I don’t claim to be an experienced luthier but in the process of building my first guitar I have learned a lot from my friend Dave Appel. We’d love to learn from you! My first build was a basic Mahogany and Sitka Spruce dreadnaught. The second, a Rosewood and German Spruce herringbone dreadnaught was the best of the three guitars I made around that time. However, Martin occasionally puts their kits on sale at 10% to 15% off. If you’re a huge Martin fan, these kits might appeal to you but for most guitar kit needs I recommend either LMI or StewMac. Please allow 4 weeks for processing and shipping. The neck block had one small solid knot that would not be visible inside the guitar and some minor grain runout. In terms of acoustic guitars, the Martin LX1E is one of the best guitars for beginners and an outstanding instrument for players of any age or ability. The one downside to a StewMac guitar kit is that unlike LMI, the kits aren’t customizable. Probably in sheer defiance, it refused to suffer any ill effect. In this you get all parts or tools that provides you great help in tune up and perfect for maintaining. I had hoped to continue building guitars after the third one but life had other plans and until recently, it was not to be. I was pleasantly surprised to find that LMI had not only been in business for a number of decades, they were also a reputable company in the world of instrument luthiers. Furthermore, they supply a formidable range of lutherie tools – Dan Erlewine will be keeping a close eye on these guys. In some ways the choices can be overwhelming, but if you’ve already made a couple guitars and you know what you’re doing, this option to customize is very appealing. Some parts/components are factory seconds. The resultant gaps would not be my first choice for this important joint. I sure wouldn't recommend this procedure for a good quality guitar but it seemed appropriate to get this knock-around guitar to function again, which it does. Since there are no plans included, it's a good idea to make your own. I won't discuss the actual construction, since I'll be substituting parts and not building it to spec. The big fish in the luthier “pond” is Stewart MacDonald, often referred to as “StewMac”. It's perfectly camouflaged and probably will still be after finish sanding. U.S.A. ONLY. And for those of you who prefer to skim as opposed to watching this 10-minute video, you can scroll below for a written summary of our discussion. As I write this, the MOC is being revised so that might or might not change. A first-time builder may feel overwhelmed by having to choose between different methods of construction from various sources. A set of trendy Waverly open-gear tuners will cost quite a bit more and there are lots of good tuner choices in between. Also, your new guitar won't begin to sound its best until its had some playing time. You don’t really need much more, and for the low price point, it’s a steal in our opinion. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. All for a price that's several hundred dollars less than you'd pay for an off-the-shelf Martin. This is a somewhat subjective question. You don't often see interesting figure in quarter-sawn Indian Rosewood but it's not what the usual consumer expects to see. The Martin 3-piece neck (the one with the visually awkward headstock wings) in my kit, had severe grain runout. These basic strings are a good choice for initial setting-up since their life may be significantly reduced from being repeatedly tensioned and untensioned while you make adjustments. Like StewMac, the kits are sold as-is and can’t be customized. They have a good reputation and I'm taking them at their word. Related: Best DIY Guitar Kits - Site Reviews [2020] Several years after building number 3 and using it for gigging, camping, letting friends engrave the top with misdirected flatpicking and numerous all-night jams, the repurposed rod broke inside the neck. I pulled the well-worn frets and sanded a slight lengthwise arch in the fretboard. The desire to have a decent D-sized guitar again and a visit to C F Martin's Guitarmaker's Connection got me thinking about building a D kit. Its main virtue was that it cost very little to build but it also had good volume, pleasant tone and quite a bit of "personality" (like that nice girl your aunt wanted to fix you up with). As mentioned, I feel that you should do the initial set-up with inexpensive strings. The unslotted nut is hard plastic. There was also a 3/64" gap between the joint in the X-brace parts I received. Kits are not exact replicas of any Martin models. To sum it up, if you've never built a guitar, the plans, templates, written and video instructions and live help alone, that come with the StewMac kits are likely to be worth any extra cost. The saddle appears to be Tusq (a molded bone-like synthetic). I guessed at the amount it would need and varied the degree of the arch so that it was slightly more near the nut end. While every guitar featured in this guide is more than worthy of its place, there are a couple that truly stand out above the rest. You can often find it used on Amazon.com and half.com for around US$30. A good tonal compromise would be to use the fretboard as supplied and buy a preshaped Ebony or Rosewood bridge. Overall, I was extremely happy with LMI but I’m also fully aware that I would not have been able to build this guitar without help from my luthier friend Dave. Important joint leftover Mahogany interior trim, found in the X-brace parts I received are the of. 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