Should I make a Kit First?

Q&A Woodworking Forum IndexCategory: Guitar MakingShould I make a Kit First?
Brian asked 9 months ago

Are there any benefits to making a guitar kit before attempting a full blown guitar build?

Is it worth the extra step to complete a kit before building the guitar I actually want to build?

1 Answers
Brian answered 8 months ago

There are some benefits to making a guitar kit before you advance into making a full guitar on your own. The biggest advantage is that you get to try guitar making without a lot of cost upfront.

I love making guitars, but not everybody else does. I love it so much I even wrote a book about it. The last thing I would want for you is to buy tons of really nice tools and materials, make your first guitar, and then realize you absolutely hate the process.

Now you’re stuck with a bunch of stuff that may not be as useful as you would once hoped. Instead of doing this, you can start by making a kit, where nearly all of the parts are already shaped for you.

Depending on the nature of the kit, it can be fairly rough or fairly finished. The rougher kits will require a lot more hand tool work on your end. The finished kits are almost like an assembly project more than anything else.

Depending on your level of comfort, I do recommend that you make this at least a little bit more challenging than a simple assembly project. Making a guitar is more about creation than assembly, but you can still use it as a learning experience.

After you’ve made a kit, if you still really like the process, the next thing I recommend is doing an electric guitar or bass body swap. This is where you buy an inexpensive bass or guitar on the used market, and then replace the body with something handmade and custom.

The nice thing about this project is that the hard parts are already done. The neck, fretting, electronics, and all of those other things are already figured out. The only thing you need to do is make a body.

This will be a bit of a challenge though, because it’s not like a kit where you start out with a body that’s nearly finished. With a body swap, you’re going to walk into a wood store and leave with a large rectangle of wood that you need to somehow shape into an attractive guitar body.

After you complete the body swap, if you still love making guitars, then it’s time to start making one from scratch. You can do it, you just need to have patience and keep moving forward.

Happy building.

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

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