Sunday, March 22, 2015

DIY electric lap steel guitar out of plywood












This is a project I had in mind for some time now and I think this was the right timing for me to materialize my idea.

First of all I took a thick piece of plywood and transferred to it a few basic measurements based on my Gibson SG guitar.

Then I used my jigsaw to cut out the basic shape of the guitar.

Then I had to bring the thickness of the headstock down to size. I did that using several passes with the router and a straight bit. I also made a simple jig. The jig had a base for the router and two sides on which those base slided on. This way you can the router as a thickness planer.

Then I had to rout out the hole for the pickup. To do that I also made a jig. First of all I traced the outline of the pick up and the measured the distance from my router guide bushing to the cutting of the bit. Then I offset path the traced outline of the pickup by the distance I measured before. Then I drilled a hole in the jig and cut out the inside with my jigsaw. I sanded the template and then mounted on the guitar body with nails. Then I made several passes to open the hole for the pickup.

I drilled the hole for the pot on my drill press and used a forstner bit to open the back hole. 

Then I used a really long drill bit to unite the pickup with pot and the output jack. To enlarge the output jack hole I used a conical centre bit.

Then I drilled the holes for the keys on the headstock.

I drilled the holes for the back piece of the bridge and hammered the guides in.

Then I sanded the guitar using my sanding block and scrap pieces (as sanding blocks) with 120grit sandpaper.

I made a template for the pickup base, glued it on a piece of plywood and cut it out on my scroll saw.

Now it was time to mark the fret positions. I used this on line fret calculator to find the positions of the frets. My guitar scale is based on the Gibson style and it’s dimension is 625,532mm from nut to bridge. 

I marked the fret positions with a pencil and then wood burned them. 

Then I drilled the holes for the fret dots and glued dowels as inlays. I trimmed them flush with my flush trim saw.

I finished the guitar with a few coats of teak oil.

I added the keys and the pickup. I added nuts under the pickup because I should have made the pickup hole a bit deeper.

Then I cut out a few scrap pieces of metal with my hacksaw and my rotary tool. I shaped them on my grinder. I used one of them for the output jack plate and the other as a nut.

I added two strings and marked the position of the bridge. I drilled the holes for the bridge and installed it.

I used the Seymour Duncan wiring diagram for a humbucker and a volume pot and soldered the electric parts together. I soldered the output jack last.

I made a cap for the electric parts and used the hole saw to make a volume knob.

Because the nut is much higher than the keys I used a few hooks to guide the strings. This way the strings are secure and cannot come off the key.

My guitar is ready for action. Each string has more than two octaves and I tuned it in open E. 

The string from low to high go E-B-E-G#-B-E. This way I have a complete major chord under my slide.


I hope you liked it!

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Nice and easy for an amateur woodworker such as myself, and the finished article sounds pretty good, too. I'm going to have a go at this. Thanks for the video and blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice and easy for an amateur woodworker such as myself, and the finished article sounds pretty good, too. I'm going to have a go at this. Thanks for the video and blog.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How can i buy you ome of those guitars? And how mush it coust?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry, I do not sell the stuff I make

      Delete
  5. How can i buy you ome of those guitars? And how mush it coust?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello
    can you tell me what are the dimensions refer to the board ?
    I have no guitar to compare.
    and the thickness ?

    thank you
    Very nice job.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How did you intonate the guitar and level strings at the bridge?

    ReplyDelete