Depending on who you speak to, the term ‘archtop guitar’ means different things to different people.For the purists, the term ‘archtop’ refers to the hollow body acoustic/electric guitars popular during the ’60s in jazz circles and later played by jazz greats such as Pat Methany. Others consider any guitar that does not feature a ‘flat top’ an archtop guitar.We’ll consider archtop guitars, as hollow or semi-hollow body instruments that feature an ‘arched’ top, generates a lot of interest amongst kit guitar builders.A brief history of the archtop guitarThe design of the archtop guitar borrows heavily from both the violin and mandolin, in terms of the hollow body construction, solid wood arched top and F-holes located on each side of the guitar.Styles of music associated with archtop guitarsArchtop guitars have long been associated with jazz and rockabilly along with blues and country to a lesser extent.The archtop’s association with jazz and rockabilly is thought to be mostly due to the bright, clean tones associated with the instrument and the inclusion of a cutaway, providing greater access to the upper frets, found on the majority of archtops.But perhaps, at least if taking into account the acoustic properties of the guitar, a more fundamental and often overlooked aspect of the archtop’s association with these styles of music has more to do with the ‘arched’ top of the guitar itself.cArchtop Guitar Construction and DesignTraditional acoustic guitars feature a ‘flat top’, most commonly referred to as the soundboard. The timber used is often Spruce e.g. Sitka Spruce or a similarly strong yet lightweight, resonant timber. This provides the guitar with the resonance required to project volume and sustain.Archtop guitars, mostly being both an acoustic and electric instrument, share some similarities with the acoustic guitar but also feature (as the name implies) an arched top. The top itself is constructed with greater thickness towards the middle of the body, tapering closer to the edges.The timber used is typically thicker than traditional acoustic soundboards and as a result, some models do not require any form of internal bracing, unlike the acoustic guitar which relies on bracing to cope with the tension caused by the strings on the relatively thin soundboard.The thicker arched top results in a faster tonal response as sound waves are reflected quickly of the more dense timber, especially when played with a pick. Archtops are also credited with more rapid decay, as opposed to the sustain afforded by the more resonant, flat-top acoustic guitar. The denser nature of the timber, (many models also feature a laminated top), accentuates the response and emphasis on the fundamental tone, with less accentuation of overtones.Jazz and rockabilly players tend to gravitate to guitars of this nature as one of the features of both styles is the very fast runs and complex chord shapes that rely on great clarity (e.g. more of a focus on the fundamental tone and lack of sustain) for the listener to appreciate the delicate nuances of both styles.Available Archtop Guitar KitsWhile there are many different types of archtop guitars available, the archtop guitar kits currently on offer at https://www.xuqiumusic.com/ are based on some of the more iconic models seen through the years.
There’s no denying music is a powerful force.Its ability to heal and elicit positive emotions are well documented. But perhaps an even greater attribute of music is its ability to bring people together. This is perhaps, even more, the case when it comes to family. Sharing music, jamming with family members or teaching your son or daughter how to play only serves to strengthen existing bonds. But there’s another aspect to the ‘unifying power of music’ that you may not have considered, and that’s building a musical instrument together. While this would normally be well beyond the capabilities of most of us (most musical instruments are complex, after all, and require specialist equipment to build) DIY kit guitars help make this dream a reality.Anyone that has assembled and finished their own kit guitar already knows how special that instrument feels to them. I have several DIY guitars that will always be more valuable to me than their far more expensive counterparts.So it makes sense that building a kit with a son or daughter will result in an instrument your child will cherish.The process will also create a lasting impression and help teach your child valuable lessons such as:The ability to follow instructionsThe importance of applying attention to detailThe power of creativity, (especially when it comes to finishing the guitar).Thanks to the availability of custom guitar kits, all the difficult work e.g. carving a body and neck, ensuring a tight-fitting neck pocket and carrying out delicate inlay and fretwork is already taken care of. Everything you need to build your own dream guitar comes carefully packaged and ready to assemble. Ideal Guitar Kits for Building with your childDepending on the age of your child, if you really want them to feel part of the project e.g. making sure they are involved in every step of the process you are well-advised to start out with a less complex build. STE Guitar KitYou can always move on to something a little more challenging in the future. Guitar Kit World offers a huge range of DIY guitar kits and a range of custom options. While the majority of kits are simple to put together when it comes to assembly and finishing, some of our DIY kits such as the TE, ST, and SG models are the most age-appropriate for a couple of reasons.TE style guitar kitsST style guitar kitsSG style guitar kitsFor one, the electronics are simpler to complete thanks to the large open cavities that contain much of the electronics. Secondly, with the exception of the ST which has a minimal 1–2 contours (for comfort) the bodies are mostly flat, making preparation e.g. grain filling (if necessary) and sanding much easier.Sanding a Guitar KitWhen it comes to selecting child-friendly custom options, consider the neck joint and having the bridge pre-drilled, both options currently offered when purchasing a kit from Guitar Kit World.Set necks are typically more difficult to get right than bolt-on necks and you run the risk of affecting the scale length of the guitar if the neck is not perfectly aligned or the bridge position is off.
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.