Many guitarists would like to try their hand at building their own guitar but don’t know where to start. They don’t have the knowledge or skills or the tools to build a guitar from scratch. Fortunately there are several solutions to their problem buying guitar parts and assembling them yourself,or a guitar kit. First decide whether you want an electric guitar or bass, or an acoustic guitar. The process for building an electric guitar and bass is the same. Once you decide what you want you can purchase the goods and get to work.
Guitar Parts or Guitar Kits for an Electric Guitar
If you want an electric guitar there are several things you can do. The first is to buy all your parts from various sources and put them together yourself, then finish with a spray can. You can even find parts already finished that you simply put together. There are some problems with assembling already finished parts. If the parts don’t fit, you’ll have to sand or otherwise work on those parts thereby destroying or marring the finish you just purchased. It’s probably better to buy unfinished parts, unless you can find factory authorized parts that are guaranteed replacements. That way you’ll know that all parts from the same brand will fit together. If you do buy parts from separate sources you may have to tweak them. You shouldn’t need a full workshop full of tools, sandpaper,fender stratocaster parts files, and maybe a chisel should be all you need for shaping the neck or neck pocket, which is where you’ll be likely to run into problems. You might need a reamer if your tuners don’t fit the drilled holes in the neck you have. A reamer is better than a drill, because it self centers, and it isn’t as expensive. Other than that you’ll need a soldering iron for the electronics and assorted screwdrivers for attaching the bridge, tuners, pickguard, strap buttons, etc.
You can also buy an electric guitar kit. The kit will come with everything you need except tools, You’ll usually need screwdrivers, sandpaper, a hobby knife, and soldering iron. Some kits come with electronics that snap together so you won’t need the soldering iron. Be prepared to do some tweaking to get parts to fit though. The tuners in some of the kits aren’t always the best, that should be about the only thing you’d want to replace. I’ve gotten Saga guitar kits where the bridge was actually higher quality than the stock parts. Look around the net for reviews, a lot of people have had great success with Saga Guitar kits, they’re cheap, easy to assemble and need minimal tools. Most people will want to finish them with spray cans, this is the cheapest option for a one-off guitar.
Acoustic Guitar Kits
If you’re wanting to build an acoustic guitar then you’ll probably want an acoustic guitar kit. These come in various stages of construction, some are almost like building a guitar from scratch, some are almost like the “bolt together” electric guitar kits. Unless you’re really serious, get a guitar with pre-bend sides. If you don’t you’ll need a specialized tool called a bending pipe, which is expensive to buy. It’s simple to build, but you may have problems sourcing the parts, and actually bending the sides is a challenge too. You’ll probably need a few more tools than you would building an electric guitar from parts. You will probably need a small plane, like a block plane and possibly a saw, and router or purfling cutter a specialized tool for cutting channels for the binding. It’s much trickier building an acoustic than an electric guitar, and you’ll need at least a some woodworking skills. Finishing the acoustic guitar is basically identical to the electric.