Laser Engraved Guitar: How to Customize Your Guitar

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In the realm of musical craftsmanship lies a unique blend of tradition and technology - Laser Engraved Guitars. This guide is your roadmap to carving intricate designs on guitars, exploring every aspect from inception to completion. Join us on this enlightening journey together, exploring the art of laser-engraved guitars step by step.

Can you engrave a guitar?

Yes, you can engrave a guitar! Engraving guitars entails using a high-powered laser beam to meticulously etch designs, patterns, or text onto the wooden surface of the instrument. This process allows for personalization and customization, adding a unique touch to your guitar.

Types of Materials You Could Engrave

Wood: The most common material for guitar bodies and necks. Different types of wood, such as walnut, ash, and ebony, react differently to laser engraving, affecting the depth and clarity of the design. Each type of wood features distinct grain patterns and densities,  which can influence the final appearance of the engraved design.

Metal: Used for certain components like the bridge or tuning pegs. Laser engraving on metal can add a sleek, professional look. Metals such as aluminum, brass, and stainless steel can be engraved to produce intricate designs that enhance the overall aesthetics of the guitar.

Plastic: Often used for pickguards or inlays. Laser engraving can add detailed designs to these components without compromising their functionality. Materials such as acrylic and ABS can be precisely engraved, enabling the creation of custom graphics and logos.

What Kind of Laser Engraver Could Engrave a Guitar?

When it comes to engraving guitars, the choice of laser engraver is crucial for achieving precise and high-quality results. Two primary types of laser engraving machines are particularly suitable for this task: diode laser engraving machines and CO2 laser engraving machines. Each type offers its own advantages and considerations.

Diode Laser Engraving Machine

Diode laser engraving machines are a popular choice for guitar engraving, especially for home and small-scale projects. These machines use semiconductor diodes as the laser source and offer several benefits:

Portability and Convenience: Diode lasers are typically compact and lightweight, making them easy to set up and move around. This portability is perfect for hobbyists or small workshops where space might be limited.

Cost-Effectiveness: Diode laser engravers are generally more affordable than CO2 lasers, making them accessible to a broader range of users. This makes them a great choice for those looking to start laser engraving without a significant upfront investment.

Precision: Despite their lower cost, diode lasers can achieve high precision, making them suitable for detailed and intricate designs on guitar bodies. They can engrave fine lines and small text with clarity.

Although the diode has the advantage of small size, due to the use of lenses to focus the beam, the engraving area is more limited and is not suitable for large-area cutting.

At the same time, the diode engraving machine within the laser tube's service life is relatively short, the maintenance cost is relatively high. 

Next, let's examine the characteristics of the CO2 laser tube.

CO2 Laser Engraving Machine

CO2 laser engraving machines are an excellent option for guitar engraving, particularly for larger-scale or more demanding projects. These machines use a gas mixture (primarily CO2) as the laser source and offer several advantages:

High Power and Versatility: CO2 lasers are known for their high power output, allowing them to engrave various materials, including wood, plastic, leather, and more. This versatility is advantageous when working with various guitar components.

Speed and Efficiency: CO2 lasers can operate at high speeds, making them suitable for larger production runs or more extensive engraving projects. This efficiency can save time and increase productivity, especially in professional settings.

Depth and Quality: CO2 lasers can achieve greater engraving depths compared to diode lasers, which can be advantageous for certain designs and effects. The quality of the engraving is also typically very high, with smooth and clean lines.

Fiber Laser Engraver for Guitar Engraving

Fiber laser engraving machines represent a specialized category particularly suited for engraving on metal surfaces, making them an ideal choice for metal guitars. Here are some of the key attributes and benefits of using a fiber laser engraver for guitar customization:

Material Compatibility: Fiber lasers are highly effective for marking and engraving metals, including steel, aluminum, and precious metals. This capability makes them perfect for metal guitar bodies where precision and durability are essential.

High Precision and Resolution: Fiber lasers produce a very fine laser beam, resulting in exceptionally detailed engravings. This high level of precision is ideal for creating intricate designs and detailed artwork on guitar surfaces, allowing for customization down to minute details.

Long Lifespan and Low Maintenance: One of the significant advantages of fiber laser engravers is their long operational lifespan. Unlike diode lasers, fiber lasers require minimal maintenance, which reduces ongoing costs and increases reliability. 

In summary, for guitar bodies made of wood or plastic, a CO2 laser engraver is the ideal choice. For metal guitar bodies, a fiber laser engraver is the preferred option.

The Best CO2 Laser Engraver for Guitar Engraving: OMTech AF2435-80

A top recommendation for a CO2 laser engraver is the OMTech AF2435-80 80W CO2 Laser Engraver.

You don't have to worry about a CO2 engraver that won't fit in the body of a guitar. It features a 24” x 35” worked, and this CO2 Laser Engraver is adjustable for machine height and has a 4-way pass-through feature. 

This feature enables you to handle pieces significantly larger than the bed size by continuously sliding them through during the process. This means you can easily accommodate the entire guitar body, making it ideal for intricate and extensive engraving projects.

Laser Engrave Guitar within 5 Steps

Choose Your Material and Laser Engraver

Start by selecting the right material for your engraving project, typically a wooden guitar body, as wood offers excellent acoustic properties and engraves well. Ensure the material is laser-safe to avoid any potential hazards. Next, choose a suitable CO2 laser engraver for wood guitar body. 

Prepare Your Design

Using graphic design software, create or import the image or pattern you wish to engrave onto the guitar. Consider the design's shape, size, and details, ensuring it complements the guitar's aesthetics. 

The design should be precise and clear to achieve optimal engraving results. Software like LightBurn, which is compatible with many OMTech laser engravers, can be highly effective for this purpose.

Set Up and Focus the Engraver

Start by powering on your OMTech laser engraver and establishing a connection with your computer via the appropriate interface, such as USB or Ethernet. Next, load your design into the engraving software to prepare for the engraving process.

For optimal precision, focus the laser using the engraver's built-in autofocus feature accessible through the control panel. This feature ensures the laser is precisely calibrated for the best engraving results.

To confirm the laser focus is correctly set, a focus test on a scrap piece of wood is recommended. This method allows you to adjust the focus without risking damage to your primary material, ensuring the engraver is perfectly tuned for your project.

Position and Adjust the Design

Place the guitar within the designated working area of the engraver. Use the software to adjust the position and size of the design to fit the guitar perfectly. This step ensures that the engraving will be accurately placed and scaled according to your preferences. 

The OMTech AF2435-80, with its four-way pass-through functionality, allows you to work with larger pieces, making it more flexible to position the entire guitar body.

Adjust Laser Settings and Start Engraving

Access the laser settings in the software to adjust parameters such as power, speed, and resolution based on the guitar's material and the intricacy of the design. For example, the recommended settings for the OMTech AF2435-80 when engraving a wooden guitar might include a power setting of 40%, a resolution of 2k, and a depth of 20%. 

Once everything is configured, double-check all settings to prevent errors, then press the start button and observe the magic unfold. The laser will bring your design to life on the guitar. Make sure to wear protective gear like goggles and ensure proper ventilation to maintain safety throughout the process.

Popular Guitar Engrave Design Choices

Floral Patterns: Often used for a classic, elegant look. These patterns can range from simple, delicate flowers to intricate, sprawling vines, adding a touch of sophistication to the guitar.

Geometric Shapes: Modern and edgy, suitable for contemporary styles. Designs can include patterns such as hexagons, triangles, and abstract shapes, giving the guitar a unique, futuristic appearance.

Personal Logos or Signatures: Adds a personal touch, making the guitar unique to the owner. This can include the musician's name, band logo, or any other significant personal symbol.

Artistic Illustrations: Anything from animals to abstract art, limited only by imagination. These designs can be highly detailed and complex, transforming the guitar into a canvas for artistic expression.

Considerations and Limitations

Depth of Engraving: Must be controlled to avoid damaging the guitar's structural integrity. The depth of the engraving should be carefully adjusted to ensure that the design is visible and detailed without compromising the strength and durability of the guitar body.

Material Compatibility: Not all materials react the same way to laser engraving, so testing on a sample piece is recommended.

Safety: Carving guitars creates fumes and flying dust, so always work in a well-ventilated area and use OMTech's built-in ventilation system.

Worktable and Machine Size: Ensure that both the worktable and laser engraver can accommodate the size of your guitar body. For more information on suitable machines, visit the page with various laser engravers prepared by OMTech and contact their customer service for assistance in choosing the right machine for your needs.


In summary, laser engraving provides a unique and innovative method to customize and personalize your guitar, blending tradition with modern technology. The OMTech AF2435-80 stands out as an exceptional choice for larger and more detailed projects, thanks to its powerful CO2 laser, large workbed, and four-way pass-through functionality. 

From selecting the right materials and designs to setting up and executing the engraving process, this guide provides a comprehensive roadmap for creating stunning, intricate designs on your guitar. Embrace the art of laser engraving to make your instrument truly one-of-a-kind.