Introduction: Building the FM3
Building a guitar is a personal journey, with lots of ups and downs. I decided to build a new guitar in 2001 after I bought a very nice Delta drill press on sale. A router and drill press are indispensable tools for a guitarmaker/luthier, so it was time to take the plunge yet again.
My guitar mentor, Jim Grainger at Custom Fretted Instruments in Sparta, Tennessee always said the best way to learn how to build a guitar is to build a guitar. I decided to build the new one completely from mahogany, and put it together with hide glue -- does Gibson do that? Jim and I had a long conversation one day about hide glue, and I was very curious to see if it did affect the tone of an electric guitar. Bottom line -- it does.
Planning is everything when starting a project like this one, and I wanted to make sure that I broke the process into separate, identified steps. This actually worked out very well, much like planning a military operation. Jim beat one thing into me -- ensure that you do your absolute best on each step. View the project as completely discrete operations and it will go much, much better.
So, with a box full of mahogany and a "bunch" of parts from StewMac.com, I started the FM3 odyssey. Check each step -- you may find something interesting.
Please Note: This is not a comprehensive "how to" feature; rather, it is an overview that provides some "lessons learned" as well as "this is how I did it" food for thought for aspiring guitar builders.