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Great Guitar Build Off is officially here and I’m super happy with how it turned out – I might have to make another one just like it for myself.

GGBO sent us a Crimson Guitar pre cut blank, neck and electronics. If you watched our Live in Youtube a few weeks ago, you saw where I had designed the guitar blank on a wonky shape from the pre-cut blank. Before that day I had to finalize the shape. Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about the importance of prep work and this was just another example of making sure the prep work is solid. I took a sheet of paper and sketched out the electronics on the guitar blank – the sketch I came up with was a little larger than the blank that we had. By cutting off some of the corners where there was going to be dead space I was able to wood gluey-ed and clamp champ them onto the blank.

This is where you all come in – during the Youtube Live I traced the sketch out onto the wonky looking guitar blank and then took it to the band saw. While I was working on that, you all heard from Meighan and Josh about our history with music and building guitars. Once we wrapped up the live, I sanded. And sanded. And sanded more. At that point, the guitar profile was completed.

A lot of Explorers guitars by Gibson have the facets where your arm would rest so I used a turbo plane and more sanding to make that happen. Adding the neck I realized that I didn’t have a plan for the headstock – yikes. With a quick sketch and freestyle cut on the band saw, it turned out pretty nice.

With the sanding complete and the guitar neck temporarily mounted to make sure it was in the right place – it’s time for finish. Before the finish, I needed to seal the wood using clear grain filler. After the grain filler dried, I sanded it lightly but before I can go any further, I need to use a tack cloth to make sure there’s nothing left behind before I put the finish on. (Anyone else think the tack cloth looked like a slice of American Cheese?)

For the finish, I wanted to do a 3 color sunburst with slightly different colors than I’ve done before. To accomplish a good sunburst, I used the lightest color “amber” in the middle and fully cover the front of the blank. Once it was dry I went in with the darker color on the back and around the band on the outside. Then I went back in with the brown to fade between the amber and black. When the finish dried I added a clear coat Marine Spar Varnish from Total Boat.

With the guitar body pretty much done, I needed to design the pick guard. Before getting the pick guard done, I mounted all the electronics so that the pick guard would fit perfectly around them. I used thin MDF for my template. I traced the outside of the guitar onto the MDF and worked to offset it down to the size and shape I wanted.

After attaching all the electronics, permanently attaching the neck, adding the strap buttons, stringing it up – it was ready to test. The guitar turned out exactly how I wanted to and now I need one for myself, too!

If you want more information on the Great Guitar Build Off or want to purchase a raffle ticket head over to