Howdy, I am in charge of a church youth group (6 11-13 year old boys).   Looking for the simplest plans possible to give them an introduction to building instruments.   

Hoping for something that can be done in 1.5 hours (by those with little to no experience and easily distracted by eachother), and under $10 each.  

I have a full suite of power tools, and a lot of experience building mandolins, guitars, fiddles, etc.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.  

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  • Do you have access to a 3D printer?

    • I don't If the message was for me.

      UPS/Kinko's have one and all you have to do is take them a print out to convert. You can also print out drawings to actual size to use as templates.

  • I just used a 10 dollar wood and metal pencil box from Walgreens to make a guitar for my Grandson.
    Having issues trying to post pics at this time, I'll try later.

  • Brian, thanks for the help on posting.   I didn't even realize it was doing that.  

    Tom and Brian.  Great suggestions! Thank you so much for your help! I'll try both of them out with my kid first and see which one goes more smoothly.   


  • Canjo? Minimal tools, minimal parts, minimal time?  Can,Stick,Tuner, String, Screws? You can even rub some oil finish in the allotted time, I’ve done it with 3rd graders in 50 min.? Easy peasy!


    • Mark, I see you’re having problems posting? Do this every time you post?


  • For a very simple 3 string design you can get away with 1 x 2 Poplar for the neck if you use lighter gauge strings. If you can get cigar boxes for free you're in good shape.

    Where the costs tend to mount up is hardware such as tuners.

    If $10 is your target price, you may want to do some costing study to see if you can get your hands on all the bits for that amount.

    1. Cigar box
    2. Neck wood
    3. Tuning machines
    4. Strings
    5. Bridge material (bolt)
    6. Nut (bolt)

    If the time scale is 1 1/2 hours, then you likely will not have time to "notch" the box for a pass-through neck. A top mounted neck is fairly simple and works well as an introductory guitar.

    You may have to do some pre-work to keep to the timetable (Like drilling for tuning machines, pre-drilling neck for attachment to box, marking location for nut and bridge bolts, marking neck to indicate fret locations, etc.)

    It's great that you want to introduce kids to building and playing instruments. Having worked with first graders on animal care projects, I know you will have your hands full.

    You may want to go online (Youtube or others) and get a fed backing tracks for the kids to play along wit. Something slower and fun.

    Visit the Gitty web site and search guitar kits and you'll fine a number of simple designs.

    Good luck

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