DIY Electric Guitar Building Tips and Tricks

So you’ve decided to build an electric guitar with a kit you’ve just recently purchased. That’s great! But know that even though you did save a bit (or a lot) of cash as opposed to buying a fully-built guitar. However, do note that it does come with its own unique set of challenges, and if this is your first time building such a musical instrument then you might find it to be quite the challenging endeavor.

Nonetheless, it won’t have as much as challenges as compared to building the electric guitar from scratch. Still, you don’t want to become too complacent as it might result in a subpar finish. Without further ado, here are some tips and tricks to help you deal with the ordeals of building a DIY electric guitar kit.

Which Kit to Buy?

Not all electric guitar kits are the same and it’ll do you well if you bear this thought in mind. Expecting that each DIY guitar kit is the same as the next one will result in failed expectations, and this might even affect the overall quality of your work. We can, however, classify these kits into two major categories: set-in and bolt-on. For set-in electric guitar kits, it requires users to “set in” the neck to the body of the musical instrument with the assistance of a wood glue. As for bolt-on variants, the neck requires users to attach the neck to the body using four screws. For beginners, it’s recommended to buy and build bolt-on guitars whereas advanced electric guitar builders might want to opt for a set-in model.

What to Use for Paint?

Note that you’re not limited to one type of paint when you want to bring color to your electric guitar. For instance, you can use enamel as it’s a popular choice for many. Enamel, or otherwise known as shellac, is praised for its natural feel. Hence, it’s also a popular choice for painting acoustic guitars and violins. You can also use nitrocellulose lacquer as it creates a protective film around the wooden construction when it evaporates. Finally, you can also take advantage of polyurethane, and this type is the modern choice. Polyurethane is an organic compound that has many applications (i.e. varnish, adhesives, and Spandex). When used for the purpose of painting guitars, it requires it to be shot in a thicker coat so it doesn’t melt together.

Searching for the Tailpiece and Bridge

 A common challenge for electric guitar kit builders is where to put the tailpiece and bridge after the neck is properly glued or bolted in place. If you use a template provided to you, then you might incur a risk wherein the strings won’t become properly aligned. Start by looking at the line between the tailpiece and the nut as this portion largely dictates how the strings will align. In relation to this step, the best way to do it is to locate the bridge and tailpiece relative to the set of the neck or fret board.

Note that this list is akin to an introductory phase for your upcoming electric guitar building adventures.