How to Make a Guitar? (Exclusive Guide)

How to Make Guitar

Many people have been asking us how to make a guitar. Well, it’s not as hard as you might think.

In this post, we will show you some easy steps on how to make a guitar from scratch. 

Hopefully, the following instructions will be enough for anyone that wants to try and build their own instrument!

 Let’s get started with what you’ll need.

How to Make a Guitar Step by Step

Materials you will need: 

  • A knife for cutting the wood (Preferably a pocket knife)
  • Sandpaper – 100, 150, and 220 grits. You’ll also want 1 piece of sanding sponge (500 grits). If you don’t have sanding sponges, you can use wet-or-dry sandpaper, just make sure it’s not too wet.
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps – at least 4
  • A drill or drill press with bits that can go up to 1/2″ in diameter.
  • Titebond III wood glue
  • Rags
  • Finishing materials – Shellac, lacquer, etc.
  • Acoustic guitar strings. You’ll have to use a different gauge for each model you make. For example – the soprano ukelele will need a much lighter string than the concert guitar because of its size.
  • A neck template

You’ll also need something you can use as a fretboard. We use a 1/4″ piece of maple, but you can use anything you have lying around – like a piece of scrap wood.

Let’s learn how to make a guitar in the next step.

Making the Body

1. Cut the Wood: The body of your guitar will be made out of two pieces of wood – the top and the back. You’ll need to measure and mark the dimensions for each piece before you start cutting.

2. Glue the Pieces Together: Apply a thin layer of wood glue to the edges of each piece of wood, then clamp them together until the glue dries.

3. Drill Holes for the Tuning Machines: The tuning machines will need to be installed on the side of the guitar body. Mark where they will go, then drill pilot holes for the screws.

4. Install the Tuning Machines: Once the holes are drilled, install the tuning machines and tighten the screws.

5. Drill the Sound Hole: The sound hole is what will allow your guitar to produce sound. Use a template to mark where the hole should go, then drill a 1/2″ hole.

6. Sand the Body: Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges on the body of the guitar. Start with 100 grit sandpaper, then progress to 150 and 220 grits.

7. Apply a Finish: Apply a finish of your choice to the body of the guitar. We use shellac, but you can use lacquer, polyurethane, or anything else you like.

You can also check out 11 Best Small Guitar Amp for Home Use.

Let’s move to the next step of how to make a guitar.

Making the Neck

1. Cut the Wood: The neck of the guitar will be made out of one piece of wood. Measure and mark the dimensions, then cut it to size.

2. Drill a Hole for the Truss Rod: The truss rod is what makes your neck bendable, so you’ll need to drill a hole that runs from one end of the guitar to the other. Make sure not to drill all the way through!

3. Cut the Neck Slot: Set your neck template on the wood and use a router (or a chisel) to cut the neck slot. This is where the neck will be attached to the body of the guitar.

4. Glue the Neck: Apply a thin layer of wood glue to the edges of the neck, then clamp it in place until the glue dries.

5. Drill the Fretboard Slot: Next, you’ll need to drill a slot in the neck for the fretboard to fit into. This can be done with a drill or drill press.

6. Sand the Neck: Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges on the neck of the guitar. Start with 100 grit sandpaper, then progress to 150 and 220 grits.

7. Apply a Finish: Apply a finish of your choice to the neck of the guitar. We use shellac, but you can use lacquer, polyurethane, or anything else you like.

You can also check out Best 3/4 Guitar for Beginners in 2022.

Let’s move to the next step of how to make a guitar.

Attaching the Fretboard

1. Cut the Fretboard: The fretboard will be made out of a piece of 1/4″ maple or other hardwood. Measure and mark the dimensions, then cut it to size.

2. Glue the Fretboard: Apply a thin layer of wood glue to the edges of the fretboard, then clamp it in place until the glue dries.

3. Drill Holes for the Frets: Use a drill bit that’s slightly smaller than your fret wire (you can use an Exacto knife as an impromptu fret bender to bend it into shape). Mark where you want each fret to be – you’ll need 23 frets total (21 along the neck, plus 2 lower down on either side). Make sure not to drill all the way through!

4. Install the Frets: Once all of your holes are drilled, use a hammer to tap the frets into place one-by-one.

5. Trim the Fretboard: The fretboard will need to be trimmed before you attach it to the neck of the guitar – otherwise, there won’t be any room for it! Use a router or hand saw to trim off about 1/8″ from either side of the fretboard.

6. Sand the Fretboard: Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges on the fretboard, then finish with 100 grit sandpaper, then progress to 150 and 220 grits. Make sure that you don’t leave any sharp corners in your final shape!

7. Apply a Finish: Apply a finish of your choice to the fretboard of the guitar. We use shellac, but you can use lacquer, polyurethane, or anything else you like.

Let’s move to the next step of how to make a guitar.

Attaching the Neck and Fretboard

1. Glue the Neck to the Body: Put glue in between the neck and body on both sides of where they meet (if using bolts instead of screws for tuning machines). Then clamp them together until the glue dries. Make sure that everything is lined up before you let go! [If gluing without bolts, make sure to drill pilot holes first.]

2a. If Using Bolts: Option 1) Use wing nuts and washers so that you can tighten and loosen the neck easily. Option 2) If you don’t mind a permanent neck joint that won’t be adjustable, just screw your bolts into the underside of the body – otherwise you’ll have to drill holes through the neck so that they line up!

2b. If Using Screws: Drill pilot holes in both pieces of wood so that the screws will fit together tightly without being too difficult to turn.

3. Glue the Fretboard to the Neck: Put glue on top of where it meets, then clamp them together until dry. Make sure everything is lined up before you let go! [If gluing without bolts, make sure to drill pilot holes first.]

4. Apply a Finish: Apply a finish of your choice to the neck and fretboard of the guitar. We use shellac, but you can use lacquer, polyurethane, or anything else you like.

Tuning Machines: [Glue with bolts]

1. Drill Pilot Holes in Tuning Machines: Put a pilot hole through each place where you want a screw to go (the tuning machine should be flat on the surface), then drill all the way through.

2. Screw in Tuning Machines: Screw in your tuning machines from the bottom side of the body (make sure they’re right!). If gluing without bolts, make sure to drill pilot holes first.

3. Sand the Headstock: Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges on the headstock of the guitar, then finish with 150 grit sandpaper, and 220 if desired.

4. Apply a Finish: Apply a finish of your choice to the headstock of the guitar. We use shellac, but you can use lacquer, polyurethane, or anything else you like.

Conclusion: How to Make a Guitar

Now that you know how to make a guitar, go out and try it! It’s a fun (and challenging) project that will result in a one-of-a-kind instrument that you can be proud of. Have fun, and happy building!

You can also check out our guide on the 9 Best Acoustic Guitar Forums for Beginners and How to Read Sheet Music for Guitar.

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