How to Disassemble an Acoustic Electric Guitar

Updated April 17, 2017

An acoustic electric guitar is the same shape as an acoustic guitar but has electric capabilities for attachment to an amplifier. There are five major components to the acoustic electric guitar: back, top, side and neck. If your guitar is so severely damaged that you need to conduct repairs, you will need to disassemble it correctly to prevent further damage. You may be disassembling it to paint it or revarnish an old battered guitar that you have salvaged.

Loosen the turn bolts which keep the strings tight. Once loose enough, the strings can be pulled through the holes in the metal machine heads. Remove the other ends of the strings from the bridge pins.

Remove the nut on the neck of the guitar, which is the ivory-coloured piece between the neck and the machine head. Rest the wooden block against the nut on the fret board side and tap the wood with the mallet. The nut should pop straight out from the guitar neck.

Place the cardboard template on the neck of the guitar and tape it firmly down. Apply heat to the template using the flat iron. This will melt the glue which holds the fret board to the neck.

Leave the iron on top of the template for at least five minutes. It is also better to leave the frets in the fret board to transfer the heat from the iron through to the wood.

Remove the fret board by using a sharp chisel or sharpened putty knife. Begin at the body end of the guitar and lift the neck. It should begin lifting up as the putty knife digs further inward. Move the iron down the length of the fret board as the previous part has been lifted.

Pry the top plate from the guitar by gently edging around the top with a hot knife. You may need to construct a hanging device to suspend the knife in boiling water. Pry around the entire top of the guitar until the whole thing comes away from the body.

Remove the electronic device. Inside the top of the guitar, set into the body, will be the electric wiring for the guitar amplifier switch. Unscrew the electric from the side of the body.

Remove the neck. The neck is held on by plastic binders which you must remove from the neck base where it meets the body.

Remove the back plate of the guitar in the same way you removed the top plate, using the hot knife around the edge of the plate.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard template
  • Masking tape
  • Flat iron (not a steam iron)
  • Putty knife
  • Wooden block
  • 10-inch blade knife
  • Hot knife
  • Rubber mallet
  • Chisel
  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

Jackie Michael has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites, including and CarsDirect. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from East London University.