How to Build Your Own Guitar to Professional Standards

Building or making your own guitar

Make a guitar that you will never be able to buy for anything like the investment that you make in time and parts.

I started to build guitars back in about 2006 and my very first guitar was a stratocaster style guitar that seemed to be the killer guitar I wanted to make. Unfortunately for a thousand reasons it was not quite what I really wanted. Sure, it was almost as good as anything I could afford to buy from leading brands at the time and cost me a lot less to make myself. And that started me thinking that I could actually make a world class guitar with the help of a few companies components and my own efforts.

Indeed, I continued and have now made a number of Stratocaster style guitars and Telecasters because they are relatively easy to make and if you are careful you can achieve results that you would never believe you could and save a fortune.

Now before we continue I do want to get a couple of things out of the way. Firstly, my guitars are all made from Fender parts, or fully authorized Fender parts and that in my opinion makes them basically the same as a Fender guitar with Fenders same design, at least the same quality but often higher and a lot of time invested on my part, probably more time than even Fender put in to a guitar build. My guitars are NOT counterfeit, or inferior products but are guitars with parts that Fender themselves have authorized.

Secondly, I have little or no time for views like 'you're not building that guitar' or 'you're just an assembler' or any other rubbish that some minority on the internet seem to think is befitting to these type of guitars. My view is you don't 'assemble' a house, and neither do you 'assemble' these guitars, there is a definite skill in building them as anyone who has succeeded in making one will tell you. I do not make guitars for other people so please don't ask. If you are stuck then maybe I can give you some advice or pointers for free, but that's as far as my involvement goes, because my videos are extremely intensive and cover every aspect (near enough) of building one of these guitars.

I don't waste my time rubbing down bodies, filling them and finishing them, that is not particularly easy without expensive equipment and with ordinary gear your results will look cr*p at best. Let the luthiers of this world do that and you stick to what makes a perfect result for you as I do here.

Warmoth Parts

I have used Warmoth parts generally for two very good reasons. Firstly, they are all fully Fender Authorized parts made to an exceptionally high standard so are an exceptionally good basis to build a guitar from. Secondly, the quality of those parts is second to none. Warmoth usually use high quality woods even on the lower cost bodies and if you buy a custom made one I can tell you that if you request for example swamp ash to be 'light' then it really is. To date I have only had one issue with them and that was for something they basically won't include on a guitar body as a modification so I could hardly accuse them of not supplying quality. This is a company I recommend and while they are not the cheapest around there is very good reasoning why I use Warmoth myself.

Genuine Fender Parts

On most of my guitar builds I decided very early on to use genuine Fender parts (USA parts!) very early on in my building experiences. If you buy low cost parts you will be stacking up problems later down in the build for one reason or another. For example, a Fender Japanese guitar tremolo might 'look' the same and often the quality is there, but did you know that the tremolo arm from a regular USA Stratocaster will not fit because it uses a different thickness for the metal used and also a different thread. Basically it will never fit. But there are thousands of other examples I could give that show trouble at the OK coral later so be very selective on guitar parts. You lose the price, you lose the quality and/or the exact design. I have seen it over and over again. One reason I use genuine Fender necks mainly from stripped Fender guitars as some others are not quite what you might want. You cannot get any more genuine than that.

Third Party Parts For Guitar

Obviously unless you just want to ape making a Stratocaster that looks like a regular Fender guitar then you might well want to use some other parts. A good example might be the pickups which can change the way the guitar sounds dramatically. I often use Fender custom shop pickups, but also use: David White pickups (no longer available), Joe Barden Pickups that are far nicer than the Fender equivalents and some Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan's that offer a different tone than regular Fender pickups. I've also used custom switching solutions for the wiring and even the odd third party bridge if it improved dramatically the results I achieve. Remember my goal is the build the 'perfect' and best guitar in the world... it's a feat that could take me (and you) a lifetime of work and then maybe never achieve.

From here I have a few sub pages that talk about particular guitar bodies, Fender parts, wiring solutions and guitar pickups. Remember these are just my own choices and are available from the top menu above when published.

However, below are the complete series of videos that I have created for instructions of how to build your guitar just like I did and you will see the results in each video as I actually do it all. There was no pre preparation for the camera or anything like that, I just turned on for each section and recorded it and that's the best way in any instruction video - do things for real. So, come on, choose the guitar style you want from those video builds below, watch it and hey presto you are all set to go and build your own. If you don't find the answer exactly to your query on the first guitar build then check the next one out because the answers are all there.

Please note that these 'how to build your guitar' pages are currently being updated and updates will be posted on the news page.

Best Fender Stratocaster in the world: Part 1 (Brownie)

Best Fender stratocaster in the world: Part 2 (Brownie)

Best fender stratocaster in the world: Played

The building of 'Blue': Part 1

The building of 'Blue': Part 2

The building of 'Blue': Part 3

The 'Blue' guitar being played

My Spalted Maple Korina Stratocaster build

The Korina Stratocaster being played

The Telecaster V1: Part 1

The Telecaster V1: Part 2

The Telecaster V1: Part 3

This is Glenn Proudfoot playing the Telecaster V1 that I made above. You really should check him out, he's a great player but shows you how to play some quite amazing guitar.

A Stratocaster style guitar with special switching

A special custom designed Telecaster V2: Part 1

A special custom designed Telecaster V2: Part 2

There is another Telecaster in this series being made presently that matches the 'Blue' stratocaster to make a pair of guitars. This telecaster will also have innovation and high quality components throughout and if you want to make a telecaster style guitar then this is one to watch also. My best advice about making a guitar? Take your time! there is no race to the finishing line.

Updates to this page will appear on the news page over time. 


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