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I thought I would try something new, and build a solid body electric guitar.  After a few nights of bedtime brainstorming, I had my design in my head.   I bought some poplar and cut 2 pieces 8 x 12 x3/4".  I don't have a router, so I had to be creative.  I figured I would use a solid piece for the back, and then cut out holes on the top half for pickup and volume control and jack, and glue them together.


I plan to cover the wiring with a 1/8" piece of brazilian cherry that is really nice and stiff. I will mount the jack and volume pot to that, and it will also extend to be my pick guard.  I have a Downunder on the way!


A cabinet maker gave me a bunch of hardwood cut for necks.  I chose a nice piece of Ash.  Nice and heavy with nice grain.  I will be gluing 3" of neck to the body, and then putting 4 screws through the back of the body into the neck with a plate.  I am hoping this is going to be strong enough.

I added 'ears' to the headstoch and sanded it down to an interesting shape...

Now, I am awaiting the pickup, so I can cut the hole for it.  Once I have all the holes cut into the top piece, I will glue it to the bottom, and sand it into shape.   Then the pickup, wiring, pot, jack get installed.....


Any advice is appreciated!



Back from vacation, and ready to continue the build.  I have all the parts waiting now.


Yesterday I glued the body together.  Today I did the final sanding and put on a stain.  I am going to let it dry overnight, and put on a clear coat tomorrow.


I was able to get the fretboard glued on and install the tuners.  I also put on a couple of coats of tung oil.  I cut a rough

piece of walnut for the jack/pot mounting.



Time to finish this up! 

Eveything is all wired and ready.  Time to put some tung oil on the walnut. 

It is too dark for photos, but it is pretty much all done.  I think I will build a different bridge than the one I have on there now.  I will also add a pick guard to balance the look. 


Finally, I am happy with all the details, intonation, action, etc.  I have one low fret, I will get to that eventually.

Since I did not use an angled headstock, the middle 2 strings were not putting enough pressure on the zero fret.

I put a couple eye screws in this morning, and it did the job.

Overall, I am thrilled with the final results.  Especially considering I built my first CBG in June of this year, and I never did any woodworking or instrument building in my life.   A few months ago a would have laughed if someone wouldhave suggested building my own guitar.  Now I cannot stop building.  I'm sure many of you remember that day!

I already see a few things I will do differently going forward.  That is what makes this so much fun for me.  Learning with each new build.  It actually plays and sounds really cool. It REALLY resonates the low D string. (Tuned DAda)  I am going to try to do a video today.  Thanks for looking.  Advice and opinions are greatly appreciated!

Views: 141

Comment by Rick Hayes on August 1, 2011 at 12:02am
I have done one that way, because I didn't have the thick wood and not skilled at routing holes. You can also use a circular saw to carefully cut a groove to run the wires from the pickup to the controls, on the back of the front piece. I screwed my two pieces together while I was working and shaping. but then glued and screwed when I was done.

Comment by c# merle on August 1, 2011 at 7:24am
looks great so far! also made one this way a while back, only used three pieces of oak flooring and it came out ok - apart from weighing 18lbs(!) sustains like hell...
Comment by knockman on August 25, 2011 at 6:55pm

this is very heartening - i'm glad others have used this approach.  i'm trying something similar with two layers of wood, but on mine, the top is clearly a facade.

looks great!


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