I have always loved the technology of music. All the different musical instruments. It is so diverse yet always resulting in the same medium ... music, the common thread. I do have some experience in playing an instrument and some experience in making stringed instruments so I do understand what goes into making guitars.
Never having been to a commercial electric guitar factory, I was intrigued to see what technologies they used and how much had work is still done.
Fast Guitars is commercial, electric guitar manufacturer ... BUT they recently began offering an amazing line-up of guitar components to everyone through their website. They do NOT currently have a showroom. If you are interested in putting together your own custom guitar, check out their website to see what they offer.
My goal was to make a video of the end to end process of guitar making for everyone to watch, enjoy and learn from. Kevin, was more than obliging and took me first to where the blanks are stored and "seasoned". What that means is all the blanks that will become guitar bodies, necks and fingerboards are weighed and labeled and allowed to acclimatize so there will be a little wood movement as possible. Basically a process of stabilizing the wood as much as possible. Even kiln dried wood needs to sit and acclimatize for a time to become stable.
Next we went over to one of the main CNC machines that is used for carving bodies and necks of the guitars. These large CNC machines are amazing in what they can do. This particular machine is extremely quick, and both the head and the base of the machine move to provide speedy and accurate cutting, down to about 1/1000 of an inch.
After the CNC cutting, Kevin took me to where the necks are and fingerboards are build. The necks and fingerboards are glued and assembled and are fretted in the same department. Then neck backs are left uncut until the fretting and any inlay is done, then the necks are sent back to the CNC machine for their final cutting and trimming. After that, depending on the order, a final hand finishing may also be included.
On the commercial side, the guitar bodies and necks are packed in boxes on pallets, ready for delivery to their final destinations.
Copyright - Colin Knecht