Why waste your time on building a bad rod - one you most likely will never use and/ or will be embarrased to show. Almost every rod that I have built has been "practice" in one form or another. Your first one may not be cosmetically the greatest, but if the rod and components are decent, it will still work just fine. I learn or try something different each time I build a rod so therefore it is still "practice". Betty's comments are correct. Why not just purchase a kit from Hook and Hackle -- one that is decent but one that is not too expensive and just start putting it together. Take a little time and care gluing up the real seat and handle because you won't be able to change that once it is epoxyed on. Other than that, you can play around all you want with trying in the guides -- and change colors, patterns, etc. all you want -- it won't be permanent until you coat them with epoxy or whatever you want to use.

Don't be scared about it -- you'll be surprised at how simple it really is.