Acoustic Guitar – Completed Instrument

I completed the instrument about nine months after beginning work on it. I left the guitar to settle in for a few weeks after completion before trying to set it up I was a bit cautious at first not wanting to make the strings too low which would force me to make a new saddle or nut. This cautiousness meant that the action (hight of the strings) was too high and the guitar was difficult and uncomfortable to play. After a few months I returned to the instrument reduced the string height again and now it plays beautifully. 

I hope you enjoyed following my progress – here are some pictures of the finished instrument and a video at the end of the post.

23 Comments to Acoustic Guitar – Completed Instrument

October 19, 2008

Incredible work, very interesting – beautiful guitar.

October 25, 2008

Well done, John. I had no idea people even attempted to do this themselves until now. The results look stunning. I especially like the deer detail in the head stock.

Just one comment about the documentation. It would be fascinating to see some breakdown of the costs. Cost of the kit + raw materials + specialist tools? What tools have you invested in especially and were there any you could borrow or hire? Etc.

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing it in the flesh one day.

Leafcutter John
October 26, 2008

Hi Gusset – Great idea I’ve put the costings up here:

December 22, 2008

Wow…what a process. Building it AND documenting it all.

Best thing is that it sounds as good as it looks, which I’m sure gives you the greatest satisfaction in the end.

Matt Morgan
April 28, 2009

Excellent work. Fine looking instrument, I especially like the finish using True Oil.

May 19, 2009

Looks great! You did a great job on the little details…which are the parts that still kick my @ss! Keep at it!

May 25, 2009

I need to make a bridge for a cheap little Hondo I bought for my daughter. I’m a little lost on where to start. Size? How the strings will rest on the neck? How much of a slant do I use? Any sites or info on how to make one of these? Thanks!

Leafcutter John
May 25, 2009

You might try searching I got a lot of help there.

May 26, 2009

Thanks John!

June 30, 2009

Beautiful job! I think that you may have motivated me enough to build the same kit. Like you, I want a nice instrument that I am not willing to pay as much as I need to.

Mr Slippers
July 29, 2009

Big thanks for posting this article John. I’ve been toying with the idea of building my own guitar, and am now greatly encouraged and excited! All those details on suppliers/costs are dead useful as a reference too.

August 3, 2009

appreciate seeing the results-i’m currently building a zebra wood kit that i purchased and have all the parts to do a martin cutaway-plan on tru-oil for both. thanks—george

January 4, 2010

Very nice work, the guitar looks great!

January 31, 2010

Superb documentation, and the end result is stunning. Thanks for nine months of hard work in order for us to enjoy the process!

Russell Miller
February 5, 2010

John, That is amazing. What strings did you choose? Thanks: Russell

Leafcutter John
February 5, 2010

Thanks Russell,

I use Martin custom light strings on this guitar.



Mad EP
June 2, 2010

Nice John.

The results are wonderful… it looks and sounds great!

July 13, 2010

hello john.
i am very interested in buying a stew mac guitar building kit.
i was wondering do you think that the dreadnaught model is as good as the o-ring model .
and what do you prefer
did you buy the dove tail neck or the bolt on
thanks, lockie.

Leafcutter John
July 13, 2010

Well I have never built the dread model so I can’t compare them – I don’t see any reason why it would not make as good a guitar as the triple 0.
I have various small and large body guitars here which all sound different, and have different uses. I recommend you go down to a guitar shop and try a few guitars with different body sizes to see what you like best.

I went for the dove tail neck which is slightly more difficult to fit than the bolt on, but if done with patience should be a more solid connection.

best of luck,


January 26, 2011

Hello John.
First of all many thanks for such a detailed “Making of”.
In my opinion you did an amazing job.
I’m a joiner from Germany, and even though I have never build an instrument, I know how difficult it is/can be to work with wood.
Some of your tricks are as simple as fantastic, e.g the ballon, the sand board, the bands…
And the deer… incredible.
A master craftsman told me once: “A good craftsman does everything right, but a very good craftsman can remedy deficiencies so that no one gets aware of them.” (hope this makes sense at all).
May your guitar go along with you for a long long time.
Best Regards,

Don H.
February 27, 2011

Was looking at the StewMac kit and came across your video on YouTube and followed back to here. Thanks for the excellent documenting of your build. It looks great and will certainly help others. Still amazed that you took this project on with very little background in woodworking.

[…] while I opened my eyes again, wrote down the forming words and went into the studio picked up the guitar I made back in 2007 and half an hour later I had […]

May 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing your journey.
I have buit and guitars, yet. I will someday, and form then till the end of time.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Social Links


For you YOUTUBE VIDEO pleasure