Whether it will ultimately be for your own use or that of another player, building your own guitar kit can be a rewarding endeavour. If you are new to this, you'll probably need a general overview of the sound mechanics involved in guitar construction and for the various parts available on the market. In the end, let your creative enthusiasm flow and be felt in every note struck.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sanding tools
- Wood body
- Electronics and hardware
- Sound engineering knowledge
- Band saw
Collect the wood for the body. The wood should not only be durable and resonate sound well but be aesthetically pleasing if you desire. Therefore, a wood that generously accepts stain is preferable. Maple, cedar, rosewood and varying species of spruce are often used.
Cut the body pieces. This can be done with a bandsaw. You should have firmly decided upon a design by now. You can review kits presently on the market as well as other guitar-building books or references to settle upon that design. Once you cut the pieces, sand them down smoothly. Decide whether you or the builder finishes the wood. You might even offer both options.
Decide upon materials. Do you want to provide inlay or silk-screening? Decorating and marking the fret board with items like these is commonplace. They may make your kit particularly attractive to a buyer if they're included. You also might prefer to silk-screen the fret markings yourself, thus allowing the final builder to sidestep that aspect of production.
Include pickups, jacks, wiring, switches, springs, hardware and the bridge. Many of these items, especially the bridge, are difficult for your eventual builder to make. You can't assume that the builder will be able to construct them. You can place these into separate plastic bags. You also will want to provide the pick-guard for the guitar. You can order all of these materials, especially plates, bridges and pickups by generic design or custom made from a number of manufacturers.
Consider pricing. If you intend to sell the kits, then it is necessary to evaluate cost. This includes not only the price of the materials you had to procure but the labour and time spent as well. Keeping in mind that this should be a fun process, cost might be a secondary concern or none at all. Yet, if it is in the plans to vend the kits, think of this matter as you proceed. It may even determine the quality or nature of the components you purchase.
Tips and warnings
- Have fun with this. Try and make the guitar bear your personal signature. If all goes well, there may be an increasing demand for kits you make, a success that will lead to further productive and creative projects. Make the builder sense the passion in your design.
- Make a test kit in order to make sure it actually plays well before marketing it. Sounds should be balanced and finger action should be easy. Make sure the instrument does not constantly slip out of tune and that the wiring is functioning and not cutting out.
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