Usually, when it comes to homemade instruments, we automatically think that it’s just a joke. Come on, how can a regular man/woman build a playable guitar without professional skills in carpeting, right? As you’ll learn in this how to make a homemade guitar tutorial, it’s not that hard to do it. Just make sure to do everything we tell you to and don’t be afraid to go back and fix whatever seems off. So, what are we going to need for this epic project? Not much, really: a garage where you can get it all up and running, some instruments, some basic materials, and some practice before you get right to it.
For the main body of the axe, use pine lumber – it will be perfect for it. Now, let us say right from the beginning that there’s no way this guitar can compete with the intermediate-level instruments you’ll find at the stores. On the other hand, if you do everything right, the final result will surprise you. The guitar will sound more than decent and be generally enjoyable to play. We’ll build a lap steel guitar, as it’s one of the easiest ones out there. For that, you won’t need years of experience and a sleight of hands – only a saw, an electric drill, a screwdriver, and a couple of screws. Grab your favorite saw, a bottle of bear/whatever you’re drinking, and get to it!
How to Make a Homemade Guitar – Getting Our Hands Dirty
Ok, let’s get cracking. Make sure you have a nicely polished, high-quality 2×4 piece of pine lumber. It will serve as the foundation of our instrument. If you couldn’t order one online or buy at your local store, use a saw to cut it out from a bigger piece of wood. It should be 32 inches in length. Obviously, in order to turn it into a real guitar, you’ll also need a pack of high-quality strings – 6 in total – a pickup to, well, pick up the sounds coming from those strings, 6 tuners, and 2 all-thread rods to keep it all together. Yes, that’s actually it. We already mentioned the instruments required for this project.
Now, this isn’t a silly cardboard that we usually build for our kids – this is an actual guitar that will be able to back you up not only for practicing at home but also some live gigs where a lap steel guitar is due. With that said, all we’ll have to do is mark down a couple of lines here and there, make several precision cuts and add some simple hardware to the body of the guitar. The rods are just long bolts with no heads. You’ll need two of those (1/2-inches in diameter and 3.5-inches long). Note: a decent pickup won’t cost you more than 15 dollars, which proves that this DIY project is incredibly affordable.
How to Make a Homemade Guitar – The Real Deal
With the lumber installed on the table, go ahead and cut out the headstock. Basically, it’s just a 4-inch long cut, 5/8-inch away from the top. The holes for the six tuners come next. The pickup needs its own spot. Cut out most of the wood, but leave some to hold it all together. If you’re happy with the result so far, go ahead and add 6 holes for the strings. No guitar without some proper frets, right? The first one should sit 26 inches away from the “butt.” The pickup should be at least ¼-inches away from the steel strings. Remember those bolts? They will be our bridge and nut today.
Finishing Our Grand Project
The strings should go over the pickup and reach the bolts. Alright, that’s pretty much it! That wasn’t very hard, now was it? Before jamming to your favorite track, don’t forget to tune the newly-made instrument. For sliding, everything from a beer bottle to a credit card will do. Even though our guitar might not sound like the 1000-dollar Fender and Ibanez models, that still doesn’t change the fact that we built an axe in a couple of hours in our garage! One last thing: all-thread bolts aren’t mandatory – other bolts will also do.