How Long Does it Take to Build a Guitar?
The process of creating a custom instrument should never be a rushed process. After the initial deposit, a consultation will take place and every aspect of the build will be covered. Upon approval of the build, all materials will be purchased, unless you are selecting from my personal stash. The build will begin as soon as the materials have been received, depending on if there is a waiting list and other builds ahead of yours. Remember to ask what the waiting list time currently is. For a simple base build, the quickest turnaround would be around 4-5 weeks after the components have been chosen and received. For more complex builds, the build-time can be extended anywhere from 6-12 weeks. Know that I am just as excited to get the guitar into your hands, but I also never want to rush any part of the process as your satisfaction is my greatest desire.
Why do You Require a Deposit?
This assures me of your commitment so I can move forward with the hours of planning the details of your guitar. However, in fact, there will be two required deposits. An initial deposit of $300 gets the ball rolling. After your commitment is received, a consultation will take place (phone or in-person) where the entire build will be discussed in detail. After determining the exact components (i.e., tone woods, electronics, etc) the balance of the 2nd deposit will be charged. This 2nd deposit basically covers the exact costs for the components of the build. I do not charge additional charges (i.e., markup) for any components or materials. You are getting my costs without mark-up. The balance and final payment will be due upon shipment of the instrument. In the process, if any of the materials are damaged, lost, or stolen in my possession, I will replace them at my cost.
What is Your Warranty?
I warranty all of my instruments for the period of 18 months. Typically any issues with construction or craftsmanship appear well before this time-frame. Usually, any items that occur outside of this time-frame are related to instrument care (i.e., leaving guitar inside a hot car, etc.). However, if any of my instruments have issues outside of that time-frame, each instance will be handled in a case-by-case basis. I stand by the construction of these instruments, and, one way or another, the instrument will be made whole again.
Do You build Cut-A-Ways?
Typically yes. However, if you are a purist and understand the science of how sound is developed, I usually don’t recommend it. There are constant ongoing debates in the luthiers’ world as to the deficiency of taking away a large portion of your vibrating top and back. I, personally, always hear some degradation in sound quality regardless of who the builder is. I am in the process of re-tooling for a new type of cutout and hope to make those available in the next 6 months, or so. If you are a player that consistently plays “up the neck”, there are other ways of making those frets available. For instance, placing different frets where the neck meets the body. You can place some of the higher frets at the body. Only slight adjustments need to be made on components placing (i.e., bracing, sound hole, etc). Yes, the neck will be slightly longer to accommodate the fret placement, but in most cases you are talking about 3/4- 1-1/2 inches. If you really prefer a cutaway, thank you for your patience. I think the wait will be worth it.
What is a Guitar Scale?
Guitars scales are the distance from the nut to the compensated saddle. Each fret is placed at precise intervals according to the scale chosen. I currently offer 4 scales: Martin long and short, and Gibson long and short. What are the differences? Experts could write dissertations on the subject, but an easy answer would be that finger pickers and lead players might prefer a shorter scale as the individual notes are easier to bend since the shorter scale requires less string tension. Flat pickers and chord players, who typically stay “down the neck”, tend to prefer long-scales. However, this is not set in stone and preference will vary from player to player. What works for you might not be preferable for someone else. The best way to to determine what is best for you is to play the different scales. I have a small showroom where you can demo guitars with different tone woods, scales, neck styles, and string action, to name a few. Otherwise, head down to your local music store, as most have instruments in various scale lengths. Personally, I like small differences between the different scales and can never settle on just one.
Does Your Price Include a Case?
Yes. All build prices include a case. Currently, I prefer to use handmade custom Hiscox cases out of England. They are bombproof! And again, no additional fees are added; you are getting the case at my cost.
How Do I Take Care of My New Instrument?
This could easily be a very extended answer, but I will give some basics that I require to maintain your warranty. But always, use common sense, wisdom, and error on the safe-side.
1. When not in use, please place the guitar in it’s case and at a room temperature that doesn’t exceed the temperatures of 65-85 degrees. Preferably, 75 degrees is perfect. Never store with a capo on the neck.
2. Never ever leave the instrument in hot cars, extreme humid, dry climates, or directly in the sun. Drastic temperatures in either direction and drastic sudden changes in humidity are a guitar’s worst enemy.
3. When traveling, always insist on carrying your guitar on board the plane. Even though most cargo areas are pressurized, unseen instrument care can lead to issues. No one is going to care for your instrument like you are. If traveling by automobile, never leave the instrument, even for a short time, in a locked enclosed situation. Temperatures raise and lower extremely fast. Hiscox cases are some of the best in the industry at keeping temperatures constant for longer periods of time, but you should never rely on something out of your control for instrument care.
4. When changing strings, do so one at a time to allow neck stress to remain constant.
5. When traveling or storing, it’s always best to de-tune the instrument slightly. Never completely taking off “all” of the string tension. Just a step or two usually helps.