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CCOG for CADD 110 Winter 2022

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Course Number:
CADD 110
Course Title:
STEM Electric Guitar Build
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides the opportunity to build and assemble an electric guitar from a kit using the methodologies from NSF funded STEM Guitarbuilding.org program. Introduces electronics theories and mathematics for electric guitar functionality. Incorporates painting, assembly, setting-up, determining allowable tolerances, and testing of a functional electric guitar with custom design elements. Recommended: CAD and hand tool skills.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Identify  the major components of an electric guitar and describe their function.

  • Construct a bill of materials used to source, cost, and assemble an electric guitar.

  • Use various hand tools, power tools, and soldering equipment to assemble electric guitar components including the body to neck, seating of frets, electronics, wiring, tuning machines, and installing fasteners.

  • Perform electric guitar setup activities including the installation of strings, neck tuning, intonation, and making string height adjustments.

  • Explain how design elements, tolerances, and part features may affect the manufacture, assembly, and playability of an electric guitar.

  • Use CAD at an introductory level to design a custom guitar headstock.

  • Recognize and apply good fabrication practices and safe shop skills to build, assemble, and setup an electric guitar.

  • Verify an electric guitar is in tune.

Course Activities and Design

  • Complete assignments, projects, quiz problems, and class activities requiring demonstration of sanding, finishing (including swirl dipping), assembly, setup and tuning an electric guitar.

  • Using diagrams, actual examples and CAD models, students will learn and demonstrate the major components of an electric guitar and associated functionality.

  • Construct a bill of material by listing all of the parts used in the electric guitar and using internet resources to cost out each of the components.

  • Participate in lectures involving demonstrations for using various tools and shop equipment to assemble and finish guitar parts. Each lecture is followed by a lab with instructor assisting students in reaching their assigned goals for the lab session including, but not limited to: body to neck assembly, electronics soldering and wiring, tuning machines, seating and dressing frets, installing various fasteners, etc.

  • Receive hands on demonstration on each step to string, setup, intonate an electric guitar. Each student will perform these activities on their own guitar for playability.  

  • Assist in performing a tolerance stack analysis of a guitar neck to body system. Using the guitar string length as basis, show how intonation can be achieved within the manufacturing tolerances specified for the process. Verify the kit parts are in tolerance and will lead to a functional and playable guitar.

  • Using the extra material left on the headstock kits, students will create their own custom headstock design using CAD to design this custom headstock shape. The design is then printed and used as a template for cutting and sanding operations.

  • Participate in, and contribute to, class discussions and activities.

  • Take all scheduled examinations and quizzes. Complete all weekly lab assignments.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Graded homework

  • Quizzes

  • Lab activities and projects

  • Personal reflection assignments

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Problem solving

  • Effective communication

  • Critical thinking

  • Design aesthetics

  • Economic analysis and component selection

  • Design for manufacturability and assembly using CAD

  • Manufacturing processes and application to product design


  • Use of hand tools, such as files, sanders, screw drivers, straight edges, painting tools, power tools, etc.  Following and practicing associated safety protocols.

  • Mechanical design and assembly

  • Soldering, electronics assembly and debugging

  • Use of proper precision, application and nomenclature for assigning proper measurement to manufactured parts and assemblies