Friday, February 24, 2012


Let's make this:

Out of these two boards:

I'll show you how to do this for about $15.


*UPDATE* As stated in the heading, the good people at Instructables.Com have listed this DIY as an Editor's Choice and featured it on their homepage.  Quite an honor considering the talent pool on that site.  If you have never been, I highly recommend visiting as an invaluable DIY source.

If you have guitars, you probably have guitar storage problems. I was sick of having all my guitars on floor stands.  Took up too much room.  So I went and bought a $5.00 1X6 board with the idea of routing the edges, screwing in 4 traditional guitar hangers, and mounting it on the wall.   Then I found out traditional wall hangers are about $20. Each.  That'd be an $85 minimum on this wall hanger.  I have a wife. I like her happy.  That means an $80-$90 guitar wall hanger was not an option. So, I took my 1X6, grabbed a 1X4, and went to work.

Here we go:

Materials needed:

(1) 1X4 @ 6 feet long
(1) 1X6 @ 6 feet long
(1) 3/4" X 1/2" strip of wood (this is for the front levers.  I used a scrap piece so you can really use whatever size piece you want.  This is the dimensions of the scrap piece I used.)
Wood filler or caulk (if painting)
Primer (if painting)
Sandpaper, sanding blocks or discs (ur method)
Dowel rod (I used a round pencil for a reason.  You'll see.)

Tools needed:

Router (not a must have, but you should have one for this. you can use a power sander if that's all you have)

First off, here is the sketch of my measurements (all on the 1X4 board):

4" gaps on each end for aesthetics, 16" space for the acoustic bodies, 13" space for my electric and bass, with 2" gaps between all guitars.  These measurements give me ample space for the body of each guitar , as well as a universal neck size (in my case).  I put the acoustics to the outsides (16" spaces) to give it a balanced look, but of course, you can arrange this anyway you want.

So, for these instructions I am going to assume you are making a 4-guitar wall hanger like me.  If you are only making a one or two guitar hanger, etc., just adjust your measurements to fit your needs.

On to the 4-guitar wall hanger instructions....

Lay out the above dimensions onto your 1X4, like this:

Mark a line 2 inches from the front of the board, then mark your cross sections based on the drawing above, or your own custom measurements.

Mark the center points of your guitar spaces (at 8" for the 16" acoustics, and at 6.5" for the 13" electric "slots").  Then measure 1" to each side and mark it.  This will give you the 2" width for your neck slot.  It will look like this:

Now draw those out to the original 2" line and drill two pilot holes in the corner.  Try to ride on top of your lines as close as possible with your drill bit.  If anything, stay to the inside of your marks.  If your bit goes outside your lines, then you'll end up with an unappealing rounded corner slot that is wider than your edges.  To prevent this, make a depression with your bit before you sink it.  Kind of like this:

Do that to all 4 of your neck slots.  Now drill those holes.  (NOTE: please read ahead to the recessed guitar pick slots section. I put it in pink font so you can find it easily.  If you go with the option of one board-length slot, I would recommend scoring that right now, before you jig out the squares).  Grab your jigsaw and cut out the square.  Now you're here:

Do all 4.


Now to rout the edges. This step is not mandatory but it does do several things.  First, it makes the edges look nice and pretty.  Second, it rounds the neck slot so your guitar isn't hanging on a 90 degree edge.  I did the entire front edge and into all the neck slots.  While I had the tool out, I also routed the top, front edge of my 1X6 board (you choose which side you want this to be on your board). I used my Bosch 1617evspk router (as usual, here is the link to my router) with a 3/8" roundover bit (which you can purhase/research here).  Here are the pictures of the rout job:

This is the top, front edge of the 1X6 board.

Now, let's make some recessed slots for our guitar picks.  There are MANY, many ways to do this. First, decide if you want a slot along the whole length of the board (which allows for a LOT of picks), or do you want single pick slots (which is more clean and custom looking but gives fewer picks)?  

If you want one board-length slot, here are two options (there are many more)
  1. Use a router to rout an edge along the length of the board
  2. Set your blade depth on your table saw to about 1/4" (or however deep you want your pick to sink in). Flip the board face down and feed it through.
I decided to make single pick slots, one for each guitar, and slanted them in opposite directions.  I used my plunge router and I borrowed a router bit from my neighbor (the thinnest one in his set).  Since the shelf would be up high and the recesses will not be visible, I just free-hand routed it.  Mine looked like this:


At this point, we are going to make our levers.  Again, this step is not mandatory, because your guitar will NOT fall off this wall hanger without the lever (unless it is knocked off, obviously).  I made them for two reasons:

  1.  I thought it would look nice.  
  2. The main reason - I have kids.  If they walk in my studio and hit the guitars it would fall off without the levers - hence, the whole "unless knocked off" disclaimer....
I grabbed a scrap piece of wood.  But the dimensions are given in the materials list.  I literally laid the board in front of my neck hole slot and eye-balled what I wanted it to look like Then, use your jigsaw to cut out your drawing (safety first, people).

use your first finished lever as a template.  I clamped it to an unfinished one, then used my palm sander to round each end identically.

Pilot drill holes in the end to match the size of your fastener.  I used 1" wire nails. This will let the lever move freely.


Now for the lever stops, I used an old round pencil.  Here's why:

  1. The size was perfect. With a 1/4" drill bit, the pencil knocks is so snug there is no need for glue.
  2. I used the lead in the middle to mark my center point for my holes.
  3. Under the casing, it was primed wood.  One less paint step.
  4. It was free.

Rip off the casing if it has one.  Cut (4) 1" pieces with your method of choice. Sande them smooth and set them aside until paint time.

Because this is such a small cut, I give no opinion and I will leave the method completely up to you. Whatever method you feel comfortable with. Please think safety.


There are many forms of joinery (joining two pieces of wood together) in woodworking.  I encourage you to try as many as you possibly can.  For example, I could join the hanger board to the back by pilot drilling holes and screwing through the back of the 1X6 into the 1X4.  For this project, I decided to use my Kreg Jig (you can check it out here) to make pocket holes in the bottom of my 1X4.  I made (2) holes in each section of the board.  They should be about 6-8 inches apart, but it doesn't have to be perfect.  We will join it after painting, but you can drill now.  Here's this step:


It's Prep and PrimeTime. Here's the quick and dirty to-do's:
  1. Caulk / wood fill any necessary spots. 
  2. Sand those spots even. 
  3. Prime all your wood. I put 2 coats on.
  4. Sand it again. I used 120 grit Gator sanding discs (find them at Blue store here) on my palm sander.
  5. Finish with the paint of your choice.  I used Kilz Casual Colors (this is the exact one I used). I like to apply the paint all over with a brush, then use a min-roller and dry roll it.  The paint will finish really well.
  6. Sand lightly with 220 grit (repeat 5 and 6 if necessary, but it shouldn't be).

To paint/stain the latch stops, I drilled 4 shallow holes in a scrap piece of wood and stuck the pieces in.  Paint as many times until covered well. 


Lay the 1X4 on the 1X6 and send those pocket screws home.  Make sure to keep level and square throughout.  I used (10) 1 1/4" screws.  When you're done, here's what you have:


Now let's put in your dowels.  I like to leave them out until now to make the paint much easier and look much better.  Here we go:

Lay your lever level. Use another pencil and write on the lead on the bottom of your pencil piece.  Put the pencil under your latch where you want it to catch. Now twist your pencil and it leaves your center mark for you.  All your holes will be in the spot you want, and all your latches will be level.  Nail your pencil dowels in, and put your nail/fastener of choice (1" wire nail for me) through your pilot hole on the latch.  Your latches are all done.  Here are some pictures:

Write on the lead on the bottom side
When in place, twist it onto the board, leaving you a nice centermark

Drill the hole.  I used masking tape on my drill bit to make sure I had the same depth on each hole.
Add 1" wire nail 

All done

There are myriad ways to attach this thing to the wall.  I put 1 screw into a stud, and the other 3 went into heavy-duty drywall anchors.  I would stud them all, if possible, but the spacing did not allow me to because I wanted to hide the mounting screws behind the head of the guitar.


 So, did we hit the DIYandSIMPLIFY big three?

Cool?  It's dealing with guitars.  By default, it has to be cool.

Cheap? $15 vs. $80-90.  Yep.

Easy?  Though it looks like a lot of work on a blog, it's really not that hard.

3 for 3. Give it the stamp!


  1. thats pretty bitchin. i'm gonna build one tomorrow.

    1. Do it,bro! If you have any questions I'll be happy to help. You can email me or or leave it in a new comment box again.

      When you finish it, send me a picture and I'll throw it up on the page.

      Thanks for taking a look and thanks more for leaving a comment. Good luck.

  2. The detail you put in to how to do this is amazing. Great work!

    1. Thanks, alot - I appreciate the comment. I don't like when people are teaching me something and they assume I already know stuff - so I try not to assume my visitors know anything either.

      Thanks for looking and I hope you take it on!

  3. This is a nice guitar rack, and it only took about an hour to build. Thanks for the inspiration!
    (The best part is, mine is made from 100% bits scrounged from dumpster)

  4. I'm slightly confused on how you secured the 1x4 to the 1x6
    I don't know what a pocket hole is. Any clarification is appreciated

  5. hey quick question: what kind of wood did you use (maple/oak/etc)? thanks!

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