3D guitar build. - Jemsite
Players & Bands, Music & Sounds, Tours & Jams, Lessons & Theory! Covers everything from discussing musicians, bands, music, albums, videos, local jams & sharing multimedia links (no illegal file sharing please).

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
3D guitar build.

(Note: This started a month ago and I've been chronicling the progress on another board, a friend pointed out to my horror this morning I completely forgot to post it here and given its a JEM model, of course it should be shared here, so the previous entries will be posted now and future updates will also be posted here. If anyone has tips for a newbie to Sketchup, I would really appreciate them! Take everything as past tense right up to the last bit about hardware modelling, that's where I'm up to today)

Let's build a guitar, digitally! Nope, not 3D printing this, just practicing some 3D modelling. I've ventured back into this world after minimal previous experience (dicked around in C4D for a few days then ran way in fear about seven years ago) and decided to stick with it this time. A quick back story, I've temporarily moved jobs and am helping out in a different office for a few weeks, some 3d modelling experience is desired and I was advised to get my head around Sketchup as its what most of team use.

I played around with it and loved how user friendly it seemed at first. However, the object I chose to model for my serious bit of practice during lunch breaks and free time at home has shown to me that Sketchup is severely limited in what it can do. Compound Curves are out of the question unless there's an entire afternoon free to spend manually stitching broken geometry together, even the vast extension library has only taken me so far before having to go back in and find ways to, 'trick' Sketchup into given me the results I wanted. I've been building a model of a guitar as it was kind of related to the work I'm doing and given the varying lines of the body shape it seemed like a good thing to use for Sketchup practice.

The good. Actually got the hardest part out of the way and have a fairly accurate body shape. Colleagues seem to be pleased with the progress and most of the other components I've yet to do are much easier to work with.

The bad. ****ING HELL COMPOUND CURVES. If it ain't a block or a perfect cylinder, Sketchup will just break. While I've found ways to trick the program into given me the desired outcome. Its resulted in a huge time sink at home, and the model itself has crazy hidden geometry. Small changes are now causing the program to run incredibly sluggish. Either my approach to modelling in Sketchup is wrong and there are simpler ways to carry out these tasks in the program, or I've pushed it to its limits. I find the latter to be highly unlikely given the Architects in the office are constructing entire buildings with complex plumbing and electrical grids in Sketchup, but my little guitar body is causing the same machines to nearly have a heart attack.

So with that out of the way, this is thread to chronicle and observe if building an accurate 3D model of a guitar can be done (yes) in a basic, easy to dive into without any prior experience (kinda) software. I did post the first screenshots in the, "What made you smile today?" thread and since then, have found a few more ways to attempt compound curves with less geometry required, which firstly will make texture mapping a lot easier, but in the meantime I'm going to stick with the body I've already finished.

I'll be updating the thread with screenshots as I go and if anyone has Sketchup questions I'll try my best to answer them with the limited but slowly expanding knowledge I have.

The original model with some shots of the broken hidden geometry.

One of the guys I'm working with showed me a great (FREE) rendering program called Kerkythea. We build a little staging area in Sketchup, duplicated the body and posed both components and set about rendering to see if the dodgy geometry would cause problems in rendering. Thankfully, it turned out fine.

Note: To get the measurements exact, I found some blueprints for a JEM from a priavte luthier after a bit of googling. Any measurements not present on the plans (A few of them just had a note saying, "Cut to luthiers desired measurement) meant I had to sit with my guitar and micrometer, measuring out various spaces.

Next up: Pickups!
Cathedral is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Somebody order a pickup?

Pickups complete and dropped into the body.

Couldn't find plans for an Edge Pro II bridge anywhere. The one thing Google doesn't have it seems, so I took the bridge out of my JEM and ripped the thing apart so I could get accurate dimensions with a micrometer.

Cathedral is offline  
post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Building the bridge so far... I may have underestimated how easy this bit would be. :/

Bridge is coming along... taking an age. D:

And after a month of shouting at Sketchup, watching tutorials, and many failed experiments, we have an Edge Pro II built!

Interesting note: Its funny how taking something apart and studying it can answer questions you didn't really have. For example, I had a panic moment yesterday morning when it looked like I'd got something a fraction of a millimetre out and thought I'd have to start the whole thing over again, (It was that bad a problem). I measured everything up again to find the error and found that nope, there's a actually a slight problem with my physical Edge Pro II. The saddle for my High E isn't quite milled correctly, and so it sits slightly off, which explains a few things with intonation and tuning problems I've had with this bridge. Surprising how I'd never have found out what exactly was going on there unless I'd started this project.


Also, clean geometry! With that figured out I realised I could actually get the body to be less broken, so the next step is actually to quickly rebuild the body with much cleaner geometry, which will help with rendering and sooth my OCD tendencies. It will have to be from scratch but I can transport the previous body's cavities over to the new one to speed things up.

Managed to clean up the guitar body with smoother, less bat**** crazy geometry in Sketchup.

Cathedral is offline  
post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Hardware's goin' in boys...

Edit: Good lord the one on the right looks so... mad :[

Oh uh... the model. I rebuilt the body in a less stupid way and now have much cleaner geometry, here's a comparison of a before and after. Even though the first one rendered ok, cleaner geometry will make the rendering easier, stop bugging me, and make image mapping for a potential swirl (If I'm nuts enough) render.

Why yes I do have CDO. (OCD spelled alphabetically, as it should be.)

I realised after taking these screenshots the pickguard isn't quite right. The pickup cavities on the guard should be smaller and hug the pickups a little more, and screw holes for the pickups need cutting. So that's the first job for tomorrow, followed by Lion's claw routing for the bridge cavity.

Embarrassing note: I totally ****ed up the bridge! See that earlier picture of my Edge Pro II (real one) in pieces on my desk with a variety of tools beside it? The extra not so necessary tool, a glass of Whiskey, makes for very interesting micrometer readings. Always read from the left. Don't read from the left for half the model, then start reading from the right after drinking too much, it evidently results in squidgy faced string saddles and a ridiculously huge trem block that's too big for the cavity. I had to do some emergency scaling to get the damn thing to fit in the body, and the cavity needed widening just to get it to look right. Learning experience for next time I guess. Or better yet, buy a digital micrometer so I can still enjoy a dram and get precise measurements!
Cathedral is offline  
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 2,878
Reviews: 4
Re: 3D guitar build.

Great job!!! That stuff is too hard for me.
fwd0120 is offline  
post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Thankyou! A friend commented on the CDO/OCD thing and said if I really had that I'd model the wiring, solder blobs.

I'm crazy, not ****ing insane. So no that's not happening.

(on this model)
Cathedral is offline  
post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2014, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Yorkshire,UK
Posts: 1,823
Re: 3D guitar build.

Great stuff !
Zoot is offline  
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Norfolk - UK
Posts: 557
Re: 3D guitar build.

This is just tremendous...
robbiano is offline  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Thankyou very much! Only a small update today. A quick Kerkythea test render, no textures for this I just wanted to make sure it would render ok in Kerkythea.

Cathedral is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 05:52 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 30
Re: 3D guitar build.

That is impressive work. As a mechanical engineer who has worked with Creo, Solidworks, NX, and Rhino, I commend you. Sketch up must have come a long way since I used it long ago, or you are using it in creative ways.
ice9mike is offline  
post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Sup bambinos, no I didn't forget about this project. Here's a Kerkythea render of the project so far. Using all available sixteen threads for rendering to speed up the process and then deciding to play FarCry 3 at the same time turned out to be a really dumb idea... :/

Click for BIG

ice9mike: Thanks man, the core program is still fairly basic but there's some very good plugins out there which can turn it into a fairly advanced piece of software. I've found Fredo's round edges plugin made this project much, much easier for me in terms of getting nice bevels, and a fix edges tool which highlights broken geometry that might not be seen unless working at a very close view.
Cathedral is offline  
post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 229
Re: 3D guitar build.

Crap, just realised the tone control needs moving. D:
Cathedral is offline  
post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1
Re: 3D guitar build.

I know this is a really old post, but would you perhaps still have the measurements (preferably in cm) for the bridge? I can't find them anywhere and I don't have one handy to measure it
Gonzo_VF is offline  

digital , drunk , ibanez , jem , sketchup

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Jemsite forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address

IMPORTANT: You will be required to activate your account so please ensure that your email address is correct.

If you do not receive your activation check your spam folder before using the CONTACT US form (at the bottom right of each page).

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New SG guitar build ryang All Other Guitars (including Prestige) 45 02-19-2012 09:42 PM
guitar build problem *help* addictedtojane Off-topic / Miscellaneous 4 04-12-2011 01:35 PM
This is how NOT to build a guitar. Rotti Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods 30 05-02-2007 06:30 AM
Just What Happens when you build your own guitar? Mark_A_Barnett Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 24 11-07-2002 05:10 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome