Acoustic Guitar Building Page

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I decided long ago I wanted to build acoustic guitars and I finally (winter 2006) got my opportunity to do so.  I looked into guitar making classes and I originally thought that was the way I was going to go. There is a guitar class available somewhat locally at Redrocks Community College in Lakewood, CO that looked attractive except the the cost. When all of the fees were paid it was going to cost about $3000 to attend the class and that didn't include gas to go back and forth from home. There are numerous other guitar making classes across the US as well where you get to work in the shop of a master but these classes cost even more and I would have to relocate for months at a time. 

Then I read an article in Wood Craft magazine written by Bill Cory who happens to live in Colorado Springs. He has a web site  KitGuitarBuilder, where he reviews all of the acoustic guitar kits available. Bill doesn't consider himself an expert wood worker but he loves to buy kits, put them together and then write reviews about the process.  After reading his articles I decided that a guitar kit was the way to go. He pointed out that the kits made by Stewart-Mac Donald had the highest quality woods and the best instructions and that was enough for me. Stewart-MacDonald has dreadnought and triple-O guitar kits plus ukulele, mandolin, violin and dulcimer kits.

I chose the Stewart-MacDonald dreadnought acoustic guitar kit item #5295 made from AAA spruce and mahogany with a dovetail attached neck. This kit cost $365.00. I figured that I could build about eight of these guitar kits for the price of a class so I was sold on the idea. These kits also have some of the hardest milling work already done including rough shaping of the neck and bending of the sides. There is still plenty of handwork to do as the following pictures will show. I didn't feel cheated by having some of the work done for me.

My wife Heather and my Mother went in together to buy me the kit for my birthday. What a great present! I immediately started to accumulate the tools I would need that I didn't already have in my shop. In total the specialized tools and clamps that I would need cost more than the guitar kit itself. Not a good thing if one is only going to build a single guitar but not too bad if many are to be built.

I was very pleasantly surprised when the kit arrived in the mail. I'm sorry that I didn't take pictures of it for this blog. All of the pieces parts except tuning keys and strings were included in the kit and the wood seemed of excellent quality. If this guitar turns out well I think I will build a violin next. Why? I don't know.

The pictures on the pages below illustrate the major steps I went through in building the guitar. I began building the guitar in early Janurary 2007.
Guitar Construction Click on this link to see the process of building an acoustic guitar.
Guitar Finishing Click here to see how I finished the guitar after the construction was completed.
Guitar Setup Click here to see how I setup the finished guitar.

Here are some pictures of the finished guitar

Here is the finished guitar. It still has a slight intonation problem and some string buzz that I will have to deal with but other than that, it turned out great.
Here you can see that I glued in the custom label I made. It definitely looks professional now.
Here is a view of the side of the guitar. You can see the finish on the sides is fairly shiny but the finish on the sound board is matte or satin. The back of the guitar is matte as well.

Well it has been a long process to build an acoustic guitar but it has been worth it. This is an accomplishment of a life long dream for me and I now know I can build others.

The guitar was completed 9/12/2007

I will use this guitar in my next round of recording so people can hear how it turned out as well as see how it turned out.

The End

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process of building an acoustic guitar.
If you have any questions or comments, email me at

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