So, have you ever wanted to have a guitar that is not just any guitar, but your own design?
Of course, you can probably custom order a design for yourself, but prices for those can reach up to two-thousand dollars.
Of course, this comes with its own investment – primarily being time, but there are additional factors to consider.
Best DIY Guitar Kit in 2018 Reviews
There are some quality kits out there. What really matters though is what exactly are you looking for?
If you are running low on budget and don’t mind getting your handyman / handywoman hat on, then try looking into a DIY Guitar Kit that won’t hurt your wallet. Don’t worry, another advantage of DIY kit is they are super affordable. Sorry Yamaha, we love you but as beginners, we need something that is easy on the wallet.
In addition, these kits are as professional as they come and a great way to get that guitar sound in your tracks.
Now let’s have a look at the various kits that are out there and which would be the right one for you.
Ammoon Unfinished Electric Mahogany Fingerboard – Best DIY Electric Guitar Kit
The Ammoon electric guitar kit comes in an unfinished mahogany rosewood body, while the fingerboard and neck are made with maple. This DIY kit comes with everything needed to assemble your very own v-shaped guitar. These include not only the body and neck, but also a 3-way selector switch, two volume controls, two tone controls, and two dual-coil pickups.
These are essential pieces to assembling your guitar, in order to actually put together your body, neck, and fingerboard. The fingerboard includes twenty-two frets, and has six strings to attach, as per your standard guitar.
The tuner peg of the guitar has a closed peg. As this is an electric guitar, it comes with a cable.
The length of this guitar’s cable measures approximately 2.5 meters. The overall kit weighs approximately 9.5 pounds. It should be noted that this guitar does not actually come with a whammy bar.
This guitar’s neck has no screws either, so there is a fair amount of assembly required, as would be expected for a guitar-making kit, particularly one costing little more than one-hundred and thirty-five dollars. Now, as the guitar itself is unfinished (that is, the wood has no varnish or color), you will need to apply your own finish and/or paint. One of the benefits of this is of course that you can customize the guitar according to your own preference.
It’s natural that most projects will take a certain amount of elbow grease to get the results of your individual desires. If you are not an expert craftsman if instruments, then this will likely not be as simple as following Ikea instructions (if those can be called “simple”). With a guitar making kit, you will get what you put into it, and just like learning to play the guitar, it does not come naturally to everyone.
No amount of quality components can accommodate for a poor assembly. It is important then, to keep this in mind for your guitar. On a lighter note, a V-shape is a very popular style of guitar for rockers. If this isn’t so much your style, however, you might want to consider other guitars listed here.
Fret Wire’s LP Style – Best Quality DIY Electric Guitar Kit
The choice of wood is what makes each individual guitar unique from the rest of the same design. Because of its unique and natural-looking features, this guitar will look just as good, if not better, with a finish and no paint.
The raw and unfinished guitar proves to be an aesthetically pleasing blank canvas, ready for you to place your own personalized designs.
This is certainly a departure from the rock aesthetic of a product like the Ammoon V-shaped guitar. We can imagine a softer sound to the music of the guitarist who plays this instrument – but then again, it’s always up to the artist, just as the decisions of design.
The guitar has a Tune-o-matic bridge system, as opposed to the wrap-around bridge system. The advantage of this is that the distance from the nut to the bridge of the guitar is extended, even for thicker strings, for all of the strings. The guitar’s pickup configuration is made up of two humbuckers.
This is a promising aspect of a guitar kit that costs under two-hundred dollars. All too often you may find that a guitar kit consists of unevenly matched timber, requiring a large amount of extra work on the builder’s part.
A possible downside of the overall kit, however, is that the guitar may require some sanding, as well as additional tending love and care. According to reviewers, there were some flaws to attend to. It is, however, still one step up from entirely making a guitar from scratch materials.
Ammoon Unfinished – Best Beginner DIY Guitar Kit
This Ammoon guitar kit is another unfinished guitar made with basswood in the body and fingerboard, with a maple neck. This basswood material body is an ideal smooth surface for painting your own designs.
Like other guitar kits, this one has all the necessary items needed to make the guitar into one functional instrument. These items include a volume control, two dual-coil pickups, and a three way selector.
The toggle on this selector allow for easy switches, a useful trait for even a simple guitar at one-hundred and thirty dollars.
The guitar also has a dual tremolo bridge system. A tremolo system adds vibrato to the guitar’s sound.
There are a total of six strings for the guitar, as you see on traditional guitars. This guitar also has a closed tuner peg for adjusting the sound. The cable that comes with the electric guitar measures approximately 2.5 metres in length, and overall the whole kit weighs about nine pounds.
You can learn how to assemble your guitar from multiple resources, fortunately – but it won’t be easy. However, the experience is a learning one, and therefor likely a valuable one. After all, how could you really enjoy the reward that comes with building your own custom guitar, especially when self-taught?
Certainly not from the store.
Ammoon JAZZ Bass Style 4-String – Best Bass Guitar Kit
This jazz style guitar DIY kit is made of solid basswood in the body and neck, while the fingerboard is made of rosewood. The set specifically caters to making your own electric bass jazz guitar. This is a nice departure from the typical guitars associated with the electric products. So it would be no surprise if you also wanted to make a departure when it comes to the guitar’s image, and by extension, your own image.
All the more reason to design and customize your own guitar. The resulting design of this guitar includes a switch control plate that also contains metal knobs, wires and pots. Because of these useful additions, there is no need to find other installations for the guitar.
This is a considerably good deal when you take into consideration that the whole kit costs under a hundred dollars.
This is comparatively a good kit for really having a bit of “fun” with the whole building and decorating process. The surface of the wood is smooth, which is ideal for painting, which is on its own a nice feature to have for a customizable kit.
The fret board has twenty-one frets, and the four strings are made of nickel alloy, creating a clean sound (especially important for bass guitars).
The bass bridge system of this jazz guitar is also adjustable, and the single coil pickups of this guitar are magnetic. The whole kit weights almost twelve pounds. The kit is ideal for beginner wood-workers.
Albatross Guitars GK014 – Best Quality DIY Guitar Kit
The veneer is formed from a quilted maple. The guitar body itself is a semi-hollow, and the neck is set in, though adjustable with a truss rod.
The semi-hollow aspect of the guitar makes it lighter than other electric guitars, and the adjustable truss rod, which means you can aim for the ideal placement of your guitar’s neck.
This is an important feature for gaining the best weight and balance of your guitar, as this is a large factor of the sound produced and its quality.
This is beneficial in that it cuts down on the work time, and removes the room for human error for building your electric guitar.
There are also possible drawbacks to this, however. One does run the risk of mechanical error –
These errors are difficult to remedy. However, these errors should be rare.
This one-hundred and seventy dollar guitar also includes the necessary strings and electric cord for amplification.
Albatross’s GK062 – Best Pre-Drilled DIY Guitar Kit
The kit consists of a body with a top made of basswood, and sides carved from a combination of both mahogany and flamed maple veneer.
The holes are pre-drilled into the guitar, making it one less chore for you the assembler to deal with.
Though, as mentioned with the other Albatross guitar, one thing to watch for is the possibility of an error in manufacturing making the whole placement flawed for the guitar.
Otherwise, the GK062 has received favourable reviews. The neck is set-in, and it also comes with an adjustable truss rod. The wood of this guitar is both laminated as well as solid.
For the bridge system, this guitar has a trapeze tailpiece, for anchoring the strings of the guitar into place. This tailpiece is strong enough to withstand different combinations of tension.
The guitar’s pickup configuration consists of H-H Humbuckers. The humbuckers are contributors to the “hum” you feel when you play an electric guitar, as a result of the alternating magnetic fields (the “H” in this case represents the double coil).
As mentioned before, this guitar is hollow, which makes it lighter than an otherwise solid electric guitar.
This kit has no instructions, though, and neither does it have a list of parts, so when you receive your kit, you should do a bit of research to make sure that you do in fact have all of the required pieces for assembly.
Fret Wire Electric Guitar Kit – Best Budget DIY Guitar Kit
The Fret Wire has also available a unique design of an electric guitar kit – this kit is made of spalted maple (colorized by the growth of fungi), with an innovative feature of a neck that is bolted onto the guitar, meaning a lot less fuss with glue. All of the body is predrilled, and all the materials you need are included.
This is an unfinished guitar, so you will have to apply your own finish to it. However, a guitar with a grain like this, it would almost be a shame to add paint. Obviously, though, that is for you the individual to decide.
It must be said though that there’s something very folk-like in this guitar’s appearance, if aesthetic is something you are concerned with (and why wouldn’t it be, if you are making your own guitar?).
Multiple users have admitted to worries about this feature of the guitar. It’s a legitimate concern that you might ruin a perfectly decent guitar before even adding your finish, especially when you consider the cost of one-hundred and seventy dollars. The Fret Wire boasts that their spalted maple guitars are all completely unique from one another, so you will be receiving something that is one of a kind, in a sense.
The fret board consists of twenty-two frets, and the fingerboard itself is made of rosewood. The controls are 2V, 2T, and 3-Way Toggle. The hardware components of this guitar is black-colored, and the kit weighs nearly nine pounds.
There have unfortunately also been some complaints from reviewers about the neck base being too large, so you may need to prepare to sand that down so that it can be flush with the guitar’s body.
Albatross Guitars GK015 Semi Hollow – Best Designed DIY Electric Guitar Kit
Albatross’s GK015 semi hollow electric guitar differs from its other kit for obvious reasons. The guitar is only partially hollow, as opposed to the other, fully-hollow model. As a result, this guitar has a bit of extra weight to it.
Another change to this design is that it has more of a gold-yellow color to its body, while the GK014 has more of a rose-gold tone. This guitar has a wider, rounder design, giving it a sunnier quality overall.
A similar design otherwise, the top of the body is basswood, the sides being a combination of mahogany and flamed maple.
Pre-drilled holes allow for some ease when assembling this guitar, as well as a time-saving quality. The guitar, of course, includes the strings and electric cord, and the guitar pickup configuration uses Humbuckers. Adding to the warm colors and qualities of this guitar, the hardware accessories are all in gold, adding a classic appeal to its look.
This color gives the guitar something of an “old-school” feel. The pots and switches can be strapped and screwed on, but it is advisable to predrill the holes for those accessories. We have already discussed the reasons for this, so it should not be too difficult to come to terms with the preparation needed for making your own guitar.
A favourite phrase of carpenters’ is, “measure twice, or pay the price.” You need to take this mindset in when it comes to nearly all points of production of your guitar. The wires are fairly thin, so you should be careful not to break them when attaching them.
For this one-hundred and eighty dollar guitar, to put it simply, you may need to ready yourself to do a little bit of extra work.
Ammoon Unfinished – Best Intermediate DIY Electric Guitar Kit
This Ammoon guitar making kit will result in a basswood electric guitar with a rosewood fingerboard and a maple neck. The guitar has a distinct curved, asymmetrical shape associated with more glamorous musicians and performers.
It has a bit more attitude than your average guitar, simply because of this eye-catching look. This guitar is also unique in that it is without a headstock, reminiscent of the iconic Steinberger guitar.
It will likely be recognized for this reason, if for no other. This should not be intimidating, though.
The guitar has been pre-drilled so that you need only place your pieces and accessories together. The guitar’s smooth surface makes it ideal for painting, dying, or adding whatever details and designs that you choose.
You will probably want something a bit edgy to create an image that goes well with the guitar’s overall image. However, you know what you want better than anyone else, so the best advice is to get creative!
The guitar also includes five-way selector switch, a volume control, and a tone control. With the tone control, you can control the frequencies produced by your guitar, giving you yet another option when it comes to playing. There are three pickups, two being single-coil and one a dual-coil.
The fretboard has twenty-four frets, and it comes with six strings for you to attach. The cable included for amplification is 2.5 meters long.
There are no instructions included in this guitar, so it may be more recommended towards those who are experienced in carpentry or instrument making despite it being more of a mid-range kit at one hundred and forty dollars.
Andoer LP Style – Best Mid Range DIY Electric Guitar Kit
Andoer’s LP style electric guitar kit is made with a set mahogany body, as well as a mahogany neck. The fingerboard, however, is made with rosewood. The guitar is somewhat of a classic, rounded design, making it fairly simple compared to the more dramatic v-shapes.
The fretboard consists of twenty-two frets, and the six strings are made of nickel alloy, which makes for a pleasant and resonant sound. The bridge system of this guitar is adjustable, while the pickup type is passive.
The passive pickup is the original pickup design used for magnetic guitar pickups. What this does is it transduces, due to the shape of the many coils all wrapped around the permanent magnet.
It’s the location of the magnet that affects the magnetization of the strings. This is why when the strings move, the magnetic field is disturbed, causing the electrical current through the guitar.
he kit also consists of a potentiometer, a guitar jack plate, a pick guard set, a set of screws, a set of gaskets, and a strap pin. The maple veneer top of the guitar is also notoriously thin, so sand with caution.
The neck has an adjustable truss rod, so that you can get the ideal placement of the neck. This is a kit that is truly not recommended for a beginner builder, as it is a challenging one to assemble. The holes are not predrilled, and it involves careful wiring, as there are no instructions.
After all, the guitar is within the mid-price range at one-hundred and twenty dollars. Another thing to keep in mind before making your purchase, the neck is not fitted to the body, so it may require quite a bit of sanding in order to get the right fit.
DIY Guitar Kit Buyer’s Guide
For one thing, depending on the type of guitar you intend to buy and build yourself, you will require various tools. This could mean only the basics: items such as those needed for finishing and soldering. These could include sandpaper, sanding blocks, screwdrivers, etc.
For your guitar’s finish (which you will need regardless of whether or not you choose to give your guitar a glamorous paint job, or keep it simple and natural-looking), you will need at least clear gloss, a ventilation mask, and possibly also paint, stain, and either a coping saw or a jigsaw.
With these tools supplied, you will be well on your way to creating your own guitar from a DIY kit. Of course there are some questions to address, though, such as:
How long will it take to have a playable guitar?
To know this, it’s crucial to consider what kind of finish you want to use on your guitar. For example, if you decided you wanted to have a painted or stained guitar, your surface must be completely dry so that it can harden and cure the color job. Now, you may be keen to play your guitar by this point, but you will have to hold off your excitement for some time – the curing process can take as little as one week, and for as long as three months.
It will all depend on what kind of finish you choose for your guitar. Now, it is not as though every step of the drying process will take this long. What actually leads to the great length of time for the curing is the last ten percent or so of the whole drying phase. Now, if you simply cannot wait to play your own handmade guitar, there are some alternatives, but they definitely have their own set of drawbacks.
For instance, you could always try a products or wood drying oils such as Tung or China wood oil, which will in general speed up the process. You could also try a wax finish instead of a regular spray or paint-on finish. The issues with these are that they will not provide as strong results as your slow-drying finishes. As with many things, the more time put into a product, the stronger the results.
Overall, it’s worth it to simply wait out the finishing process in order to have the product you really desire. Otherwise, you should perhaps reconsider simply buying a ready-made electric guitar. If you are ready for the commitment of making your own guitar, then read on!
What glue should I use if ordering a set neck guitar?
For a glue to attach to your guitar, one often recommended brand is Titebond, which can be found in most hardware stores. Titebond is a wood bonder that is fairly easy to clean and also FDA approved, but it is also waterproof and ideal for both exterior and interior surfaces.
It is also unaffected by wood finishes, so you need not concern yourself about it coming into contact with those.
It requires a low temperature for application, and the fact that it sands easily once dry makes it ideal for guitar kit assembly.
If you choose to use another type of glue, you need to make sure that it works well with wood, works well with finishes, and ideally waterproof (though, obviously, avoid getting your guitar wet whenever possible).
Your choice of glue is crucial – it will literally hold your whole guitar together in one piece.
What should a finished guitar look like?
What a guitar should look like is a difficult question to answer, for the reason that it is highly individual. The short answer is that a guitar should look however you want it to look. However, for a more in depth (and a more satisfactory) answer, I can give you some advice.
Generally, if you are setting out to make your own guitar, you will already have the image of another guitar design in mind. This could be a vague homage to that Les Paul you saw in the store window, or a tribute to Kurt Cobain’s Fender Jag-Stang. In the end, you should use this image to your advantage when coming up with designs for your guitar.
This is true for so many creative avenues. Audio engineers are typically always given the initial instruction to use a reference point in studio recording – this way, they will get a clearer understanding of just how a guitar actually sounds. Some of the greatest artists in the world started out copying, even tracing, other artists’ work.
Making your guitar is no lesser or greater of a pursuit, and the principle remains the same. A first time guitar-maker cannot be expected to have a completely original picture of their ideal instrument.
So don’t be afraid to borrow inspiration from wherever you find it. This is where the real fun comes in, after all.
How good can a guitar kit sound?
There are two major contributing factors to a DIY guitar kit’s sound; the first being a combination of the components you use, which will of course influence the result. The second piece of the puzzle is plainly the craftsmanship that will go into the assembly and detailing of the guitar.
However, manufactures such as the popular Ibanez brand also use Basswood in their kits, removing some of the discredit of it being labeled as a “cheap” material. And yet others tout mahogany as the superior material for an electric guitar. All in all, the issue of timber is not a straight-forward one, mostly because you still need to take into account your guitar’s finish, how thick that finish is, its quality, and naturally, how prepared your timber actually is for the finish.
Remember all that discussion about curing the finish? That really is the tip of that iceberg. You cannot just expect your guitar to be ready for finish, even a clear gloss, as soon as you put the pieces together.
Sanding is the least of the preparation for these additions. Ultimately, the quality of your guitar’s sound will depend on what kind of materials you use, and the skill in which you put them together.
The more effort and quality that goes into these aspects, the better you can expect your guitar to play.
Where should I work on the guitar?
Any area with a significant amount space, and that also has a good amount of airflow through it, is a good place to start. You don’t necessarily need a full, professional workshop for a guitar kit. You should note though that for finishing your guitar you must avoid spraying near any objects (furniture, decoration, flooring, etc.) that won’t combine well with the spray.
If these items can’t be cleared from your work space, consider putting down a protective cover, such as a plastic tarp. These materials that you are working with can be dangerous, they could even be flammable. Safety should always be your primary concern, regardless of your level of experience.
You won’t be saving any money on your guitar kit if you have to pay the cost of medical or home damages! So do not underestimate the importance of these details, so that you can go forward and enjoy the whole journey of building your electric guitar to suit the image in your mind. The experience in the end ought to be an extremely satisfying one.