The Best DIY Guitar Kits - Electric - All Under $250

DIY Electric Guitar Kits

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Gone are the days when you have to build custom guitars from wooden planks, now crafting personalized instruments is as easy as following instructions and assembling a kit. Here we look at the best DIY guitar kits available in the market, based on the most recent ratings and reviews data up to April 2020.

The top rated kits we feature here cover the most popular guitar shapes and configurations, so you can have a wide choice in terms of style. So unlike Brian May and his dad, who built the iconic "Red Special" guitar from wooden tables, you get the convenience of ordering a good quality guitar kit that you like online, and assemble or customize it as you see fit.

The Best DIY Electric Guitar Kits

Pyle-Pro PGEKT18 S-Style DIY Electric Guitar Kit

77
GEARANK

77 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
Pyle-Pro PGEKT18

The Pyle-Pro PGEKT18 is a DIY guitar kit that follows after the venerable Stratocaster, allowing you to custom build your own instrument without spending very much at all.

There's nothing out of the ordinary with this kit, but it does include everything you need to build the guitar, including the basswood double cutaway body, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fingerboard and a set of hardware/electronics.

All you have to do is bring your creative side to the building process and given the price, it may require some patience and research. Note that the included pickups are colored white, matching the pickups to the knobs.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 5/10
  • Body: Strat Style
  • Tonewood: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple Bolt-on
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood with Dot Inlays
  • Pickups: Three Single Coil Pickups (White)
  • Controls: 5-Way Pickup Switch, Volume Knob, 2 x Tone Knob

Pros
While there are differences in opinion with regard to its quality, many agree that it is good enough for the money. The customizable headstock gets a lot of thumbs up, as well as the quality of the neck wood.

Cons
There were a few who had issues with the hardware, specifically the nut, but most were happy with the result.

Overall
The Pyle-Pro PGEKT18 is a good starting point for future luthiers and hobbyists alike.

No Name ST-WH Strat Style DIY Electric Guitar Kit

83
GEARANK

83 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
No Name ST-WH Super Strat Style DIY Electric Guitar Kit

This is a DIY Strat style guitar that does away with any branding, so it can be had for really cheap.

All the parts needed to build the kit are included in the package, most notable of which is its unpolished double cutaway okoume wood Strat body. The neck is crafted from maple, and the fingerboard is described as composite ebony. While there are no specs given to look at, reviews describe it as having a thin profile. It comes pre-drilled for easy mounting of hardware and neck joint.

The pickguard comes prewired with the pickups and controls, making this an easy straight build, and it also comes with all essential hardware including a Strat style tremolo bridge and tuners.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 5/10
  • Body: Strat
  • Tonewood: Okoume
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Composite Ebony
  • Pickups: SSS (Three Single Coils)
  • Controls: Volume, 2 x Tone, 5-way Switch

Pros
For something so affordable, this DIY kit has exceeded the expectations of many, especially with the quality of the wood used. The simplicity of assembling, thanks to good pre-drilling and cavities, are also often praised. The neck in particular is well received for having a thin comfortable profile, and the frets are also described as surprisingly well setup for the price.

Cons
While many are content with the included hardware, there are some who recommend replacing the tuners to prevent annoying tuning problems. Swapping out the electronics is also suggested by some to get the most out of its good wood quality.

Overall
If you're looking for an affordable and easy to build starter guitar kit, then this is for you.

Saga TC-10 DIY Electric Guitar Kit

84
GEARANK

84 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$160
Saga TC-10

The Saga TC-10 is a DIY guitar based on the Telecaster. This particular model lets you easily assemble the guitar straight away, because the company has done much of the drilling and routing work for you. This way you can focus on customization.

The TC-10 features a solid basswood body with a single-cutaway shape, with most of the routing ready for assembly. The same applies to its solid maple neck, which features an Indian rosewood fingerboard.

Note that the headstock comes in a blank form, so you can route it to your desired shape.

Other features include electronics that require no soldering (well it is still best to check if they need to be re-soldered), nickel plated hardware and it also comes with strings and a guitar cable.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 7/10
  • Body: Single-cutaway Telecaster Style
  • Tonewood: Basswood
  • Neck: Solid Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: SS (Two Singlecoils)
  • Controls: Tone, Volume, 3-Way Pickup selector

Pros
Most of those who are new to guitar building describe the Saga TC-10 as a good starter kit. They report that it is very easy to build if you go for its default configuration. Experienced builders comment that it's fun to personalize. Wood quality and routing get a lot of commendations.

Cons
There are a few who complain about neck alignment issues at the joint, but this can be remedied by those with more experience. To make the most out of this guitar, some users recommend swapping out the pickups and tuners.

Overall
Build your own personalized Tele style guitar with the Saga TC-10.

Saga ST-10 DIY Electric Guitar Kit

75
GEARANK

75 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$170
Saga ST-10

The ST-10 DIY is a Stratocaster style DIY guitar kit from Saga. It comes with everything you need to build the guitar, from its pre-drilled basswood body to the maple neck, along with all the required hardware. It even comes with a guitar cable bundled along with the strings.

The body included in this kit comes with a flamed maple veneer for added aesthetic value, while the neck has a rosewood fretboard.

The included hardware is ready to mount to pre-drilled holes, and the electronic components are already pre-wired on the pickguard.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 5/10
  • Body: Stratocaster
  • Tonewood: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: SSS (Three Singlecoils)
  • Controls: Volujme, 2 x Tone, 5-way Pickup Selector

Pros
Many owners of this kit are pleased with the overall quality of the wood used. The routings also get a lot of thumbs up, making the build easy and straightforward. The overall impression of those who built this kit is that it is fun way to learn how to piece together a guitar. The guitar's pre-sealed finish is also appreciated by those who prefer solid color finishes.

Cons
Speaking of finish, there are a few who are not too happy with the pre-sealing. The usual complaints about hardware are present, mostly pointing to the tuners.

Overall
The Saga ST-10 is a decent Stratocaster DIY kit for those who want a body that's already pre-sealed for easy finish application.

TheFretWire Singlecut Semi Hollow DIY Electric Guitar Kit

75
GEARANK

75 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$185
TheFretWire DIY Electric Guitar Kit - SemiHollow LP

The single cutaway shape of this DIY Guitar Kit is a nod to the iconic Les Paul. But as the label suggests, this one has a semi-hollow body, also made more obvious by the pre-routed F-holes on the body. It is a bit more difficult to install electronics in a hollow body guitar, to prevent the wires from showing up on the F-holes, but it is still doable.

The guitar's body is crafted from basswood, with extra visual flair courtesy of the quilted maple veneer on the top.

The set-in neck is crafted from maple, and is topped by a rosewood fingerboard.

All components needed are bundled with this kit, including the bridge/tailpiece, tuner, pickups and other electronic components.

Note that the wood is raw and unfinished so it will require sanding and patching before applying your preferred finish.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 9/10
  • Body: Single-cutaway Semi-Hollow Les Paul Style
  • Tonewood: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: HH (Two Humbuckers)
  • Controls: 2 Tone, 2 Volume, 3-Way Pickup Selector

Pros
Most of the kudos point to wood quality, which many describe as excellent and great looking. Most of the owners love the overall appeal of the kit when put together, even with its default configuration.

Cons
Some raised concerns about hardware quality, a common theme among affordable DIY kits. Others complain about the fretwork quality.

Overall
Ever wanted to have your own signature Les Paul style guitar, and a semi-hollow one at that? Then check out the FretWire Singlecut Semi-Hollow DIY

StewMac S-Style Electric Guitar Kit

81
GEARANK

81 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$205
StewMac S-Style Electric Guitar Kit

Here's another Strat style kit, this time from StewMac, one of the most prominent brands when it comes to DIY guitar kits. Like other Strat style kits, this one is aimed at beginners who want to start with something easy to build.

What makes this one different is the use of mahogany for the body, which is a departure from the usual alder or basswood body used on Strats. The body comes pre-drilled for parts to fit in, including the neck joint for the guitar's maple neck to easily be bolted into.

The headstock is not prerouted to shape, which gives you more leeway to customize it to your preference.

Other hardware includes tuners, bridge and tremolo bar, pre-wired pickguard, guitar cable, and it even comes with 2 sets of strings.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 5/10
  • Body: Stratocaster
  • Tonewood: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Pickups: SSS (Three Singlecoils)
  • Controls: Volume, 2 x Tone, 5-way Pickup Selector

Pros
Most of the positive comments about this kit point to the quality of the wood. Second to that is the precision of the pre-drilled holes, making for a very easy build. Fret work and neck profile also gets commended.

Cons
Complaints are due to the usual DIY guitar kit issues, missing parts, and bad tuning pegs.

Overall
With StewMac's reputation for good quality, this is a DIY guitar kit that you will surely appreciate.

TheFretWire DIY Electric Guitar Kit 175 - Jazz Style

80
GEARANK

80 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$205
TheFretWire DIY Electric Guitar Kit 175 - Jazz Style

As the name implies, TheFretWire DIY 175 kit is based on the popular ES-175 hollow body guitar, following its shape and configuration, but using more cost effective materials. More importantly, it lets you customize your own archtop as you prefer - you can make it into a classic jazz box, or add some cool paint jobs to turn it into a rockabilly style instrument.

The body is pre-drilled and crafted from basswood, while the maple neck is meant to be glued into the neck joint, something that requires a bit of care and precision.

Because of its hollow body design, installing electronics can be a bit of a challenge, but very doable as attested to by reviews.

Note that wood is raw and unfinished, so you'll need a bit more sanding and patching before you paint on it.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 8/10
  • Body: Hollow Body ES-175 Style
  • Tonewood: Basswood (Hollow Body)
  • Neck: Set-in Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: HH (Two Humbuckers)
  • Controls: Volume 1, Volume 2, Tone 1, Tone 2, 3-Way Pickup Selector

Pros
Even with its harder than usual build requirements, those who have built this kit mostly have nice things to say about it. Many of them are impressed with the precision of the neck joint, while others are happy with the overall quality of the wood and hardware.

Cons
Experienced builders recommend utilizing better wires and replacing the pickups to get the best result.

Overall
If you're looking to customize or build your own hollow body electric guitar, then check out the TFW (TheFretWire) DIY 175.

Saga LC-10 DIY Electric Guitar Kit

75
GEARANK

75 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$250
Saga LC-10

Here is another DIY guitar kit that uses the iconic Les Paul as its base. The Saga LC-10 features a single-cutaway body crafted from basswood that's pre-routed for easy assembly.

The top of the body has a flamed maple veneer to give it a more premium appeal, especially when paired with transparent or semi-transparent finishes.

The neck is crafted from maple and already has a rosewood fingerboard. The headstock follows a default boxy shape, but it can be re-shaped to your preferred style.

All essential components for assembly come with the package, including two humbucker pickups, tuners, bridge and tailpiece, as well as all internal electronic components, knobs and pickup switch.

Features:

  • Building Difficulty: 6/10
  • Body: Single-cutaway Semi-Hollow Les Paul Style
  • Tonewood: Solid Basswood
  • Neck: Solid Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: HH (Two Humbuckers)
  • Controls: 2 Tone, 2 Volume, 3-Way Pickup Selector

Pros
Ease of build is a recurring theme among reviews, with many saying that building this guitar is a fun experience. Still the most commended feature of the Saga LC-10 is its value for money. There are also plenty of positive comments regarding wood quality.

Cons
While others find it fun to build, there are some who have the exact opposite experience. There are a few complaints about the neck joint and fingerboard roughness.

Overall
If you're looking for an easy to build electric guitar kit, then check out the Saga LC-10.

Things to Consider When Buying a DIY Guitar Kit

  • Style/Profile

    The whole point of having a DIY guitar kit is to build a guitar that you like, so make sure that you get one with your preferred shape and profile. Kits with classic guitar body shapes are the safest choice, as evidenced by their continued popularity in the market. But you don't have to limit yourself with just the familiar, spend time looking at other designs to see if you're missing out on something cooler, something that better matches your personality.

  • Wood Quality and Parts Alignment

    While we did our best to pick only top-rated kits, we know that in our less-than-ideal world, things can and will go wrong. So it is imperative to check wood quality and the alignment of the pre-drilled holes. It is the first thing to do if you have just received your DIY guitar kit from an online retailer.

  • Build Difficulty

    Compared to building something from scratch, the kits listed here are relatively easy to work with. Still, there are some that require more patience and experience, like those with set-necks and hollow bodies. On the flipside, there are kits that make life easier for you with their no-soldering required electronics and bolt-on necks. It is recommended that beginners go for easier builds, but with so much information available in the internet age, it should not hinder you from getting what you really want - just make sure to be patient and do your homework.

  • Tools

    Before taking the plunge, make sure that you have the necessary tools to build the guitar of your dreams. Most kits will require you to have screwdrivers, pliers and soldering iron for the assembly process. While others require more, like wood glue, bandsaw and other wood routing tools. Once you've decided on the finish, you'll also have to get finishing tools like sandpaper, wood sealant, primer, paint and more. It is also recommended to have a dedicated room or space for you to work on, a nice working table will also make work a bit more easier.

  • Upgrade Options

    No matter how we try to dodge the reality of mass production, at the end of the day, you will get what you pay for. So it is best to consider possible hardware upgrade options that will improve tone and playability. Most reviewers got great results by swapping out the bundled pickups, while others have opted to replace the tuners and nut.

DIY Electric Guitar Kit Selection Methodology

This guide was first published on July 19, 2017 and the latest major update was published on April 3, 2020 written by Alexander Briones.

At the onset, we decided to stick to DIY electric guitar kits that can be bought from online retailers based in the USA, to ensure that the ones we recommend are accessible. We then took note of popular and highly rated kits, which required us to gather nearly 800 relevant user and expert reviews and ratings, including the most recent ones up to April of 2020. All these data were then fed into the Gearank algorithm, which gave us the scores that allowed us to narrow down the list to just the top kits. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

So, these kits cost the same

So, these kits cost the same as an entry-level Ibanez. Would a new entry-level Ibanez Gio have better neck & fret quality than these cheap kits? Would the Ibanez have better tuners and pickups? You see, I'm not sure if I'm paying for the privilege to assemble a guitar, or saving money by assembling myself. The first would mean the Ibanez is better. The second would mean the kit is better. Thanks to COVID I can't go to my local music store and look at an Ibanez Gio myself :(

If you're buying a kit then

If you're buying a kit then the presumption I think, is that you have a little know how with some hand tools. Being able to construct, setup and finish your own piece is highly satisfying! It really has nothing to do with making a cheap purchase and comparing a/b. I buy parts and put guitars together all the time with various degrees of success but boy is it fun!!

I actually just bought a Gio.

I actually just bought a Gio. Specifically a GRG7221QA (7-string). Paid £194. And surprisingly its pretty well made. The body/neck fit is is excellent and the body feels solid and the neck is sublime (typical Ibanez). It's let down by awful pickups and pots. I put in some Dimarzio D-activators and CTS pots and boy oh boy, this guitar can now sing and scream like guitars four times the price. I'd like to build a kit one day and I figure that if the wood is up to spec then I can slap in some quality pickups and have an amazing guitar. The Gio is a lot less work though...

Guitar kits are best thought

Guitar kits can be thought of as a way to have a lot of fun putting your own personalized guitar together, where quality is in no small part up to you, rather than as a way to save money.

If this doesn't seem like a fun DIY project for you, then you're probably better off going with an Ibanez GIO GRX20Z, which is an excellent choice that last year we announced was the Highest Rated Solidbody Electric Guitar Under $200.

Kit guitars are the way to go

Kit guitars are the way to go today. Build to your preference and to your standards. Like, feel love music and equipment.

For reviews and building tips

For reviews and building tips I suggest the you-tube channel Guns and Guitars. He's built quite a few kits and also shows how to make some helpful tools that can save a few bucks.

Can u get the amino flying v

Can u get the amino flying v kit with block inlays in the neck and is it set neck or bolt on? Thank u..

It seems that the Ammoon

It seems that the Ammoon Flying V kit is sold out - I had a look around but couldn't find any Flying V kits that are available at the moment.

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