How to make an electric guitar

@SteveCarmichael did this video on how to make an electric guitar with an X-Carve. When he did it I had never seen one made on an X-Carve before. I’ve now personally talked to over a dozen people and discovered through our after sale check out survey that there are over 200 luthiers that bought the X-Carve to make guitars.

Here’s a couple from @ChrisMonck over at Highline Guitars

There are a bunch of musicians that work here at Inventables. A few of them started talking about how a guitar made on an X-Carve would sound. I’m not a guitar player even though I’m a metal head. Yes you heard it here first I like heavy metal music and specifically Metallica albums that were released PRIOR to August 12, 1991. I know a bunch of you probably hate that type of music. When I was on my first date with my wife I asked her what type of music she likes. She says “everything except heavy metal…what kind of music do you like” I say “heavy metal”. I find out years later she thought I was kidding. Now she knows. Anyway I will say that Hardwired and Spit out the bone are pretty good. I can’t complain about a little Dillinger Escape Plan but quite frankly I’m not digging the screaming but I do like the guitar riffs.

Long story short this video was taken the day we got to film at the Chicago Music Exchange. The guitar being played was made by Chris on the X-Carve.

Has anyone else on the forum made guitars? If so do you have pictures?


I have made 2 bodies (next one I plan to make the neck also).

Having the use of a CNC makes the pocketing/neck pocket process much easier than templates and routing.

I’ll be starting another here to work on though the winter.


Hey hey @BlairHarp those look NICE. Did you use acrylic on those front plates?

The pick guards are ones I already had around - but you could very easily make them (I would use a v-bit) to get the chamfered edge. Acrylic or un-cut pick guard material would work.

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I made guitar router templates on the machine lol does that count

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It’s one thing to like heavy metal music, but it’s so cool to strum a heavy metal chord on a guitar you made yourself.

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Do you buy the pickup and other parts or make those too?

When I bought my X-carve, a buddy had asked me if I could make a guitar, I told him I have no idea… looks like the answer is yes… just would need to figure out how now. lol. They look great!

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Here are a couple I am working on currently and my first B-bender Tele. Love my XC!


What kind of wood is that @Bill_LeachI love that grain pattern.

That is flame maple, I use that quite a bit, quilted maple too

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Do the different woods sound different when the guitar is played?

It would if the guitar was a solid piece of maple or alder, mohogany ect. But this one has a 1/4” maple top with a cherry back and i feel the combination make a specific tone if you will, and then other players would say you have to have ears of a dog to tell the difference. It’s a pretty interesting discussion
About wood and what tone they make…,if any.

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You all are amazing. This will be my next learning project and I will use select pine, cheap if I make mistakes. Now what should be the thickness and can I glue up (2) 3/4 bds?

Most Fender style bodies are planed down to 1.75". Lowes sells 5/4 pine boards that you can then glue up and end up with that dimension. Otherwise a 1.5" body is on the thin side unless you use a shallower switch. Gibson Sg’s are about 1-3/8" thick and that switch would work and possibly the import 3 way box switches. A regular good quality tele or strat style switch requires a control cavity that is 1.5" deep if you don’t want to crush the solder terminals and wires.

This German website has a lot of good drawings.

I have mahogany boards I want to turn into Guitars. Just having issues getting setup to do so.

Hey Martin question about the guitar plans from this German website. I am new to CNC guitar building so forgive me lol, but how do you take a PDF drawing and convert it into a file that the X-carve can cut?

I use Rhino 3d. It will open a pdf. Then I save it as a DXF file. I use CAMbam to generate Gcode from DXF format drawings, but there are other CAM programs that will do that as well. Once the gcode is made, I use the universal Gcode sender to cut out the parts.

There are other graphic programs that should be able to do the same kind of thing. You just need to investigate what file types they use.

I just recalibrated the x carve machine the other day and made a walnut fretboard. It has a 12" radius and Gibson scale and drilled for .25" dots. I use a Dremel v bit as a scribe to mark the slot positions and then go and saw them on my stewmac slotting system. The dot holes are hard to see in the picture, but they are there.

I’ve been making this model in a few iterations lately on my x carve and my other cnc router. I wanted to try something with all off the shelf parts but with its own identity.

Adobe Illustrator will do this also, yes?

I think so…but I don’t use photoshop so I can’t say for sure. There are pdf to dxf converters online if you google them too.