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View Full Version : Stew Mac Guitar Kits.


lewisanderson
08-22-2007, 04:17 AM
Has anybody tried one of the Stew Mac guitar kits (either the dreadnought or the triple o)?

i'm tempted to buy one after hearing a sound file on a website, but what are they like in the flesh?

many thanks

geobass
08-22-2007, 06:07 AM
http://www.kitguitarforum.com/

There is some good info there.

mishmannah
08-22-2007, 07:23 AM
Yup, I bought a IRW/Sitka spruce dreadnought kit from Stewmac last year to try my hand at guitar building, and it was a great introduction to luthiery, as I am now building my second scratch-built guitar. (3 in all)

I am pleased with the lively tone with great projection and deep full basses and the guitar is played daily; the woods supplied are of a great quality.

Freeman
08-22-2007, 09:51 AM
I haven't built the StewMac, but I have built four others which are very similar (see my sig). The triple ought and OM12 are my go to gits - my martins and taylors don't get much play any more.

++ on the kit builders forum. The mod, Bill Cory, has just published a book (as well as an article in last months AG) - worth getting. StewMac's instructions are about the best of any kit - download the free pdf so you can see what you are getting into.

Here are mine

http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/forum/threads.php?id=125_0_6_120_C

http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/forum/threads.php?id=961_0_6_0_C

And I posted a couple of sound clips on another forum - pardon the crappy playing

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1518752&highlight=Testing

Kits are a great way to get into guitar building without a huge investment in tools, but depending on your shop you'll easily put $1000 - 1200 into your first one.

lewisanderson
08-22-2007, 10:01 AM
many thanks to all for the advice. i've decided to take the plunge and get a 000 kit. i'll keep the site posted when it's finished

Freeman
08-22-2007, 10:13 AM
Lewis, one more thought. I spent about six months preparing (ie reading everything I could) and two months building. The preparing was time well spent.

oldgeezer
08-22-2007, 11:57 PM
Not to hijack, but I have been thinking of doing this for a while. How long can the kit be stored without problems(bent sides straightening out, top or back warping, etc.)?I have been thinking about purchasing the kit and then slowly aquiring the tools to build.

lewisanderson
08-23-2007, 12:59 AM
how comparable in sound to a factory-built guitar is the finished product? a friend of mine tells me his is very similar to a Martin ooo-28vs. anyone have a ooo-28 12 fret kit that they have made? and could comment on?

many thanks

martinedwards
08-23-2007, 06:21 AM
the sound is as good as the effort you put in.

The WOOD is the same quality as the wood that alot of us home builders use.

if you were to give one of the STEWMAC kits to .....say George Lowden....it would end up as good as a Lowden.

TBman
08-23-2007, 06:43 AM
Lewis, one more thought. I spent about six months preparing (ie reading everything I could) and two months building. The preparing was time well spent.

I also bought Bill C.'s book and I'm doing the same as you did. I think it is the best approach.

One of the things that has me excited about building kits is that certain makers of the kits allow you to substitute woods, so you could build one with a cedar top for instance. (I'm saving that idea to use after I've built 2 or 3.)

Bill Cory
08-23-2007, 07:43 AM
Hi Lewis -- I've built a number of kits at this point, by different mfrs, and I still feel that the Stewmac kit is the best one to start with. The materials are as good as the other makers', and the documentation is better than the others. There is a complete review in my book, and more information on my website at www.KitGuitarManuals.com

Get into it -- kits are great fun!

Bill

archgimp
08-23-2007, 08:04 AM
I also bought Bill C.'s book and I'm doing the same as you did. I think it is the best approach.

One of the things that has me excited about building kits is that certain makers of the kits allow you to substitute woods, so you could build one with a cedar top for instance. (I'm saving that idea to use after I've built 2 or 3.)

I'm kind of curious about why you can't do this with any kit?

I have absolutely zero letherian (is that a word?) knowledge whatsoever, but after reading some of these threads I got into 'internet trail' mode following link after link and now I have an in-depth knowledge of how to french polish a guitar, as well as more than I'll ever need to know about how and where Brazilian Rosewood is sourced...

Anyway - returning to the point, one thing I don't understand completely is how the wood on the top would make a difference if you're working from a kit?

It strikes me (almost certainly incorrectly) that if I were to buy a kit, and I used the specifications/blueprints I could decide (for arguments sake) to go source myself some really pretty cedar and machine it to the correct shape, then substitute it in?

Actually as I write it down it strikes me perhaps it needs different bracing? I've no idea.

I just wish I had the space/time/ability to make my own guitar - it looks like absolutely fantastic fun, and the oppurtunities for some really wild/exciting/unique ideas are endless...

Freeman
08-23-2007, 10:10 AM
how comparable in sound to a factory-built guitar is the finished product? a friend of mine tells me his is very similar to a Martin ooo-28vs. anyone have a ooo-28 12 fret kit that they have made? and could comment on?

many thanks


That is why I posted the link to the sound clips - the first is my "000-18FK" which for all practical purpose is a long scale 12 fret triple ought in sitka over rose. I think it sounds very much like a 000-28VS - which is what I was after. It is light, responsive (I did some moderate scalloping), remarkably balanced. When I started out I was prepared for a complete disaster and I've been pleasantly surprised (played some blues on it last night in open D - its a pretty decent little slide axe)

I also bought Bill C.'s book and I'm doing the same as you did. I think it is the best approach.

One of the things that has me excited about building kits is that certain makers of the kits allow you to substitute woods, so you could build one with a cedar top for instance. (I'm saving that idea to use after I've built 2 or 3.)

Actually that is why I didn't buy StewMac - you cannot customize their kits. On the 000 I worked with Steve Kovacik to get exactly what I wanted (bling, extra nice bearclaw in the spruce, scale length, etc). Same with the 12 - John Hall and I spend many hours designing this thing - deep bodies OM, short scale, I wanted a slot but we couldn't come up with tuners. John included everything to do the style 41 inlay including the cool little teflon stripes, prebend binding, etc. He even offered me some Braz from his stash at a $400 upcharge.

The coolest thing, however, is the LMI kit wizard. Start with a basic kit and make any substitute you want. I'm currently working on the pieces for a little parlor that I want to build for my daughter. The only thing that limits your choices is your pocket book.

Lastly, I don't see any problem storing the materials as long as you observe the normal concerns about humiditiy. Might be worth making the mold early and putting the sides in it.

Victory Pete
02-05-2011, 04:48 PM
I know, old post and I am a newby. I just bought a Stew Mac Herringbone Dreadnought kit. It is sitting in my new workshop acclimating to the 50% humidity I have provided. The kit looks excellent. The neck looked a little rough to me so I called Stew and they instantly said they would ship another next day. That is service. I am going to take my time with this project. I have a 98 Martin HD-28 and I am curious to see how these two will compare.
Thanks
Victory Pete

PS How do you add images here? I see no options.