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Make Your Own Electric Guitar Paperback – 1 Oct 1998
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Top customer reviews
The best way to sum this book up is that its everything you need to get going altough if you intend to move into guitar building as a career or perhaps a serious pastime you would probably need other, more focused books in addition to this.
Oh, note of caution to Brian May fans, don't buy this book on the basis that there is a forward by the permed ax man, its very short and doesn't give you any particular insight into how he and his dad built the famous 'Red Special'.
He explains a bit, but not too much, of where the electric guitar came from, and the early pioneers of the instrument, and also the effect on playing, of using different types of wood, fingerboard radius etc....all helping you come up with your design. Technical stuff like fret spacings is explained, and again copy one of his scale lengths, or go for your own. Electronic stuff is covered - basic, but ideal for the non-electronics person - as an example - if you could figure out the working of a bicycle lamp, you should be OK with his schematics. In short, everything you need to know is covered in sufficient detail to allow you to build a guitar, without going too deep into any one area. If you wish to build something so radical it takes the guitar industry by storm, you may need to find a more specialist book as well, to cover that area. The only down side is there are no drawings of plans for guitars for those who simply wish to copy an existing design. Don't know how important that is though! There is also a handy contacts page to get the gear from.
The first couple of chapters describes the basic guitar parameters and planning steps as well as the general approach for the woodwork. The next part describes three different guitars which covers most of the methods/styles found on electric guitar/basses. Finally, the last parts describes the finish/assembly/set-up of the guitar.
The book does not give you all the details on wood-working, finish etc. nor does it list all kinds of guitars, woods, pick-ups and other stuff. But it has all the essential information to get you started.
I also have "Building Electric Guitars" by Martin Koch. This is slightly less well organized; but has somewhat more details (more step-by-step instructions with pictures, a few additional tricks, and also covers a few more subjects like winding your own pick-up's). I suggest you buy both of them ;-)
Basic wiring diagrams and explanations are included as well as a section on pickup selection, however for the true DIY build a book or information on pickup winding will have to be sourced. All you need is this book, time (about 250hours) and knowledge of wood working to build a guitar. I am currently re-reading this book as I plan my second guitar. A brilliant book for advice and reference.
An A1 read for all guitarists.
I bought the original in the mid 80's and built my first bass, then the book was stolen, and I made a second as it was nowhere near as good. When I bought this 2nd impression and built my third, it was a good as the first.
Melvyn Hiscock is a mine of useful and interesting information. The book is superbly laid out, and covers eveything you need to know from designing, planning, building finishing and setup in excellent clear detail. If if you don;t make a guitar from the book, you'll have a much better understanding of how a guitar works, and how a real setup can help. You will definitely appreciate your guitar more.
If you do follow his guidance and actually make a guitar, with a little care and attention to detail, and practice on scraps first, you may well end up with your dream guitar.
I did, and I now can't buy mass produced guitars again!
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