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Old 10-12-2017, 03:29 PM   #1
dimar5150
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Default Building a Guitar from an old tree

Need some advice:

I have an old 60 foot tree in my backyard that needs to be cut down. It's a maple tree.

I'm going to use most of the wood for our firepit and give some out to the neighbors.

I want to take some of the wood and build a guitar form it. At least the body.

1. Has anyone built a guitar out of pure maple? how did it sound?
2. Is there any place that I can send the slab off to so they can at least cut the body and do the routing to my spec? I'm more interested in the guitar being from my backyard than actually doing the routing since I don't really have the money to buy the tools.

Thanks!
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:22 PM   #2
ronpfid
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Won't you need to dry the wood, and all that? I know most wood goes through dry kilns?
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:43 PM   #3
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I'm assuming you mean an electric guitar. It can be done, but it might be more involved than you'll want.

You'll have to cut the log(s) into slabs and then dry it first. Air drying slabs thick enough to make a guitar body is going to take at least 2-3 years. You could speed things up by paying a commercial lumber kiln to dry the wood for you. Then you'll need to select from that a portion that is visually appealing and stable. Some maple is extremely hard and heavy, some is moderately hard and less heavy. Some is beautiful, some is plain and some is ugly.

After that you have to mill the lumber into some type of guitar body. You should find a luthier interested in the job. I doubt evan a tiny guitar manufacturer will want to do a one-off. You'll still need a neck, hardware and electronics.

In the end, you get a body that cost you 10x what it's worth. The tools might actually be cheaper.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:06 PM   #4
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I had a young friend come into the music store that I was guitar teching for, and he wanted to show me the guitar he built. His family had removed a 200 year old Walnut tree from the yard and he selected a beautiful burl section for the body. Then bought most of the other stuff from StewMac. He ran fiber optics between the neck and fretboard and caused the position markers to light up when he flipped a toggle switch. Normally a first attempt like that would be a disaster. That young fellow took his time and did a fantastic job. It looked like a solid body guitar and didn't end up looking like a LP, Strat, or Tele. It was beautiful and played like PRS. I think k that kid was the exception and most of us would have ended up with something that would be wall art. With that said, if you are willing to commit to all the tedious work, then go for it.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:35 PM   #5
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Most involved is the wait for the dry. If you don't, the body will shift shape over time as the wood dries naturally.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:41 PM   #6
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As others have said, the wood must be given time to dry. Solid maple would also be heavy.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:21 PM   #7
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The bottom line is that an electric guitar sounds like its pickups so the wood used is neither here nor there.

If you don't know how to build a guitar there really isn't a place to send a slab to for processing as you want. If you have the money and want a custom made guitar, you could send the money along with your slab and have it done. Be prepared to send a lot of money and to wait for a long time.
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