making guitars and guitar gear

Make a CNC guitar neck

CNC machining a telecaster guitar neck

This step by step guide shows one way of making a guitar neck using a CNC router.  Warning: CNC machines can be dangerous, especially when you are trying out new toolpaths and techniques. This project is meant to give you an idea of how to CNC a neck, but you will certainly have to adapt the individual steps to make it work on your particular machine.


Make a steel string guitar from scratch

Braced soundboard for acoustic guitar

This is an excellent step by step guide to building an acoustic steel-string by Jonathan Sevy. It's intended to be a pictorial journey through the required steps in the construction of a acoustic guitar.  Sevy uses the general approach  described by Irving Sloane in the book "Steel-String Guitar Construction" (E.P. Dutton and Co., NY, 1975).  With some variations for arched tops, neck joints and  truss rods.

Make a cigar box guitar and amplifier

Cigar box guitar headstock with bolt tuners

This pdf file from Make magazine shows you how to make a three string cigar box guitar and matching amplifier. At an estimated cost of $15 to $30 this project uses no standard guitar parts: for example the machine heads are eye bolts and the frets are filed down nails held on with rubber bands. You could substitute some of the parts for real guitar components if you want to make a luxury version.

Prototype a guitar shape


You have sketched your ideal guitar shape, it looks good on paper but will it work full size? Berlin guitar blogger GuitarRen has designed some great guitar shapes. GuitarRen tested his designs with cardboard mock ups, painting them and adding aluminium foil. He even added pickups and control knobs. This is a great way to test a design before starting to build. I think the one on the left is best, the long lower horn should give it good balance and ergonomics.

Make a paper guitar


Every guitarist has a wish list of dream guitars they are never going to own. Some guitars are just too expensive, like the Gretsch White Falcon. Some are just not for sale, like Jimi Hendrix's psychedlic Flying V.

Now you can have that guitar you have always wanted, at least a minaiture paper version of it. has loads of free cut-out papercraft guitar models. You cut out all the pieces and glue them together to get the guitar of your dreams

Make a Lo-FI Arduino Guitar Pedal


This is a project for the guitar electronics geek. Traditionally guitar effects pedals used analogue circuits made up of clever combinations resistors, capacitors etc. Digital signal processing chips now allow analogue effects circuit to be simulated in software. This project shows the a prospective pedal maker how to build a guitar pedal with an Arduino for lo-fi digital signal processing..

Make a talk-box


Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Slash and Zakk Wylde have all used a talk box at one time or anothe to give a vocal quality to their solo guitar. A talk box is essentially a speaker attached with an air tight connection to a plastic tube. When you place this tube in your mouth it acts like an artifical larynx and you can make yor guitar speak. A vocal microphone next to your mouth then picks up the sound and feeds it into the PA system.

Make a wooden practice amp


This is a photo gallery of a project to build a practice amp out of a solid block of quilted maple. Every part of it is hand crafted, he even makes the control knobs on a lathe.

The end result looks great, you can see that this guy has a talent for 3D design - there are curves everywhere. The amp turns on when you plug the lead in. The green light gets brighter as you play, depending on the volume of the input from the guitar. It also pulses if two strings are out of tune to help you tune your guitar.

Make a guitar neck with CNC


This project by John Williams shows how you can make a guitar neck using a home-built CNC machine. John built the CNC machine with plans and a kit from (Check out for free plans). The software used was: Rhino 3D to design the neck, MeshCAM to generate the tool paths for the maching process and TurboCNC to operate the machine.

Make a cigar box guitar


Cigar box guitars originated in the USA during the depression era, when poor people made their own instruments out of junk. They used an empty cigar box for a resonator. Many examples do not have frets and were played fretless or with a slide. Some have only 1 or 2 strings.

Make a 3 string slide guitar


This projects shows how to make a 3 string slide guitar from a  single birch board 1x3x30 inches, and bits of scrap. The good thing about this guitar is that there are no frets to worry about, no truss rod, in fact it is really just a plank with a bridge, pickup and some tuners. You can make markers where the frets would go, to help you get your bearings when you are playing it. To save cash you could use a glass bottle for the slide (like in the picture).

Build a home made CNC machine (JGRO router)


This project describes how to make a CNC (computer numerical control) machine that could be used to make guitar parts. CNC may not always be the most efficient way to make guitar parts (a band saw and pin router is often the most sensible way to do guitar woodwork) but they are a flexible way to convert complicated 3D computer designs into reality. A good discussion about the role of CNC in guitar making was posted over at project guitar .

Make an Ikea guitar


Although acoustic guitars usually have spruce tops, you don't see many electric guitars with pine wood bodies. Softwoods can have a broad frequency response with good midrange resonance, giving a generally lively sound. Softwoods will dent easily, so a hardened coating is often used.

Make your own guitar picks from a credit card


This project shows you how you can make guitar picks (plectrums) from a credit card. Before you start you will need:

  • An old credit card
  • A pick to use as a template
  • A pen to draw around the pick
  • A pair of scissors

Using credit cards gives a pick of medium to thick - thickness. You could experiment with plastic containers or other materials to get your perfect guitar pick.

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