When approaching the notion of building a hollow body guitar, it should first be considered at which point you’d like to start. In other words, you need to ask yourself if you want to mount such an enterprise at the source by taking axe to tree, or instead securing manufactured materials to complete your project.
Either way, it’s important to realize you’re going in that you’ll need:
- A blueprint (best made through the use of drafting tools).
- Raw materials. (Usually woods such as ash or mahogany.)
- Tools required. (Though a number of implements are required, the majority of the work will be done by using planes, a lathe, a scroll saw and a screwdriver.)
- Drafting tools will be needed. Given the nature of constructing an instrument such as a hollow body guitar, it’s important to know that attempting such a venture without a plan would prove to be foolhardy. So a detailed draft should first be constructed. And where this is concerned, a knowledge of carpentry will prove more valuable than a knowledge of music in that first you’ll need to sketch/draw an appropriate blueprint including specifics such as dimensions, shape, etc. before beginning the actual work.
- Decide which form of wood to use. Most guitars of quality are constructed of either ash or mahogany. And even though other grains are sometimes used when building a hollow body guitar, these are the ones that should first be considered. And most of these can be secured at any lumber yard (or through employment of hatchet, axe and sword). Then once these basic materials are secured you can begin crafting the pieces that will be used in the construction of the instrument by the use of a lathe, scroll saw and other such tools.
- Realize the numerous other tools that will be required. The proper building of a hollow body guitar requires numerous planes, a lathe and several other implements of destruction (as mentioned in step two). So if these are not at your disposal, they should be secured before even considering construction. And once such tools are made available the work has just begun, in that building of a hollow body guitar is a venture which is not unlike constructing a piece of furniture. In other words you’ll need to realize that the majority of the work you’ll be doing on such a project will entail the cutting, shaping and fashioning of the raw materials you’ve chosen to work with in the instrument’s construction. Further, it’s important that non-conventional woodworking tools be at your disposal. For example, pliers, screwdrivers, etc. will be what is needed to install machine heads, fret bars and other necessary hardware you’ll be installing after the basic pieces of the guitar have been fashioned to your liking.
And if all this seems too daunting, it would be wise to instead consult the Fender Corporation or other firms such as CF MartinGuitars.