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Make Your Own Electric Guitar [Paperback]

Melvyn Hiscock , Brian May
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2003
For some, it is not enough to buy a guitar—the challenge of designing and hand-making a unique, customized instrument is the dream. Since 1986, these people have turned to one book: Make Your Own Electric Guitar. Written in a clear, relaxed style, it covers every facet of guitar design and construction, as well as electronic theory and practice, and full woodworking and wiring techniques—all supported with plenty of photos and diagrams. Now in a revised and expanded edition, Make Your Own Electric Guitar will enable any musician or enthusiast with basic woodworking skills to create a uniquely valuable instrument.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best out there April 28 2003
This is one of the best guitar building books out there. It helps you with many doubts that arise during the process of building a guitar, plus details the construction of 3 major projects: A bolt on guitar, a set neck guitar, and a bass. Following every project step by step, you get coverage of mostly all processes involved in any kind of electric guitar building.
In my own project I had a strong doubt about neck angle, since I was using a TOM bridge, but this book helped me clear all that.
Filled with black and white illustrations all along, the book deals with designing a body, cutting it, binding it, building a neck from scratch, gluing or bolting it and dealing with electronics, to finally achieving high gloss finish. There is also a very useful set of templates for pickup routing of guitars and basses. In all, with this book and supported by the guitar maker's forums on the net, I was able to build my first guitar. Check my website for pics of my project.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but in many ways inadequate Nov. 20 2002
By NiceGuy
The book in terms of organization and information is good. One of the biggest shortcoming of the book is that there are no dimensioned drawings or sketches. All the dimesions are sort of buried in the text. But the saying goes:" a good picture is worth a thousend words." Mind you, there are a lot of pictures in the book, however, they seem to demonstrate rather trivial operation. For instance pages 86-87 there are 4 pictures; one showing the body being cut on band saw, another a hand holding a sand paper (only information one gets is "a hand holding a sand paper") again another one of the guitar body in a semi finished state with the
heading "the body" !!. I am still trying to find out locations of the pickups relative to the bridge. Or what effect it has on
guitar if I chose on some arbitrary position (within reason ofcourse). Well it wouldn't be fair if I don't mention that I am
a mechanical engineer. But I am a wood worker too. I don't think I would want to build a set of chairs and a breakfast table from
pages and pages of "descriptive" instructions. A sketch would really go a long way, even if it is on a napkin.
I was trying to answer a question in my own mind: "Is the electrial guitar and purely electrial "appliance" or does the associated wood and other stuff adds value or quality to its performance ?" Well according to Mr. Hiscock, the truth lies somewhere in between. Of the 218 pages of the book only about 27 are dedicated to what Mr. Hiscock calls "electrikery".I don't know if Mr.Hiscock is convinced of what he is saying !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful Jan. 4 2003
From constructing the neck to designing and gluing the body together, Hiscock leads you through the whole process. If you've been playing with the though of making your own guitar but need a push, this book will give you the courage and the inspiration you need. Mind you that constructing your own guitar will not be a simple task. Even with the book in hand you still need to put your own brains to work because this book will not give you a blueprint. Instead you are encouraged to make you own design though if you really want to, you can make the guitar look similar as the one the author makes.
What I really like about this book is that it does not describe the making of just one electric guitar. The author will lead you through 3 guitar designs, a Gibson style guitar and a Fender style guitar. The big difference between the two is how the neck is attached to the body, glued versus bold on. Also Hiscock explains the making of a through-neck 8 string bass guitar. This will give you the knowledge of starting to experiment on your own and you will be able to truly make a guitar to your own likings.
This is in my opinion the best book if you would like to make your own electric guitar. However the "relaxed" style of writing can be a little annoying sometimes. For those of you who never seen the TV series Catweasel (broadcasted in Great Britain in the 70ties), and few have in the US, a title like Electrickery will not be understood. If you know that you can not buy elephant tusk in the USA unless it was imported before (I believe) 1970, then a picture of a elephant to show that tusk looks better on a elephant than on a guitar is just plain weird. But let's blame it on the famous British humor. And if I may nitpick, the font used for the paragraphs is ill chosen.
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This book has been my essential reference while building my first solid body electric guitar. Melvyn has written a very comprehensive and practical guide to all stages of construction from the basics of designing your own instrument through to applying the finishing touches.
I like the way Melvyn discusses a variety of approaches for each task in design and building. You are encouraged to understand and think creatively rather than follow a strict plan. If that sounds a bit fuzzy, and the lack of detailed plans puts you off (there are none in this book) I can try to reassure that all you need is here. Despite having next to no woodworking experience myself I'm now most of the way through my first instrument and already planning the next couple. It also gave me the confidence to front up to a local luthiery (Gilet Guitars in Sydney, Australia), choose my materials and ask some reasonably intelligent questions.
One really nice aspect of the book is that Melvyn shares anecdotes about his own mistakes over the years so that you can anticipate problems - or at least not feel too bad when you make a few mistakes of your own along the way.
So, in summary - buy this book and be inspired.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very satisfied exactly what we were searching for thank you
Published 9 months ago by Jacqueline Villeneuve
2.0 out of 5 stars this book is useless
if you have never built a guitar before, do not get this book. this book does not tell you how to build a guitar, it is just a book of tips on building a guitar. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars a must
for any budding lutier. But what you really want to do after you get this book is buy Dan Elewine's video from Stewart-McDonald on how to build a solid body electric guitar. Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2003 by S. R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
If we waited for a book to be perfect, they would never be finished. This particular book, however, is as close in its genre as could be found. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
While I was expecting a little more on the end of actual "blueprints" on guitar making (which this book has none of). Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2002 by ERNesbitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book.
This is one of the best "how to" books of any sort which I have ever read. Mr. Hiscock writes at a level which is appropriate for beginning woodworkers, but not boring or... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2001 by David Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Detailed Guide
This book represents a well-thought out, very complete guide for anyone wishing to build their own guitar. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2000 by Ringo_43
5.0 out of 5 stars Without doubt the best book of its kind
Melvyn Hiscock has a unique gift not only in building electric guitars but also in his writing. From the very first pages the old mysticisms surrounding electric guitars are... Read more
Published on Sept. 10 1999 by cpreece@indmar.co.uk
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