The idea of this article on making your own electric guitar is to give you a real, practical idea of the magnitude of the job and the skills, tools and raw materials needed to make your own electric guitar. The original electric guitar was a railway sleeper with strings. The designer, Les Paul, finally marketed his invention with a guitar shape because he felt that was what people expected of an electric guitar, not because any particular shape was really necessary to make music. One thing you need to get straight on now is you will not save money by making your own guitar. If you want a cheap electric guitar, there’s one with your name on it at your nearest music store.
So if you fancy yourself as a designer, you could try making an electric guitar to your own specifications but you will need certain materials to work with. The first thing you will need is a love of working with wood. The second is an arsenal of power tools like drills, routers, saws, and fiddly bits of hardware. Your environment is also crucial. You will need a workspace which is not too hot or cold or wet or dry!
When you design your home made electric guitar, you will need to know how long your neck is going to be and how far apart your frets will be. You will also have a choice of the basic shape of the head of your guitar – the part that holds the tuning pegs.
You probably already know that a pickup near the neck gives a deeper sound than a pickup close to the bridge. The placement and configuration of the pickups on an electric guitar is a science in itself.
Solid body electric guitars are usually made from maple, ash, mahogany, alder, basswood or nut because they possess proven sound qualities for guitar manufacturing. You will need to buy your wood from a sawmill in lengths rather larger than needed for guitar making, and you will need to cut the wood down to size before making your guitar. You will also need hardware like machine heads, pick guards, fret wire, bridge and whammy bar mechanism. You will also need hardware if you use a bolt-on neck.
For the electronic parts of your electric guitar, you will need pickups – single coil or humbucker, shielding to cut down hum and associated knobs, nuts and grommets.
The first job in making your own electric guitar is making a template of your instrument from plywood. The template is your exact pattern for your finished guitar, and needs to be crafted with care. If you find yourself cutting corners at this stage you may as well stop this project and continue with the home brewing you started two winters ago.
To finish off this short essay, I should mention that there exists another solution for people wanting to make their own electric guitar – the electric guitar kit. As an example, the Yamaha EG-112PF Electric Guitar Kit contains: EGP112 Electric Guitar 2 Single coil pickups 1 Humbucking pickup Vintage vibrato system 5 position pickup switch Tremolo bar Master Volume and Master Tone controls Maple neck Chrome closed tuning hardware Bolt-on neck construction Rosewood fingerboard Basswood body No coil split Scale length: 25-1/2″ (648 mm) Nut width: 1-5/8″ (41mm) Radius: 13-3/4 (350 mm) Frets: 22 Color: Black with white pick guard Guitar cable included GA10 Amplifier 7 watts of power 5″ speaker Volume, Tone Bass, Distortion / Clean controls Headphone jack Dimensions: 10.4″ (w) x 10.0″ (h) x 6.4″ (d) Complete Starter Kit Electronic tuner ? YT120 Special Yamaha gig bag Extra set of strings Picks Strap with Yamaha logo String winder Capo Guitar method book. I found it on Amazon while looking through 1,320,000 results for a Google search on “electric guitar kits”! Best of luck!