Electric guitar plans???

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Forum topic by Bob Burrington posted 09-30-2008 05:42 PM 13844 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob Burrington

9 posts in 4207 days

09-30-2008 05:42 PM

I have a student who wishes to build an electric guitar. Can anyone offer any help on where I can get a set of plans? A fellow teacher recalls that Popular Mechanics had a detailed set of plans for a “tele” style in a back issue from September 1990…I know there are kits available, and I will probably buy the neck and the pick ups, I need to find the body and finish techniques….

-- SAWDUST...Source of Fiber......Bob

16 replies so far

View Chardt's profile


169 posts in 4086 days

#1 posted 09-30-2008 06:15 PM

I found the ibanez site to be extremely helpful. They have the wiring diagrams for every guitar they make. So just find the pickup/switch/knob configuration you want, and look for it.

As for guitar body construction, there are no hard and fast rules. You’ll want to shape it to be comfortable to play, and I always make sure it balances well on a strap. Otherwise they easily get ‘Neck heavy’ and will tilt down at an uncomfortable playing angle.

Oh, and be VERY careful when mounting the bridge. If you’re off a bit, you won’t be able to intonate it, making it impossible to keep it in tune.

Good luck!

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 4262 days

#2 posted 09-30-2008 09:54 PM

Try They sell pretty much everything to build a guitar.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 4177 days

#3 posted 09-30-2008 10:17 PM

Its a little complicated compared to something like a box. If some one had “plans” it probably wouldn’t be enough information. Good sounding guitars (yes even electric) are often a combination of woods. Gibson uses Mahogany and Maple for the tone profile of a Les Paul. Theres a lot to learn when starting from scratch.

This book
will take you through more than you need to know.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View ChasHutch's profile


56 posts in 4199 days

#4 posted 09-30-2008 10:26 PM

I just saw this gentleman’s profile on LJ…

He seems to have a pretty good handle on guitar construction. Might me worth asking him. Although the book that spaids mentions above seems full of good info also.

Good luck.

-- Hutch - North Dallas, Tx - Safety First

View cassy's profile


29 posts in 4516 days

#5 posted 09-30-2008 10:53 PM

Bob ,you can try stew mac they have alot of free information and alot of products. Another place is very interesting.Plans for making the body of a guitar are very hard to find most suggest using your own ideas,almost all are within 14×20 rectangular area. hope this helps.

-- dave montreal

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4359 days

#6 posted 09-30-2008 10:58 PM

You can try the Musical Instrument Makers Forum, they have several plans.

View Bob Burrington's profile

Bob Burrington

9 posts in 4207 days

#7 posted 10-01-2008 01:27 AM

Thanks for the help. I now have sources to try and find one….and wouldn’t you know it, it needs to be LEFT HANDED…

-- SAWDUST...Source of Fiber......Bob

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 4299 days

#8 posted 10-01-2008 04:43 AM

go to, they have everything you need.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 4199 days

#9 posted 10-01-2008 04:58 AM

you must have a good group of self motivated kids. I teach HS shop in St Louis area, and there only a few that I would allow to do such a project. My rule of thumb is that I limit projects to ones that I have done in the past or at least have mastered the joinery techniques. As you well know, most of our job is problem solving and the kids want the answer to how to fix it now.

One of my students is that kind of student, very motivated, self learner. His first year was his jr year in shop last year. Now as a senior, he is taking my class 2 hrs during the day and wants to build the NYW garden bench just because of the challenges it provides. His neighbor has one, so he knows what the final outcome SHOULD be. He is also my tech student director for the school plays, (I am the tech theater sponsor at my school and I am in charge of building sets and running lights and sound during plays).

I am going to actually purchase treated pine and allow him to make a prototype first without charging him. I am banking that one of the staff members will cover the $100 cost. I am actually going to do an email auction when he is done, hopefully kind of a mini fundraiser. I am basing this hope from the fact that last year we sold 72 adirondack chairs to staff members, and they are already asking when we are making them again.

We use the ad chairs as an assembly line project. They cost about $40 each using treated pine and stainless steel screws. Last year we sold them for $50 to the teachers and $40 to the students’ parents. This year price goes up $10. A few mistakes were made, so we broke even. Hoping to make $500 -$1000 to cover cost of a foreman pocket hole machine

Try the ad chair project. It has been a big hit at my school. Email me at [email protected] for more info. We used the NYW plan which is also same as rockler plan, which came with a video and cardboard templates which I transfered to hardboard.

Have fun.

View ackychris's profile


103 posts in 3497 days

#10 posted 02-25-2010 09:15 PM

Just thought I’d revive this forum in case anyone else is looking. That Melvyn Hiscock book mentioned by Spaids is priceless when you’re building your first. It’s got some good design guidelines, great tips for routing and shaping the body, a bit on wood choices, a good deal on building necks (I haven’t tried a neck yet), and a bit on finishing. It also has lots of neck-scale charts that will help you either fret the neck or at least position the bridge correctly. Anyone looking to build an electric should check it out, definitely.

-- I hate finishing. I never manage to quit while I'm ahead. --Chris

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 3530 days

#11 posted 02-26-2010 06:01 AM

Another vote for Stewmac.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View Grumpy's profile


25623 posts in 4335 days

#12 posted 02-28-2010 03:53 AM

Bob, The Australian Wood Review, latest issue 66, may have what you want. It goes into the whole process of making an electric guitar but it is a 3 part series. Seems very comprehensive.
The web address is

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

549 posts in 4374 days

#13 posted 02-28-2010 07:31 AM

Another site to try is Luthier's Mercantile Inc. and search for “Plans”. I see a lot of support for Stewart McDonald, which is a very user-friendly site (I’m a customer too…), but what they don’t have as far as specialty supplies, LMII does!!

I also second (or third??) the suggestion to acquire Melvyn Hiscock’s book. It’s what got me started, and a quintessential resource, IMHO.

I didn’t actually use a ‘plan’ to build my first custom bass guitar, I just found a instrument dealer’s catalog (Carvin) and “eyeballed” a design from a style I liked. For a first guitar, I would strongly suggest that your student NOT try to build a replica of a well-known instrument, like a Tele, Strat, LP, or SG right away. Have them sketch some body & headstock designs purely from their imagination. That way, if and when mistakes are made during the building process, there’s less likely to be a large amount of discouragement on the student’s part. Let the classic axe wait until the first instrument is under their belt.

If you have any questions about any part of the solidbody instrument building process, let me know, and I’d be glad to help!!

Please pass on my congratulations to your student for their interest in building a custom instrument!! I hope both of you have lots of fun on this woodworking endeavor.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View Minuteman's profile


58 posts in 3860 days

#14 posted 04-02-2010 03:35 PM

Stewart MacDonald has the plans, tools and parts to build a good instruments and kits

-- Major Walt Timoschuk,III

View Minuteman's profile


58 posts in 3860 days

#15 posted 04-02-2010 03:35 PM

-- Major Walt Timoschuk,III

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