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17 May 2020
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Hello, new member here, I've read the forum for while, but just signed up.

For what seems like an eternity, probably about 18 months, in the spare moments I've had from renovating a house, I've been building a guitar.
This is not a kit it's all been hewn from solid bits of wood.

Unfortunately I don't have many photographs, even more unfortunately the guitar is now languishing 2.5K miles away in the UK, I'm in Cyprus at the moment and couldn't get back even if I wanted to.

Here are the photos I have:-







The body is made of sapele with an 18mm flamed maple cap.
The neck is again sapele with a rosewood fretboard.
It is a set neck, in other words the neck is glued into place not screwed in, so once it's in, it's in and it's not coming out.

This is how I left it in March, not a good photo I'm afraid:-


This is my first attempt at bulding a guitar.
It is also one of the most nerve wracking things I've done, when you consider the cost of the materials and the accuracy you have to acheive.

If anyone has any questions about the build I'm more than happy to answer them.
you're a braver man than me, I've been playing guitar for 20 years now and don't have the balls to make one yet, looks good so far, I presume this guitar is for yourself then? the cost of materials is definitely a factor, how did you shape the neck? did you use templates?
thetyreman":wceazocr said:
you're a braver man than me, I've been playing guitar for 20 years now and don't have the balls to make one yet, looks good so far, I presume this guitar is for yourself then? the cost of materials is definitely a factor, how did you shape the neck? did you use templates?

Yes the guitar is for me, I'd been wanting to make one for a while and eventually i took the plunge.
Cost wise the sapele wasn't that expensive, the book matched flamed maple top however was around £130.
I shaped the neck profile using the "facet" method, you draw a series of lines along the neck and flatten in between two lines, you start with wide gaps between the lines, the gaps get thinner as you go until you end up with around twelve faces. Once you get to that stage it''s just a case of sanding, with a long strip of sandpaper, pulled over the faces.
I actually cut the faces with a very sharp half inch chisel, a lot of people just use rasps, I felt more comfortable with the chisel.
To get the overall neck shape, I used a template, I bought a set of plans to begin with, then set about making lots and lots of MDF templates.
To achieve the 12 inch radius on the fretboard I made up my own radiussed sanding block.
To carve the maple top, I used a gouge and a thumb plane, although time consuming, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be.
Being my first build, what I learned is guitar making is mainly making templates and sanding, lots and lots of sanding! :lol:
You need to make a lot of jigs and specialist tools, because anything with the word "luthiery" in it automatically triples in price.
IMO the most important tools you need to do this are a router, a bandsaw and some hand planes.
For the money I've spent, I could go out and buy a really nice Epiphone LP, but that's not the point really.
Sorry, I forgot to say, for the neck profile, there were cross sections on the plans I had.
I made small templates for these then sanded the neck until the templates fitted.
The neck profile is that of a '59 LP.
when it's finished there's no comparison to an epiphone LP, yours will be far superior and sound much better as well, I'd love to hear how it sounds cheers.
Hopefully I'll get back and finish it some time.
I haven't weighed it but, I think it's quite heavy, probably similar in weight to a '59 LP, as the plans I had were based on one.
I did shy away from one detail, the binding. What you can see in the final photo is faux binding, basically a lack of purple stain on the edge of the maple top.
The reasons I didn't use plastic binding on the body are twofold.
Because it's a carved the top you have two choices, you can rout the binding channel out before you carve the top, or you carve the top then rout the binding channel.
The problem with the first option is once the channel has been routed you have to carve the top to the precise height of the binding.
The second option means you need to buy a very expensive routing jig that can cope withe the curve on the top, you can make this jig but it's quite complicated.
The third, nuclear, option is to buy a pin router, unfortunately I'm not made of money, although I have seen a couple of homemade set ups that did the job.
As far as what it's going to sound like, I've gone with Irongear pickups, the "Dirty Torque & Blues Engine" combo, they always get very good reviews, so I've got high hopes.

Even though were miles apart, :lol: , I have been doing some experimenting, I thought I'd make a new truss rod cover for another guitar I have with me.
I cut and shaped a piece of almond wood then finished it with CA glue!
If you've never tried this as a finish, have a go you'll be amazed.
I rubbed on half a dozen coats of CA glue then flat sanded it with wet and dry paper, starting at 400 grit and working up to 3000 grit, then a final polish with some car polishing compound.
It produced a, flawless, mirror finish, quite unbelievable really and I used the the cheapest pound shop CA glue you can get.
When I get round to building another guitar I'm very seriously considering this finish for the whole guitar!
It looks awesome, I fancy having a go at guitar building, I've made a ukulele and that turned out well.
It'll be nerve wracking putting the strings on and getting everything under tension I bet.
You must be desperate to get back and hear her sing for the first time!
Great job, looks fab