Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including "disappearing" errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.

Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Postby Michael Vincent Olson » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:33 pm

Hello all.
This summer I am undergoing a project in which I am going to build a solid body electric Guitar for scratch. My aim for this project is going for an 80s metal lead guitar kinda tone that is very bight in high register with good mid as well and I am looking for suggestions on Neck, Scale Length, Intonation, Finish, Bridge, Pickups, Tuning machines, Wood, and all other essential parts needed as this will be my first time building one. And if anyone has any recommended guides that is most helpful as well I would appreciate that to.
Michael Vincent Olson
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:35 pm

Re: Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Postby Greg Robinson » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:36 am

Bass_Rage1 wrote:Hello all.
This summer I am undergoing a project in which I am going to build a solid body electric Guitar for scratch. My aim for this project is going for an 80s metal lead guitar kinda tone that is very bight in high register with good mid as well and I am looking for suggestions on Neck, Scale Length, Intonation, Finish, Bridge, Pickups, Tuning machines, Wood, and all other essential parts needed as this will be my first time building one. And if anyone has any recommended guides that is most helpful as well I would appreciate that to.


Hi Bass_Rage1,
Please note that we require the use of full (first and last) real names on this forum, and do not accept aliases or "handles". Please let us know your name either here, or in a private message so that we can update your username and login details for you (you are not able to make these changes to your account yourself).
Thanks.

In regards to your request, an entire book could be written to answer the questions you have asked, and I suggest that is where you start. Melvin Hiscock's "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" is an excellent place to start, and is available cheaply.
In the meantime, I recommend you check out our New builder's miniFAQ.
MIMForum staff member - Melbourne, Australia
User avatar
Greg Robinson
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:54 pm
Location: Yarraville, Victoria, Australia

Re: Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Postby JC Whitney » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:00 am

Hello Michael. I'd second Greg's book recommendation. Read it cover to cover, and then read it again. I built my first back in the 80's (with about the same set of goals as you've listed) with Hiscock's book open on the workbench the whole time. As for scale length, neck profile, etc, I'd suggest that you spend an afternoon at one of the big box guitar stores. Play every model that you can get your hands on, and take note of what feels/sounds/looks right to you. Don't be afraid to sneak a measurement or two (with a cloth measuring tape so as not to scratch up your victims). Also keep track of what you don't like - equally as important. Play different bridges, try out Fender style necks vs Gibson (no neck angle vs neck angle), which feels best? Tremolo? If so, test drive a bunch. Once you've got your basic list down you'll be able to delve into specifics. The MIMF is a great resource, but in my experience its vast network of users/knowledge will serve you best if you're able to ask a very specific question. Have fun, and keep us posted.
JC Whitney
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Postby Freeman Keller » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:21 pm

I'll echo exactly what the others have said - get Hiscock's book, study every guitar you can until you figure out which one sounds and works the way you want it too. Remember that most of sound of an electric is in the pups - find the ones you like, which will influence a lot of your design decisions (location, wiring, maybe body shape). Scale lenght determines string tension, which affects playability. Neck shape is another big factor - if you can find a guitar that you really like try to make templates of the neck. The neck angle, type of joint and top profile all work together - Hiscock covers that but it might be a little confusing. For example Fender and Gibson approach the neck completely differently.

Another very viable option is to try to find plans for a guitar similar to what you want to build and tweak it. I just finish building my first electric, a copy of a classic Les Paul, using Hiscock's book and the StewMac plans, vintage PAF style pups, vintage values for pots and caps (Hiscock has a great chapter on wiring) and it is exactly what I wanted.

I'll also make a couple of suggestions from my humble experience. The hardest things about building guitar are shaping the neck (and body if it is a carved top), setting the neck angle (set neck), mitering the fretboard, binding the body and finishing. Hiscock covers all of these, but you may want to practice first or even consider buying a pre slotted fretboard. Depending on your shop you can make a pretty big investment in tools.

Read build threads, even if they aren't exactly what you want to build. You'll learn a lot from the sucess (and mistakes) of others.
Freeman Keller
 
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:34 am

Re: Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Postby Eddie McRae » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:28 am

The 2 links below are to narrated photo albums that show the construction of one of my solid-bodies step by step from start to finish. You're welcome to check them out.....they might be of some help. Each picture is captioned with a description.

Part 1: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?s ... 318&type=3

Part 2: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?s ... 318&type=3
User avatar
Eddie McRae
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:07 am
Location: Woodbury, GA USA

Re: Building a solid body electric guitar from scratch.

Postby Romeo Suave » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:33 pm

Michael:
Most people want to cut the outline of the body at the soonest possible moment. However, I wait until the last possible moment anymore. Steward Mcdonald guitar supply which you should link to from this website has templates for cutting neck sockets, I recommend that you use hog out the area with a drill motor and a forstner bit, but then finish with a router. So I lay out with the template, hog it out then use the router to clean it up.
If you delay cutting out the outline, then you can square up two sides to have a right angle. This allows you to use a square and lay out any hardware easily. So you have a center line and the outside edge is parallel to your centerline. It is possible to install your hardware and neck, string it up, play it, then knowing that is correct, cut out the shape and even if you make mistakes that does not affect your alignment.
I started out with just a centerline and cut out the outline of my guitar, but now find it easier to cut the shape last thing. Another thing to consider is instead of using a maple cap or other figured wood and laminating, to use thin veneer which can be just glued to the top. I used to email back and forth with an old guy named Chips who was the father of modern electric guitar construction, he said I didn't need a vacuum bag, but that on his guitars he just used thin veneer and some wt. post a photo when done
Romeo Suave
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:04 pm


Return to Solid-Body and Chambered or Semi-Solid Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

Your purchase from these sites helps support the MIMForum, but only if you start at the links below!!!
Amazon music     Amazon books     Amazon tools     Rockler tools     Office Depot    

The MIMF is a member-supported forum, please consider supporting us with a donation, thanks!
 • Book store • Tool store • Links • 
cron