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Author Topic: Guitar kits  (Read 1746 times)
Lefty Dan
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« on: July 20, 2007, 08:31:48 PM »

I read an article in the new Acoustic Guitar mag about guitar kits.
 I have always wanted to try one but didn't think I could.
 They say I can. Just wondered if anyone has any thoughts on the kits for acoustic guitars or maybe have built one.

Thanks, Lefty Dan
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brandon
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2007, 09:18:33 PM »

ive always heard good reviews about the Carvin guitar kits from magazines and other sources. no first hand experience though.
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2007, 02:21:47 AM »

They're lots of work,they can be very frustrating at time's but are a blast if you take your time and know when to stop and take a break.Don't rush it.In your case make sure its a lefty kit.Read up on finishes,by lots of clamps and a good bottle of wine.Did I say take your time,do it slow and well read all you can read.
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Lefty Dan
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2007, 01:39:34 PM »

Thanks,
So far I have not found a lefty kit. Must be out there. I could get a righty and build it lefty but would like a lefty kit because this will be hard enough.
I am looking at a kit from Stewart-macdonald. It looks good and comes with a CD. ( righty only ). They say phone support is welcome.
Martin has kits but are not what I'm looking for. I need a kit that has the most helpfull info and support,. At least for the first one.
Dan
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jimmyd
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2007, 03:41:02 PM »

Bill's article was very good and gives an honest review of what it takes to build a guitar. My first two hand built guitars were kits from Blues Creek and from Stew Mac. They both turned out pretty good. Be forewarned that building can be far more addictive that regular GAS. I'm on my fourth guitar right now. I still use some serviced parts but no longer buy kits. Plan on spending a couple of hunderd extra for specialty items that are not common to a general wood working shop. Cam clamps and a router with the right binding bits are essential.  John Hall from Blues Creek sells Martin kits and can modify/customize a kit for you. He is very generous with his time supporting his customers. The difference between left and right are mainly the bridge slotting which is critical and reversing the lower tone bars which is recommended and a minor change on soundboard bracing. Of course the nut and saddle need to be fitted for a lefty. Bill Cory's web site for kit builders has very good info on the subject. I would strongy recommend buying a couple of good books on guitar construction adn read them through before starting. Guitarmaking, Tradition and Technology-Cumpiano & Natelson and Build your oun Acoustic Guitar-Jonathan Kinkead are excellent texts that are great to read even if you elect not to build. You can also download the complete build instructions from Stew Mac for free. Unclrob gives excellent advise. These projects take a lot of time and will test your patience at times. Getting into a mindset of enjoying the process makes a big difference to me.  Finishing can be really frustrating especially if you haven't done a lot of finish work on cabinets, etc,. LMI has some alternative finishes to spraying lacquer that many folks use with good results. Plenty of good info on their web site too.
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Lefty Dan
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2007, 01:55:56 PM »

Good advice.
 I will check out the books and keep you posted.
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ms960
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2007, 03:07:38 PM »

I just finished my second kit, and although it has plenty of warts (i.e., learning experience) they both play very and sound very nice.  Check out www.kitguitarforum.com for lots of great and useful info.
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Lefty Dan
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2007, 10:39:48 PM »

ms960
Any chance you could post photos. I guess because I'm just starting this adventure, I'm soaking up everything.
Dan
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walt33
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2007, 02:47:09 AM »

As far as your being a lefty goes, the main difference is in the nut and bridge/saddle. When you get to installing those parts, maybe you could order lefties from Martin or another builder and substitute them for the right-hand parts supplied in your kit.

Whoops, I forgot, the bracing is probably reversed, too. THAT could be a big issue! 
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2007, 03:30:18 AM »

I've got a buddy who builds acoustic guitars exclusively with the Stew Mac kits.  He says they offer more support and much more detail than any other kit he's tried.  He sells them and gets a pretty nice piece of change for them as well. His opinion is that building from kits, as long as they're good ones, makes more sense for the garage luthier than trying to cut wood, dry it, etc.  Most folks simply do not have the facilities to make building from scratch sensible. 

At any rate, I wish you much success on the build. 
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charlies3
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2007, 10:59:59 AM »

When I bult my Stewmac mandolin, the nut and bridge were both unslotted and none of the bracing was preinstalled.   That being said, I don't think there is any difference in a kit between righty and lefty.    Most kits leave enough of the bulding up to you so that you can make that decision.

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Lefty Dan
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2007, 12:44:51 PM »

Thanks for the info,
Pick guard and bridge are the only difference. I can make or buy a lefty bridge and either go with out or make a pick guard.
I have decided to go with stewmack. I will probably buy in Sep. I will keep you posted on the progress.
Dan
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ms960
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2007, 12:58:29 PM »

ms960
Any chance you could post photos. I guess because I'm just starting this adventure, I'm soaking up everything.
Dan
Just saw this...sorry for the delay in responding.  I will post photos when I get home today (darned firewall at work)...
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Caleb
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 03:59:14 PM »

When I bult my Stewmac mandolin, the nut and bridge were both unslotted and none of the bracing was preinstalled.   That being said, I don't think there is any difference in a kit between righty and lefty.    Most kits leave enough of the bulding up to you so that you can make that decision.


Which mando kit did you build?  How did it turn out?  I'm about to start on the pancake mando kit from StewMac. But I'm going to change the shape from round to more of  a teardrop. 
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jimmyd
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2007, 08:27:39 PM »

Thanks for the info,
Pick guard and bridge are the only difference. I can make or buy a lefty bridge and either go with out or make a pick guard.
I have decided to go with stewmack. I will probably buy in Sep. I will keep you posted on the progress.
Dan

Good choice. The Stew Mac kit is a great place to start w/ good instructions. LMI sells left handed pre-carved bridges. You can buy a sheet of pickguard material and use the right handed guard as a template to cut a lefty.
When you see the layout from the Stew Mac plans it will become clear how to easily reverse the lower tone bars when you trace the brace positions on the underside of the top. I recommend reversing them.
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