Back to bassics

Senior works on building a custom bass guitar in Advanced Finish Carpentry


Photo by Connor Robb

Photo of senior Owen Berreth holding the neck of his guitar And the prototype for the guitar body working to make sure the final version is correct. “ We had to Make a prototype of the final body to make sure Everything was right because it's something that You only get one chance,” Berreth said. “And I can always use The prototype as just something cool to put on my wall once I’m done.”

Connor Robb, Staff Reporter

Working to finish his project as the semester comes to a close, senior Owen Berreth has had a chance no other students have experienced: to spend his semester in Advanced Finish Carpentry building a bass guitar. While many would not see the complexity of a build such as this, it requires complex detail and precision, planned out by Berreth during Carpentry. 

During the class, students can make all kinds of projects including tables, chairs and cabinets. When people think of what is possible with wood, many students first instinct would not be a guitar. Berreth who has spent numerous years learning and perfecting the guitar decided that it was in his possibility and took on the challenge no other students have had in the history of this class.

Photo by Connor Robb
Photo of senior Owen Berreth working to build the neck of his guitar Berreth cut two pieces placing them together with the truss rod to give the guitar Stability and insure it will not warp and continue to be playable. “You want the truss rod To give the guitar support,” Berreth said. “Its what keeps the guitar together so you can get the right curvature on the board because it’s one of the most precise pieces.”

Berreth’s process is very detailed and has a lot of steps. From the neck to the body of the guitar, every piece needs to be made and put together.

“It’s a lot of pieces put together you have to make,” Berreth said. “I routered the neck out of the middle to put a truss rod and add support, place the fretboard on top, cut holes for the string toners and programmed the guitar head putting it together with all those steps it’s something that’s pretty easy to mess up.”

Seeing other people’s custom guitars, Berreth decided it would be cool to have one of his own. He spent weeks before and during class to prepare and layout his build for the guitar. One of the problems with having such a unique project is he had to gather all the information himself while for most students, carpentry teacher Charles Lambert knew what students might be able to do. He was unaware of what might be possible for a project as unique as Berreth’s.

  “I think it’s harder just because of how precise everything needs to be in order to work”.

Lambert said. “His project is very creative as It’s out of the box and not your usual piece of furniture. It’s something he has passion in.”

Many students were also interested in Berreth’s project asking for details on his project like his plan for the guitar and how he was going to make it. Many advanced students making furniture projects were impressed to see another student make such an in-depth project.

“I don’t think anyone has done anything like this before,” junior Logan Curran said. “It takes a lot of hard work and he’s pretty good at carpentry. He really knows what he’s doing in the class and he is doing something that I know I couldn’t do. It’s completely different from what everyone else in the class has been working on.”

Guitar is a major part of Berreth’s life. With this project taking so much time and requiring a vast amount of work to accomplish he hopes he can look back on his experiences building and playing guitar as he moves toward adulthood.

“Bass has become part of my day to day lifestyle,” Berreth said about his history with guitar. “For right now it’s something I hope to be able to play and can look back and see once I’m in college. 

The experience Berreth has gathered during his time building a guitar is one he will remember. The hours and time he has spent working hard has allowed him to gain more skills and learn more about what he loves. Combining his two largest hobbies, carpentry and music he has been able to create something that completely encompasses both in the best way allowing him to make something that he loves.