B.Y.O…

-David, on the completion of his BYO guitar.

The BYO concept is about how you can Build Your Own instrument with me, using my workshop, my equipment and my expertise.

Those people who know me will appreciate that only someone with a complete passion for guitars would ever consider doing what I do- making, repairing and restoring guitars. I’ve got a guitar above my desk that I made well over thirty years ago and here I am- at the grand old age of well over 65- still doing it! But I have accumulated well over thirty years of experience in all aspects of guitar maintenance and repair, as well as making both electric and acoustic instruments.

Several people have taken advantage of the opportunity to come and build a guitar in my workshop with me and it’s proving to be a rewarding and satisfying experience for all concerned.

Of course, you would expect that making an electric guitar should be simple enough- you choose a shape that appeals, you draw it onto a suitable sized piece of wood and then cut it out with the jigsaw. And then you buy a neck and chisel out a neck pocket and then…

Why doesn’t it line up? How does the bridge go? How do you fit the pickups? Why can’t I get the controls to work? Why does it play so badly? Why does the finish look nothing like I was hoping for? Etc. etc. etc…

Yes, I can answer all of that, but even better, I can show you the right way to go about it!

My friend David has built what might seem to be a rather challenging undertaking- a Gretsch style hollow bodied guitar, complete with Gretsch pickups and Gretsch Bigsby and the result has delighted both David and myself. It’s a style of guitar that we both really liked and the outcome has been excellent, even though David had never before attempted to make an instrument. My twenty five years as a teacher must have helped…

My young friend John is making an acoustic with me and we’re both enjoying the process no end. John is even making a photo diary of the process and sharing it with his students at St Pat’s.

Ian also is making an acoustic…

James built a cutaway RGa-59…

Hayden built a Radiomaster…

And Jimmy, with a bit of help from Grandad, is making his very own Abbey Road Hollowbody…

…which all goes to show that regardless of age or woodworking ability that with a bit of guidance, anything is possible!

So how much does it cost to build your very own guitar?

For a Tele or Strat style guitar, or even a Radiomaster guitar – probably around the $2000 mark- I already have patterns, routing jigs, wiring diagrams, neck profile patterns and suitable timbers for body, neck and fretboard.

An acoustic is a rather more complex undertaking. I have a series of appropriate moulds that cover Dreadnought, OOO/ RGa-35 style, Classical and “Tacoma” style guitars. But I only currently have side bending jigs for dreadnought and my RGa-35 style guitars…cost will usually start at around $2750, depending on hardware and timber, and finishing requirements…

And now I’ve added the Abbey Road guitar option to the guitars you can make with me and because of their surprising complexity, the cost of them is $3000, but the outcome is spectacular.

David’s 6120 style would end up being around $2750- $3000, depending on hardware chosen and finishing requirements.

But as David has already said…