The stages of custom building an electric guitar or bass
See the end of this page for a electric guitar and bass price list ….
Choose your woods and design
We can completely custom build from scratch your ideal guitar or bass, any wild ideas can be considered at the start. Visit the workshop and choose the exact piece of wood for your 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.
Our workshop has an interesting stock of seasoned timber to choose from; maple, mahogany, bubinga, purpleheart, walnut, ash and much more. Anything have can be ordered in, with our woods sourced only 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. The design of your desire can be yours.
The guitars and basses are designed to ensure the best weight, balance, tone and appearance, and that the instrument is suitable for it’s intended purpose; gigging, studio, pure enjoyment, admiring, etc.
Cut neck timbers to size and glue the neck blank
When cutting the orientation of the wood grain is chosen for stability, appearance and optimal sound transfer. Each piece is cut keeping in mind the final orientation, appearance, tone, strength.
Our timbers are stored in a climate controlled environment with temperature and humidity maintained to ensure the best end result. 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 the neck tapers are cut, 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 (Germany) 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.
- Schaller (Germany) have a great selection of hardware and electronics for guitars and basses.
- Sperzel (USA) have locking tuners with interesting options.
- Kahler (USA) 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 with the neck blank and help determine how the instrument will balance. Neck dive can be avoided by using a heavier body, the overall weight of the instrument has to be kept 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.
Here is a price list* to give you an idea, any custom ideas can be built.
*prices are included as a guideline contact us for a quote.
Here’s a video showing the final steps in a custom built guitar: applying a finish, fitting the hardware, strings and testing it out…