

Hardware (gold! and black maybe)
- locking tuners
- HB + P90? or HB +Singlecoil
- no Tone Pots, 1 Vol knob only, that one reachable with pinky if in any way optically achievable

 

# Memos (to myself and anyone)
Do everything once! Meaning... try to plan all the steps one after another because going back will double the time of the process.

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I started off with selection of wood....

 

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i´m going with that one 🙂

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Bar Ash Body, Bar Ash Neck, curly maple fretboard

 

 

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What do i want to build - the time to think about that

6 string, righthanded, 21-22 frets
slim neck
shape? lp-ish? custom?
3+3 or 6 in line headstock? - i like 3+3!
gold hardware on tranparent finished wood
...?

that´s a start ... but what first body or neck? I don´t know the reason why with what to go first, so i decided whenever there is a decision to make - go the stony way - i think neck is much harder cause it has to be superprecise. so lets mf go!

Creating real size templates is not cakewalk (if anybody needs to know how i did pm me)

 

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measure

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measure

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cut.... phhhhhhhhhh   that went well... bandsaw... good tool as it seems

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so is the cheap japanese saw

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i cannot believe it it looks a bit like a neck

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had to modify the bandsaw to be able to cut the 10cm head... do never do that - i destroyed the blade completely ...

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... but it somehow worked

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handplaning is tough, also had to learn how to sharpen the knife here

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yay a 12is degree like headangle (actually i went 10 to get enough area)... of course i am planing to augment and cut it to a full 14mm head

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so far that went all too easy

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Wow @Rodman, is there a new Les Paul or Leo Fender being born in front of our eyes? In any case, I will watch your work with curiosity 😉

What kind of wood are you using?

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after some (a lot)  sanding and scraping one flat necktop

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scary work coming up, how do i use a router???? why are routerbits so damn expensive, and do i need a trussrod anyway (yes i do, absolutely)

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phhhhhhhh, i am so happy

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on we go

chisles - also so damn cool tools

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yay:

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i failed with my carbonfibresticks i wanted to put in, didn´t have a small enough routerpiece and nearly destroyed all while trying to chissle them in...

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one of my main problems is i have a devil on my shoulder that never let´s me do testcuts... so that routing for the trussrod was my first of all time try, so is the thing in the next pictures...

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so scary

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my lovely 9yo assistant testing the access to the tr

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after some sanding... i am happy

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2 hours ago, Mikson said:

Wow @Rodman, is there a new Les Paul or Leo Fender being born in front of our eyes? In any case, I will watch your work with curiosity 😉

What kind of wood are you using?

The shape is yet undecided, i am using Ash for neck and body, maple for fretboard.
Wish me luck, see me suffer!

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more sanding by hand

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and trying that nice electrosander where it doesnt have to be dead straight

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man, i like the look of that wood

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hah - here is where i got to discover i destroyed the blade and it would cut a lot to the right ...

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thats better

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scary.. glueing for the first time, doesn´t sound scary, but it is as there is no way back

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beer ... is always a good assistant

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also clamps are nice tools

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if you think proposing to your gf was scary ... think again..

aka . things to do at 1 in the morning after a lot of beers (really)

 

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stupid me comparing the japan saw with the stanley - side by side comparison.... why oh why

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and here we go ----- drama!!!

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and the fix (sawdust and superglue)

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Radius..... ... the stony way clearly dictates compound radius - let´s do it and let´s go from 10 to 20

 

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didn´t dare to plane so i sanded the thing for hours... like 10 hours

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dead but happy

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next up.... making the headstock the right depth

 

as i don´t have a bandsaw that can cut 10+cm, handsaw is the way

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thats a damn fine saw

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some planing, sanding, then...

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some glueing

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you can never clamp enough

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yay, i wonder what shape that will get in the end

 

 

 

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Shaping of the neck can begin... and i don´t know what i am doing

 

Tool from the japanese gods - Shinto Saw-Rasp

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A tool i thought would be useful down there - well it aint really so far

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lets go

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i did mark the depth of the trussrod, the depth of my strat ultra neck (which i like a lot) and a mark with 5mm safety from there

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the shinto is superb - thats 30secs work

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i decided to go for 2 spots to narrow where i want to end - at the 3rd and 12th fret

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now for some tool from the powergods, never used such a thing, i didn´t spend 120€ for a sabortooth cutting blade, i hope that one will work somehow.

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i better move outside

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hah, thats such a fun toy

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yd night..

 

tried to connect the 2 spots making it already dead straight... let´s see

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not too bad

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80gr. ... did that for 30mins, .... ahh that will take ages

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40gr. - better

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getting there

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yes

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 just had to do a quick finesanding with 400 to have a look and more importantly feel.

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that went a lot better than expected.
So that was the last month, we are live from now - 1st cut was done May, 1st.
I am gone till next wed, but i keep you updated till i fail or play that thing.

 

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Thank you for posting this.  Lots of fun following along.  I used to have a basement full of woodworking tools.  Building a guitar was something I always wanted to do.  I just couldn't get out of the "you're going to fail" part of making it happen.  I love how you just jumped in and went for it!

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yd progress ... memo to myself or tip - before carving the neck draw the transitions and then you don´t have that piece by piece like i had


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it already does feel like a nice neck, i´m still 1mm safety away from final everywhere, which is gonna be sanded ... yes when? maybe when headstock is shaped and i have done the pocket ....

 

@diceslinger there is a thin line between being able to do smthg and just doing it 😉 for all my life i´m on the latter side.

 

@blucrsr thx man! Well it´s so nice to have all that crazy tools now. Getting like 1-3 packs in the mail every day for a whole months was the best birthday of them all. It´s rather self-exlanatory so far, but also i don´t know what bad mistakes i already did make. If there is gonna be an instrument in my hands that is in some way being playable i´ll be proud like a god.

 

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Back and straight back to my lil project.

 

Had time to do a lot of thinking the last days, i think in my head i have a plan to go step by step till the end now... lol

 

First i wanted to finish the neck so far to be able to start on the body ... and neckpocket. Was thinking if i should finish the neck first completely, but that would not leave me the opportunity to fix possible non-optimalities, yeah let´s put it that way on the neck side.
So first i had to finish the sides on fretboard level to get the final pocket-shape

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My version of a good fret-leveling beam, at least that´s the thing that has to be dead straight and affordable. First i went with the plastic one, it´s good but not dead dead straight, so i went back and got the metal one.

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sandpaper wears so quickly, but i don´t think working it wet on the plain wood is the best idea... went from 40gr to 120

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rounding of the pocket edges... already i shiver when thinking on routing that pocket and creating the break-angle!?

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ultra-straight on both sides

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got me a new shiny middle-line, a bridge-line... measured 12th that was 32.4mm - so bridge is or must be 64.8... and that matches with the number i had in my head. And i  started drawing a shape - well when i build a guitar from scratch - can i possibly go with a shape someone else has created and rebuild that - no! Even if mine was ugly, no.

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A lil fix on the 1st frets slot that i fixed before, but the sawdust didnt´t get soaked by superglue in the deep, so after shaping of the fretboard i had to go again. Now it shall be good and not visible under the fret...

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Luthierism... not possible without superglue

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Oh no! - Let the fun begin!

After few mins i had my own guitar shape - good? questionable! One that i have never seen - for sure. I just cannot make a copy of a copy, those can be bought.

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Installed a new blade on my cheap cheap cheap bandsaw - and hell - that tool cuts so precise!!!! I love it

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and it´s relatively silent - i did that cutting 10pm my family sleeping upstairs, the vacuum cleaner running on full was way louder, and i have a rather silent one (says the ad)

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trying to save bigger throw away parts for potentional back-cover and fixes 😉 and stuff

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Hah - that went well, didn´t take 10 mins and i am everywhere 1-2mm away from what i´ve drawn.

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Hah

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let´s try some...

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if it´s gonna be playable or not - i´m happy already

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ok, drawing some outlines and some carving lines to call it a day

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love the look of that back already

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Thinking and measuring neck-break angle...
I thought that would best be done by try stringing
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and yes.. my breakangle with bridge stringheight adjustable from 9-12mm, the 6.5-7.8mm fretboard, 1.4-1.6mm frets and low action gives me a breakangle of 0.00°

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that should be ok, and in case of fire i should still be able to do minimal adjustments on either side... on the nut-side obviously and on the bridge side, lower is planing, higher is less planing or in the worst case put a piece of wood under the bridge, n.p.

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my newest tool - how could i live without???? sooo handy

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Neck Pocket is next.... no idea if there is something that is really to be done or to avoid here...
I think whats really needed is a good centerline matching neck and body

creating that and checking

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looks ok, so marking the outlines with a sharp blade (though it was not really sharp anymore)

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i was thinking of creating a template for that routing job, but then decided against, cause it would be only usable on that guitar and a lot work to create... so i was thinking of just creating a temporary wooden wall with masking tape and super glue

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well... the walls of my neckend are straight in all directions, but measuring is not 100% ... and how precise is routing a wall? Never done anything like that before... the trussrodchannel with the tiny 6mm routing bit was quite precise...
So.... as that joint is THE thing that gives the instrument to be the stability i decided to make that routing margins really tight, knowing and already being massively annoyed that it will be a tad too tight and will need manual widening until perfect fit.... if that will be better than just going exact sice in first place.... time will tell.

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2/3 walls

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test ... doesn´t look all too bad

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now really in level

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Phh... that bit is in another league compared to the trussrod-one

If i understand right the circle shall hit the walls and thus lead to a wall like cut

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Deciding to do some pre-work with a drill, way less scary

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41327043vp.jpgOk.... routing is way too loud for midnight 😉 ..... rescheduling

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Ok... but what i can do all night is work on my fretboad, yay....

More sanding... so ... i like 12" radius... so.....going compound 10-14 will be the perfect and hard way... let´s bring that to sleep

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thats 2 yes

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I love the round edges of my strat ultra fretboard - gotta go for that, starting with 40gr on my now handle-modified piece of stone

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going in the right direction

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continuing with my version of a leveling beam, 120gr

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Pah.... what a picture, i think í´ll upload that on my photo frame

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coffee and i was thinking glueing the connection between neck and fb from the side will fill possible tiny leftout spaces, but i don´t really know if it makes the slightest visible difference, however it will take 10 mins and can in no way harm.... let´s go

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yd

 

preparations are done
!?


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let´s try that

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that´s a great tool, must protect my eyes!!!
I suppose i can use the routed walls now as margins... that will be even more precise as i will have the flat of the bodyfront

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looks ok, let´s test

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ultratight - as expected and as wanted

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measure, measure, then go deeper

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nearly there i think

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cornerwork

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a lil more cornerwork needed

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that scrapers are soo cool tools - no sawdust, perfect planing, you are able to take away a lot of material in every pass and still work ultraprecise... and they are very cheap (like 6€)

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hah

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that! is a joint

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unbelievable

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i´m holding something

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that undeniably looks a bit like a e-guitar

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more than happy

 

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