Picciuto Guitar Body

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David Picciuto

Project by

David Picciuto from Drunken Woodworker
Toledo, USA

General Information

Make your own guitar using parts from a cheap Epiphone Les Paul. The Epiphone only costs around $130 brand new and is cheaper than buying all the parts separate. I’ll be saving the neck, electronics and hardware from the cheap guitar and using them on this custom body.

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1

Overview Video

Overview video of all the steps.

2

Gutting the Sacrificial Guitar

I’m using a brand new Epiphone Les Paul with P90 pick up for this build. I’ll be using the neck, electronics and hardware.

3

Mill Up Your Lumber

I’m using some 2" thick ash for this guitar.

4

Glue-up

It may be difficult to find ash wide enough so you’ll likely need to to glue up two pieces. Once the glue dries plane it down to 1 5/8" thick.

5

Clamp Down the Material

When carving material this hard and thick it’s necessary to screw down the material right to the waste board.

6

Neck Pocket

Cut out the neck pocket. You’ll want to be sure the neck fits snugly into the body. One of the things that separate a cheap guitar from a well made one is how this fits.

7

Pickup Pockets and Control Cavity

Next carve out the pickup pockets and control cavity.

8

Carve the Outer Shape

And finally carve out the body shape.

9

Round Over Edges

Next round over all the edges with a 1/4" round over bit in your router.

10

Arm Contour

Next I use an angle grinder to carve out the arm contour and belly cut. You may need to reference a Fender Strat.

11

Drill Neck Holes

Next you’ll want to drill the holes for attaching the neck.

12

Carving the Pick Guard

Now you can carve the pick guard on the X-Carve.

13

Add the Guitar Bridge

Now its a matter of drilling holes for the tailpiece and bridge. I bought a higher quality bridge than the one that came with the Epiphone. Bridge placement is dependent upon the scale length and fret count of your neck.

14

Attach the Pick Guard

Now it’s time to drill the holes for the volume, tone and pickup switch into the the pickguard and attach it to the guitar.

Greg Wallace
I'm curious about what bit, speeds and depth etc, you used and how long did it take to do the routing and perimeter.
Greg Wallace
Greg Wallace
PS: just watched the video and got my answers. Any reason not to route the perimeter (2 sided) other than time?
Greg Wallace
Ryan Parish
Which spindle do you have? I have been having issues getting my spindle to handle federates that fast, even when the depth per pass is set that low.. Yours looks different than my stock spindle!
Ryan Parish
David Picciuto
Hi Ryan, in the video I'm using an older "quiet cut" spindle. Since I've made this guitar I've upgraded to the Dewalt and it cuts like a dream. I highly suggest getting the Dewalt router and mount.
David Picciuto
Steve Hartig
David, Excellent project and set of instructions. I wonder, in step 12, how did you get that square piece to line up with your machine axes and origin? Thanks, Steve
Steve Hartig
Justin Webb
Hi, I was hoping top use your plans as a shortcut to designing my own body shape. I wanted to "borrow" your neck groove and body cut measurements. Is there a way to download the svg file for editing? Thanks, Justin
Justin Webb
Bill Chapman
I was considering this project but didn't like the idea of cannibalizing another guitar. So I found that if you search for "guitar neck" on amazon there are plenty of options. This way you don't end up with a bunch of unused parts around and you can get a nice quality end result.
Bill Chapman
Lehrmann Levy
Which size X-Carver are you using in the video?
Lehrmann Levy
Fergal P Flynn
Hi David, love the design for the guitar, by chance do you have .svg files you can upload for me to use with VCarve, as i have had to setup my X-Carve using VCarve offline.
Fergal P Flynn