Take Your Junk And Build A Guitar!
I didn’t know how to build a guitar or where to start. I had some old wooden boxes in the garage and thought just maybe I could create something out of it. After research online and scavenging for parts that could be used in the project, I got to work building a guitar.
Anyone has the ability to build a guitar. It’s easy.
Firstly, I’m not going to share step by step instructions on how to build a guitar out of junk because there are tons of blogs already online about this very subject. Check out The Art of Manliness for detailed directions. What I am going to give you, is a glimpse into my creative process and show you the final project.
“Building a guitar is rewarding because you can play it and be creative!”
My hope is that it may inspire you to build your own guitar and that it allows you to continue creating into the future. You don’t need woodworking experience-just a few tools and a strong imagination.
I do not have strong woodworking skills or tools that make the job less difficult. I used various hand tools such as a drill and an electric sander. What I do well at, is planning and being creative.
And this project is pure creativity. Using what you have for hardware is the fun part. This provides a problem for a creative thinker. I gathered random pieces of hardware such as nuts, bolts, hinges, and nails and tried to figure out how they would become part of the project.
I started off by picking up a piece of hobby wood for the future neck of the guitar. The wood needs to be a hard wood that is capable of supporting the tension of the strings. 1×2 Oak is easy to come by at any building supply store. The only things I need to purchase were guitar tuners and strings from Amazon listed below.
What I Used
I laid everything out and mocked up my future guitar on my floor. This gave me an idea of what Was needed to do and what it might look like as a finished project.
Take Your Time And Enjoy Building It
The neck was the most work and most difficult to produce. I decided to scarf cut the neck to give the headstock a more authentic guitar look. (See pic). I also added a spruce top to the neck and installed fret markers with some doweling. Finishing nails were used for frets and I must stress that when laying out your frets- that you calculate the correct spacing. I recommend going to StewMacs fret calculator.
The rest of the guitar was a ton of fun to figure out. I made my own organic aging stain out of vinegar and added corrosion to some of the hardware that was too shiny with a mix of bleach, salt and baking soda. It needed the old and handmade look for it to really stand out.
I went into the build with only one expectation -to finish the project. And finish it, I did.
“Building a DIY guitar was just what I needed. Building something that is a tool to be creative-is a reward every time you play it.”
This was more of an exercise in of seeing if I could actually be successful in building an instrument that actually plays, rather than a guitar of quality sound. I learned a lot of things that I would do differently next time.
In the end I am super happy with the result. It sounds better expected, though, I didn’t have very high expectations. It looks cool, sounds great and is a great conversation piece for even non-music lovers. But lets be serious-who hates music?
Playing music on something that you created is an experience that can’t really be explained. I have many great sounding guitars hanging on the wall but there is something about playing a guitar that was built with your own hands. In essence, its your own voice. It’s opened up my mind to playing and thinking differently in a music sense. My song writing is more pure and very raw and rugged. These are the values that are missing in much of modern music in my opinion.
In closing, I hope you choose to build a guitar. Please comment and share your projects with me. I’d love to see what you come up with. Please subscribe for updates and be sure to share with your friends.