How to Build Your Own Semi-Hollow Archtop Guitar Kit

Written by seanbutler
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How to Build Your Own Semi-Hollow Archtop Guitar Kit
An archtop guitar looks great and reminds the audience of the way music used to be. (guitar image by Earl Robbins from

Guitarists love their gear. They love getting new gear and trying new sounds, different guitar and amp combinations, different pedals and such. However, a guitarist can sometimes be frustrated by the options offered by stock, mass produced guitars. If you need your own custom guitar, then perhaps collecting the parts and making your own guitar kit is a good idea, especially for older vintage models like the semi-hollow archtop guitar.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Purchase the archtop body. Various boutique guitar stores and online sites sell this body type. The most reliable bodies are built by companies like Gretsch and Gibson. Paul Reed Smith also makes good hollow bodies.

  2. 2

    Purchase your pickups. Ensure that the pickups fit the pickup holes in the guitar, otherwise installation will be difficult or impossible. Choose your pickups based on your playing style. Most hollow body guitars are designed for rockabilly and blues, so choose a low-gain pickup like a Fender.

  3. 3

    Purchase a neck. Choose your neck based on how many frets you want, how long you want the next to be, how thick you want it to be, and what kind of wood you want on the fretboard. Most of these variables change playability and do not have a huge effect on tone.

  4. 4

    Purchase your miscellaneous hardware. Choose your tuning knobs, toggle switches and pickguard based entirely on style. All brands do the same thing, except for a few notable exceptions like Schecter's "Coil Tap" option.

  5. 5

    Purchase your bridge. If you want to use a whammy bar to change pitch, purchase a floating bridge like a Floyd Rose. Otherwise, use a standard fixed bridge.

  6. 6

    Give your newly created archtop guitar kit to a luthier or guitar shop so that they can construct it for you. If you have experience, you can attempt to construct it on your own.

Tips and warnings

  • Shop around to find good prices; guitar parts can often be found at lower prices even though they perform the same function, although you often get what you pay for. If you want excellence, be prepared to spend a lot of money.

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