A neck-through, oak, electric guitar

August 2012 ~

With the end of upper sixth here and the beginning of a warmer than usual (that is to say, warm at all) summer, it was the brainstorm of me and a good friend to build something totally different and ambitious.

After learning a lot about planing and gaining woodworking skills with the creation of the Computer Desk the year before, I felt I was ready and willing to work on something a bit more personal, without a deadline. I got to work on designs for an electric guitar before the summer had arrived and as soon as it did, I got to work.

Still heavily inspired by nature and the human body, I created a design that was inspired by the human lungs and the trachea. With a neck-through design influenced by one of my favourite luthiers, Ola Strandberg and an f-hole designed after bronchus in the lungs, the design is meant to represent a very vocal, natural and raw creation.

Early in the design process I decided to CAD the hardware I intended to use with the guitar, of which would also be bought from Strandberg. However, while it is without doubt the most beautiful hardware available, it isn't exactly suitable for a prototype.

So I decided to split this project into two. I would create a more raw, untouched Oak guitar for myself initially, on which I would finish learning to play guitar, and which would house hardware made by myself instead. And after this project was done, I would create the more exotic, purple heart guitar for my friend that would have the Strandberg hardware.

Once i figured out a rough plan, I got to work on jigsawing (for the first time) the body of the guitar and getting it's shape exact to the MDF mockup I created at the start.

With the body parts (I aptly called "The Lungs") cut out successfully, began to sand and plane each side and face, getting rid of the gloss coating that the recycled Oak i'm using had on it beforehand.

Next I got to work on the neck of the guitar. Also made of recycled Oak, it's shaped to hold a fanned 6-string fretboard and two pickups.

The belly cut was one of the funnest parts of this entire project, which was done with some sawing and lots and lots of sanding, but the resulting smooth and even curve was immensely worth it.

The lungs weren't done yet though. As they were Oak, they were significantly heavier than regular electric guitar bodies. So I used a router (Also a first) to route out some big channels in the lungs, freeing them from a lot of the dense, Oak heft.

Finally, with the lungs hollowed out, I began to give the finishing plane and glue the lungs to the neck of the guitar, Using woodlite and the pressure of many a clamp, I managed to stick them together snugly.

With the good (and outside workable) weather gone, I decided to get to work on creating some of the hardware for my prototype Lungs guitar. Finding a fantastic little luthier specialty store, Stew Mac, I got a few P90 kits and began to construct them, resulting in me creating a contraption that would help me wind them within a sane timeframe.

With the P90s done, i began preparing for the next thing to do once the good weather returned...