I am a student of upper bach who wants to make a acoustic guitar from scratch or with some very basic bases. I will need to do this in 2 and a half months. I could work in it 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. My school Design and Technology classrooms are pretty good. The guitar would be my personal project of 9th grade IB diploma.

Is building a guitar a viable project? Any hints or clues to achieve this?

  • 1
    What do you mean by "a student of upper bach"?
    – Richard
    Oct 17, 2016 at 20:00
  • 3
    good luck. But that will be one guitar that may never get played. You really need a lot more time.
    – blusician
    Oct 18, 2016 at 1:14
  • Have fun doing the frets, unless you make it fretless. Oh yeah and there is also the problem of the pressure the string stops put on a neck
    – user30646
    Oct 18, 2016 at 3:26
  • Maybe if you bought a neck and measured the distances to the bridge very very very well
    – user30646
    Oct 18, 2016 at 5:29
  • 1
    I haven't built an acoustic (only a few electrics) but you might like to join, or at least look around, one of the serious forums like Musical Instrument Makers Forum. With all the right tools already available, it might be possible in the time stated.
    – Andy
    Oct 18, 2016 at 6:23

2 Answers 2


Building an acoustic guitar from scratch is one thing. Building one that sounds even remotely decent and will hold up under string tension and changes in the environment, tune up properly with proper intonation and has a playable action is another.

Building an acoustic guitar from scratch requires many skills for the many different processes and steps involved in the project. Each separate aspect of the building process requires skills beyond just basic use of hand and power tools.

You must be able to carve a neck out of a block of wood and the neck must be exactly the right length. The neck should be tapered, thinner at the headstock and wider at the body. The radius of the fingerboard side of the neck must be precise and the radius on the back of the neck should be uniform.

Generally the headstock will be carved out of a different block of wood and then properly joined to the neck at a precise angle with a joint that will withstand string tension. Once you have the headstock joined to the neck you will need to attach the fingerboard to the neck which is a thinner strip of wood. To the fingerboard you will have to fashion frets out of the desired gauge fretwire and install them in the exact right position with the correct radius and at a uniform depth by first cutting fret slots in the fingerboard for each fret.

Just installing the frets is a job that generally requires some training and practice to be able to install the frets properly, level them properly, crown them precisely and dress the ends so they don't cut your fingers when you slide your fretting hand up and down the neck.

The tone wood for the sound board must not only be cut very thin but must be seamed together with no visible crack as it's actually two pieces of wood (often "book-matched"). The top must also be braced in such a manner as to allow the soundboard (top) to be responsive to vibrations, but also be structurally capable of holding up under string tension.

The sides must be curved to conform to the shape of the top and back. Once the body is assembled you will have to attach the neck at a very precise angle and in a manner that will hold up under string tension and playing conditions.

The saddle must be compensated to account for differences in intonation and the bridge must be firmly attached to the top in the exact right place with a glue that will hold up under varying temperatures and string tension.

Then there is the nut in which the string slots must be cut at a precise depth and thickness with the proper spacing and the tuning pegs and tuning gears.

The overall distance between the nut and the saddle (the scale) must be exact as must be the location of each fret or the guitar will never play in tune.

I have a friend who is a carpenter and woodworker as well as an excellent guitarist. He builds electric guitars one after another from scratch. He has all the power tools needed and radius gauges. He has built dozens of very playable electric guitars modeled after many of the popular guitars such as Fender Strat, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Fender Telecaster, etc. But he will not even attempt to build an acoustic guitar.

Before you attempt to build an acoustic guitar you might want to go to school to learn how first. Here is a link to a school in the US that offers a 300 hour hands on training course conducted over a 6 week period that will teach you the basics of lutherie (guitar building). Atlanta Guitar Works

If you don't have 300 hours to spare to learn how to build an acoustic guitar from scratch you might be able to assemble and finish one from a kit if you have or can acquire all the necessary tools. You won't need nearly as many tools as building from scratch because the kit will come with the top and back already cut and sanded and milled to the proper thickness. The neck will already be cut and the sides are already pre-shaped. But you will still need certain tools to put all the pieces together.

Even putting together an acoustic guitar from a kit will require a great deal of time and patience. But this site Everything You Need To Know About DIY Guitar Kits will give you some really good information on assembling a guitar from a kit and will also provide insight into all the steps involved in building a guitar. I would start with this site as it should give you enough insight into the entire process to help you decide the answer to your question.

If you do decide to try to build from scratch or assemble and finish a guitar from a kit, I wish you the best of luck.

enter image description here

Do It Yourself Guitar Kit. The hardest parts (milling the top and back and joining the two halves together, cutting the neck and headstock and joining those together, shaping the sides, cutting the fingerboard and cutting the slots in the right location, cutting the braces etc.) are done for you. You just have to put it all together and dress the frets and apply the final finish.

  • DIY kits are the most viable option. I didn't think of that.
    – user30646
    Oct 18, 2016 at 5:33

Jigs, jigs, and more jigs. And I'm not talking dances. Seriously, the acquisition of tooling to make a good acoustic guitar is daunting. It won't be worthwhile for a production run of "1".

I am blessed to have a bespoke steel-string, and my builder even used a prepared neck. His art is in the sound box. The sound box used 000-18 (OM) forms for the glue up. Just look at these pictures of its construction. You will see many tools; there are countless other tools that are not shown.

My builder is a comfortably-retired hobbyist. He builds these as a labor of love, and as an exercise of his studies with Ervin Somogyi. He builds four or five instruments per year. Personally, I think that your schedule is very aggressive -- too aggressive without prior experience. I don't understand the requirements of a "9th grade IB diploma", however I would recommend that you reconsider your project.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.