A 4+ month late Christmas present

As I mentioned in my last post (way back) I decided to make an electric guitar for my wife. For a ton of reasons, it’s taken me much, much longer to finish than I expected, and it’s taken way longer than it should have. But I am now approaching the end, and wanted to start a set of posts to document all that I went through.

When first deciding to make the guitar, I was pretty ignorant to the work I was taking on. None of it was necissarily hard, but some of it was time consuming, some was frustrating, and all of it was something new I had to learn. I didn’t even really have a solid idea of the shape I wanted. All I was really sure of is that the neck had to be comfortable for my wife and the guitar had to be cool. Cool sound, cool wood, cool shapes.

I did some initial research on the size of a guitar body and found a few places that sell body blanks, a slab of wood, usually around 21x15x2 inches with some variation for specific situations. Once I had a size to work with I hopped into Adobe Illustrator to start messing around with some shapes. After a bit of getting a feel for the size, I headed over to Etsy to see about picking up some svg files in the shape of some critters I knew would fit her tastes.

First, I bought some bat svg files, and tried throwing a guitar body together with that, intending to make it look like bats flying in front of the moon. I pretty quickly abandoned this failure:

Design with bats silhouetted against a circle

Maybe I’ll come back to that later and make it better with a future project.

So, my second attempt was to try to turn a shape more like a squid into a guitar. Cephalopods are my wife’s favorite creatures, so back to Etsy I went to get a svg or two of squid and octopus designs. After a week of working on the design and disliking where it headed each time, I gave up on the animal based design idea altogether. I disliked the designs so much I don’t even have a copy left on my computer!

Feeling bummed after having spent most of my November just trying to come up with an idea, I began looking at guitar designs for inspiration. There are so many sweet looking guitars that I had to just start taking screenshots to remember the shapes.

After having seen this latest season of Stranger Things, my wife has been all about Eddie Munson, and I hovered over the B.C. Rich Warlock guitar design. (I grabbed this picture from musician’s friend’s listing. I’d have just linked to it, but I hate when my images go dead because they change their url style or whatever.)

B.C. Rich Electric Guitar

But there was another guitar that caught my eye. The ESP E-II FRX. It looked sharp and soft, dangerous and beautiful at the same time. So I set that up as my background and began throwing curves over top of it.

I didn’t want to rip it off exactly, so I let my curves go wide, moved some here, some there. I knew I wanted tone and volume control for each pickup, so I designed mine for 4 nobs along the bottom edge. And though the ESP doesn’t have a switch, I wanted to let my wife play around with the tones between the pickups, but didn’t want to put a switch in. So I designed mine with one more nob on the top edge and tried to put it back far enough to keep it out of the way when she’s strumming. The initial design of the guitar body took me a good 100 hours or more. Some of that was trying to figure out how to do something I wanted to do, some of that was designing dummy plugs to design as cutouts in the body. And a lot of it was fighting with curve handles that wanted to jump all over the place without warning.

Despite my changes, though, you can definately see the inspiration. All of the design from here on out is done in Fusion360 (with one minor exception a ways down the line).

Cad Drawing of guitar
Wireframe cad rendering of guitar
Shaded Cad rendering of guitar

Next, it’s time to start doing some window shopping and research.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: