This is the 5 Biggest Mistakes for New Guitar Makers. In this post, you’ll learn the five biggest mistakes you can make as a new builder, and how to avoid them. Enjoy.
If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books
Biggest Guitar Making Mistakes
The interesting thing about mistakes is that it’s very difficult to see them coming, though in hindsight you always feel like you should’ve known. This is what helps you develop experience, which unfortunately has to come from mistakes in most cases.
Experience is awesome, but so many times the experience comes from ruining a project, or having to do a process over again. Instead of having to suffer through all of these mistakes yourself, hopefully this will help you see some of them coming before they get you.
I won’t be able to save you from everything, but I can definitely help share some of the things that have stung me personally, and that should help you at least avoid these five common mistakes for beginner guitar makers.
See Also: Acoustic Guitar Making For Beginners
Working With Plans and No Book
Probably the biggest mistake that I see among new acoustic guitar makers is that they think they can make a guitar from just a set of plans. This is incorrect. Plans really only work when you know how to make a guitar.
Think of a set of plans like you would think of a blueprint. If you had a blueprint or an architectural drawing for a large warehouse, and it tells you what the warehouse needs to look like, that still doesn’t make you qualified to build it.
Plans and drawings just tell you what a specific guitar should look when it’s finished, and they don’t tell anything about how to get there. It’s like looking at the finish line without having any idea about the layout of the race track.
You can definitely use a set of plans to make a guitar, but you need to have a good step-by-step book to teach you how to make all the different parts. Start with a great book, and you will have a much easier experience.
See Also: Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Making Books
Working from Multiple sets of Plans
Another really big mistake for new guitar makers is that they combine several different things that they like from several different sets of plans. While this might sound cool in the beginning, in the end it’s a recipe for catastrophe.
The problem with being a beginner is that you really don’t know what you don’t know. Plans are sized a certain way in order for the parts to work together a certain way. If you start switching parts between sets of plans, you might destroy some critical measurements.
These measurements are what allow the instrument to work properly, and though there are only a few of them, you have to get them right in order to have a good sounding instrument. So, if you’re working from sets of plans, choose one to follow for your build.
Not Making the Right Jigs
Huge mistake number three is not making the right jigs. There is a huge temptation to just freehand stuff when you are faced with having to make a jig. After all, sometimes it feels like making the jig is a waste of time that doesn’t move the project forward.
This is incorrect as well, because the jig is necessary, and part of the project, which is why it qualifies to move the project forward. Jigs are extraordinarily important, and make the job of guitar making a whole lot easier than doing it by hand.
The time that you spend making a jig will come back to you tenfold. Besides, you get to use that jig over and over again on your next several guitars. If you really enjoy guitar making, you probably make many instruments. So the jigs will have a lot of use.
Rushing Through the Process
This is one that gets a lot of people in trouble. It also typically comes from being worried about the process or wondering if the build will be successful. Instead of being patient, the temptation is to rush through to the end.
When you rush, and skip steps, all you are doing is making your instrument worse. Even if you’re unsure if this entire thing is going to be successful or not, you aeren’t doing it any favors by rushing or skipping steps.
If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books
Take your time, believe in the process, and you will have a much better guitar in the end. Even if the guitar that comes out your first time isn’t something to write a song about, it will still be yours, and a much better effort than if you were to rush through.
See Also: Woodworking Glossary
Failing to Practice as Needed
There are going to be several opportunities while making your first acoustic guitar for you to stop and practice a little bit. Since so many different woodworking skills are involved in guitar making, the odds of you knowing all of them are very low.
When you run into something that you don’t understand, or a technique that is new or unfamiliar to you, you definitely owe it to the project and to yourself to stop and practice. This doesn’t have to be forever either, it could be as simple as a few minutes.
For example, if you’ve never bent wood before, you should definitely try that a few times before you have to do it on the real thing. Not only will it be a lot less stressful, but you won’t have to worry about ruining potentially $100 or more of wood.
Practice should be purely for the sense of practice, and gaining skill. This means you should not use pieces of wood that are destined to be on an actual guitar. Instead, practice the skills you need in a safe way so you can ruin some wood without it affecting your instrument.
Once you feel better about your ability, then feel free to take the next step and try the skill live on the instrument. Odds are you will do far better than if you did not practice.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know these five big mistakes that beginning guitar makers encounter when they start their first build, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. If you’ve been apprehensive about starting your guitar build, hopefully some of these ideas have helped you.
Making an acoustic guitar is not that much more difficult than any other project. It’s just a combination of a lot of different woodworking skills that are all focused into one project. If you can have some patience and do a little practice, you’ll do just fine.
If you have any questions about these five mistakes, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer it. Happy building.
- 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. Join My Woodworking Facebook Group