The importance of having a great set of guitar building plans cannot be emphasized enough. Visualize your guitar plan as the road map, your sense or direction or your primary guitar building tool that is your teacher in guiding you through this endeavor.
This is of special importance to the luthier just starting out. If you use your guitar plan as an outline of the steps in the process to reach the desired destination, you are on the right track.
What You Should Look For in a Quality Guitar Building Plan:
The primary step is of course selection of the guitar type. This would be an acoustic guitar, classical guitar or electric guitar. So that is rather basic.
The second step begins to depart into many sub-categories such as:
For the Acoustic Guitar:
Guitar Body Shape
Top and Back Bracing Patterns
Guitar Body Size
For the Classical Guitar:
Body Size Including Depth
Top Bracing Pattern
For the Electric Guitar:
Body Type Hollow Body, Solid Body or Semi-Hollow Body:
Number of Pickups
Next, you should evaluate how much detail there is in the plan such as:
Dimensions: Make sure that everything is dimensioned appropriately and very thoroughly. If both US and Metric measurements are included, that is a real benefit for you.
Notations: Every piece and part should be carefully noted in exhaustive detail. Leaving areas up to the desgression of the budding guitar maker is often a recipe for mistakes and or misteps that will require a certain amount of reworking.
Sections: Are there sections through the guitar body and neck? There should be, and these should all be noted and dimensioned thoroughly as well.
Brace Layouts: The plans should not only show the bracing on the guitar top and back, the braces should be diagramed and documented with top and side views and they should be in a patterned format so they can be applied to the brace wood as a template cutout.
Templates: Are there template diagrams available? Template can be real time-savers and if you make your templates out of plexiglas or lexan, you will have them for life. You should have access to brace locations, headpiece layouts, fret spacing diagrams, side contour templates and more.
Lastly, the plans should show a real intent and passion that the author exhibits for guitar building. Are the plans a work of art in and of themselves, which is in keeping with the entire guitar creation process