How To Make An Acoustic Guitar
There are several different ways to make your very own, personal, acoustic guitar. It can be used as a crafty gift idea, or simply to take up an impressive new hobby. It can be done with minimal tool use, and in the smallest of spaces. Building an acoustic guitar can be a very rewarding and gratifying experience. Here are the main steps into building your acoustic guitar.
The tools needed are basic woodworking tools. You will need the following tools to start the guitar:
- Block plane
- Drill bit
- Microplane or surform tool
- Band saw
- Drill press
- Wood Glue
- Before buying the wood and tools, it’s a good idea to spend time designing your guitar. Deciding how thick or wide it should be. An important step is fretwork and setup. It makes the guitar playable without fret buzzes(which occurs when the vibrating part of one or more strings physically strikes the frets that are higher than the fretted note). For some help getting started consider purchasing “Guitarmaking” by William Cumpiano. This book walks you through the process and is a must for a beginner.
- Picking out your wood. The selection of wood can greatly impact the sound of your guitar. Amazon Rosewood wood or Mahogany is good for the back and sides. Spruce and Brazilian or Honduras mahogany are "musician grade" woods. Steer clear of gumwood and birch veneer. They require a thick coat of finish which doesn't lend itself to a good sound. For a more finger style playing guitar, a smaller body and the livelier wood should make for a richer sound.
Outline the shape of the body onto the wood blank, and cut out the back and top first. The sides will need to be wetted down and bent across a hot pipe for the perfect shaping.
- Now move onto the neck rough out. This process can be the most time consuming. The head plate should be sawn off the neck back and later glued back on to achieve an angled peg head. The heel block should then be glued to the other end. Now, the neck-body connection is ready to be sewn Fret slots are sawn into a separate fingerboard which is glued on to the neck afterwards. The frets are hammered in, and the tuner holes are drilled. Finally it is shaped and fine sanded.
The body should be glued together to achieve a book matched top.
- Since string tension can apply high forces to a guitar; add strength by applying braces to the top and the back. The braces are shaped as light as necessary. A lining is glued to the sides to give more area for gluing on the top and the back.
- The back and top plates are trimmed flush to the sides. Around the body edges a purfling ( which serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges) is inlayed.
- The last step is stringing and tuning the new guitar. It might take a few try's to get the guitar to sound exactly how you want it. It's possible that it might even take a few weeks to be broken in and for the sound to improve.