Design Preview Report – Wood Carved Electric Guitar

In this design preview report, I will embark on the ambitious journey of crafting a wooden electric guitar from scratch, adorned with intricate wooden carvings to evoke a natural aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of guitar craftsmanship and the beauty of nature, this project seeks to harmoniously blend artistry and functionality. Drawing inspiration from the intricate carvings adorning Viking longboats, this project seeks to infuse elements of Norse craftsmanship and mythology into the design of the wooden electric guitar. The ornate motifs found on Viking ships, such as intertwining knots, fierce animals, and mythological figures, serve as a rich source of inspiration for the intricate wooden embellishments adorning the instrument. Just as Viking artisans transformed simple wood into breathtaking works of art, the carving process for this guitar will aim to evoke the same sense of awe and reverence for the natural world. By paying homage to the rich heritage of Viking boat carvings, this project not only celebrates craftsmanship but also connects the instrument to a timeless cultural legacy, imbuing it with a sense of history and storytelling.

Project Overview: The main project entails the creation of a bespoke electric guitar entirely crafted from wood, including the body, neck, and fretboard. Embracing a natural aesthetic, the guitar will feature hand-carved wooden embellishments inspired by elements of the natural world, such as leaves, vines, and abstract patterns. Following this the neck of the guitar will be shaped like the head of a Viking ship

1. Vision and Specifications: The vision for this project is to create a one-of-a-kind instrument that not only delivers exceptional sound quality but also captivates with its organic and creative beauty. Specifications include selecting high-quality tone woods for resonance, designing ergonomic contours for player comfort, and incorporating sustainable practices in material sourcing. I am currently still trying to decide the type of wood as hard wood is typical for electric guitars although soft wood may be easier to carve.



2. Design Inspiration: Inspiration is drawn from traditional luthiery techniques, as well as the intricate woodcarvings found in nature-inspired art forms such as folk art, botanical illustrations, and old Viking carvings. Existing guitar designs serve as references for structural integrity and ergonomic considerations, while the carving motifs are envisioned to elevate the instrument to a work of art.

3. Design Process: Initial sketches captured conceptual ideas for the guitar’s shape, contours, and carving motifs, evolving through iterations to refine proportions and aesthetics. CAD drawings translated these concepts into precise measurements and specifications, facilitating the fabrication process and ensuring structural integrity. I am currently interested in the Axis EVH body type for this project.

4. Prototyping and Fabrication: Prototyping involves experimenting with different wood species, grain patterns, and carving techniques to achieve the desired aesthetic and acoustic properties. Fabrication will encompass woodworking for shaping the body and neck, carving for intricate embellishments, and assembly of electronic components for sound production.

5. Timeline Graphic: The timeline graphic outlines the sequential phases of the design and fabrication process, from material acquisition and prototyping to final assembly and testing. Each phase is allocated time for exploration, skill acquisition, fabrication, and documentation, with contingency plans in place for unforeseen challenges.


March 15th – March 20th:

  • Research and finalize the selection of tonewoods, considering factors such as resonance, aesthetics, and sustainability.
  • Order tonewoods and necessary materials from reputable suppliers, ensuring timely delivery.

March 21st – March 25th:

  • Receive and inspect materials upon arrival to ensure quality and suitability for the project.
  • Begin rough shaping of the guitar body and neck, using rough templates and woodworking tools.

March 26th – March 31st:

  • Refine shaping of the body and neck to achieve desired contours and dimensions, paying attention to ergonomic considerations.
  • Commence carving of wooden embellishments, starting with rough outlines and gradually adding detail.

April 1st – April 5th:

  • Continue carving process, refining intricate details and ensuring consistency in design motifs.
  • Prepare fretboard and fret slots, ensuring precision and accuracy for optimal playability.

April 6th – April 10th:

  • Assemble electronic components, including pickups, wiring harness, and hardware.
  • Fit neck to body, ensuring proper alignment and stability, and begin final assembly of the guitar.

April 11th – April 15th:

  • Complete final assembly of the guitar, including attaching hardware, installing electronics, and adjusting action and intonation.
  • Conduct initial testing and setup to ensure functionality and playability.

April 16th – April 20th:

  • Perform final adjustments and refinements based on testing and feedback, ensuring optimal sound quality and performance.
  • Complete finishing touches, such as applying protective sealant or lacquer to enhance durability and aesthetics.
  • Document the fabrication process, including photographs and notes, for documentation and future reference.

In conclusion, this design preview report provides a glimpse into the intricate craftsmanship and creative vision behind the creation of a wooden electric guitar adorned with naturalistic carvings and the steps needed to take in order for me to complete it. Through dedication to craftsmanship and reverence for nature, this project endeavors to resonate not only through its melodic tones but also through its timeless beauty and artistic expression.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Matthew Osborn
    May 8, 2024 4:44 am

    Hey Kyle, your project is really cool, and I’m impressed with the Viking theme you’re going for. It sounds ambitious and I think that if it works out it will turn out really cool! I think it would be a cool skill to learn or say you’ve learned. I’m excited to see how this turns out.

  • Brandon Phillips
    March 16, 2024 12:54 pm

    Hey Kyle, this sounds like an awesome project and I love the Viking aesthetic you’re going for, especially replicating those Viking boat heads. What tools are you planning to use to carve out this guitar/have you ever done any wood carving before? I am not experienced in electric guitars, but you mentioned the quality of the wood can affect the sound produced, by using a soft wood that would be easier to carve does this sacrifice the quality of the sound? Will the guitar be made of one solid piece of wood, or will the body and head be made separately and then put together? It seems like you’ve thought this out and have a great path forward, so I’m excited to see this come together.


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