Past Guitar Projects

Just a sampling of past guitar projects to show while I might be a neo-blog-ophyte (or something.  I don’t think ‘blog’ is an infix in English), I can make some items with an nod towards excellence.  But of course excellence and Joecrafting is a pursuit, not necessarily an end.

Man, that makes me sound like Terrell Owens.  Or Tom Cullen.  Joe doesn’t like speaking in the 3rd person.

First a jazzmaster-style guitar, made out of what most woodworkers think is a pretty ugly wood, poplar.  Well I beg to differ, and think it looks pretty good after a coat of BLO, some sun and then Waterlox original.  I used some of fairly cheap pickups and can’t say I really like them that much, so I will probably change them.  Also the neck is a pre-built one from WD Music (at the time I didn’t have all the fretting tools needed).

For an online challenge build, we had to start with photos proving we had raw wood (not pre-built) along with our user name.  In this case you see black walnut for the body, sapele for the neck, and pau ferro for the fingerboard.  Not wanting to have to buy wood in case I messed up on one of the components, I included some maple for a back up neck, along with bloodwood and mukushi fingerboards.

And the finished guitar.  Waterlox for the body finish, Tru-oil on the neck, and just some lemon oil on the fingerboard.

The back might have the most interesting grain of the whole project.

Finally a guitar I built at the CT Valley School of Woodworking.  It is a Les Paul Jr made of a single slab of honduran mahogany for the body, a single 12/4 piece of honduran mahogany for the neck, and true ebony for the fingerboard and headstock veneer.  It is a seriously heavy beastie but it sustains a note like no other guitar I’ve played.  Finish is pre-cat lacquer, satin sheen.

The most fun I had was shaping the ‘volute’ right at the neck-headstock transition.  In one-piece necks, this is left somewhat thicker to allow a little extra strength in a part of the neck that is prone to snapping because of grain direction.

Here’s one of the in-process shots showing the carving of the neck.  I used a low-angle spokeshave for much of the roughing in of the neck, followed by some rasp work and finished up with a card scraper and/or sandpaper.

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  1. Dave Campbell

     /  July 4, 2011

    Hi Joe
    Terrible looking guitar mate, better send it to me I’ll get rid of it for you!
    We got back to Aus last night, stoked to be back!! hot water with pressure!
    Man I like this site, don’t know how you find the time. While in China, designed a few different things including a previously ( to me anyway! ) method of constructing a “light” guitar, and a pin router which I hope to make a start on tomorrow.
    By the way…………I found your pick!

    Dave C Australia

  2. I really like the Jazzmaster, did you get the finger board premade? Or already fretted? Im working on my first ever guitar which is actually a bass. Ive got 2 bodies cut out one left and one right, so Im open to ideas suggestions and advice. Ill be following your work to. Well done!

    • That particular guitar, yes I bought the neck pre-made from WD Music. I like how it looks, but I can’t say I like how it plays all that much. I’d never played a Jazzmaster or Jaguar, and I find the right-hand positioning somewhat strange. I might change pups and see if that gets me more enthused about that guitar. They are cheap-o GFS P90s and sound kind of tinny. Which for a guitar with ‘jazz’ in it’s name struck me as odd.

      For the Les Paul Jr. and Walnut Tele I made the entire neck. I learned a lot from the talented guys over at tdpri ( but I also took two classes with a trained luthier. The neck and fretwork is by far the most exacting work on the guitars, but you can do it. I also made Tele Custom (a neck I made) and a regular Tele (w/ an Allparts neck) which I didn’t show here. My suggestion would be to start with a pre-made neck and then try your hand at making one. Are you making a P-bass or Jazz bass or something similar? I’d like to try my hand at a through neck bass or guitar someday.


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