Making a Mini Firebird

Inspired by a guitar forum challenge to modify a guitar I decided to make my Granddaughter a Firebird based around a Harley Benton mini strat from which I’d use just the neck. I chose a left-handed guitar as the donor so that my guitar would have a reverse headstock. I carved the headstock to have a Firebird style rebate and refretted in Jescar Evo gold fretwire.

Carved headstock

I made the body from meranti which is a very light wood with properties similar to mahogany and used a CNC Shopbot to make the body which comprised three parts butt jointed and glued.

Using the offcuts as cauls to clamp

I glued the neck in.

Once the meranti was grain filled, I primed and sprayed using a specially mixed colour close to Gibson’s Heather Mist Poly.

The pickguard was made on a laser-cutter which etched the Firebird logo and I assembled using gold plated hardware. I even strung it using Optima 24ct gold plated strings for extra bling.

Laser etched pickguard
The completed Firebird

13 Comments on “Making a Mini Firebird”

    • Thanks for asking but I wouldn’t make another. This was a labour of love for my granddaughter!

  1. Hi Steve,

    Great build on the mini Firebird.
    I’m on with a Firebird and also have a lefty Strat neck. I’ve been pondering putting a carve in the headstock to more closely mimic the ‘real thing’ and wondered what tooling you used to create the carve on yours.
    I’m guessing at a router and template?

  2. Brilliant creativity, Steve. What a fortunate Granddaughter! Was it a surprise or did she follow along as you worked yer magic?

    I’m a Blues & Blues-Rock guitarist who’s done a bit of customizing woodwork & refinishing on just two guitars over the years. So I appreciate more the range of skills…and metrics!… a fine luthier must have to do what you’ve done here.

    BTW, I’m a former Mancunian, 1968 and 69 at University of Manchester. I lived on Oxford Road between the Moss Side and the Eye Hospital. I’ve stayed in touch with me mates and will return for a visit this July. They now live one in Oxford and the other in Ballycastle, County Mayo. But if I happen to get to Manchester, I’d love to drop by your shop.

    Doug Pratt

      • Oh the reaction! What was that like?

        And in what neighborhood is your shop?


        • I think nonplussed is the right word. I bought her a keyboard too which she much prefers.

          My address is on my contacts page but I don’t have a shop in the British sense of the word.

          • Yes, I see you on the map. A bit SouthWest of my old neighborhood. I did volunteer work at Rusholme Junior Training Centre, closer to you and about as close as I ever came to your area of Manchester.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *