Guitar Making Tip No. 98

Guitar Making Tip Number 98 is about buying plans. A set of plans without a good ABC book will not teach you how to make a guitar. Plans by themselves are pretty useless to someone that has not made guitars before. Here is why.

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Plans and Books for Guitar Making

guitar making tip number 98When you first start making guitars, you will see that there are plans and books available to guide you along the way. You may wonder why there are both, or why there is a difference.

The big difference between the two is that plans are just that, a detailed explanation of the item being made. They detail sizes, shapes, thicknesses, angles, and any measurable detail of the piece itself.

Books on the other hand offer a more step by step explanation, and they are many times not filled with drawn out plans. The data is still inside the pages, it’s just not conveniently listed on a big sheet of paper like with plans.

The biggest difference between plans and a step by step book really comes down to something very simple. Plans are the What, and Books are the How…

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Plans are For Experienced Makers

Plans are going to show you what the guitar will measure out to be. They will show every detail you would ever need in order to understand what that guitar looks like. They are extremely detailed, but they don’t tell you how to do anything.

A plan will call for a top blank that measures 21″ long, 17″ wide, and 0.115″ thick. That’s the plate size you need to make the top, and it’s written clear as day. The problem? How do you make a piece of wood with those dimensions?

If you are new to guitar making, you will need to know that there are a couple ways to make the top. You can plane a piece of Spruce by hand, use a machine, or sand and scrape it very slowly down to thickness. This is where not having any background can hurt, because you know what you need to make, but you have no idea how.


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Books are For Newer Guitar Makers

For the beginner, a book is really the way to go. The dimensions are going to be more scattered around the text than in a plan, but the book will tell you the main thing that the plans do not. They will tell you how to make each part.

Plans may show the dimensions on a completed bridge. You need to know how to make that bridge. A book will start the process with a blank, and walk you through each step of the process until you end up with a bridge.

This is a distinct advantage. Books are going to give you the same information that plans are, but they also tell you how to make it happen. As a new guitar maker, don’t burden yourself with only a set of plans. Get a couple good books too.

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Guitar Making Tip No. 98 – Wrap Up

Plans are a nice way to see how a very specific guitar is made. They tell you all the important specs, and get you the information you need to duplicate the style. They are missing one big thing however that beginners really need.

Beginners need to know how to make the pieces just as much as what to make. A plan gives you the what, but not the how. In the beginning, knowing how to make a guitar neck is far more important than knowing what size the neck is.

If you are new to guitar making, buy a few books to start. If you really want a certain guitar after that, buy the plans. Make sure that you are careful in the building process, because combining too many things in the beginning can cause confusion.

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I give away the majority of my woodworking, wood finishing, and guitar making tips, but I also have several books if you want to take the next step.

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