A completely non-professional post today!

Some of you may know that I played guitar (way) back in high school. I played just a little in college and have played only sporadically since then. A few years ago—thank you, midlife!—I picked up my acoustic and began plunking around again. It has been lots of fun. More on that in the future.

What I have not renewed is the electric guitar, which was my staple in high school. I sold my last electric in the mid-1990s, and have not owned one since. At the urging of some friends, I started shopping for a guitar several months ago, but could not convince myself to pull the trigger on something that expensive that I’m not sure I would even use.

Enter my interest in woodworking. A few months ago I happened upon the Ted Harlan Woodworking School, where I recently completed my first project. It turns out that Ted also offers guitar building classes. Can you say, irresistible? I thought you could.

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2″ African mahogany for the body and neck

Thursday night was the first of what will be about 25 sessions to complete an electric build. I hope to blog the entire process over the next several months. We are building a “Les Paul like” guitar with a mahogany body, curly maple top, and P-90 or humbucker pickups (I’m leaning toward humbuckers, but won’t have to commit for awhile). The shape will be similar but not identical to the Les Paul.

Thursday night we spent time talking about the process and then got right to work. The guitar body will consist of a mahogany back and curly maple top. The mahogany stock for the body and neck is 8/4 stock (2″ thick), which we will take down to 1 3/4″ and glue up for a two piece back. The curly maple stock that will become the tops is gorgeous (see photo).

We have two weeks off for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I am shopping for pickups, tuners, and thinking about inlay for my fretboard. So many crucial decisions!

Until next time….

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Jointing mahogany stock for the two piece body.

Production Notes

  • 8/4 mahogany stock for the body and curly maple for the top (could use 4/4 for the top, since it will be 5/8″ thick).
  • Stock prep: Use bandsaw to rip first (7 1/4″ width), then face joint, edge joint, plane the opposite face, and rip to 7 1/8″, in that order. Width of body pieces at this point is 7 1/8″. (We’re aiming for 14″ after glue up of the two pieces and finishing.)
  • Face joint with the bow side up. Minimize rocking.
  • Edge joint with bandsaw side down such that top edge leans out, not bottom edge out. This allows hand pressure nearer the top of the fence rather than the bottom, for a safer jointing.
  • When planing, push second piece in immediately after the first to prevent rollers from resetting and sniping the piece again.

One thought on “My new guitar

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