Step by Step guitar building 1 – designing the body


This is the first entry detailing the step by step process I took for building my own guitar. In this entry I am going to detail how I designed and carved out my own guitar body from a wood plank.

This is intended to not just show my process, but hopefully help nad inspire others to do the same! Now, this was my first attempt at putting together a guitar, and over the years I have actually had to keep going back to it and change hardware and electronics – even the neck a couple times! So what I am saying is not every step worked out perfect, but I will detail how I corrected it afterwards as well so that you can get a good idea about the whole journey this guitar has taken. It plays great now but I will get to that eventually – with video evidence too. For now…step 1!

  1. The wood: I acquired the piece of wood from a carpenter I knew. He did not know what type of wood it is, and to this day I haven’t a clue. It’s hardwood and it was the right dimensions so that’s all that mattered.
  2. The design:  I pencilled in my design onto the wood using other guitars as a size-reference, then ended up making it larger and wider than my other guitars to make the most of all the wood.
  3. Cutting it to shape:
As you can see, I pencilled out the design and used a Jigsaw to cut it out. The cut-aways were quite tricky but the Jigsaw was able to manage it as you can see below:
I got the neck from a guitar luthier in a basement in Denmark Street in London. The guy completely lied to me, telling me there was nothing wrong with it and sold it for £20. I later found out that the neck was actually quite warped and wouldn’t adjust with the trussrod at all. More on that in another post.
I’ve kept this outer template to use for future projects as a template as I want to make a series of these guitar shapes.

So here we have it, my first attempt at carving out a body.

What I would do differently:

  • I would be more patient and sand down the sides so they are nice and smoothly rounded off. Some of the edges are a little angular. This doesn’t bother me at all, but I would try and make the effort next time I cut a body out from scratch.

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