Using a Guitar Template to Build Your First Guitar

Good kits make great guitars and offer plenty of woodworking

An article by Steve Scott in Fine Woodworking Magazine
September/October 2011 edition

guitar-build-image I wanted to build an acoustic guitar for the longest time, but was intimidated by the prospect. Although I’ve done plenty of woodworking, the idea of creating the forms for a guitar body and mastering the many different things it took to make a guitar play well intimidated me. I also wanted to learn to play the guitar, but never really found the motivation to do so.

In 2006 I stumbled across the idea of a guitar template. Since then, I’ve built a number of kit guitars. I’ve found that kits are a great entry point into guitar making. They simplify the process, but leave enough woodworking to be done to make me feel like I “voiced” the guitar.

I recently joined forces with the folks at Fine Woodworking Magazine. They were interested in doing an article about building a guitar from a kit, and I was happy to help out. You can check out the article here, and learn more about guitar kits.

By the way, completing my own guitar also became the catalyst for learning to play. I am now, admittedly, a guitar addict. If I don’t play a little every day, I feel like something is missing. But it wasn’t until the instrument I made myself was in my hands that this connection developed. A very cool side affect of making a guitar.

Click here to download the full article.

Discussion
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28 Responses to “Using a Guitar Template to Build Your First Guitar”
  1. David
    David

    Love to make my own guitar. I have other guitars I would like to make my own.

    Reply
  2. Mark Pettinger
    Mark Pettinger

    Always wanted to build a guitar. Bin playing for 50 years now. My “Little Susie” (my first and only love) was stolen 35 years ago. I do a lot of wood working for a living…but need something to do in the evenings to bring the “spark” back. Building a “new love” may be just the ticket.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Les. To download the full article, go to the last paragraph and you will see where it says “click here” to download the full article. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team at 1-855-253-0822.
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      Reply
  3. Robert Aucoin
    Robert Aucoin

    I have played and loved guitar and bass almost all of my life. I have always wanted to build a guitar but like the author have been intimidated. Maybe now its time to start.

    Reply
  4. revdan57
    revdan57

    I have desired to make my own guitar for many years, I have even mulled over the idea of a kit, but all the special tools and skills scared me very much. Thank you for helping me make up my mind to try and build one.

    Reply
  5. Roger Steinbrueck
    Roger Steinbrueck

    I have built two banjos from scratch and am building my third fiddle from scratch. It is fun to play an instrument I built. And I especially enjoy reading about others who build and play their own as well. We walk in the footsteps of builder/musicians who have gone before us.

    Reply
  6. Dave
    Dave

    I’d buy a video of the entire process for an acoustic. Built several electrics and cigar box ones but acoustics are a daunting endeavor.

    Reply
  7. Ian
    Ian

    I’ve built a couple of guitars, mandolin, viola, violin, harp, marimba. Great fun to build and even more fun to play once you’re finished

    Reply
  8. Peter
    Peter

    Great article. I built my first guitar a few years ago and the Cumpiano book was a great help to me. I built the guitar from scratch and really enjoyed the experience of the challenge and accomplishment. I found some videos online that were helpful too. The experience has improved my woodworking skills in my more traditional work too.

    Reply
  9. Kent
    Kent

    Ash has long been a popular wood for solid-body guitars, like the Fender Telecaster. Unfortunately, Ash is now scarce due to Ash Borer infestation. I’d appreciate a video on processing & aging raw Ash from “Tree-to-Telecaster.”

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Bob,

      Thank you for contacting us. In order to get these downloads you enter in your email address. And follow the prompts.

      Sincerely,

      Joan
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
  10. Terry Scott
    Terry Scott

    I do artistic expoxy coating, from affixing 2167 corks in a bar to coating home’s and restaurants , long term saving are amazing ,

    Reply
  11. David.McCormack
    David.McCormack

    Does anyone have recommendations for a good acoustic guitar kit for someone about to attempt it for the first time?

    Reply