What do you need to build a guitar? Here is a basic list of the tools you will need. Tools that made this list are tools that I use on every build OR tools that I have used in the past until I replace them with more expensive tools. 

I use far more than 5 tools, but we can break them down into 5 categories. I'm sure we could find a youtube video of Ben Crowe from Crimson Guitars doing a 36-hour build using only a 1-inch gouge. 

The exact combination of tools will be highly influenced by budget and preference. Some have a preference for handtools, others prefer CNC machines, others prefer power tools, while yet others prefer only bladed tools. You even bump into those wacky people that will take a random orbit sander with 40 grit paper to a log.

Something to cut straight

  1. Table Saw - I love my table saw, most of the time it functions as my workbench and far too often it functions as a shelf to hold, ... well, everything. 
  2. As I think about it, there is not much else for tools that are primarily designed to cut straight.  Yes, a bandsaw can be set up to rip or resaw, but in my experience, you need a very good ($$$) saw to do this well.

Check out part 2 of this list to see what tools top the list for Something to cut curves.

*In full disclosure, a table saw is the tool I use the most. Sometimes I use it as a bench other times as a shelf to hold tools that I will use soon. The exact table saw I use is an old cast-iron Craftsman that my Grandfather used. I have since rebuilt the fence and a few other parts.