How to Make your First Guitar and don't get stuck. When making the first guitar, important factors include the cheapness and availability of materials, as well as a clear sequence of actions, a roadmap of the process itself.
Today, it is inexpensive to acquire simple and authentic materials for making a guitar, but even these will cost something. The further away you are from the guitar wood suppliers, the more complex and costly this starter kit will become.
I offer you a simple source of suitable wood for crafting, along with a description of the main stages of crafting a classical guitar.
The primary goal of the first attempt is to practice the carpentry process. However, the desired outcome is not just a guitar-shaped box but a fully functional instrument. This brings us back to the importance of selecting the right material.
Where else can one find well-aged material? That's right, by reusing wooden items that have been stored in good conditions. Maestro Torres employed this technique by crafting guitars from rosewood furniture. As for us it is absolutely unnecessary, to hesitate with the first guitar from the used wood. We might feel a bit strained with rosewood cabinets, as well as with any surplus solid wood furniture in general. But again, I'm getting wordy.
Attention! Drumroll, please!
Old jambs from the door frames, made from pine or even fir, spruce.
Door frames or window frames are a source of well-aged, dry material.
Well, that's it for me, time for a sip of tea, while skeptics can relax their furrowed brows. This photos and video can help:) The guitar which I have made from the door frame. Below are photos and video a little further down.
Photo Gallery of the Pine Guitar
click on photo to enlarge
A bit more about guitar wood
I want to say a few words about what qualities wood should have to make guitars. The material for crafting a guitar must be well dried, preferably under natural conditions, to prevent the guitar from cracking after it's made. Simultaneously, the material itself should be suitable for guitars or musical instruments in general. I mean the wood should possess some musical sound qualities. Long-aged boards from fences won't suffice for many reasons. The wood must be properly preserved and adequately (acceptable for the first time) cut. Additionally, one must consider the wood quality itself, cracks, crucial flaws, grain direction so on.
Any specialized tonewood will cost something, and it would be a disappointment to ruin it due to inexperience. I suggest completely discarding the habit of excessive consumption - forests need to be preserved, and specially prepared guitar wood should be your second instrument. Although this rule is often successfully disregarded by some beginners who craft excellent instruments out of rosewood from the first attempt. However, I believe their hearts skip a beat while working.
Door Frame Timber
Today people are replacing all the time their old wooden doors and window frames. This material is highly beneficial for us, not just for crafting guitar itself; from these dry jambs, it's very convenient to make various guitar-making constructions. I'm not sure about window frames, but door frames certainly haven't been subjected to extreme conditions. The crucial thing is that the wood shouldn't be damp or rotten. In normal apartments, this is unlikely to be the case.
Once, I couldn't resist grabbing several discarded door frame timbers. They lay with me, nails to all sides, for a whole year until I conceived a plan to make a guitar (to be precise, I used a part of the timber for the special device to glue the back). And as it is well known “the ball comes to the player”: literally, one floor below my neighbors have discarded some oak door casing. The fate somehow urged on me, it was impossible to resist.
Musicality of Pine and Hardness of Oak
Pine (latin: pinus) – it's very ordinary, but this tree is, in the absence of cedar and spruce, most suitable for making the top (soundboard) of a classical guitar - the most crucial musical part of the instrument. Pine might not surpass the spruce and western cedar, but still remains a good option. From published acoustic constants, it can be gathered that the constant for spruce is around 12 units, while for pine it's around 11 (writing from memory, but the essence remains the same), so there's a slight loss. For the soundboard, we'll need to search for better specimens and cuts. Aging is also important, but in our case, it is very lengthy.
For the fingerboard and bridge you will need a hard wood. In our regions, this includes hornbeam, ash, acacia, walnut, beech, maple, but most interestingly, oak (latin: quercus), which is slightly darker and visually more suitable, not to mention its density. Oak can be stained to become even darker.
Threshold of Entry
In any endeavor, there is a threshold of entry. Often, this threshold seems even larger than it actually is. If the path to the result is fraught with various uncertainties, traversing that path can be intimidating and even off-putting. People are different—some are drawn to challenges, while others are frightened by them.
This project lowers and makes the entry threshold into guitar craftsmanship more transparent. You'll be able to practice all the necessary operations required for making a classical guitar on genuine wood, assemble the necessary instruments, and develop your initial preferences.
From a psychological standpoint, taking the risk with a found, neighboring door frame is incomparably easier than risking even the cheapest set for a classical guitar.
Ultimately, you'll obtain a completely functional model that can serve for almost anything, even learning in a music school. This is definitely better than any cheap plywood instrument.
Execution Plan, Step-by-Step Guide
The goal of the pine guitar project is to grasp the carpentry aspect of crafting a classical guitar. Although the material might not be ordinary, it's appropriate, and the carpentry itself is genuine. Moreover, the outcome is very satisfying. Let's walk through the main stages step by step, outlining the process of working on a classical guitar. We'll skip many small details for do not overflow our stack:)
P.S.: Also, about the reasons for executing this project: I was very curious about what could be achieved from the pinus doorframus. The result pleasantly surprised me.
P.P.S.: Unfortunately,many photos and videos are not of good quality and cameraman skill. I captured them with what I had and as best as I could.