Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How to make an electric ancient Greek guitar

I made this ancient hellenic lyra out of 9mm birch plywood. I used plexiglass for the bridge and nut, a humbucker pickup and regular guitar tuning pegs. Ancient Greeks used to call similar instruments by the name "κιθάρα". That word is a close relative to the word "guitar" we use today.

First of all I made a template out of a piece of cardboard.

Then I used my circular saw and a guide rail to cut a piece of 9mm birchh plywood.

I then used the template to draw the shape of the instrument on the plywood. The guitar’s shape is symmetrical, so I flipped the template over to create the mirror images needed.

I then used the bandsaw to cut out the shape I wanted. I cleaned up the saw marks  with my rotary tool and a sanding drum. I hand sanded when needed. 

I then used a pencil to trace the pickup. I used my router to carve out the pickup slot.

I used wood filler to cover up any imperfections on the plywood. 

I cut a plywood piece that would act as string holder. I glued it and nailed it in place with my air powered nail gun.

I used rivets as string guides. I hammered them in place.

I then drilled all the holes needed to receive the tuning pegs. 

I cut thin pieces of plywood to act as bridge and nut. I glued and nailed them in place. I used the plexiglass as a spacer.

I then filed the string slots on the plexiglass bridge and nut.

With a forstner bit I opened up the hole for the output jack.

I finished the guitar with 3 coats of clear, water based varnish. I sanded between coats and used the heat gun to speed up the drying process.

I soldered the the pickup to the output jack and assembled the instrument. 

My electric κιθάρα was now ready! 

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