5 Best Tips for Binding Your Acoustic Guitar

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This is the 5 Best Tips for Binding Your Acoustic Guitar. In this post, you’ll learn several great ideas about guitar binding that can help you have a much easier and less stressful experience as you make your guitar.

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Binding Your Acoustic Guitar

5-Best-Tips-for-Binding-Your-Acoustic-GuitarAcoustic guitar binding not only serves a visual purpose in highlighting the edges of the guitar, it also serves a functional purpose by covering the end grain of the plates. This helps prevent moisture exchange, and keeps the wood in the same shape.

Now you absolutely don’t have to do any kind of binding on your guitar if you don’t want to. However, it’s encouraged because again not only does it look good, it also serves a functional purpose of protecting the guitar better.

Binding the guitar is actually not that difficult, and I will show you several great tips coming up that will help you when you make your own guitar. Even a simple binding scheme looks great, and that’s where we’ll begin.

See Also: Acoustic Guitar Binding – Guitar Making Tips

Contrasting Binding is Always Fashionable

No matter what the current trends are, a simple, contrasting binding scheme is always fashionable. When you see a light colored guitar with dark colored binding, or a dark colored guitar with light colored binding, it just looks good.

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In reality, this is one of the most simple bindings schemes that you could possibly come up with. It only involves one type of wood, can you inlay the same strip all around the guitar.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that look the most beautiful. Even up against very complex binding designs, the simple color contrasting binding is a timeless look that is still appreciated by many players.

If you are nervous about binding your guitar, don’t be. Simply do a single binding strip around the top, back, and up the center seam. This will be all you need to have an amazing look, and it won’t take very much to put it in.

See Also: Guitar Making Tip No. 143 – Checking the Center Seam

Stick With Woods that Bend Easily

Another tip that’s really good when it comes to binding is to stick with wood species that have a good track record when it comes to bending.

You are going to have to bend each one of those binding strips before you glue it in place, so it’s nice to have pieces of wood that are used to being bent.

Avoid anything overly figured or intense. Instead, go for the older standards like Maple, Rosewood, and Mahogany. Each one of these wood species bends incredibly easily, and compared to some others, it’s almost like working with a piece of plastic.

The binding process itself is already going to be new to you. There’s no reason to compound the difficulty by making it overly hard to bend the strip prior to installation.

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See Also: 50 Things I Wish I Knew When I started Making Guitars

Avoid Expensive Exotic Binding Strips

While on the subject of store-bought binding strips, it’s also a good idea to avoid anything that’s overly expensive, or that is new and exotic. Again, without a really solid track record, you can run into a lot of problems as a beginner.

On top of that, understand right now that you probably are going to break at least a couple binding strips as you try to bend them. This is completely normal, it just takes a little bit of time to get used to the bending process which such a tiny piece of wood.

If you end up breaking strips that are five and six dollars a piece, it’s going to hurt a whole lot more than breaking strips they’re only a few dollars a piece. It still hurts, but it hurts less than half as much.

It also reduces the amount of frustration that you’ll have while trying to inlay your binding strips. Frustration leads to bad decisions, and that leads to breaking even more things sometimes.

See Also: How Taking Practice Breaks Can Help You Make Better Guitars

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Make Your Own Binding Strips

One of my favorite tips is to make your own binding strips. The mark up in acoustic guitar binding is astronomical. A board that costs five dollars can be sawn into 20 or 30 strips that can each be sold for five dollars.

Instead of paying for the strips yourself, use your tablesaw and make your own. All you need to do is set up a jig that will allow you to cut thin strips from a single board. Thickness the board to the height of your binding strips, and then just saw pieces off the edge.

You would be surprised at how quickly you can take a single piece of wood and turn it into dozens of binding strips. If you charged a few dollars apiece for each one of them, you could really make a lot of money.

Instead of giving that money to the guitar making suppliers, you get to keep it all and use your own homemade binding strips on your acoustic guitar. It’s a huge win, and it’s another item that you can now make yourself.

See Also: Make Your Own Binding Strips

Practice Without Glue First

Finally, after you get your binding ledges in place, and your strips are bent, practice taping one of those strips in place without any glue. You’ll be surprised in the beginning how difficult this is, especially if your bending wasn’t the best.

Make sure that you can get the strip deep into the ledge, and check all of your seams for any gaps or separations that might have occurred. It will be difficult to see them after everything is covered in glue, so diagnose and fix any problems right now.

Once you are confident that you can tape the strips down without having any gaps or issues, you are ready to add your glue and repeat the process. Be very careful, but work quickly. You need to get from one end of the strip to the other before the glue sets up.

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Spend some time checking your joint again after the tape is all in place. If there are any gaps, make the corrections you need, that way your binding strips sit perfectly flush when the glue dries.

See Also: 19 Incredible Tips on Working With Wood Glue

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know all about binding your acoustic guitar, it’s time to take action. If you’ve been waiting to build your dream guitar, you need to stop waiting and start building. It’s never going to be finished if you never start.

Binding is actually one of the most fun parts of making an acoustic guitar. You get to showcase a little bit of woodworking skills, and create a beautiful, contrasting look that is very eye-catching and appealing.

After you do a couple basic binding designs, try adding additional things like purfling strips and herringbone to take your binding to the next level. That’s all fun too, and you’ll really enjoy the process.

If you have any questions about binding your acoustic guitar, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.

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  • 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
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