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New to kit building

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Hi. I've been interested in building a kit guitar for some time now, and ordered a Martin herringbone dred kit a few days ago. I was just wondering what I should know before I begin to build. Also, I was wondering how long it usually takes to build a guitar from a kit like the one that I ordered. Thank you in advance for the replies.

Jun 19, 07 | 10:48 am

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Welcome, both to the site and to kit building. Most of us feel that the instructions that come with the Martin kit are very poor - at least go to StewMac's web site and down load the free pdf for theirs. I also recommend John Kincade's book and maybe William Cumpiano. Bill Cory's great information on this site and some of the building threads should be helpful too.

The time will depend on a lot of things (I have a friend who is half way thru his martin kit after more than a year) but in my case it has taken one to two months of part time work to make it and another 4 to 6 weeks for the finish. Don't hurry - savor each step and keep us posted.

Jun 19, 07 | 11:27 am

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Welcome! Freeman hit it on the head as far as the instructions go. The Stewmac instructions have a lot of great info that carries over into any guitar you build. My first guitar took just under 3 month from start to finish, my second around 2 months and the 3rd is coming in around 2 1/2 months but that was a scratch build.

Your first should take quite a bit of time because you will be double checking every thing you do, and you will be also making jigs. Like Freeman said, take your time and have fun. Isn't that what it's all about?

My Blog

Jun 19, 07 | 11:35 am
Bill Cory

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Welcome to the forum! As both guys said above, everything depends ... and you will want more information than is given in the Martin instruction manual. (You'll understand when you see it.)

There's plenty here for the asking!

Thanks for joining us --

Jun 19, 07 | 11:48 am

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I took about 6 months to build a Martin OM, but I had a fair few exams over this time !!!

Like others have said, the Martin instructions are pretty awful - you need something else as well, if this is your first build.

As to what to know before you start: if you only buy one book I would strongly recommend Kinkade's book, but there are many good books out there and Cumpiano is considered to be the bible. One of the best resources is this forum, along with Bill's companion site which documents his builds. I would also recommend looking at other people's builds (there are quite a few on the web) as everyone does it slightly different - you can steal ideas from all of them and use what suits you ! I think my main suggestion would be to take your time, set your sights as high as possible and make sure that every step is done as well as you possibly can do it, irrespective of the time it takes.

I have photographed and documented my build, along with references to books, jigs and tools (if it is of any use): Build log


Jun 20, 07 | 12:50 am

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Hey. I appreciate all of the replies and the warm welcome. I'm excited to finally build a guitar, and I'm glad to have people here that are willing to lend assistance if need be. Thanks again.

Jun 20, 07 | 7:42 am

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Hi and welcome! I'd have to second (or third) the recommendation for Kinkead's book. If you only have one book -- that is the one. It has tons of photo's that show you how things go, even if you aren't building exactly like he is.

Good luck and have fun.

Jun 20, 07 | 2:42 pm
Dennis Weatherly

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I'm also building a Martin kit, and I think you'll find the Martin instructions minimally useful. I started with Cumpiano's book and have recently purchased the Kinkead book. Kinkead's is much less intimidating and has tons of pictures.

I will also strongly recommend Robert O'Brien's DVD on building a steel string guitar. I prefer it to either of the above books. You can get it from LMI.

Jun 21, 07 | 9:24 am

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Total Posts: 96
Hi Cwhitewestie,

I too just ordered a Martin kit and will get it July 13th.

see my goals under the selmer guitar django thread.

anxious to compare notes.

I have been dreaming about it.



Jun 29, 07 | 1:04 pm

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Total Posts: 158
Welcome to our world. Mate, for my first one I recorded the time and tools used on my blog . I estimate that it took me about 100 hours down in the shed and that was for a TOTAL novice.

The only other peice of information that I can give you heading into your first build is - You haven't spent your last cent yet... lol

Jul 02, 07 | 2:46 am

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