Depending on your choice of guitar kits you may be required to perform a small amount (or a large amount) of work wiring the guitar. This typically involves a soldering iron and a basic understanding of guitar electronics. You will also need to be able to follow schematic diagrams of pickup configurations.This can all get a little tricky and can become overwhelming especially if you have never tackled this type of job before. If this is the case, I strongly suggest starting with one of the easier models in regards to wiring e.g. Telecaster® style kits are significantly easier to work on as the scratchplate will often be pre-loaded with pickups. However, if you purchase a kit guitar such as an LP® style kit or you want to upgrade your electrical components understanding some basics about guitar electronics is useful.In the following, I will cover some basic terminology so that when we refer to tools or components such as capacitors in the following articles anyone new to building best electric guitar will have a good idea of what we are talking about and what the purpose of the particular component is.Commonly Used Electrical ComponentsPotentiometers (Pots)Pots in their most basic sense are DC resistors used to control the volume or tone of your custom electric guitars. They essentially decrease the amount of signal passing through the guitar. Decreasing the amount of signal in your volume or tone pot increases the amount of signal being grounded.A basic overview of how they function might, the volume pot will receive a signal from the pickup selector it will then transfer this signal to both the tone pot and output jack. Pots can also come as 'blended' in which case it will control two pickups and may even have a toggle switch dedicated to just the one pot. This is much less common and won't play a role in assembling an electric guitar kit in most cases.CapacitorsCapacitors are typically used as filters to control tone. In most cases, they are used to filter out very high frequencies before being sent to ground (the output jack) which controls the warmth of your guitar's tone. Capacitors vary greatly and come in a range of materials from ceramic, film, paper and electrolytic (mainly used with active pickups).For now, just understanding why a capacitor might be included in your kit is probably enough information. But as your knowledge increases you may like to experiment with different capacitors to test the results they can have on your guitar's tone.PickupsDon't understand how pickups work or want to understand the difference between a single-coil and humbucking pickup? Rather than cover old ground, this article on guitar pickups provides an overview of how guitar pickups work and how they differ in tone.Essentially pickups create a magnetic field that allows guitar strings to create a signal by displacing the magnetic field which can then be transferred from your guitar to your amp.Pickup SelectorAs the name suggests a pickup selector allows the guitarist to switch between pickups to influence the tone of what they are playing. For instance, a Fender Stratocaster typically has a 5-way pickup selector which allows for selecting each individual pickup along with combinations of each.Output JackThe output jack is where you plug in your guitar lead. These are generally 1/4" and transfer the signal created by your pickups to your guitar amp.They are usually connected from a ground wire and input wire. When the lead is plugged into the output jack the signal can be transferred. These can often be a source of trouble and need to be kept tight to reduce noise.
Although most of the discussion around building kit guitars tend to focus on 6 and 7 string guitars, DIY electric bass guitar kits can also be a lot of fun to work on.But, perhaps one of the most enticing reasons you might want to consider building is the range of body styles available. Some of these include:EXP style bass MM style bass JM style bassW style bass Violin bass We also regularly offer a Rickenbacker style DIY bass guitar kit based on the Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar along with headless and fretless bass guitar kits. All models are available as unfinished left-handed guitar kits along with right-hand models.EXP style Bass KitThe EXP-style bass DIY kit is one of the most interesting bass guitar kits currently on offer. It is a 5 string bass guitar kit, featuring 22 frets and a standard scale length of 34 inches with 2 x Volume and 1 x tone control.Modeled on the Fender/Gibson Explorer Bird bass played by the late John Entwhistle of the ‘Who’. The original ‘Explorer bird’ bass was a combination of Gibson Explorer body, coupled with Fender Precision bass neck and machine heads with gold hardware. MM Bass KitBased on the iconic Musicman Stingray first introduced in 1976 and played by the likes of Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Justin Chancellor (Tool) the MM is a 24 fret bass kit with a scale length of 34 inches featuring 2 x volume, 2 x tone, and 3-way switch. If looking to recreate the original MM Bass, select an Alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard (available in imitation Rosewood). JM Bass KitBased on the Fender Jazz Bass played by the likes of John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Geddy Lee (Rush). The JB bass is one of the more famous bass guitar shapes since first released in 1960 and has since become a feature of rock and progressive rock music. The JB Bass guitar kit features a 20 fret neck, standard 34-inch scale length and 2 X volume, 1 X tone control. The original J Bass was available in a range of body timbers including Ash and Alder and features a maple neck with rosewood or maple fretboard. W Bass KitThe W Bass kit is loosely based on the Warwick ‘Rock bass’ bass guitar made famous by the signature models of players such as Rob Trujillo (Metallica and Suicidal Tendencies) and Jack Bruce (Cream). The W Bass features a 24 fret neck with 34-inch scale length and 2 x volume, 2 x tone, and 3-way pickup switch. Violin Bass KitArguably one of the more iconic bass guitar shapes of all time, the violin bass guitar is most well known for being the bass guitar of Paul McCartney of the Beatles. Based on the Höfner 500/1 violin bass, it is one of the few DIY semi-hollow bass guitar kits available. Featuring a 24 fret neck and 34-inch scale length along with 2 x volume, 1 x bass, 1 x rhythm, and 1 x treble control. The original violin bass utilized materials more commonly associated with acoustic guitar construction featuring a spruce top, rosewood back and sides and maple neck. R Style Bass KitsWhile Rickenbacker is better known for some of its iconic electric guitars, played by the likes of John Lennon and Tom Petty, the Rickenbacker 4001 is a revolutionary bass guitar shape, manufactured between 1961 and 1981 featuring a neck through body, a major deviation at the time when most bass guitars featured a bolt-on neck. Played by legendary bass players such as Cliff Burton (Metallica) and Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) the R Style bass is one to keep an eye out for when available.
A list of luthier tools that can help DIY Guitar manufacturers assemble and finish kit guitars to a high standard.The right tool for the job.Luthiers Tools for DIY Guitar KitsChances are, most of us have heard the saying, along with other gems such as measure twice, cut once repeated more than once. And, while repetition tends to dull the impact, when it comes to building kit guitars, having the right tools , along with a knowledge of how to use them correctly are important.Not just for the success of the task at hand, although it certainly helps, using the correct tool is the safest way to work and helps maintain the other tools in your arsenal, saving you from using them for jobs they’re not designed for.Essential Luthier Tools for DIY Guitar Kits1.The WorkbenchPerhaps, it’s a stretch to call a workbench a tool but your first consideration should always be your work space.A workbench with luthiers vice (e.g. with soft faced jaws) is ideal, but if you don’t have this option look for a large well lit and well ventilated area that you can safely work on your electric guitar without increasing the chances of scratches and dents occurring. Finishing products have the capacity to cause serious health issues unless you take the necessary precautions. And, while a well ventilated area is important, using a dedicated mask is essential - learn more about Guitar Finishing Safety Tips.2.Cramps If you are assembling a kit with a bolt-on-neck, you can probably get away without using a cramp.But if you are assembling a set neck guitar, you’re going to need at least one cramp (ideally two) to maintain pressure on the neck joint as the glue dries. If using a cramp, be sure to use padding to protect the guitar and prevent compression dents.3.Screwdriver or Powered DrillWhile you can use a screwdriver and it’s actually preferable when installing smaller screws, using a powered drill will allow you to work much faster and allow you to drill pilot holes for the screws of smaller components such as tuners, strap knobs, and string guides without risking cracks developing. If you are planning on using a powered drill and have the option, choose a cordless drill, they’re just a lot easier to work with for jobs of this nature. You should also reduce the torque if possible so you don’t inadvertently countersink your screws or risk the components damaging the paint which can happen if over tightening strap knobs and pickup surrounds for example - Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building an Electric Guitar Kit.You can reduce the torque by adjusting the clutch settings (the numbered section on the drill’s collar). Use a medium or slightly higher setting.4.Lightweight HammerA small hammer, or ideally a builder’s malette is required if you are working on a guitar that features a Tune-o-Matic bridge as the bridge and tailpiece pins need to be tapped into place. Note, you should never hit the pins directly if using a standard hammer. Always use a cushion (plywood works well for this purpose) of timber to cushion the impact and avoid scratching the hardware. This is also useful if your aim is off, as it will prevent denting your guitar. If using a timber malette, consider drilling a hole in a section of play wide enough for the pins as this can serve as a collar and prevent dents.5.Soldering IronIf you are doing the wiring yourself, you are going to need a soldering iron. This is the case for even some of the easier kits to assemble (e.g. the ST guitar kit which features a pre-wired pickguard) as the ground wire will need to be connected to the bridge. Soldering is best done, once you understand the basics. You can read more about how to correctly and safely use a soldering iron here. Also, keep in mind a soldering iron can be useful for repairing dents. A combination of heat and a damp rag can reduce the impact of a dent if held over the dent until the timber swells. 6.Coping Saw or JigsawIf you plan on shaping your guitar’s headstock, a coping saw (or electric jigsaw) is required. Coping saws feature thin, flexible blades (similar to a jigsaw) which allows more precise cuts and curves to be made when shaping your headstock.
First of all, you will need to assess whether your guitar is suited to this type of finish. As the name implies, the highlighted grain/stain finish is a tinted transparent finish that accentuates the grain pattern of your guitar and is sealed with a clear oil finish.In the majority of cases, you should base your choice of finish on the characteristics of the timber your best electric guitar is constructed from or choose the finish you are most interested in beforehand and order your guitar with this in mind.For example, if the timber is unevenly matched, has an uninteresting grain pattern or just doesn’t look great for any number of reasons it’s best not to showcase the timber, in which case a solid color finish will be best suited.Alternatively, if you have a beautiful section of timber with a distinct grain pattern that is well matched it is often a good choice to showcase the timber of your guitar by applying a transparent finish.The highlighted grain/stain finish is best suited to guitars with a distinct grain pattern as those found on timbers such as Mahogany and Ash or guitars that include a figured maple cap or veneer such as Flamed, Quilted or Spalted Maple.If your custom electric guitars has been crafted from Basswood, for instance, this method can still look great but is more dependent on the grain pattern of the specific section of timber your guitar has been constructed from. As a general rule, the grain pattern will be lighter and generally more uniform for Basswood bodies than other timbers.Keep in mind timber (blanks) used for guitar construction are sold in grades, determined by the characteristics and perceived quality of the timber. If the timber of your guitar differs in pattern and color from the examples above chances are you have a different grade of timber than that shown.Guitar Finishing MaterialsIf you have assessed your guitar and believe that showcasing the grain is likely to produce a good result your next step is to source the materials you will require to complete the job.