Making a Guitar is Easier Than it Looks

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Making a guitar is easier than it looks. I know that sounds crazy from the outside looking in, but after you make your first guitar you will feel the same way. If you have a little woodworking experience, and a lot of patience, making a guitar is definitely easier than it looks. Here is how you make it a great experience.

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Making a Guitar is Just Like Any Other Project

making a guitar is easier than it looksIf you are making a guitar, or a boat, or a set of kitchen cabinets for the first time, each task will seem difficult and time consuming. Anything new always seems harder than it really is.

Have you ever worked in a large building? On the first day, I bet the building seemed gigantic, and that you may never see the whole thing.

After a few weeks, the building becomes smaller, and you understand more about where everything is located. In your head, the start was enormous, but once you saw everything, it shrunk down to real size.

New projects are just like that. It will seem never ending at first, but over time it shrinks down. Each new skill you pick up further shrinks the scope, and over the course of the first build you really start to understand what it takes to turn a pile of wood into a guitar. Here is how you get that first build off to a good start…

Buy a Few Good Books on Guitar Making

The best advice that I can give you for training yourself to make a guitar is to buy several good books and actually read them. Most people cannot afford instruction from an experienced luthier. That’s ok. The majority of the private makers in the world are self taught. As long as you produce good work, it matters little where you learned.

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If you are struggling to decide what books are good, here is a little help. I wrote about My Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Making Books in another post, and they are the exact books I used to begin my journey into making a guitar. These are highly praised in the guitar making community, and will get you where you need to go.

Start by reading. Before you actually start building, start reading. Read the entire guitar making book from cover to cover. Become familiar with the tools, processes, and any sticky points that you need clarification about. After that, it’s time to turn to the best free guitar making teachers in the world.

acoustic guitar making how to make tools templates and jigs book beginner book for new guitar makers

Spend Time Watching Videos Online

making a guitar is easier than it looksThere are tons of amazing people that love to post online about their hobby. Making an acoustic guitar is no different. Look online, and you will be amazed at the generosity and kindness of the guitar building community.

Woodworkers love to tell other people what they are doing. This is a huge benefit to the community as a whole. When you find that you need to see something better in order to understand it, turn to video.

Search YouTube and it will return many videos on the subject you are interested in learning about.

The nice thing about YouTube is that it’s so large, you can even find very niche videos on super specific guitar making principles.

Spend time watching others making guitars, and you will learn a ton in a short amount of time. Watch the videos a couple times, especially when they are covering something complex. Reading is great, but when you combine it with seeing the step, it makes a bigger connection in your brain.

Build with Patience and Confidence

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If I could sell patience instead of woodworking books, I would be a millionaire over night. The one thing that separates the people that can finish the build and those that can’t is patience.

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When you worry, you start rushing. The worry about “whether or not this thing is going to play” can ruin your build. It causes many people to rush to the end. They think they are wasting their time if the guitar is going to sound terrible anyway.

This logic is silly, but people do it anyway. I did it on my first guitar, and I really regret not spending a few more hours to make it look nicer than it did. Build with patience, and build with confidence. Both will show through in your build, and you will get better results.

Start Small and Making a Guitar Becomes Easier

making a guitar is easier than it looksIf you want to make a world changing guitar with every bell and whistle you can think of…please wait until you have made a few guitars first. It’s better to actually finish the guitar than have a decade long project that never gets done.

It’s natural to want to break the mold on the first try. We all want to achieve, but sometimes that ambition can actually be negative. If your build is way over the top, it can take a long time to build. Many new guitar makers will run out of steam long before then.

The worst thing that can happen is you start a crazy build and never finish. Most people in that situation never make a guitar again. They think it takes too long, when in reality they probably would have actually finished if it were a simpler build. Most people that finish their first guitar end up going on to making more in the future.

Don’t Let Anyone Make It Seem Harder Than it Is

For some reason, certain woodworkers like to make things seem harder than they really are, and instrument makers can sometimes be that way. It’s not a bad thing to listen to advice, but pay attention to what you hear. This is where you decide what to do with the advice.

The Book Store is Now Open!   Happy Building!

Anyone that tells you that you can’t make a guitar without being an apprentice to a guitar maker, or something similarly crazy, is not someone that you want to take advice from. There are small groups of instrument makers that want to put barriers in front of normal people learning the craft. This is not a good thing.

If you encounter someone like this, just be polite, move on, and do what you were planning on doing anyway. You may succeed, you may fail, either way you will learn. If it sounds crazy, do more research before taking action.

Post Author-

brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

  • 20 Years Experience in Woodworking
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How do acoustic guitars work?
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Could DIY guitars built from kits sell?
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What tools does someone need to build electric guitars?
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Easy Finishes for Guitars?
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Headstock Relief Angle?
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Building the Fretboard Off the Neck?
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Finishing a Guitar With the Bridge and Neck Separate?
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Carbon Fiber and No Truss Rod?
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