First Time Builder


Hey everyone.  I just recently got interested in building a guitar of my own, and what better place to start than Warmoth.  Up to this point I have just ordered guitars from the manufacturers, but I want to build a custom instrument for fun.  I don't really have any experience with this and I'm sure a lot of people would just tell me to leave it to a luthier.  However, I want to learn how to build a guitar. 

I had a couple of questions if anyone could help me out.  Is it possible to order a complete guitar from Warmoth and put it together without messing something up, not having a lot of experience?  I was wondering if they provided a guide on how to assemble it or something but I wasn't sure.  Also, how difficult is it to actually assemble a guitar by yourself?

I know these probably seem like rather obvious or stupid questions, but this is something I'm really interested in now and hope to accomplish someday.  If anyone can provide any help, it would be greatly appreciated.
The actual physical assembly of the parts is really not that big of a deal; if you have no experience woodworking/finishing, you can always order the body/neck finished and/or order a neck that requires no finishing (rosewood/canarywood/wenge/etc.)

There are some instructional DVDs on building/finishing guitars at,_DVD.html

If you go through every post on this website, you'll find a wealth of material covering almost every aspect of putting a build together.

Okay.  I checked out a couple of those pages on my lunch break.  I guess I am not really that competent with all the electronic terms and stuff and all the numbers.  I will keep reading on and see what I can figure out though.  I think if I had instructions when I bought a Warmoth guitar that it would be a little more helpful.
Its more assembly than "building".  However - a significant, and VERY IMPORTANT part of your "build" is deciding what you want to build - how its going to be when you get done, having a vision of its final appearance, and knowing how to complete that vision.

Saying you want to build a guitar, is like saying you want to take your own vacation - rather than rely on travel guides.  Ok.  Works.  WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?  Now all the details come in.... same with guitars!

You might see also, that a trip who's itinerary has you "doing everything" usually leaves much to be desired, as you end up doing less, and even what you do and see is less quality... So it is with guitars.  Have goals, think about the "might be nice", but ya can't have it all in one axe.  Ya just cant.  Unless you have a lot of experience (and you dont) use the KISS method... <gggg>
In the KISS vein, if you're completely unexperienced in soldering/wiring, you might want to start out with a top route Strat design; you can buy the pickguard prewired from a number of sellers on eBay, AVOID the cheap stuff like the plague, look for name brand pickups like Fender Custom Shop/Seymour Duncan/etc. Expect to pay $160-275 depending on the pcikups used.

EMG sells prewired pickguards from the factory, and WDMusic sells prewired ones with Kent Armstrong pickups; just shop/Google around and you should be able to find a suitable set to your tastes.

Again, avoid the $40-99 prewired assemblies like the plague, you're basically buying Squire electronics or worse....

At any rate, with a prewired pickguard, you just need to solder the ground wire and leads to the output jack, which isn't all that difficult..
You'd think the prewireds would give you a little pigtail of grounded wire, so you could just wirenut them together with the bridge wire, and tuck it away in there....
  welcome to the warmoth forum ///my humble advice is to put some thought into what your wanting
then ask the guys here on this forum what they think
see how that fits what your wanting
then jump in and get what youve decided on once you get the parts
you can get every question answered here(these guys are great at this and love to share tips and tricks)
cb,superbeast, cd,tonar,jack the hack,greg and the others all have great advice and know their guitar stuff
then when you get it all together. have a good guitar tech do the final setup(if you dont know how)
youll never regret it and my not ever buy a pre built guitar ever agian
Okay, that is some pretty good advice.  Well, after looking over the stuff on the Warmoth site for a while, I figured out what I would like to build.

-Solist Body
-KWS Warmoth Neck
-Original Floyd Rose Trem
-EMG Active Pickups (I'd have to get someone to install these for me), or Seymour Duncans...haven't totally made my mind up on which set though.

As for the rest (paint, wood types), I'm not going to be dealing with that if I order the parts, but I do have my mind made up about what I want the guitar to be made out of.
if you get some one to wire it for you, ask them if you can watch, thats a big thing, you get to see its not a big deal once you know what goes where.

i agree with getting a tech to do the initial setup, thats the icing on the cake.
as for woods.  what sound are you looking for?  are you trying to achieve the sound of a specific guitar, or do you want to go for the dream tone that grabs you by the ear and throws you down a flight of stairs?
I keep looking to woods over on the Warmoth page, and I've decided that I want something with a tone in the middle of the road.

I'm not looking to copy the sound of another guitar.  I'm not really one of those people who's "Just a Strat guy" or "Just a Les Paul guy"...I personally don't care for either.  I'm looking for something versatile that I can pull a lot of sounds out of.
I don't like my tone too bright or too warm, just kind of in the middle.

As for watching the guys set up my guitar, that is something I have actually thought about.  Hands on is the way I learn the best, and watching someone would definitely help, although I'd probably have questions and running a business they couldn't sit there and answer all of them.  Then there's the actual challenge of putting everything together as I would have to, and to tell you the truth, I don't know how to solder or anything like that.  I don't particularly want to buy a pick guard that is pre-wired. 

If I can't find someone that I can learn from, I was thinking about taking up some kind of guitar building class when I get out of the military soon, as I don't have the time right now.  That's probably going to be my best bet.  Either way, this is something I will do in the future  :icon_biggrin:
alder or padouk or poplar for the body.

Bocote (neck only)
Brazilian Rosewood (board only)

you have a lot to choose from. now some of these might not be available, i only went through the description section and not the pricing section.
im thinking a Padouk neck with a Brazilian Rosewood fretboard or a wenge neck and a padouk body, and somthing slightly bright for the fretboard, like king wood.

ist up to you, and there is a lot to choose from.
Personally I'd go with the Duncans or other passive pickups. I care for EMGs but some people do. Just my $.02
MS06Zaku2 said:
although I'd probably have questions and running a business they couldn't sit there and answer all of them.

The guy I always go to (In Boston, just in case you're local) is more than willing to answer all my questions and to let me watch him work. I've learned an incredible amount from watching him work instead of trying to blaze my own trail. There's definitely a place for figuring stuff out solo, but I really appreciate how accessible he is.

Certainly not all shops will be so loose with time, but I would bet a lot of the one-man-shop kinda guys will answer any question you throw out and spend time talking to you. Gaining a faithful, trusting customer is always a sound business practice.

Give it a shot.
I would have to agree with nathana on that, based on my experience with a guy who has a shop literraly right around the corner from me.  I started going to him for set-ups on my current guitars a while back based on recomendations from friends.  He is a one man show, but he knows his guitars and amps. Well anyway, he knew me from coming in with all this little piddly stuff, so when I began to undertake my first Warmoth build, I just walked right in and started to talk with him, and much to my surprise he was more than willing to give all the free advice in the world, as well as making recomendations.  He even offered to check out my soldering job on the ole' pickguard and make sure that it was up to par (would work).  I go in there all the time now just to shoot the breeze and I even bring him free food from the restaraunt I work in!  Anyway, finding someone with a mutual interest in this guitar geekdom certainly has helped me.