Does the kit come with instructions? Detailed plans are available to purchase with all of our kits. We also recommend purchasing videos, DVD’s and several books to help you understand the principles of lutherie and become aware of the many diverse construction methods. We especially recommend Cumpiano’s “Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology” which covers both steel string and classical guitar construction (part number BS0S) and Kinkead’s “ Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar” (part number BS6) which only covers steel string guitars.
What is the difference between a kit and ordering the parts individually? Price! All of the wood, parts, and services in our kits are the exact same items we sell individually. In addition, if you order through the Kit Wizard we offer helpful suggestions for your project – and it’s harder to miss an important item.
Can I customize, upgrade or change an item in a kit? There are very few limitations to the changes you can make to your kit with the Kit Wizard! You can modify any of the contents. With the world’s widest selection of tonewoods, you can easily create the guitar kit of your dreams and purchase all the things you need for your guitar at a great discount.
What glues and finishing supplies will I need? The best place to start is by reviewing our online articles contained in our Help Center which can be accessed from any page at the LMI website. Many builders will opt for a shellac-based finish as it is less harmful than lacquer and can be applied by spraying or brushing. The LMI instrument glue (part number FGX) is a great glue for building your instrument. There are also areas where you might use hide glue or epoxy. LMI has a large selection of adhesives.
What tools will I need to complete the kit? This is a difficult question to answer because many customers already own many tools and there are many different ways to go about building our kits. The best place to start is our online article Tool Recommendations. In addition to tools that we sell and those commonly available from the hardware store, you will be required to construct several simple jigs and molds in order to best complete the guitar. LMI can also perform many services for you like bending the sides or installing the rosette. You might also check out our toolbox discounted toolsets.
Do I need any woodworking skills to complete a kit? Building a guitar, even from a kit, can be challenging. You will have the best results if you have some basic woodworking skills to start out with, though many customers have had great success starting out with little or no experience. If you are feeling unsure, order one of Robert O’Brien’s DVD’s, or a few guitarmaking books and determine for yourself if you are up to the task! If you feel it is a bit daunting, then you might want to start out building some ornate wood boxes (or a similar project) so you can become comfortable with your tools and learn the basics of good joinery, clamping, and sharpening, etc.
What are other resources available to me to help me complete the kit? There are a number of fine guitar building schools, book recommendations and online forums listed in our Help Center link Learn How to Repair and Build Instruments. Check the Help Center for links to articles about finishing, tool selection, tonewoods and more! LMI is available to answer questions about our products but we prefer that you ask general building questions on one of the online forums we link to.
What is the difference between the OM and Dreadnought? What do these terms mean? These are guitar model codes from the Martin Guitar Company which, because of their popularity, have become standard terms in the industry for these guitar shapes. The Dreadnought has a large lower bout and is popular with flatpickers. It is a standard “western” style guitar. The OM (which is very similar to Martin’s 000 guitar except that it has a 25.4 scale length) is smaller, has a tighter waist and is popular with fingerstyle guitarists. Of course, both guitars can be used successfully for both flatpicking and fingerstyle playing.
What is the difference between a Classical and a Flamenco guitar? The main differences between flamenco and classical guitars in terms of the basic design are:1) Flamenco guitars are lighter because of the use of the cypress instead of the heavier rosewoods. Lightness tends to reduce overall volume and adds a percussive quality to the attack of the notes and chords.2) The bridge profile on a flamenco is usually lower than that of the classical bridge, again, sharpening the attack and facilitating the tapping of the soundboard by the player.3) It is not uncommon for flamenco guitars to have a longer scale length, say 655 or 660mm. Normally the longer scale requires larger hands and can lead to fatigue and missed notes, however many players capo the guitar on the 2nd or 3rd fret which shortens the scale and adds a brightness to the tone of the instrument. The longer overall string length helps to reduce any negative effects the capoing up might normally produce (i.e. reduced volume and tone). The brighter, punchier, more percussive sound of the flamenco guitar is particularly suitable for accompanying dancers. Sometimes solo flamenco players play instruments called “Negras”, essentially flamenco guitars made with rosewood back and sides, which helps restore the sustain normally missing from the cypress instruments.4) On most flamenco guitars the top and back plates are typically not domed or radiused, rather they are left flat. It is traditional for flamenco guitars to use pegs instead of tuning machines, but the great majority of modern flamenco builders and players prefer machines. You can create a flamenco kit by starting with a classical kit and making a few modifications.
Do the kits come with pre-carved braces? Many builders agree that shaping one’s own braces is one of the most fascinating and fun parts of building a guitar because the shape of the braces does so much to determine the sound of the guitar. For this reason, many of our kits come with the raw material for making your own braces. In addition, more experienced builders may elect to use a bracing pattern that is different from the one on the plan supplied with the kit. Of course, you can elect to substitute pre-carved braces for blank bracewood (or vice versa) if you desire.
How much will the finished guitar be worth? We have seen guitars built with materials similar to the ones in our kits sell for as much as $3000 or more, but these guitars were built by professionals who have established themselves in the marketplace and who have the experience necessary to bring forth the best from the woods – and whose craftsmanship is impeccable. Still, many beginners have made truly fine instruments their first time around. If you are able to apply sound woodworking principles to your project and pay close attention to your instructional materials, then you can do so as well! We have had the pleasure of playing several very fine kit guitars that our customers have brought to our shop and it is really astonishing how great sounding many of these guitars are.
How long will it take to complete the guitar? This depends on your experience, your building methods, your tools, and many other factors. First time builders will often need to make some simple jigs and fixtures as they proceed, so the first guitar will undoubtedly take longer to complete than the second. Most first-timers who spend evenings and weekends on their guitar usually complete their instrument in 3 to 5 months, but it can be done in 2 months or less if you work smart and fast.
How can I purchase a guitar kit at a discount? By purchasing a kit you are buying all the guitar’s components at a discount. For this reason, our kits never go on sale.
Can you add some customizations to the kit that I do not see listed on your website? The Kit Wizard kits include all of our available customizations. We are not able to complete any other building operations for you (i.e. gluing the sides to the back, inlaying the fingerboards etc.). You will be given the opportunity to add customizations as you progress through the wizard.
Is the kit returnable? All unserviced products including wood are returnable so long as you have not begun to work the wood. We do require that you get a return merchandise authorization (RMA) from us in advance. For more information on our customer-friendly return policy, please see our Returns and Exchanges page.