When my folks had some trees chopped down last year, I joked that the wood pieces were big enough to make into a guitar. The trees were mostly cherry, with a few walnut. I decided that it'd be fun to try to build a guitar out of trees that I grew up seeing daily, so I grabbed some of the cherry wood.
Two of my uncles are very good with wood working. They were able to cut and split the wood so that I could take a few of the pieces. Currently, I'm letting the wood dry out. Soon I'll take a good look at the wood to see how much wood I'll have to work with. In the meantime, it's been fun looking at various guitars and taking all of the elements into consideration. Here are some of my thoughts and considerations. Please let me know what you look for in a guitar:
Acoustic or electric.
Since I'm not a woodworker, I'm going to start with building an electric. Building a guitar is hard enough, but making a solid body guitar seems to be slightly more straight forward than building an acoustic. If I continue to build, I would enjoy eventually taking a shot at building an acoustic guitar.
My strat is the standard 25.5" and my D'Angelico EX-DC is 24.75." I liked the latter. Then I played a few Gretsch guitars that have a scale length of 24.6." The Gretsch guitars were so easy to play. My biggest concern with the 24.6" is making sure I can get the neck and frets correct. Because the neck needs to be perfect, I will likely order a custom one, instead of trying to do it myself.
I'm a big fan of the neck on my strat. It's a 2012 Fender American Standard Stratocaster. The neck is maple with a gloss finish. It's a comfortable "contemporary C-shape." I'll likely look to get something similar. I need to do more research to see how a maple neck interacts with a cherry body.
I'm a big fan of humbuckers. I'm also a big fan of versatility. As a result, I'm planning on installing humbuckers and coil tapping them. It's nice when you can play one guitar for an entire show.
Should it be inspired by a classic, such as a strat, Les Paul, tele, 335, or should it be something completely new? At the moment, I'm leaning towards a body that is made up of a D and an R combined. The D is backwards, and at the back of the guitar. (see picture below).
To help me with designing a blueprint, I am using "Electric Guitar and Bass Design: the guitar or bass of your dreams, from first draft to complete plan" by Leonardo Lospennato. It's a fantastic read, and it really goes into detail about everything important to consider while designing a guitar. Coming up with a blueprint is one thing, wood working is another. I plan on ordering wood planks to do a test run (or two) before I get to work on my cherry wood. This past week, a friend informed me that there's a place in Ohio, just outside of Akron, that teachers people how to build electric guitars. Falls Rock Guitar Shop overs classes a few times a year, so I hope to take the class soon (or before I use my cherry wood).
Updates will be posted on my blog, but it'll likely be a slow process.
Thanks for reading!
My name is Dante Romito, and I'm an instrumental guitarist from Pittsburgh, PA. I am a rock, blues, and jazz guitarist who, over the past few years, has gravitated to instrumental music. Currently, I am working to put together a CD of 10 or 11 songs. My writing falls somewhere between Jeff Golub and Neil Zaza. I have a session scheduled in June to finish working on my first single. In addition to my original material, I play lead guitar for AE Honick.
I hope this is the first of a series of regular blog posts. The blog will be about music, gear, guitar building - I'm hoping to build a guitar out of wood from trees that my parents had cut down last year - and more.
Thanks for reading!