Have a Grandson that hasn't been doing good in school but he promised me
that he can do better and will get through high school with high grades. He
is very intelligent so I know he can if he stays out of trouble. I stuck my
neck out and told him that if he could get good grades and graduate from
high school I would make him his own wood guitar which he wants. I have a
great shop and make many things like jewelry boxes and such but never a
musical instrument. I told him that if he can learn to get good grades then
I can learn how to make him a guitar. I'm only 66 and still learning.
My thoughts are to buy a kit to learn the basics then make a custom version
from there. I have bought a lot of tools (plus) from Grizzly who has guitar
parts and the wood. Any thoughts on that?
Need I say, I need help to find a web site or any help I can get. If anyone
can help in this I will be indebted to them. You guys on this group are the
greatest so I'm hoping one of you can help get me started in the right
direction. Oh, my SWMBO is counting on me to do this.
Al in WA
Good for you. Have you asked him which style he wants?
Acoustic (classical, hollow, F concert style), or electric
(Strat, Tele, or Les Paul style solid?)
Judging by Griz' president's guitars, they do alright!
Ebay also has books, kits, and wood.
Look for luthier sites, such as http://www.lmii.com/Default.asp
Check your local library and/or www.Amazon.com for luthier books.
Several people from here on the Wreck have built guitars and will
no doubt be popping up to help, too.
G'luck, and be sure to post pics of the final product.
-- I'm in touch with my Inner Curmudgeon. --
http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
C.F. Martin is quite possibly the most respected American guitar maker,
and they sell parts kits that are of the high quality materials they
use for their own production.
http://www.martinguitar.com/1833/ - click on "parts kits and tools"
and there's a ton of stuff there you'll need.
Depending on what kind of sound you're looking for, and how much you
want to spend, there are a few options. I prefer the Rosewood
There's probably other places selling guitar kits, but none of them have
the name recognition and stellar reputation of Martin Guitars. (IMHO).
Good for you-- hopefully this will motivate him. It's tought to watch a
bright kid flunder in school for whatever reason.
Two quick bits of advice: get a catalog from Stewart Macdonald
(www.stewmac.com) which will include lots of tools unique to luthiery, some
good books, and all the machined parts you'd need. They sell a couple of
reasonable-quality kits that might work as starters too.
Second, start reading the usenet group rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic,
where some world class (and lots of amateur) luthiers hang out.
I think you'll quickly find that someone with your WW skills and a lot of
patience can build a pretty nice guitar. The learning curve will be
steepest on things like carving necks and bridges, fretting, etc. that
require new tools or design techniques you likely aren't familiar with.
That's where books, videos from StewMac, and/or kits can help.
Good luck with the project! Once you've built one, luthiery can become an
I'll throw another one in the mix.
I got my first taste of lutherie at my local library. Surprising to
me was that there were literally a half-dozen books on
guitar-building, none of which I can remember the names of right now.
If it were me, I'd buy a Martin complete kit (about $400) and just
assemble the already-made pieces, then step up to bending sides, then
making your own neck and setting your own frets.
Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
Thank you, Guys. You are the greatest. Checked out all your suggestions
and ordered catalogs, checking out some books too.
Looks like I have a fun project ahead of me. Kind of wish I knew how to
play the darn thing when complete. Oh well, I'm real good at tuning the
radio. And yes I will keep you up to date when I get started.
Have a nice day.
Al in WA
Al, one last suggestion given these details. If your grandson
isn't already an experienced player (a few years at least), try
to find someone who is to take a look at your guitar before you
finish the nut and saddle placement. You'll ultimately end up
with a much more playable guitar if the action, intonation, and
neck adjustment are done right-- and what looks "right" to a non-
player might in fact be almost, well, non-playable.
If you have access to a real guitar shop (not a piano/band
instrument store), you might go in a look closely at several of
their guitars too. Take a small dental mirror along so you can
look at the bracing inside, etc. If you can strike up a
reationship with someone there who knows what they are talking
about, it might serve as a source of advice and eventual setup of
the guitar before final delivery.
You might want to check out http://www.diy.net and look for a show,
"Handmade Music". In it, a luthier from Knoxville,TN, Lynne Dudenbostel
constructs both a Dreadnaught(Martin D-28 style pre-war) guitar and his
version of a Gibson F-5 Mandolin( patterned after he Lloyd Loar F-5's by
Gibson from the early 20's).
If you have a DSS satellite, that's where you'll find the show on the
DIY network, but they have the series on their website. The guy is a
true craftsman and if you follow the links, it's pretty thorough in
showing you the process.
"The measure of a man is what he will do
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