Great Guitar Build Off 2020 part 1

Ben Crowe at Crimson Guitars has recently instigated the Great Guitar Build Off, wherein he and a few other well-known YouTubers are competing to build the best – or at least the most liked – guitar that they can. The guitars will be raffled for charity, and lots of channel cross-fertilisation will ensue. You can check out the website at

They have also opened up a subsidiary competition for unofficial challengers….and that’s where I come in! There are prizes on offer for the top three guitars, although I have no pretensions that I will get to that stage. It’s all about the taking part – that, and annoying Ben by giving him a lot of work because so many people are taking part!

The main challenge is based on Crimson kit guitars, and that option is available to the unofficial challengers too. However, I decided to start from scratch…..or perhaps I should say, from scraps. My concept is based on a patchwork body, made from offcuts of previous builds and various other scraps or small pieces of wood. Here’s a pile of said scraps, some of which are going into the body!

That looks just like a guitar body in waiting, doesn’t it? No?

So as you can see, I’m not making life easy for myself. At least it’s given me something to do with the first, failed neck from the chess guitar, which you can see already cut into three pieces in that picture.

The top of the guitar is also going to be made from odds and ends. I found a few pieces of wood that could be cut into strips that were 20 mm wide, 10 mm thick and of different lengths – you can see the first pieces below, together with a teaser of my rough drawing of the body shape.

The drawing is hidden, but the shape will be unusual.

I cut these strips up, and arranged them over the drawing in a sort of parquet pattern. These are all being glued together, but here’s a picture of the pieces as they were laid out before gluing.

The woods that I used are ebony, padauk, purpleheart, ovangkol, bubinga, panga panga and silky oak. As of now (Wednesday 26 August), I’ve almost glued the top together and I’m working on the body, but that’s proving to more difficult than I had anticipated….it’s still possible that I’ll have to abandon the patchwork body and just make a regular one.

I haven’t yet started on the neck, and I don’t have hardware yet although I’m making enquiries for some cool stuff. I’m inclined to make this a headless guitar but it’s not easy to get hold of headless hardware.

More pictures will follow on here, and I will be posting videos on my YouTube channel. For the most up-to-date pictures, follow me on Instagram (jonathan.oakey) where I regularly post photos.

Continue to Page 2 or go to the page of GGBO Videos