Why did you decide to start working on your own guitars?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by The Hammer, May 18, 2021.

  1. The Hammer

    The Hammer Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    152
    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    For me it was due to there not being any competent luthiers in my area. The straw that broke the camel’s back is when I took my guitar to a “luthier” over and hour away to have my frets leveled and crowned. Two months, over four hours of driving, and $150 later I had a neck that buzzed like a bee hive with an action so high you could drive a truck under the strings. When I asked what the deal was I was told that I wasn’t used to a professional setup.

    Currently I need to replace a nut so it looks like I’ll be buying some StewMac files and learning how to set up a nut.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
    JBurton, JDthaddeus, CajunJ and 25 others like this.
  2. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,727
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    Idaho just the tip
    I honestly think I started just out of boredom. When I was a teenager I had a Stratocaster and a Charvel that I would take apart and put back together all the time. I’m glad I learned the skills that I did. It was much more difficult before the Internet.
     
  3. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Castle Rock, Colorado
    What do I own that I don’t work on?
     
  4. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    2,201
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Arivaca AZ
    I have to say that after more than 60 years playing music I find I use higher action than I used to especially with today's light strings. I started working ..actually building my own guitars because after 65 I was playing out less and had the time to build guitars EXACTLY as I wanted them without spending 6 or 7000 dollars.
    ( I use a lot of custom acoustics and hollow bodies now).

    I find that a lot of young players want very low action very light strings and then wonder why you get buzz. If you want the lowest action possible the strings need to be heavier.
     
    wolfman2020, JDthaddeus, dvh2 and 4 others like this.
  5. Supa Necta

    Supa Necta TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    Posts:
    86
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    I have over 50 stringed in instruments. If I didn’t know some of the simple stuff I’d be broke just maintaining them. I’m actually going to start an apprenticeship under a local tech and bring my gear in to learn more skills soon.
     
  6. The Hammer

    The Hammer Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    152
    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    Isn’t that the truth lol.
     
  7. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    101
    Posts:
    1,081
    Joined:
    May 24, 2016
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Same. I put new pickups in my first Strat after reading an article in Guitar Player on installing a blend pot for the middle pickup and haven't looked back. Taught myself how to use a solder iron on that guitar (still have it), and learned a lot about how circuits work from doing it.
     
  8. The Hammer

    The Hammer Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    152
    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    @BryMelvin I like my action around 6/64”. When I got the guitar back it had double that, the saddles were maxed out, and it buzzed more than it did when I took it in. This was back around 2004.
     
  9. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    300
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    I got started because of the Fender limited edition Frankenstein guitar. I couldn't understand how they could justify a $25,000 price for 2 pieces of wood that Eddie paid like $150 for. I built my own and that started the hobby.
     
  10. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,865
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Sand Land
    It was 50 years ago and the reason was poverty.
     
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    27,604
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    I'm naturally mechanically inclined since at least by age five. I was very hesitant with my first guitar (a cheap LP copy), but a guitar playing friend told me I could do it and everything is reversible if I mess up. Been diving in ever since.:cool:
     
  12. kifla

    kifla Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    'Cause I can't play!!:lol::lol:

    But I looooovee guitars, so....
     
    Billy3, jays0n, azwarner and 31 others like this.
  13. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Location:
    corner of walk and don't walk
    Back when I started doing my own work on guitars (we have to go all the way back to the my start in the mid to late 1960's), there were very few reputable places to go to have real luthier work like setups or nut-work, or refrets done.

    One place that I knew of in Cleveland was the old DeFiori's Music store on Lorain.

    The other place was Ken Lay's guitar shop in Akron.

    Lay's did the best work back then.

    I know for a fact that some of his work went through Joe Walsh's and Jimmy Page's hands.

    But I couldn't afford to pay someone else to do stuff like adjust a truss rod or fiddle with a nut, so I slowly learned on my own.

    I've always been a natural mechanic, so I caught on pretty quick ;).

    There was very little factual information way back then - every thing was passed on by word of mouth, it was mainly trading information with other guitar players and figuring things out on our own.

    Today, of course, it's much different - there are books and videos and on-line forums like this one for anything related to guitars.

    Building guitars is much the same.

    Back way back when, there was no info available about building an electric guitar - you could find, if you looked hard enough in enough different libraries, maybe some info about building a classical guitar, but nothing even approaching what we have available now.

    The present time, right now, is the "golden age" for anyone who wants to learn about any phase of luthier work :).




    edit: I was still pretty young when I realized the truth that if one man made something, any particular item, another man (or woman ;)), could repair or rebuild or copy that item.

    That truth has opened many doors for me :).

    .
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
  14. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,447
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    as a "kid". . . with my first new guitar.. and an assortment of random tools, I did what about everyone in the same situation does.. I started taking things apart assuming I could put it back together...

    Once I started.. I realized a sure as hell better figure out how to get it back together, or my Dad was gonna kick my scrawny teenaged butt across the room...

    SoooOOooooo.. thus began my exploration of guitar maintenance...

    r
     
  15. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,370
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2021
    Location:
    The Bible Belt
    For me, it's very simple: I'm too stupid to understand the risks.
     
  16. Oxidao

    Oxidao Tele-Meister

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    379
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Location:
    PNA, Spain
    I started disassembling just for the fun of knowing them better. Swapping easy things like pick-guards and tuners went close.

    Then I noticed there's much more things involved, mainly a good set-up. After giving the job to my local Luthier, I realized he did it not better than me. So I got confident with my job.

    Being able to fix things (frets, nut) or customize (swap pick-ups, paint job, change pot's) came last.

    I'm not a perfectionist, but I can manage this stuff properly (edit: let's say decently instead),
    ...and I love it.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
    Troubleandahalf likes this.
  17. edvard

    edvard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,068
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Location:
    Bremerton, WA
    I started out on a very cheap guitar from the late '70s Japanese model, so I had to learn by trial and error how to get it in playable condition. Then later, the guitar of my dreams slipped through my budget twice, and I saw the prices skyrocket after sometime around the new millennium, so I had no choice; I had to build my own.
     
    Troubleandahalf likes this.
  18. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,628
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2019
    Location:
    Oregon
    Out of necessity, back in the day, I had no money to pay someone to fix my guitar. Also, when something breaks or needs work, my first thought is always, how am "I" going to fix this. Not, who can I pay to fix this. Just how I'm wired i guess.
     
  19. PARCO

    PARCO Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    398
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    VA
    Before I started playing I just loved guitars. I can't explain why but I just loved guitars. A friend of mine had a MIJ P bass that didn't work and I suggested that we take it apart and find out why. I was really surprised to see that there wasn't that much to it. A wood body, a neck, a couple of pots and a pickup. It turned out that the hot lead on the jack had broken so I re soldered it and my friend took it home and it worked. He thought I was a genius but from then on I was hooked and I took apart every guitar I could get my hands on. I would read guitar player magazine for the articles on guitar repair and I got a few books about doing setups etc and the rest is history.
     
  20. Laren

    Laren Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    433
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2020
    Location:
    West Somerset
    Same as kifla, I can't play. My brother was in a band and I used roadie for them. When I came back to UK and retired I started building the damn things. Keeps me out of trouble and it's great fun. My theory knowledge , scales, modes etc is pretty good but play? Happy noodling to backing tracks on yt. Current collection 24, 5 scratch builds and 3 kits.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.