Guitar Shit I made

Part of shit I do is learning about stuff because I need to, but also because I just want to.  I want to learn a bit more about WordPress so lets see if I can do what I want here..

The first guitar I made from scratch.

I wanted to see how hard it would be to make a guitar.  I’d already done some finish carpentry and I had done more work on my guitars than most guitarists will every attempt so it didn’t seem that daunting.

This one is pretty low-budget since it was intended to be a proof of concept.  The body is clear pine from a 2×12″.  The top is white Alpine which is a conifer like pine.  It has almost no grain, and is available at Menards in shrink-wrapped boards cut with very straight grain.  It’s sort of sitka spruce for the poor man.

That nice stripe down the middle is there to cover up some poor joinery.  I didn’t have a jointer yet and hadn’t figured out how to work around that.  I routed a channel for a strip of Mahogany that I cut off of a square Mahogany Dowel [Home Depot].   There’s a very nice thin band around it.  Again.. I messed up and my router bit was a bit wider than the wood so I used black epoxy to set the strip and I got the banding ‘for free’.

The body is chambered for weight and tone.  It’s for a little kid so I didn’t want it to be too heavy.  It’s also big enough that I wasn’t worried about it being neck heavy.  <– the forward strap button is far enough forward to balance it well.

I completely cheaped out on the neck.  It’s a board of Poplar.  Poplar is technically considered a hard-wood though it’s not particularly hard.  It is cheap and easy to work though so it’s a good choice for a trial run, or even early projects.

I was going to make a proper truss rod for it but the designs I’ve seen online require more effort than I could expend at the time.  So, I inserted a mild-steel flat-bar to keep the next straight under tension.  This, unfortunately, is rather heavy and mild steel [the black stuff at the home stores] isn’t particularly strong.   In my case, it worked out well enough because the design is forgiving of a relatively heavy neck and I use .08 strings on the kids guitars so there’s very little string tension.

The Nut is bone.  I actually like working with bone.  It’s hard enough that you are unlikely to over-carve it unless you’re really careless and it turns out beautiful.  There’s nothing like bone.   The only downside is.. even just filing it leaves you with an odor that smells like burning teeth that you’ll find familiar if you’ve ever had a cavity prepped for a filling.  :-/

Fretboard is maple.  It’s probably big leaf.  I scavanged it from construction overages on a building where I work.  It was destined to be trim.  The inlays are the same mahogany square stock that I got for a couple bucks a rod at Home Depot.

Last interesting bits.. The bridge is a block of aluminum that I hacked out on a small benchtop end-mill and finished with files and a grinder.   Aluminum is the preferred material for this but it’s hard to file and grind because it gums up the file groves and abrasive bits.  It’s bolted down into threaded plugs and the height is set with washers.  It actually works really well because it mounts really solidly to the body.   The ball-ends are secured under a stainless steel plate that I cut out of a wall corner guard.. those V-shaped strips that you attach to a dry-wall corner in a high traffic area like around a loading dock [again, building overages headed for the trash.  It’s amazing how inefficient major construction project is].

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