This is 10 Helpful Tips on How to be a More Productive Guitar Maker. Making a guitar is a very long project, but there are some things that you can do to make the process move a little quicker. It’s not about cutting corners, it’s about making good decisions.
Productivity and Rushing
It’s not about rushing, or making things hastily. If you do that, you are actually going to make the build take longer, because you will have to go back and fix the mistakes that you made from rushing the process.
This kind of speed is never good, however working smart is always a good thing. In the case of guitar making you have a lot of opportunities to work on things in a different way. Take advantage of these different ways, and you can have a faster build, with less mistakes than if you were just rushing through.
Make Several Parts at Once
The easiest way to increase your productivity as a guitar maker is to make several of the parts at the same time. The funny thing about guitar making is that there is a lot of down time. In this space of time, you can take action and be more productive.
When you glue things together, you need to wait for the glue to dry. This is your down time signal, and instead of going into the house, start working on something else. In the beginning, there are a lot of parts that are not connected yet, and these are your go-to pieces.
For example, while you are waiting for the glue to dry on the top, work on the back. While you are waiting for that, start the fretboard. There is always something to work on, and even if you advance it just a bit, the time saved is much better than watching the glue dry and doing nothing.
Make More Than One Part at a Time
Another great way to be a more productive guitar maker is to batch process. This is where instead of making one of something, like a part, you make several.
In the beginning, batch processing will not save you any time. However, on the next guitars, it will save you a ton of time. This method is more about planting the seeds that will later be used to advance the second guitar much quicker.
For example, if you go through the trouble of pulling out the fret slotting gear and getting set up, you might as well slot a few boards. The second board and beyond all benefit from not having to use the same setup time, since it was already done for the first board.
Also, when you make more than one piece in a batch process, you get to save them for later, and that makes the next build faster. Imagine on your second guitar when you just pull a completed fretboard out of the pile, or a slotted ridge blank, or a headstock veneer. It will take hours off the build, and keep you moving forward faster.
See Also: The Secret to Guitar Making
Buy Some of the More Difficult Parts
As a beginner, making some off the more difficult parts can be a challenge. While it’s important to work on the skills that you need to get the job done, you can also keep the process moving better by just buying some things.
On my first electric guitar, I was terrified to make the neck. With my limited tooling, that was the part I was the most afraid of, because it had the highest chance of failure. So, with that in mind, I bought my neck already made from an online supplier.
After a while, I learned to make necks and never bought one again. However, it was a huge help to the process buying that first neck. You can buy nearly any part of the guitar already finished, so if this makes sense in your situation, just buy it.
Also, as long as you are honing your skills, don’t feel guilty about buying something. Yes, the more you buy already made, the more you are assembling a guitar rather than making a guitar.
However, if you are still learning and you need the bump, take it, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
Sometimes we all forget what it’s like to be new, and some of us are nicer about it than others. If you are learning, then you are doing it right, no matter what anyone tells you.
See Also: Practical Acoustic Guitar Making Advice
Make Multiple Guitars
After you make your first couple guitars, you will probably be ready to make several guitars at the same time. Just like batch processing parts, batch processing full guitars is also a way to save time and produce more.
Just like when you make multiple parts of the same guitar, making multiple guitars doubles the amount of available parts to make. If you really batch your individual parts, and lots of them already made, you will have to make multiple guitars to always have something to do.
The fun thing about making several guitars at once, is that the process is really not that much more involved. If you are making the guitars the same, or at least the same body shape and scale length, the process for building them all is largely the same.
See Also: Can You Build an Acoustic Guitar?
Don’t Cut Corners
Something that you need to avoid at all costs is cutting corners. I hope that you have taken away from everything that you have read so far that it’s about making the process more efficient, and staying busy. It’s not about cutting corners.
No matter how you work, how you batch, or how many guitars you make. If you are cutting corners, and shorting the process, you are doing it wrong. The only difference is you might end up with three poorly made guitars instead of one.
In all of these methods, you need to fully execute the method. This means you can’t cut corners in a productivity method and expect it to work. It wont, and you will be disappointed in the end.
See Also: 25 Best Guitar Making Tips For Beginners
Research So You Understand Each Step
Another great piece of advice that you can use to make yourself more productive is to do more research. The more you know, the better you can make your guitar. This will help you be more productive, because you will avoid mistakes.
The kind of research I’m talking about is research when you some to something unfamiliar. If you just forge on ahead through the unfamiliar, you are asking for mistakes. Instead, stop. Take a little break and do some research.
When you come back from this break, it will do two things for you. The first is you will feel more relaxed, and the second is you will feel more confident. When you have the energy and you have the knowledge, everything else is easier. That is that a research break does.
Stay Inspired so You Always Have Gas in the Tank
A guitar is a long build. Something that you might need to do from time to time is put a little more gas in the tank. The gas you need is inspiration, and the way you get it is different from one person to another.
Whatever you need to get and remain inspired, search that out. For many people, words are a great source of inspiration. For others, it’s pictures. If you can use a quote to get ahead, do it. If you need to browse pictures of handmade guitars, then do that too.
However you do it, when you feel a little blah, seek out that inspiration. Use it to pump you up, and then take that energy out into the shop. You will always do better when you are inspired, and if you make it a habit, you can goose that feeling in yourself and use it to produce more.
Read in Your Off Time
When you are not in the shop, you can still make yourself more productive when you are. The more knowledge that you add, the better and more productive you will be. Simply reading about guitar making is a perfect example.
There are not a lot of guitar making books available, so over time, you may end up going through all of them. Many of them are great reads, and they can give you something new every time you go back to them.
Make it a habit to read about guitar making. As you do, your academic knowledge increases, and you become more familiar with the process. When you go back into the shop, the processes will be easier, because you know them better.
See Also: Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Making Books
Make Your Shop Comfortable and Inviting
Finally, one of the best ways to be more productive as a guitar maker I to make sure that the space you are working in is positive and comfortable. Your shop is your home space, and the more welcoming and functional the space, the more productive you will be.
There are a lot of ways to make your shop better. You can increase the floor space, fix the lighting, and run power to all of your tools. You can install cushioning floor mats, and you can make a nice bench.
All of these things improve your space, and make it more inviting. Even if you don’t have a real space, or you have a small space. Do what you can to make it a good space, and you will make better guitars.
Your homework is to start being a more productive guitar maker. The good news is that it will not take you much to produce a lot more. In fact, you might only need to make a few small changes to be much better at the craft.
For example, if you are only working on one guitar, maybe add a second. If you are working on one piece of the guitar, start the next. There are a lot of easy ways, and all you need to do is start making them part of your habit.
Also, the next time you have to do something like re-saw a piece for the guitar, slot a fretboard, or make bridge blanks, try batching several. For example, if you are making fretboard blanks, you can cut out a dozen of them in about the same time as one, because all the setups are done for the first piece.
Every other piece you cut out after the first piece is all free, because you have already done the setup. In reality, when you make several pieces like this, the time you spend is not very much more than making one, and it will help you be far more productive later on.
10 Helpful Tips on How to be a More Productive Guitar Maker Wrap-Up
This was 10 Helpful Tips on How to be a More Productive Guitar Maker, and how you can make a few small changes to increase your output. Making a guitar is a long process, but there is a lot of down time that you can take advantage of.
When you have more than one part to make, work on them together. As the glue dries on one piece, you can work on the other. In this way, you are always staying busy, and you keep the process going.
Also, make the time to learn more about guitar making when you are out of the shop. As you do, you increase you knowledge and your confidence. The more educated and strong you are in your abilities, the less mistakes you will make, the the more productive you will be.
- More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
- 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
- Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
- Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.