Guitar Making Tip Number 48 is about the build. The overall quality of the build will be much more of an indicator of success than the materials used. This means that the way you build the guitar is more important than what you make it from. Here is why.
The Builder of the Guitar is the Most Important
No matter how expensive or exotic the materials, a poor guitar maker is going to make a poor guitar. The opposite is true as well, because a skilled guitar maker can take undesirable supplies and make more from them.
In the beginning it can be tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to buy the best materials to make a good guitar. This is not true at all. In fact, some of the best guitars are simply made, with average materials.
As a beginner, you should strive to purchase wood that doesn’t make the build unnecessarily harder than it should be. However, you also need not worry about buying the most expensive wood either. The factor that will determine your success is not the materials. The thing that has the biggest effect on the guitar is…
You Are The Biggest Factor
You, the builder have the biggest influence on how your guitar will sound. The way you build, the patience you have, and the time you put into each step will make the difference. I wrote more about this idea in The Secret to Guitar Making, which explains…you guessed it…the secret to making a great guitar.
The way that you complete each step is very important. In the beginning, new builders tend to rush through the steps. This is largely because they think they might not actually be skilled enough to make a guitar.
What happens in cases like this is they end up partially completing each step. In the end they have a guitar, but it’s not a very good example of a guitar. If that same person took a little more time on each part of the build, it would be considerably better.
Buying Acoustic Guitar Making Materials
The acoustic guitar making world is also a money making world. There is a desire by wood sellers to sell wood, and to make money. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but in the end you need to know there is some marketing and sales going on as well as guitar making.
A master grade board will be a nice looking board, but I bet it sells better being called a master grade board than a good board. When you see “Master” grade, you automatically think that you can make a master guitar from that board, and not from another. Again, not true at all.
When you are looking for materials, instead of trying to buy the most expensive thing, or something with a nice fancy name, shoot for the middle. You don’t need master grade wood to make a great guitar, but you might not want B grade wood because the coloring and grain lines may not be even enough for you to like the look.
Making the Most of Your Build
The way you make the most of your build is to not worry about the materials. First, think about each step that you are doing. Make that the only focus for the time that you are working on that step. Give it everything it needs, and don’t move on until it’s as good as you can make it.
Once you move to the next step, you will already be in a better position than when you rush, and your next steps will be easier. When you get close to the end of the process, think about the Last 10% Principle. This is where you can have the biggest impact.
Most people start off just fine. They quit too early, which is the problem. You can make a huge difference in your steps if you focus on the last 10%. Don’t stop before you are done, because the last 10% makes a big difference.
Guitar Making Tip No. 48 Wrap-Up
The materials that you use to make your guitar are important, but they are not that important when compared to how you make it. You are going to have much more influence on the build than anything you use.
Don’t think for a second that you can’t make a very nice guitar with average materials. Not only is it possible, it’s normal. Master grade boards are really nice looking, but they will not make a master grade guitar in the hands of a poor guitar maker.
If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 48, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners
Tip No. 48 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.
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