Friday, November 3, 2017

How to make a 3 string electric guitar from a cheap tennis racket

I made this guitar from the cheapest racket I found, a single coil pickup from my old stratocaster and a few pieces of spruce.

First of all I  unwrapped the handle of the racket. I used an exact knife and the heat gun clean up the handle.

I then cut the piece for the neck. It is “T” shape which I cut on the table saw. I then trimmed it to size with my cross cut sled. I also shaped it a little bit using the bandsaw and a chisel.

I sized a piece of spruce on the thickness planer to make the headstock. I then cut a slot on it on the table saw. This is the way the neck is jointed with the headstock. I then used the bandsaw and the disc sander, to finish the shaping of the headstock. I drilled the tuning peg holes on the drill press and glued the headstock on the neck.

I then cut the support piece for the bridge, on the bandsaw. Using forester bits, I made room for the output jack and the volume pot.

I shaped the neck a little bit, using a rasp then a file and then sandpaper.

The neck is jointed to the racket body with brass screws. I drilled the holes on the aluminum racket and pilot holes for the screws. I did the same thing for the bridge support.

I mounted the pickup using zip ties. Using a wiring diagram I soldered all the electronics. I also used heat shrinking tubes to hide a few of the soldered joints.

With a hacksaw I cut a scrap metal piece to size to act as my bridge. I completed the bridge by glueing the metal part with two wooden ones using two part epoxy.

I measured the scale of my guitar, from nut to bridge and it came out 565mm.

Using a saw and a file I opened up a groove for the nut. I cut the bone to size on the bandsaw and shaped it with a sanding block. I used an online fret calculator to locate the fret positions. After I marked the positions with a pencil I used a block of wood as ruler to start the cut with my fret saw. I then removed the block and finished the fret slots.

I glued dowels to act as fret position indicators. I used my flush trim saw to cut them flush. I then sanded over the whole fretboard.

At this point I want to thank my friend Sakis Alitsios from Art Street 52 for the fret wire he gave me. I then cut the wire to size and pushed it in place with my vise. To secure the frets in place, I added a drop of super glue to the sides of each fret. Using my rotary tool and a cutting disc I trimmed the frets flush and then finished the job with a sanding block.

Using my wood burner I added dots on the sides of the fretboard to act as fret position indicators.

I then installed the tuning pegs, added the string guides and drilled holes the ends of the strings.

Using a V file I opened up the string slots on the nut and bridge.

I masked the frets with blue masking tape. I marked the high spots with a sharpie. I then used a long sanding block to level all the frets. Using my rotary tool and a polishing bit with polishing compound I polished all the frets. I finished polishing with steel wool.

At this point my guitar was ready, I hope you liked it too!


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  2. What lumber did you use. I want to make it to

    1. He said it was spruce. It would not have been my choice as spruce is very soft. Such a good looking project (and all the work) deserved better wood. IMHO