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Make: Projects

New Project: Easy Sunburst Guitar

Build a kit electric guitar and finish it like the pros.

New Project: Easy Sunburst Guitar

One of the best ways to learn about electric guitars is to build one of the many DIY guitar kits available. When it’s done, you’ll have not only a working instrument, but an understanding of how your instrument works. You’ll know how to string it, adjust it, and set the action the way you like. You’ll become your own guitar tech.

If you’re an old hand with guitars, kits can be a low-cost way to get that “custom shop” Les Paul look you’ve coveted, for no more than the kit price, plus a bit of elbow grease.

Begin by Finishing

Kit guitar building has 3 phases. The first is to apply a finish to the wooden parts. Done right, this is 80% of the work. The second phase is assembly, which is really fun, seeing all the parts come together to become an electric guitar. Finally, there’s “setup”: adjusting the neck, pickups, action, and bridge to make the guitar sound and feel good.

Steve Lodefink

Steve Lodefink

An inveterate tinkerer and "broad-spectrum hobbyist," Steve just can't say no to a cool project. At 3, he was already reverse-engineering the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: "I figured out where all of the parts were, found a good tool, and built one. I've been doing it ever since." He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons, two cats, five tarantulas, and 24 African cichlids, and thinks that one of life's great pleasures is a really sharp aged cheddar cheese. "I'm a simple man," he says. He looks at life's debris at

  • Matt @ Best Guitar Cable

    So much of a nice guitar finish comes down the the prep work. Plan on sanding a lot, even if the body comes “pre sanded.” It will be worth it in the end.

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