The stages of custom building an electric guitar or bass
Choose your woods and design
We completely custom build our guitars and basses so any wild ideas can be considered at the start. You can visit the workshop and choose the exact piece of wood for the completely custom instrument. Custom options can be discussed by phone, email, photos and videos/sound samples.
Tell us what you want and we can make it.
To get started neck woods and design must be decided on. Do you want a bolt on, set neck or neck through. You can have a multiple ply neck with a neck core and stringers, or maybe a one piece maple (or wenge even) neck with a straight head stock.
How many strings, what scale length, string spacing, headstock angle. Any requirements can be catered for.
A plan in CAD or similar is drawn up. From this we decide a cutting list of timbers.
We have an interesting stock of seasoned timber to choose from in our workshop; maple, mahogany, bubinga, purpleheart, walnut, ash and much more. Anything we don’t have can be ordered in. We only source our woods from reputable suppliers.
The design phase can be as complex or simple as you like. Maybe you want a standard stratocaster, telecastor, p-bass or a jazz bass. Or perhaps you want a completely unique instrument designed from scratch. We can build any design you choose.
We design the guitars and basses to ensure the best weight, balance, tone and appearance, and that the instrument is suitable for it’s intended purpose.
Cut neck timbers to size and glue the neck blank
When cutting we decide the orientation of the wood grain for stability, appearance and optimal sound transfer. Each piece is cut with it s intended purpose in mind.
Our timbers are stored in a climate controlled environment for best results. We only use properly seasoned timbers for building our exquisite instruments.
When gluing we ensure optimal grain alignment for stability, appearance and tone.
Prepare the neck blank and body
Before we cut neck tapers we glue in the truss rod and the fingerboard too. It is more reliable to do it in this order because of the abundance of square edges during such an important stage. A perfectly installed truss rod and fingerboard will lead to a perfect playing instrument.
More choices; what type of fingerboard; ebony, maple, purpleheart, ziricote, wenge. A traditional or modern style truss rod, dual acting or single acting.
The neck tapers are determined by the width of the nut and the bridge.
We can custom design nuts and bridges for the perfect spacing on your ideal bass or guitar. Or maybe you have particular hardware in mind. Some of the bridge/ tuning machine/ nut manufacturers we use are:
- ABM have a great range of bridges and nuts, with a choice between bell brass, aluminium and steel, depending on what sound is desired. They can design custom bridges either. There is good information on their website.
- Shaller have a great selection of hardware and electronics for guitars and basses.
- Sperzel have locking tuners with interesting options.
- Kahler tremolo and fixed bridges
- And there’s all the rest, plenty of great stuff out there.
- If anybody has suggestions for hardware manufacturers please let us know, especially local to Ireland.
Choose the shape and feel of the neck, do you want slim or chunky. How the neck meets the body, double or single cut away, more or less access to the fretboard, how many frets you would like, 19, 24, 36 even.
The body woods are prepared at this point and can determine how the instrument will balance. Neck dive can be avoided by using a heavier body, while keeping the overall weight of the instrument in mind.
The design of the body can be your chance to get something truely unique. Choose from an endless variety of woods and orientations, book matching or contrasting figured woods and grain.
This section will be updated with points for consideration when designing and choosing woods for a guitar or bass body.
There will be more:
Check back again for an updated page, the remaining stages, electronics, body shapes and more.
Customers will receive a photo portfolio of the building of their instrument from start to finish.