Beck was born in 1944 to Arnold and Ethel Beck in Wallington, England. As a ten year old, Beck sang in a church choir. As a teenager he learned to play a borrowed guitar and then made several attempts to build his own instrument.
His first attempt was by gluing and bolting together a selection of cigar boxes for the body and an unsanded fence-upright for a neck (forgetting the washers so that the bolt head sank into the wood).
The strings were aircraft control line wires, both single and double stranded were used depending on the effect he wanted to achieve. The frets, however, were a different matter. In an unknowing portent for the future use of fretless guitar, the frets were simply painted on.
Another attempt at a home-build was when he studiously cut a body from a very thick piece of wood. When fabricating the neck he attempted to use memorised measurements. Unfortunately the measurements he had remembered were those of a bass guitar. In his book Mo Foster quotes Beck as saying
|"The scale was so bad that it was only playable with a capo at the fifth fret...I was interested in the electric guitar even before I knew the difference between electric and acoustic. The electric guitar seemed to be a totally fascinating plank of wood with knobs and switches on it. I just had to have one"|