Working on DIY projects can be fun, challenging, and highly rewarding, especially working towards building products that you will use regularly. A classic example of this is build-your-own guitar kits, coming with all the necessary components you need to build your own guitar at home. Many brands provide such kits, but one of my personal favorites has to be Fretwire.
The best thing about Fretwire is that it sells so many different kinds of guitar kits – from standard electric guitars to 7-strings and even steel lap guitars, they provide all sorts of options, and whilst I love this, it’s also overwhelming. I’ve bought a couple of Fretwire kits for myself and as gifts for people, so I’ve already gone through the research process, and I’m here to share what I learned with you today.
Whether you’re already a guitar kit enthusiast or you’ve never heard of them before, read on to find out more about the best Fretwire guitar kits, what you should look out for, along with some of my recommendations.
Bottom Line Up Front: Fretwire produces a large range of fantastic DIY guitar building kits, with a range of products that is very affordable and customizable depending on needs. One of the best value-for-money Fretwire kits is easily the Double Neck Lap Steel kit, but if you’re looking for something more conventional, the classic 3 Pickups Style Electric Guitar Kit will do just fine.
What are Fretwire Guitar Kits?
Fretwire is an online retailer that sells DIY kits for electric and bass guitars, as well as selling guitar parts, tools, and accessories. Its guitar kits are very popular and when compared to the price of pre-built guitars, they are great ways to save money on a guitar. These kits come with everything you need to build a guitar, and I’m not talking about raw materials.
Everything is ready to be assembled, such as a pre-cut guitar body, preassembled neck, and a ton of components that you’ll need to fit together with the tools provided. This means you won’t have to do any complex tasks such as carpentry – this can all be done without power tools, although sometimes not all tools will be provided in kits.
In addition to the components, the kit also comes with a detailed instructions guide. Many people online have also made video tutorials of the assembly of these guitars, which I found to be particularly useful when working on one with my nephew. There’s no denying that these guitars are a challenge to assemble, but with careful instruction following, I think most people will have no major problems with these guitar kits.
Perhaps the best thing about Fretwire’s range of guitar kits is the variety. Unlike many guitar kit providers that have simple kits for electric guitars, Fretwire has identified a gap in the market and produces kits for bass guitars, 7-string guitars, left-handed guitars, and more! It’s great to see this variety – Fretwire truly does have a kit for everybody.
Should You Consider Buying a Fretwire Guitar Kit?
You should now have a decent understanding of what a Fretwire guitar kit is, but is this something that you should be getting yourself involved with? This is a good question – building your own guitar is a very different experience from buying one prebuilt, so you should take a moment to think whether this is the right thing for you.
The first thing that you should ask yourself is whether you enjoy DIY projects. I have never been very good with fiddly arts and crafts, and I must have forgotten this when I purchased my first Fretwire guitar kit. Whilst I didn’t have any problems assembling the guitar, it was fiddly and frustrating for me – these kinds of things just aren’t my cup of tea.
I was proud of the guitar that I produced, but I probably wouldn’t do it again. On the other hand, I have a friend who is slowly making his way through all the Fretwire kits – he’s addicted to building them! This just goes to show that guitar kits are not for everyone, but if you love hands-on projects, it could be an absolute dream!
Another thing to consider is your guitar experience level. In my opinion, if you have never played the guitar before, you shouldn’t consider getting a guitar build kit just yet. The reason for this is that you should always learn to play the guitar on an instrument that has been professionally built.
This will ensure that you are learning with a standardized instrument, not one that you potentially messed up during the building process. Learning the guitar is hard enough without having to learn how to build one too, so if you’re a
Perhaps you are not interested in DIY projects and are perfectly happy with your current guitar collection. Even if this is the case, I would still recommend that you give one of these guitar kits a go. It may not be enjoyable to you, but building a guitar gives you valuable first-hand experience in how guitars fit together.
This can have a very positive impact on your guitar journey, helping you to understand how to fix certain problems that you may encounter, or how to begin modifying your guitar with upgraded components. DIY isn’t for everyone, but if you’re serious about the guitar, it’s a wise idea to get acquainted with its components.
Overall, I would say that unless you have a strong aversion toward DIY projects, Fretwire guitar kits are well worth checking out. The one major exception is if you are buying this with the plan of learning to play the guitar right away.
This project could be tough and you might not get to play the guitar for a while, and even then, you should always learn to play the guitar on a professionally built instrument.
What to Consider when Buying a Fretwire Guitar Kit
Right, let’s get down to business – what should you be looking out for when you are buying a Fretwire guitar kit? As I mentioned earlier, they sell a lot of different kits, so it’s a good idea to go in there knowing what you’re looking for. Let’s break this down into four key sections – budget, special requirements, difficulty, and reviews.
The first thing that I think you should consider when purchasing a Fretwire guitar kit is your budget. Take a look at what they’ve got available, and you’ll notice that the price of different kits varies significantly. This is due to different kits having different features and components, with fancy bodies fetching a higher price and more basic models being cheaper.
Now, if you’re confident in your DIY skills, I would go ahead and go for whatever budget fits you, unless you’re tight on cash of course. However, if you are unsure about whether you are going to have the skills to complete this project, I would recommend going for a cheaper model.
I’m sure you’ll manage to complete a build even if you need to get some help from a friend, but it’s smarter to spend less on a DIY kit like this if you are unsure you will enjoy it. You could always try a more expensive model later if it turns out you have a passion for it.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that buying a cheaper model gives you a bigger budget for modifying and customizing your guitar. Don’t spend too much on a kit only to discover that you don’t have enough cash left over to apply a finish!
One of the best things about Fretwire’s range of guitar kits is that it is hugely varied. Unlike other brands I’ve found selling guitar kits, Fretwire doesn’t limit itself to a standard electric guitar kit. It sells bass guitar kits, 7-string guitar kits, left-handed options, the lot! It even sells unorthodox guitar kits such as double-neck lap steel guitars! For this reason, you should never be deterred because you don’t think guitar kits meet your needs because Fretwire probably has an option for you!
Considering this is a DIY project, I think it’s a good idea to get a bit creative with your building, especially if you’re looking for a challenge. Why build a basic electric guitar when you could be the proud owner of a brand new 7-string guitar? Why not add some versatility to your guitar collection with a lap steel? It’s a great opportunity to experiment.
Luckily, these kinds of features don’t come at much of an additional cost. The cheapest options are around $150 with more specialist kits being at around $300, so I’m sure you’ll find something affordable.
If you’re confident with the basics of DIY already, you probably won’t need to worry too much about this point. However, if you’re new to DIY kits, you should consider the difficulty of each Fretwire guitar kit you look at. There’s no easy option here with all kits being completely unassembled, but there are certainly ones that are easier than others.
For example, the standard bass guitar kit or electric guitar kits will have fewer features than say, a 7-string guitar or a double-neck lap steel guitar. If you’re concerned about the difficulty of this project, it’s probably worth taking a step back and picking something simple.
Another wise idea is to investigate whether there are video tutorials online for a product before you buy it. I’ll talk about this more in a moment, but watching someone walk you through the building process can be an absolute game-changer, but such videos don’t exist for every product.
If you’re concerned about the difficulty of a product, make sure there is plenty of online resources about it, and if so then you’re good to go!
Reviews and Videos
The final thing that I think everyone should do when buying a Fretwire guitar kit is to read the reviews. Now, reading reviews online is a great way to find out if a product is dodgy and if people have had negative experiences, but thankfully you won’t have to worry about that here. Fretwire has an excellent reputation for selling high-quality guitar kits, and you can verify this both through reading the reviews on its online store, as well as other online resellers.
However, I think reading the reviews for these kits is a very smart idea as it gives you an idea of what to expect from the building process. Pick any guitar kit on Fretwire’s store and read the reviews, and you’ll come across obstacles or other comments that past customers have left. Doing this will help you avoid encountering anything unexpected, helping you to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
You could even watch an online video review of one of Fretwire’s guitar kits – this will allow you to see the full unboxing and assembly of one of their guitars, giving you second-hand experience in the building of a guitar.
If it looks too difficult in the video then it might be worth avoiding, but it will probably just get you excited for the building process!
My Top 4 Fretwire Guitar Kit Recommendations
We’ve covered just about everything I have to say about Fretwire guitar kits, that is except for my product recommendations. I’ve only bought a couple of Fretwire guitar kits, but there are a few more on my radar and I’d like to share them with you.
If nothing else, I hope that they will help provide you with some inspiration!
I’ve decided to start things off with a budget option for anyone a bit strapped for cash – the ST Style Electric Guitar Kit. This is the cheapest option on Fretwire’s website, providing you with everything you need to build a Stratocaster-style basic electric guitar.
Despite the cheap price, this kit still comes with all the tools you will need, including a guitar cable which I think is very generous of them. The body also features unique hollowed-out Paulownia wood, which both looks cool and makes the guitar ultra-lightweight.
There’s no denying that the unique body design is going to result in a guitar that is not as resonant as other models – after all, the amount of resonant points within the guitar is going to be greatly reduced due to its hollow points. However, it’s a quirky instrument and at such a low price, I think it’s a must-have in any guitar collection.
- Highly unique hollowed-out body design
- It’s appearance would stand out in any guitar collection
- Everything you need to build an electric guitar, including a guitar cable!
- Seriously cheap price for what you get
- Features fairly low-quality components, which is understandable considering the price
- The body design is pretty weird, and not everyone is going to like the look of it
- The hollowed-out body design also limits resonance within the guitar body
Moving on from the wacky yet unique basic electric guitar model, this next recommendation is only $50 more expensive but it features much more orthodox electric guitar components. Instead of the wacky hollowed-out body, this guitar features a classic precut body made from mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard and neck. Whilst they’re obviously going to be lesser cuts of the wood, that’s still an impressive pair of tonewoods for such a cheap guitar kit.
I think this is a particularly good guitar for customizing – its classic and minimal body will work with just about any finish, and I encourage you to get creative with this. It’s a great opportunity to own a guitar that you will always know that no one else owns.
Whilst it’s not the cheapest option in the catalog, it’s ideal for anyone looking to pay a little extra to have the full resonance of a standard electric guitar body.
- Features a classic mahogany pre-cut body, without any resonance-limiting hollow sections
- Mahogany body with a rosewood neck and fingerboard, which is pretty impressive for the price
- Ideal for customizing with your own finish
- Excellent value for money
- It’s not got any fancy bells or whistles, it’s just a standard electric guitar
- Whilst the instrument does feature rosewood and mahogany, the cuts of wood are on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of quality
It wouldn’t be fair if I left you out, left-handed guitarists, would it? That is one of the main reasons why I have featured the Hollow Body Lefty Style Electric Guitar Kit. However, that’s not the only reason – Fretwire has gone above and beyond with this kit to make sure the lefties aren’t missing out, with a fancy hollow body design that looks much like a Gretsch.
The body of this guitar is made from basswood with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, and it looks gorgeous when assembled. Perhaps my favorite thing about it is that there is no need for you to apply a finish to it, as the finished product looks good enough as it is!
Unfortunately, this is only sold as a left-handed model as I’m sure we righties would like to give it a go too. However, I also think it’s admirable when a brand gives an exclusive product to left-handed guitarists.
- An excellent option for any left-handed guitarists looking for a DIY project
- A stound-out hollow Gretsch-style body
- Features a basswood body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard
- Exclusive to left-handed models
- One of the most expensive Fretwire kits
- Not everyone likes hollow guitar bodies
- Only available in left-handed
This simply wouldn’t be a list of Fretwire’s best guitar kits if I didn’t include the 7 String Electric Guitar Kit. I bought this recently and was a huge fan of this kit, even if I struggled longer than I probably should have with it.
It features a body and component set designed for 7-strings, which I was super excited about as I had never had the opportunity to buy a 7-string guitar before. I find that pre-built 7-strings are often quite expensive, so to find a kit that would help me save money on this was ideal.
Amazingly, this kit features a pre-cut Alder body, with Alder being one of the best and most balanced tonewoods for guitar luthiers to use. It also features a maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. This tonewood profile is pretty insane for such a low price, I’ve never seen Alder in another guitar kit.
Overall, despite being one of the most expensive products in Fretwire’s catalog, I think this is well worth the cash considering the tonewood profile and of course, the seventh string.
- It’s a kit designed for building a 7-string guitar, enough said!
- The body is made from Alder, one of the most balanced tonewoods on the market
- Alder matched with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard
- Seriously good value considering the tonewoods
- One of the most expensive Fretwire guitar kits
- More is not always better, with many people disliking the feel of 7-string guitars
To finish things off in style, I wanted to provide one rather unique suggestion – the DIY Electric Guitar Kit – Double Neck Lap Steel Build Your Own. Not only does this kit provide the components and instructions to build your own lap steel guitar, but it’s a double-neck build! This is a highly unorthodox musical instrument, but if you’ve ever seen someone use a single-neck lap steel guitar, you’ll quickly realize the huge potential this instrument has.
You could play chords with only one hand and solo on the other, an ability that can’t be provided with anything else other than a double-neck electric. Furthermore, the price is well under $200 which is amazing considering the uniqueness of this instrument. If you’re looking for something to freshen up your guitar collection, look no further!
- It’s a double neck lap steel guitar kit, what else needs to be said?!
- A very cheap price considering how unique the instrument is
- Double neck lap steel guitars facilitate two-handed performance, much like a piano
- The perfect kit to freshen up your instrument collection with
Sheesh, that sure was a lot of information to cover. To break things down a bit, let’s go through some of the most commonly asked questions that I encounter about Fretwire guitar kits. There’ll be no new information covered here as we don’t want information overload – just a summary.
Answer: Fretwire guitar kits are kits of components and tools which can be assembled to create a fully functional guitar, coming in a variety of different configurations.
Answer: Whilst building a Fretwire guitar is not going to be easy, you will not require any power tools, carpentry skills, or anything like that – all of the tools and information you need will be included in the kit.
Answer: Fretwire offers too many guitar kits to list, but different types of kits include standard electric guitars, 7-strings, basses, left-handed guitars, and even double-neck lap steel guitars.
Thanks for reading this guide to the best Fretwire guitar kits – I hope you learned a lot from it, these are truly fantastic guitar kits and I think it’s important to know what to look for when making a purchase.
My personal favorite would have to be the DIY Electric Guitar Kit – Double Neck Lap Steel Build Your Own due to how unique it is, especially considering the price.
However, I get that this isn’t for everyone, and for an excellent value-for-money stand electric guitar, it’s got to be the 3 Pickups Style Electric Guitar Kit.
Good luck on your journey, and don’t forget to plan by watching some online guitar kit assembly videos. I guarantee that they’ll make the process a lot smoother!
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