You can hear what it sounds like here as I strum around and try to play a song.
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Planning and Design | Fret Spacing Calculation | Template and Workboard | Building the Neck | Making the Body Plates | Soundhole Rosette | Soundboard Bracing | Bending the Sides | Gluing Sides to the Soundboard | Creating and Installing the Back Plate | Binding the Body | Making the Dovetail Neck Joint | Carving the Neck | Making the Fretboard | Making the Bridge | Creating the Headstock Inlay | Finishing | The End Product
Great job! The finished product looks great. And you did a great job documenting the whole process and setting the site up. I’m impressed. I plan on using both the recommended book and your site when I start building my own.
Thanks! I’m glad you found it worthwhile.
I was listing to the sound file you place really enjoying it and getting in to the acoustic tunes when it finished and my music liberty kicked out some tecno staff lol like a punch in the gut 🙂
Brilliant comprehensive and light.thanks heaps. Off I go to build 🙂
Hey Aaron the guitar looks and sounds great! Would you mind leaving a tab or song names of the two that you played in the video. The blues riff and the one after that. I would appreciate it very much. Thanks -Alex
Heck yeah, fun stuff to play (or maybe in my case I should say to attempt to play 😉 ), but it’s actually all from one song: “Bring It On Home” by Led Zeppelin. Here it is on YouTube:
And these tabs look good to me:
Great article Aaron. I also read Steve Summerford’s blog which was also great. I ordered the Guitar Making book last night and plan on reading it cover to cover before i touch anything having to do with the building process (that might turn into scanning scanning the book if i give into excitement and anticipation). But anyway I have one question. I live in Richmond, VA and i plan on starting by the first of the year, hopefully soon. None the less, it will be cold out and obviously low humidity. But since this will take a while to build, I expect summer to be here before the end of the project. Summers here are very humid. The place i plan on building the guitar is in my detattched garge. It is not insulated and does not have anyway of controlling the humidity inside (i.e. air conditioning). My question is do you think the humidity will pose a problem in the build with expanding and contracting wood because of humidity? In your pictures it looks like you did your build in an attached garge. Did you run into any such problems?
Hey Stuart, I’m glad you liked the article. You are correct I was in an attached garage which was nice to keep a consistent temperature, which helps a bit it seems like to keep the humidity fluctuations down. To be honest though I’m not really sure what kind of problems you’ll face with the heavy humidity you’re talking about. I mostly faced the other end of the humidity spectrum, here in the interior of Alaska it gets quite dry during the winter and I’ve wondered if that contributed to the issues I had with my back and sides wanting to crack and split while I was putting it all together, but it still wasn’t anything I couldn’t work with. I imagine though that as long as the humidity swings aren’t too extreme (maybe going from 20% to 99% RH in a day for instance) you should be alright. But I’m not really sure, probably too it depends on the species of wood and how dry it is when you receive it? Maybe it would help to let the wood acclimate for a few days after you get it before you start working with it? At any rate good luck and I hope you have a really great time with it!
Aaron, I have some questions that I hope you can answer. Considering your guitar is finished, I’m sure you can. I have started!!! I am to the point of making the heel block. The book specifies the dimensions as being 3 x 3 x 4. Now I think the way that is read is by the x y and z axis but I don’t know what direction that are looking at the heel block. So my question is: What side is 4 inches and what sides are 3 inches?
Also in the book they use a billet and cut the pieces and glued them together to make the block so that is what I plan on doing too. My billets I got from LLMI.com come 31/32 of an inch. Will this be a problem with the final dimensions of the block? The book has four pieces glued together to I would assume the measurement perpendicular to the neck will be 4 inches. But of course if my billet is only 31/32 of an inch, four pieces glued together would be 3 7/8 inches.
Thank you for your time and advice
That’s actually a really good question. First, I went and measured the height of my heel block (from where the fretboard and neck meet to the bottom of the heel) and found it was 3.5 inches, so I must have made the heel block 3 inches high and then when combined with the thickness of the neck blank would equal about 4 inches, since my neck blank was also very close to 1 inch in thickness. Second, I went to look through the book to confirm since I seem to remember also having the same question when I was going through it. In my copy of the book on page 49 in the section “Constructing the Neck Blank: Step 9 – Preparing the Stacked Heel Pieces or the Heelblock” the authors state in the last sentence that “the segments must be 4 inches long for the steel string or 4 5/8 inches long for the classical”. So this to me is saying it is not actually the z-axis of the heel block which is 4 inches long, rather it would be the axis parallel to the length of the guitar neck (y-axis or x-axis, depending on your reference). However, like I said above, even though the z-axis of the heel block would then be 3 inches, in effect when it is combined with the neck blank the height of the heel actually becomes about 4 inches (assuming of course the thickness of your neck blank is approximately 1 inch like yours and mine was). Also, I don’t think it’s too big a deal if the height of your sides at the neck joint isn’t exactly 4″, you should be able to make it what you want within reason I’d think (like I mentioned mine is about 3.5 inches). So hope that helps a little, sorry for taking a few days to respond. But good question!
Thanks Aaron, I am just getting set up to build my first 🙂 course it is going to be a 6 string lap steel, next spring I am going over to Saskatchewan to take a 7 week luthier course from David Freeman, really looking forward to that, and by the way, I will be making my own single coil pickup as well for this lap steel, should be fun, but hey, this is your time 🙂 again, great job, and great info, looking forward to more great guitars from Alaska 🙂
That sounds great, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun! I just looked up David Freeman, his stuff looks amazing, that should be a blast too, should be a really good experience. I’m glad you found things here to your liking, and I also look forward to continuing with guitar building 😉
Thanks Aaron. I actually found exactly what you quoted soon after I asked you the question. My excitement must have muffled my ability to read and comprehend. I am at the point now of making the truss rod. I have a lot of pages left though!! Thanks for you reply.
Excellent, good luck!
wow,after i read the whole article and listened to the sound of your guitar,i think you’re so awesome..great great job Aaron! i’m so impressed..
Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I am no acoustic luthier, but I do wanna make my own instrument. I have a low budget, and a high standard, when it comes to guitars. I have come across some amazing guitars, with smooth fretboards, perplexing resonance and clear tone, but didn’t have the money to buy any of those. The only ones affordable were the ones with rough fretboards, rusty tuning pegs and scarred headstocks. Those poor quality guitars really make me miserable now when I think about it. I have had enough with buying instruments in which their luthiers didnt put much time or effort.
I wanna have the satisfaction of playing my own instrument, and I wanna passionately craft every curve and crevice of it, to make it perfect my way. The only problem is that I live in India, and not much is available here. I wanna build something a little different from your acoustic guitar. I wanna build an acoustic baritone guitar. Yours, I guess, can’t go as low as B Standard tuning. I wanna make a baritone guitar so that i can have low tunings, and i wanna make it perfect.
any ideas? any thoughts? any suggestions? any opinions? any help? anything?
also, dont give me links to amazon.com or any such sites as I live in india, and i definitely cant afford to buy from shopping sites that arent even of indian domain. if u wanna suggest shopping sites, suggest amazon.in or snapdeal.in or anything that ends with ‘.in’ so that it would be easier for me.
Hi! Honestly I think you could probably buy a better guitar for less than you can make considering the fact you’re not a luthier and I’m assuming don’t have the necessary tools already at your disposal. Though things may be different in India; I only really have experience with the US market (I’m curious how many rupees are you talking about for those nice instruments you mentioned?)
But if you’re really wanting to build your own then I do have some advice on achieving perfection (or perhaps satisfaction is a better word?). I think perfection or satisfaction will likely only be approached through iteration, which is unfortunately the thing you don’t want if you’re trying to build to save money. Basically what I’m trying to say is I don’t see the goals of low cost and perfection both being attainable, I think it will probably end up being one or the other.
It’s a bit of a crazy idea, but what about finding a local luthier and asking if you could work part time in exchange for being able to use their shop after hours or maybe even to learn a few things? Also in the US I know there are hobby shops which will also let you use their tools and space for a pretty reasonable fee, is there something like that in India?
Well, to be honest, there are absolutely NO baritone guitars in india. you might find a few electric, but i want an acoustic baritone. and for that, i will have to build it myself, since any other option to get a baritone guitar, including getting it custom made (and then shipping) or buying it from US shopping sites (plus shipping, if not free). It will easily cost me around 3,50,000 rupees, which is not a small amount at all.
also, i do know a little bit about the wood used for guitars, but i am not experienced with wood work. i dont have the tools at all. i do have the maintenance tools, like a string winder, cutter, lemon oil for fretboard conditioning. but i dont have the building tools required.
there are only about 10 real luthiers in india, and none live anywhere within 500 miles of me. basically, most guitars are imported here, and very rarely will you find a guitar that has been crafted in india, by a luthier. u will find guitars crafted in india, but the ones who do it arent luthiers. they make cheap, hollow guitars which are low quality and they’re shit. they’re only good for practice, not good when it comes to tone quality. there’s not much acoustic resonance. frets are not spaced correctly. the finish is raw. the headstock, back of the neck, back of the body etc. have dents and holes. so we cant call them luthiers really. we can call them ‘carpenters’.
no hobby shops here. its India, u just cant compare it with USA.
also, sorry about my shit punctuation. im replying using a phone, and it aint easy.
Great job, really impressed at your honesty over your few mistakes, it makes me more confident about having a go. thanks for a great story and it looks bloody superb!
Thanks Phil, I hope you have a great time with it. 🙂
Thanks for sharing with us. Your guitar looks and sounds really great. Rich and crispy clear sound on all strings. Really like it.
I would like to try something similar. Have my own garage woodwoking shop.
The really good quality guitars that have solid wood is so expensive here in South Africa.
Awsome job!!! Looks great and sounds amazing!!!!! I love it!!
Thanks! I’m glad to hear it.
That is a beautiful instrument. Even on an iPhone it sounds fantastic. Zeppelin fan eh? Bust out some Babe I’m gonna Leave You on that bad boy. Excellent tutorial on YouTube by “Shut Up and Play GUITAR TUTORIALS” channel. Thanks for all you provided us.