Friday, December 09, 2005

Because I'm All About the Guitar Pt. 9: BuildingRebuilding a guitar

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI was inspired by a post from the CosmicConservative. I was bitten by the "want to build my own guitar" bug a couple of years ago.

I was deployed to Afghanistan. When not extraordinarily busy, we were extraordinarily bored. So, while attempting to alleviate the boredom through looking around for time-consuming internet sites, I landed on Ed Roman Guitars. Ed Roman goes a long way to detail construction techniques and woods used, etc. on his guitars. It's enough to whet you appetite for construction.

I did some searching. I wound up finding the Musical Instrument Maker's Forum where there is so much knowledge about guitar construction. But I'm stuck deployed to Afghanistan so it's not as though I can just start building something.

Then I get home. And I have the bug. But I don't have the money to invest in any of this. The tools are expensive. The wood is espensive. The parts are expensive. Anyone who thinks they are going to save money by building their own guitar is fooling themselves. Any mistake and you might very well have to start over from the beginning. The time and effort along with the money you'll spend can add up to several times what you'd pay for an off-the-shelf Les Paul.

Instead of building something from new. I decided to dig out some old parts I had lying around. It's very similar to the '80s-era Kramer Barretta I have pictured here. It's a dual cutaway, single pickup guitar. The spare body I have is more sharp on the cutaway horns, more like a Jackson soloist. My headstock is not a "hockey stick" style like the Kramer either, nor do I have a Floyd Rose trem system. But, otherwise, it's very similar.

It's been years since I decided to work on this and I've accomplished very little. I've stripped all the old paint off the neck and body. I've ordered some new machine tuning heads ... that's about it. I still haven't decided exactly what I want to do. I'm debating filling in the tremolo cavity (it's got a Fender-style trem) and putting on a Fender-style non-trem bridge. But I don't know. What this really is is an exercise in guitar "construction." I mean, it's always nice to have another playable guitar around, but I don't really need it. I just need to see if I can do it.

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