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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2000
A belter of a book. Assuming you are reasonably OK at woodwork, and know one end of a guitar from another - otherwise you wouldn't be considering a project like this in the first place, Melvyn does not waste time explaining which end of a chisel is the dangerous end, or spend 50 plus pages showing examples of his work. He demonstrates a few styles of guitar - eg a bolt on neck, a through neck, a carved top etc, you could copy one exactly, or (more fun) design your own around his principles.
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.
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on 17 July 2001
This book has been an invaluable resource for my first attempts at building an electric guitar. Melvyn Hiscock writes with a relaxed and somtimes humourous approach while still managing to explain in a comprehensive way many of the more complicated issues. Even as a complete novice to electrical wiring I managed to follow the wiring diagrams and explanations with not too much difficulty, and although the section on finishing isn't as comprehensive as it could be it does go a long way to describing the various techniques you could use. Should you wish to get more adventurous in this area there are other publications available.
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'.
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on 7 January 2003
Knowing things is only the first step of writing a book. Deciding what to include and what to leave out and how to organize it is equally important. This book has all the essentials of solid body guitar building and is very well written.
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 ;-)
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on 21 June 2014
This is a first class publication. If you have even the slightest interest in what goes on under the hood of your guitar, then you should purchase and absorb the contents of this book. If nothing else, then the remaindered stock might become exhausted and the publisher might see fit to run with another issue which would justifiably reward the author some more. There aren't many books of this nature that combine comprehensive information with a little philosophy along the way. I've seen American luthiers name check this book on forums. What are you waiting for?
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on 23 May 2013
As Melvyn Hiscock points out, the internet now provides a huge amount of information for would-be guitar makers and so he doesn't attempt to cover every possibility: what he does is provide an expert overview of the process from design to finishing in a clear and humorous style. Well written, with good b/w illustrations, covering a number of design projects, this is a handy primer for the home/hobbyist luthier. The web is a bit disparate and you can spend hours tracking down and connecting information in the various forums and commercial sites (like the excellent U.S. Stew Mac and superb wiring tutorials from Jonseyblues on Youtube) Melvyn does us the service of gathering the essentials all in one place. He also makes beautiful and inspiring guitars!
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on 16 June 2011
To be fair I've not read the whole book from cover to cover yet, but first impressions are that it's a really useful book in explaining how an electric guitar is put together, how to set up the instrument and it's electronics, etc. but may be a little light on the actual detail of building the main constituent parts as it assumes a good knowledge of woodworking skills and the machines preferred to achieve that. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but prospective buyers should be aware of that.
Otherwise an excellent book that would also be of great help in modifying or upgrading your current guitar as it explains how everything goes together very well...
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on 31 March 2014
a very interesting book , a little dated in its presentation . but on the other hand you can read bits here and there and learn some thing , the main thing iv learnt is that there is no way im ever going to build a guitar from scratch I may as well put the wood straight on the fire ,but I will certainly have a go at hot rodding a guitar with a lot more confidence after reading this book, it is easy to follow and does keep you interested
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on 17 December 2007
Well written book. It tackles all the wood working side of building an electric guitar.
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.
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on 3 April 2013
Easy to read, contains a lot of excellent information about several processes of making a guitar. I've learned more with this book in a week than I've learned in months over the internet trying to grab dispersed information. I sure recommend this book
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on 29 April 2014
This book covers electric guitar building from every angle, from a short but fascinating review of the history of electric guitar technology, a walking tour of wood choices and the first clear explanation of truss rods I have found anywhere, to three step by step examples of building actual guitars (although without plans). The text is clear and full of dry humour - it feels a bit like having an older, slightly grumpy luthier telling you, just in time, not to do something stupid. The foreword by Brian May is disappointingly short, and colour photos would have been a plus, but overall it was just the book that I needed.
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