Hand Tools

Re: Telecaster Style Guitar - Maybe 80% by hand?

david weaver
It'll be another couple of weeks (if varnish) or another week (if shellac or lacquer) before I get hardware on it permanently and string it up, but when you're building a guitar (at least of this type), it's easy to make one that plays well and sounds great through an amp. You can pretty easily do the things that are sped through or skipped at the factory due to cost (cutting nut slots to gauge height rather than leaving them a little high for safety margin, leveling frets and crowning and polishing them). Machines (CNC and PLEK) are catching up, though, and machine-done attention to those things is starting to make it onto inexpensive guitars ($1,200 and below).

Total hand time in a new guitar made in a factory is probably a couple of hours, mostly light sanding and then paint prep and buffing. Completely different concept, I guess - paint color and quality of the bondo work on cheap wood is worth more than trying to source good wood and do little to it.

There are some people down your way still making guitars (of this type) in smaller numbers with more hand work, but not many. I have no clue how they find customers, but that's the number one challenge. Building difficulty is *nothing* in these compared to building good furniture.

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