Building a Bass Guitar from a Hollow Core Door

Craft & Design Music
Building a Bass Guitar from a Hollow Core Door

Tim Sway describes himself as an “upcyclist.” He creates furniture, musical instruments, and other objects from found and repurposed materials. Recently, he decided to try his hand at making an electric bass guitar out of a hollow core door. Here is the video of his first attempt.

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I love the way that Tim is always willing to experiment, to try out different techniques and materials. And to make mistakes, to point them out, and to come up with new approaches based on those previous missteps.

In his first version of the bass, he used a cheap door that had a cardboard hollow core. He thought this would have the advantage of being lightweight. He also decided to try steaming some of the left-over veneer pieces to bend and glue along the edges to create the edging for the bass. He ended up getting a playable bass guitar, but the string/neck pressure on the body soon began to create failure in the instrument. The steam bending was also a bust as he was not successful in getting the material to bend around the tight curves he had introduced when cutting out the main body shape.


He used old doorknob plates to create the mounting plates for the pick-up controls. He originally thought of also using door knobs as the control knobs on the bass, but they proved too heavy and awkward to use.

Applying what he learned from the first build, he created a second hollow core guitar which proved to be far more successful. He used a much higher quality cast-off hollow core that featured all wood in its core. He also didn’t bother to try and finish the edges this time, preferring to make it easy for people to identity the instrument as a former hollow core door.

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If you’re unfamiliar with Tim and his work, here’s a little profile on CustomMade.Com.

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You can see many more of Tim’s projects on his YouTube channel and on his website.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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