Building my first guitar #1: Finished the body blank, got all the parts.

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Blog entry by daverose posted 09-22-2012 03:15 PM 5039 reads 4 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Building my first guitar series Part 2: Test fitting the parts »

Was inspired by the Randall Price series on building a tenor acoustic guitar and figured my wood working skills had reached the point where I could attempt a guitar, albeit an electric one.

I’m slightly obsessive about using recycled wood whenever I can and am often going through people’s old furniture where I have salvaged some quite nice wood over the years. This time around a friend was throwing out an old beat up kitchen table while I was helping her move house. It seemed awfully heavy for the size of it so I took it home, scraped the nasty finish off and discovered some quite nice mahogany underneath. OK, here is my guitar wood! I had always wanted a Gibson SG to compliment my (real) Les Paul Standard so I found some plans on the web and started to build the body. An SG body is about 1 1/2” thick and the table top was 3/4” (even less after I planed off the finish) so I decided to try to make the guitar in a breadboard style and cut strips 1 1/2” wide which I turned on edge and laminated together. This is a very unconventional method as most electric guitars are usually made from 2 thick blocks edge glued together with perhaps a thin top of some pretty wood glued on top. I figured what the heck, I’m not planning on selling it so I might as well mess around a bit.

I realized once I started playing with alignment that this might be visually kind of dull so I hit upon the idea of angling the the 2 half’s so that the back centre of the guitar splayed out to the horns on the cutaways. I also had a couple of pieces of purpleheart and bubinga that were given to me a gift so I though I would use those as accent strips to add a bit more visual style to the body.

Unfortunately I didn’t decide to do this as a blog until after I completed the body glue up so I don’t have any work in progress shots of the body glue up and cut. Here is the finished body which has been cut to shape and template routed using a template I made from printing the plans up full scale.

I realized that I might be biting off more than I could chew in making the neck due to the high degree of accuracy involved as well as the many specialized tools required so I decided to purchase a premade one from Warmoth. ( Wow, what a great online business! You can completely customize every detail of your neck using their online tool. Neck length, radius, back contour, inlays, headstock style, frets size, nut material, a huge wood selection, the list goes on. You can also order all the other parts you might need like pickups, tuners, wiring, bridges etc. etc. So I loaded up my shopping cart and about 3 weeks later (It’s a bit slow shipping to Canada from the States) my stuff arrived. The neck is beautifully made, would definitely order from them again. I decided on a fairly simple one without complicated inlays or bindings as I didn’t want to spend a huge amount on my first guitar which might end up being not very good! It is mahogany to match the body with a rosewood fingerboard. Here are all the parts laid out in place ready to be attached.

So as not to ruin my complex glued up body block I made a couple of test bodies out of some scrap 2×12 which I’ll use to practice the routing for the neck pocket and pickups as well as testing the bridge location and the finished shaping.

I’ll try to have more in progress entries from now on. My next job is making the router templates for the neck pocket and pickup recesses.

2 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3941 days

#1 posted 09-22-2012 03:36 PM

It’ll be a looker when you’re done!

-- Brian Timmons -

View lbeckste's profile


1 post in 3808 days

#2 posted 09-22-2012 03:39 PM

Wow, nice work so far. Looking forward to seeing (and hearing?) the finished product.

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