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Help: Building your own guitar

Eric the Viking 30 Sep 02 - 03:50 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Sep 02 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,wdyat24 30 Sep 02 - 05:11 PM
CraigS 30 Sep 02 - 07:05 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 02 - 07:38 PM
Murray MacLeod 30 Sep 02 - 07:39 PM
Murray MacLeod 30 Sep 02 - 07:44 PM
X 30 Sep 02 - 10:32 PM
Lane 30 Sep 02 - 11:15 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Sep 02 - 11:27 PM
Lane 30 Sep 02 - 11:29 PM
Eric the Viking 01 Oct 02 - 05:21 PM
Jon W. 01 Oct 02 - 06:08 PM
harpmaker 01 Oct 02 - 06:30 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Oct 02 - 07:44 PM
Eric the Viking 02 Oct 02 - 01:51 PM
Eric the Viking 02 Oct 02 - 01:55 PM
Murray MacLeod 02 Oct 02 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Claymore 02 Oct 02 - 03:02 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 02 Oct 02 - 03:19 PM
harpmaker 02 Oct 02 - 06:06 PM
Eric the Viking 03 Oct 02 - 03:28 PM
Lane 03 Oct 02 - 06:31 PM
Eric the Viking 05 Oct 02 - 04:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Oct 02 - 07:44 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 06 Oct 02 - 12:40 PM
Lane 06 Oct 02 - 01:57 PM
Lanfranc 06 Oct 02 - 06:47 PM
Eric the Viking 07 Oct 02 - 02:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 02 - 02:25 PM
Lane 07 Oct 02 - 04:22 PM
Murray MacLeod 07 Oct 02 - 06:29 PM
Barbara 09 May 06 - 04:53 PM
Grab 10 May 06 - 07:58 AM
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Subject: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 03:50 PM

Hi- I am the sort of person who lives by the motto-measure twice, cut once. In my case (as Mrs V will tell you) it's measure 6 times, cut once and then buy another piece of wood

But, I have a friend,(don't we all?) He is a master joiner, a real craftsman. He and I were talking about him (not me-you fools!) building a guitar, or mandola.He's never ventured into this area before-he's not a musician-don't start on me!!

Anyone have any plans, or know good sources of plans please?

Thanks

Eric


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 04:26 PM

If I were doing it I would start out with one of the kits available from Martin for a first project. That would give you a good look at how to put one together without having to deal with a lot of the issues involved in making one from scratch. Then, if it turns out well, proceed to a more "from scratch" project. I have a friend who has built a couple of great sounding guitars from Martin components that flunked quality control due to minor cosmetic flaws. Martin will sell them to you dirt cheap. Total price to build a D-18, around $100 USD. StewMac (Stewart-MacDonald) is also a good source for materials and, I'm sure, plans. Sorry, too lazy to do blickies right now.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: GUEST,wdyat24
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:11 PM

This is a GREAT thread don't stop now. I always wanted to build my own acoustic guitar, but alas never made the time and I was afraid of the inevidabble failure that would result from such an ambitious desire. I bought all the books (at the time) about guitarmaking by Irving Sloane, Russell Young, et al. Now I am thinking of a meaningfull way to spend my retirement. You're right, I should have started to learn this craft years ago, but...I also want to craft my own electric guitar. Is that any easier?

wdyat24


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: CraigS
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 07:05 PM

Building electric guitars is easier, but is easiest if you are skilled with an electric router to shape the bodies with. The tricky part of building accoustics is gluing all the bits together, the tricky part of building electrics is getting the neck set absolutely right. There is a useful book on building electrics by D Brosnac. When everything has gone wrong, or you want a book with plenty of insight, Guitar Repair by Hideo Kamimoto can be useful. Whatever, luthierie can be sometimes found as an evening class subject.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 07:38 PM


Great site for budding guitar makers and his book is now considered a 'bible' for guitar making.Average handiness with woodworking tools all that is required.

http://www.cumpiano.com/


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 07:39 PM

Eric, the first thing your friend should do ( assuming he does have internet access) is visit The Musical Instrument Manufacturers' Forum where he will find an unbelievable amount of information and advice relating to all aspects of guitar and/or mandola manufacture.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 07:44 PM

GUST's advice above requires a little qualification.

Cumpiano's book is most definitely not regarded as a Bible for guitar makers.

It is well worth perusing, but is flawed in several aspects and has caused much head-scatching among would-be luthiers over the years.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: X
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 10:32 PM

There is a review on Stewart Mac's guitar kit at;

www.frets.com


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Lane
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:15 PM


Just wanted to see if I could do it.....

www.frets.com
http://www.cumpiano.com/


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:27 PM

This Link will take you directly to the review in question. At the time the review was written, StewMac was apparently not offering a bolt-on neck option but they now do. Note that they only do make kits in dreadnought size. Martin offers 000 and J size kits as well, including a 000 cutaway. StewMac also has both F-5 and A-5 mandolin kits tht look really nice.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Lane
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:29 PM

Ooopppss.... try this - the review of the Stewart Macs kit is very good: I'll try again:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Reviews/Products/Parts/SMHBKit/smhbkit.html


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 05:21 PM

Thanks so far, I don't envisage myself getting involved in the building of it. Just the playing. Couldn't find a price for the Frets kit (Stewart Macs kit) How would I obtain Martin bits in the UK? If possible? (Any ideas?)


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Jon W.
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 06:08 PM

Murray's link should read Musical Instrument Maker's Forum - it's not really for manufacturers, but for makers of one instrument at a time whether professional or amateur. I belong to it, and visit it nearly every day. Also, check around your area - there might be a luthier or even a luthier's organization that will help you out big time.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: harpmaker
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 06:30 PM

Iam shure that from what you have said about your friend that he/she could make a stunning LOOKING guitar. But make no mistake, this would only be the start of a long road of understanding accoustic instruments. I could go on and on but, if you only want to play a good instrument, you can get solid wood guitars these days at affordable prices. Dont get me wrong, Iam not trying to put you off the idea, I think it is great---just letting you know what your in for! If you decide to go ahead, I can point you in the right diarections.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 07:44 PM

Martin sells the kits throught their 1833 shop. Here's a direct link to it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 01:51 PM

Thanks harpmaker, I have a pretty good sounding guitar and it plays well-you were in the session with it at the Yorks gathering, and never reckoned that my mate would have an understanding of creating the tonality of it. Good woods and technique must go a long way-but experience will provide more. It's just the start he is after. He's not looking for business, just the creative experience. Your help would be very much appreciated, and I'll get back to you

Cheers

Eric


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 01:55 PM

Bee-etc. Thanks for the link, this looks interesting, how do kits compare pricewise with a USA ready made Martin?

Cheers

Eric


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 02:34 PM

Sorry Jon W, I stand corrected.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 03:02 PM

You can price the kits from Stewart-McDonald (a tool and parts supplier for would-be luthiers) at stewmac.com, or do a search using the above name and "fretted instument tools". If you want to compare real world prices, go the elderly .com or search "Elderly" and "musical instruments". While slightly higher than real world prices, Elderly's has long been considered the "Blue Book" of most stringed instruments, and a good reference guide to their pricing. Putting your name on their catalog list (as well as First Quality instruments) is a good idea for your friend, just for gaining the knowledge of what is out there in the way of kits, specialized tools, wood blank purchases, and instrument repair parts. Good Luck!


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 03:19 PM

Eric - As a rule, the kits cost about 1/3 to half of what a finished guitar of the same ilk would cost. However, as has been pointed out, if you want to build an instrument, whether from a kit or from scratch, do it for love, not for money. Do it because you (or your friend) would like to say, "I built that", not to try to save what is, in the long run, a relatively small amount of money.   


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: harpmaker
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 06:06 PM

looks like yer getin' the bug!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 03:28 PM

Yeah, it's for the love of wood and challenge that he want's to have a go, not the love of music. He's into Heavy metal (I am as well, and not after making a Les P copy-he's got all sorts of specialist tools-well his Mrs says so!!)

As for getting a cheap guitar- I said that earlier that's not what the experience is about.He's after the creative experience-I never even get to play it. He might just hold it to say he built it.

Cheers

Eric


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Lane
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 06:31 PM

Well... now I've got the bug. Ordered a Martin kit today - will apprecaite any advice on building it. It sounds pretty straightforward... finishing is one question....


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 04:35 PM

Lnae-are you in the UK? What are postage,carriage costs? What about import tax?


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 07:44 PM

Neither Hobgoblin, the Music Room nor Thrift Music appear to import or stock any guitar kits. But I imagine they might be helpful in arranging an import into the UK.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 12:40 PM

Just to show that building a first guitar from a kit is a reasonably intelligent way to get your feet wet, noted California luthier Lance McCollum built his first guitar from a Martin kit. Now he builds 'em for the likes of Dougie MacLean, Richard Leo Johnson and Alex de Grassi.

A friend just had a McCollum custom built and I do believe it is the most beautiful guitar I've ever seen. It looks a lot like the photos of "Lance's Personal Grand Auditorium" on the website. Mike didn't pay $11,000 USD for it though - only $6,000 (and that's with him sending Lance the wood for the body from his own stash). And this is a guy who just got a custom Goodall a couple of years ago. Must be nice.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Lane
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 01:57 PM

Eric,

No, I'm in the US... sorry, I can't help regarding UK shipping. But you could certainly call or e-mail Martin - go to the Guitarmaker's Connection. They were really helpful.

Cant wait to get this kit.... this will be a new adventure for me but do-able, I hope! Any pointers will be appreciated!

Lane


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Lanfranc
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:47 PM

Eric

It could be worth contacting Trevor Durrant in Colchester (trevor@tdguitars.com 01206 576474).

He worked at Martin for a while, is a Martin agent, and seems pretty good at getting Martins and Martin bits at good prices.

Four mentions of Martin (whoops, five!) in one post, is that a record?

"It fell about the Martinmas, when nights were long and dirk,
When her three sons came haem to her, and their hats were o' the birk"

Six, even

Alan (who is demonstrably over fond of guitars born in Nazareth!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 02:16 PM

Thankee all, keep the info coming.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 02:25 PM

If Eric, or anyone, gets to find a UK supplier, please post the information here.


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Lane
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 04:22 PM

Eric,

Now that you've got me hooked on this idea.... I found the following site.. there's a ton of information there, great stuff - and a forum on builiding acoustics that's fantastic.

Blue clicky attempt to follow:


http://www.mimf.com/

Lane


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 06:29 PM

Lane, I think you will find I gave you this link in a post above about seven days ago. Nonetheless it is just about the best resource on the net for anybody wanting to build an instrument.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Barbara
Date: 09 May 06 - 04:53 PM

Well, I have joined the gang of idiots who are doing this, apparently because there wasn't enough stress in my life since my daughter left for college.
I have the top and back braced at this point and am about to bend the wood for my sides; I'm making the show from scratch using black acacia (like koa) for the back and sides and spruce for the top to make a guitar like the old parlor Washburns.
Right now I am having trouble getting my top to ring the way I think it should, and I worry that I have already shaved the braces too thin.
You know how they tell you to tell when the braces are thin enough? The tap tone stops dropping lower. So how do you know it's lower enough? Also ended up with a double action truss rod, and am vacillating about using it, or going for the old single shaft of mild steel. (some of the double action ones break).
Definitely an act of love, though. I am ecstatic when something comes off, deep in gloom when it's not working.
Oh, another place you can get kits, supplies and cheaper hardware than StewMac is LMI, Luthiers Mercantile Int. in Healdsburg California.
Advice welcome.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Help: Building your own guitar
From: Grab
Date: 10 May 06 - 07:58 AM

Long time back now, but just in case McGrath or others are interested, there's a build-your-own-mandolin book by a guy called Troughton (no, not the Doctor Who bloke!) which includes a list of places to buy stuff from. I've yet to get the time to do anything about it, but it might be worth checking out that one.

Even if you're not interested in building a mandolin, it might still be worth getting that book for its section on tools for instrument-making. Wherever there's some special tool you need (like steam-bending gear), there's instructions in that book for how to make it yourself from random bits of wood or metal. As far as I'm concerned, that section alone is worth the price of the book.

Graham.


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