1st Acoustic Guitar

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Project by DMiller posted 04-23-2020 03:17 AM 1651 views 3 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After more than two years of working on building my first acoustic guitar, I can happily say it is finished! As a 17-year-old, this project has been the most challenging I have built, but also by far the most satisfying and rewarding. Other than the thickness sanding, I have completed this guitar on my own. It actually sounds pretty good!

The back and sides are made from Mahogany, the soundboard is Sitka Spruce, with walnut burl and maple burl inlays. It does have a segmented rosette, which I have grown to really like over standard rosettes. The binding is Rosewood and Maple, along with herringbone purfling. My choice of finish for the guitar is french polish; the tuning machines are Schaller Grandtune tuners. If you would like to see the building process, it is documented in my blog.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the many who have given help, advice, and support:
First, my Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave me the talent and ability to build this instrument for His glory. May he receive all the praise for and from this guitar!
Second, my family and friends, who have given me much support and encouragement to start, put in the effort, and complete this guitar.
Mr. Ira Matheny (rustfever on LJ’s) for the mahogany back and sides and all inlaid wood. He also graciously helped me thickness sand the top, back, and sides, as well as allowed me to use the larger tools in his shop I don’t have access to at home.
Mr. Ervin Somogyi, who, in my opinion, is the best guitar maker at this time! He has given me a ton of help over my two years of building. He graciously sent me the excellent Sitka Spruce top from his own guitar top stash. This guitar is patterned after Mr. Somogyi’s instruments, in as close of detail as I possibly could (with his permission). The segmented rosette is something Mr. Somogyi has primarily endorsed. If any of you ever wish to build an acoustic guitar, his instruction books are the best I have come across.

Lastly, to those of you who are considering building a guitar, I would definitely say do it! It isn’t a cheap adventure, but definitely a rewarding one! Between my injury when building requiring fifteen stitches, the two years of work, I think I can say this instrument is made up of some blood, sweat, and tears(?)!

Thanks for looking, all questions or comments are welcome!
Youtube video for sound:

-Dale Miller

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

28 comments so far

View John's profile


2072 posts in 2385 days

#1 posted 04-23-2020 04:34 AM

That is quite an accomplishment Dale, nice looking guitar!

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View Andre's profile


4573 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 04-23-2020 04:44 AM

That is one fine looking instrument, you should be very proud.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Dutchy's profile


4130 posts in 3284 days

#3 posted 04-23-2020 06:07 AM

I’m from 56 and it has taken me a lot of years before I could make my wooden “toy” models. I also collected a lot of tools to do what I do. You are from 03 and are able to make such a great guitar, and I suppose you did it with less tools than I have. With this one on your age you are a winner! High above many woodworker. Do I have to say more? No, simply because it is not possible to express in words what you have made.


View PPK's profile


1861 posts in 1925 days

#4 posted 04-23-2020 12:16 PM

Fantastic! Way to go, Dale! I’ve been watching your build as you go, and this is a perfect culmination of your efforts. I can understand those projects that take a long time to build…

I’m rooting for you to get daily top 3, but more importantly, editor’s choice. Hear that, Cricket? :-)

One question for you: how did you decide on the shape at the top of the neck? My brother in law said something about how the shape of the top of the neck (I googled it, and I think that part is called the headstock) can actually be copyrighted? Is that true? And what does the little (maple?) inlay signify? Was there a natural defect in the Walnut?

-- Pete

View MadeinMT's profile


298 posts in 3276 days

#5 posted 04-23-2020 12:57 PM

Thats fantastic. Lovely work. At 17 I couldn’t nail two boards together.

-- Ron, Montana

View 987Ron's profile


1369 posts in 432 days

#6 posted 04-23-2020 01:06 PM

My father built many violins, violas and a few guitars so I am aware of the time, patience and dedication it takes to make a fine instrument. You have done great. Fine looking and sounding, use it with pride and most of all have fun. A fine instrument will last a lifetime, be passed on and enjoyed by all who come in contact with your work.
Wonderful woodworking. Look forward to your next project.

-- Ron

View Ken90712's profile


18028 posts in 4304 days

#7 posted 04-23-2020 01:07 PM

Good for you! What a great project. I’ve always wanted to build one but wouldn’t know if it sounded good or not lol. I will def try making one soon. Great work and look fwd to seeing many more of them to come! A++++++++++++

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ohwoodeye's profile


2642 posts in 4269 days

#8 posted 04-23-2020 01:16 PM

John Denver… that you?

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View psully's profile


98 posts in 1398 days

#9 posted 04-23-2020 03:06 PM

Very Impressive ! Great work.. and as for the stitches, they probably wont be your last!

View Thorbjorn88's profile


222 posts in 1258 days

#10 posted 04-23-2020 03:11 PM

Great work!

-- Dave

View Foghorn's profile


1241 posts in 502 days

#11 posted 04-23-2020 04:26 PM

Beautiful guitar Dale! On to the next one, ha.

-- Darrel

View moke's profile


1770 posts in 3892 days

#12 posted 04-23-2020 04:54 PM

Well done Dale! You have a great start to your woodworking career/hobby… looks great, and has a great shape. The shape of the neck looks good and comfortable to play….you need to have the head custom painted with your “Luthier/Company name”.
I have quite a few guitars, and have taken every one, new or otherwise to Luthier for “set up”. It is not expensive 50- 100.00 and have never been disappointed. I took a brand new Les Paul once, my wife thought I was nuts, but it was well worth it.
Good job…staying with a 2 year VERY difficult project is a testimony to your spirit. I have been woodworking for 40 years and I am still afraid to tackle a project like that!

-- Mike

View socrbent's profile


1043 posts in 3385 days

#13 posted 04-23-2020 05:06 PM

Well done! Hard to believe your are only 17.

-- socrbent Ohio

View PaxJen's profile


194 posts in 1772 days

#14 posted 04-23-2020 05:22 PM

Well done! I also (with Moke) think that taking a guitar to an experienced luthier for setup is a good idea. If nothing else, he or she can give you some feedback on the sound of your instrument.

-- Pax - Maryland

View sras's profile (online now)


6171 posts in 4245 days

#15 posted 04-23-2020 05:25 PM

Nice job! You’ll enjoy that for many years!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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