Pilot Course: Guitar Design With Inkscape

Inkscape and physical guitar

In this course, I will teach you how to use Inkscape, a powerful drawing software, to plan, design and create full-size guitar plans for printing and building.

You will be able to:

  • ... plan, design and create your own custom guitar plans (including headstock)
  • ... modify existing guitar designs to express your own unique ideas
  • ... quickly draft and evolve design ideas in software instead of paper and pencil
  • ... take your plans directly to a CNC machine

You won't need to spend money on expensive software, Inkscape is a full-featured, easy to learn (with this course), and best of all, it's FREE!

The Days Of Paper & Pencil Are Gone

When I first started to design and build guitars, I used pencil and paper to make full-size plans.

Then I started to use Adobe Photoshop, and for me, it worked so much better than paper and pencil. I could plan, design and modify as much as I wanted and then print the guitar in full size.

On one hand, Photoshop was much better than paper and pencil, but on the other, it's a pixel-based software and is not ideal for guitar planning and design. Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based software, is a much better alternative for this task. However, Adobe Illustrator is costly!

Planning and designing of project 1
The old days of planning and designing the guitar on paper.


Enter Inkscape

Inkscape is an open-source Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) editor very similar to Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. However, unlike these other tools, Inkscape is free!

Don’t let the word “free” fool you, Inkscape is a full-featured software and it runs on PC, Mac and Linux.

Tracing a Schecter guitar body. The opacity of the guitar is reduced. The path is selected.

Inkscape is a great software for 2D drawing and I use it all the time to design guitars.

Guitar design should be a fun and creative project, the software should not stand in the way of creativity, it should facilitate it.

The future of guitar design is by software.

Introducing The Pilot Course: Guitar Design With Inkscape

This course will enable you to become proficient with Inkscape to the point of creating a full-size plan from scratch.

I will teach you to:

  • become proficient with Inkscape for the purposes of guitar design
  • trace and modify any guitar from photos
  • easily modify your designs (make changes to any part of the guitar easily by extending, scaling, twisting, straightening, curving, elongating, etc.)
  • create a database of guitar design elements and parts (body shapes, fingerboards, headstock, bridge, pickups, etc.)
  • create hybrid designs (combine different elements from different guitars into one)
  • design and create fretboard inlays
  • print it only when your design is ready (using a regular printer on multiple sheets)
  • prepare files for CNC machining, (e.g. with Easel)


Here's a draft course outline (click on the "+" signs to see the content):

Part I - Introduction To Inkscape

  • Introduction and orientation to Inkscape
  • Tools for guitar design and how to use them
    • selection tool (F1, escape)
    • simple shapes with the rectangle and circle tools
    • Bezier curves tool
    • edit path (F2)
    • measurement tool (M)
    • text
    • guides
  • Pallets and how to use them
    • layers pallet
      • add, delete, re-order, nest, rename, move object to layer, duplicate, etc.
    • fill and stroke pallet
      • color palette (fill vs. line)
    • align and distribute
  • Other useful commands and actions
    • group/ungroup
    • move
    • document properties
    • import/export PNG
    • duplicate Ctrl+D
    • select All in a layer
    • show/hide guides
    • snap controls
    • clip and mask
    • transform tools
    • selection sets
  • Exercises
    • reinforce what was learned with exercises

Part II - Guitar Design Strategies Within Inkscape

  • draw the scale length
  • using fret2find
  • import a pdf
  • import an image
  • scale to correct proportions
  • hide pars of an image
  • use simple geometries as references
  • measure and guides as a synergistic combination
  • trace a body shape
  • modify a body shape
  • save and re-use guitar parts
  • importing "inspirations" into your design
  • planning for weight relief
  • ... and more

Part III - Guitar Design From Start To Finish

  • design a full guitar from scratch (e.g. Telecaster or Les Paul)

Part IV - Finish

  • printing considerations
  • a few things to consider before importing into a CNC software like Easel


What Is A Pilot Course?

Why is it called a "pilot" course? Because this course has not yet been created.

I'm searching for a handful of interested people who are willing to participate in the creation of this course with me, in effect co-creating the course.

That's why it's called a "pilot". If the pilot has enough interest and is successful, then I will then create the full course based on the feedback from the pilot.

Since I'm still figuring out how to best teach this topic, you will get a big discount from the full cost of the course. Co-creation also means that you provide feedback along the way to make the course better. In return, I will be available to answer your specific questions.

Is this pilot course right for you?

  1. If you want to become proficient at using Inkscape to design electric guitars
  2. You understand that you are participating in a pilot course and you're willing to provide feedback along the way

If you are happy with these two points, then click on the Buy Now button below to register. The pilot course fee is only $7 usd.


Frequently Asked Questions

How will this pilot course be structured and delivered

I plan to make short, digestible-size lessons in video format that can be viewed from any computer. The private links to the videos will be shared with you. I will release videos on a regular basis and your feedback, if any, in the form of comments or questions, will be requested.

I expect to release the lessons over a 2-3 week period but you can pace the lessons to your liking.

How many people will be enrolled in this pilot course

To be able to manage lesson creations and case-by-case feedback, I would like to get 5 to 10 students enrolled in this pilot course.

Why isn't the pilot course free?

A free course would enroll too many people that may not necessarily be interested in this course. Since I can only take a handful of students, a small fee will guarantee that only those very interested enroll.

How much will the final course cost

Although I haven't decided on the price of the final course, it will be significantly higher than the cost of this pilot.

Of course, as a co-creator, you will have the opportunity to buy the full course at a much discounted price.

What cannot be done with Inkscape and this course?

Inkscape is a 2D drawing software. This means that you cannot design a guitar in 3D and perform 3D manipulations. Using Inkscape is the equivalent of drawing on paper but with all the benefits of digital software.

To get an idea of what Inkscape can do, check out this video I made about 16 months ago.


6 thoughts on “Pilot Course: Guitar Design With Inkscape

    1. Hello Robert, I’m about to close down the registration for this pilot course so if you’re interested in joining, please do it very soon.


  1. Hi. This course would be the exact thing i need right now, but it looks to me that you’re no longer running it? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Hakon,
      It’s not currently available but I have not forgotten about this project and it will be revived eventually… but I don’t know when. The best thing to do is to join the Project Electric Guitar Facebook group and when the course becomes available, I will announce it there.
      Take care, Araz

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