Electric Guitar & Bass Design

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By Leonardo Lospennato
How to design a solidbody instrument that looks, plays and sounds the way you really want.

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Electric Guitar & Bass Design

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By Leonardo Lospennato
How to design a solidbody instrument that looks, plays and sounds the way you really want.

The design process, from first draft to full plan!
When you're ready to add your own ideas to your solidbody guitar or bass building project, you'll find no better guide than this one for making successful decisions. It's all about the design process—a departure from the usual step-by-step construction books. It's planning the ergonomics and proportions; pickup choices and placement for best response; controls and wiring layouts for versatile sound; wood selection for sustain; hardware compatibility, neck customization for ease of playing, and the aesthetics of the instrument. Everything to consider before you start cutting wood for the guitar or bass of your dreams!

Contents in brief

  • Searching for the perfect guitar and planning your project
  • Beauty, playability and sound
  • Designing the body shape and headstock; ergonomics
  • Neck design: angled vs. bolt-on necks; truss rods
  • Fretboard design: scale length; radiused and compound radius fingerboards; fretwire choice
  • Pickup selection: how pickups work, how magnets and coils affect sound, single-coils vs. humbuckers
  • Controlling the pickups: pots, switches and coil-tapping
  • Guitar and bass electronics: pot values and taper; specialty pots; capacitors; drawing the wiring diagram
  • Wiring, shielding and grounding; electronics safety, common wiring diagrams; active electronics
  • Secrets of sustain
  • Selecting the right hardware and wood
  • Finishing: wood preparation, nitrocellulose lacquer, oil, polyester, waterbase lacquer, colors and sunbursts
  • Interviews with guitar designers; lutherie woods; pickup color codes; cavity templates

219 pages, softcover.

Ratings & Reviews

Electric Guitar & Bass Design

  • Based on 14 Reviews
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Useful Questions

By gutfish from Gardnerville, NV
(Customer's Reviews) Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I've read Leo's book twice, and was so impressed that I contacted him to thank him for writing it! There was nothing completely new for me, but lots of ideas that immediately rang true, and made me think - again and again - "Why didn't I think of that before?"

To me, the main strength of this book is that it gets you to ask yourself a bunch of important questions BEFORE starting to build an instrument. It doesn't really touch on building at all, but instead, concentrates on the too often ignored design phase.

The goal of the book is to get you to the point of creating a physical template for building your custom instrument. Your template includes all the features you have decided to incorporate after reading the book and considering Leo's suggestions and is a useful blueprint for the actual building process!

Electric Guitar & Bass Design

By Bro & the Geneband from Dixon,Mo
(Customer's Reviews) Saturday, December 21, 2013

A great book for people who make guitars or just like understand about making guitars. I made 17 guitars this year and I wish i would have had this book before I started building. A real time saver with tons of hints to help any one who wants be a guitar maker.

Electric Guitar & Bass Design

By Matteo Gandolfi from Bassano del Grappa, Italy
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Probably the most useful book if you want to build your own electric guitar (or bass). I started with the intention of building a Gibson Explorer replica, but now thanks to this book I'm into a completely original project (inspired by the Explorer, in any case). It can show you several tricks, and it guides you through the project and design phase, that is one of the most important phases of electric guitar manufacturing. You will avoid lots of mistakes!


By jiROck Custom from Philippines
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, May 24, 2013

the best for reference. :)

Electric Guitar & Bass Design

By A,heard from Michigan, USA
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, October 05, 2012

Great Book! I recommend it. Building my first guitar, it shows a lot of mistakes and tips for a beginner.

Great book!!!

By Daniel Martins from Portugal
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, July 30, 2012

I love the book, it helped me a lot with certain details in my guitar project!!!

Great reference

By Jon Nixon from Virginia
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, July 26, 2012

An invaluable book for someone wanting to build a custom electric. Information is clear and concise. The price seems initially high but the information can save you from time-wasting trial and error. The chapter on setting the neck angle alone is worth the money if you are a beginner.

guitar design

By lefty's rule from duluth mn
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, July 02, 2012

this book is good for the novice builder who wants to design a guitar from scratch.also good for someone with experince building guitars to get another person veiw on how they go about designing guitars.

Great Book 

By Watson Guitars from Lakeville, MN
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, May 07, 2012

Lots of good things in here! Will help avoid alot of mistakes in designing guitars. All sorts of helpful ideas and tips to put in your head.

An amazing book

By ttritt from Middleport, NY
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, January 19, 2012

I just finished reading it. I loved reading this book, and Leo even adds a little humor here and there. This book is a great investment in my opinion, an essential to add to your collection.

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