Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)! - Jemsite
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Hello!

I'm thinking about getting a custom guitar. Why? Because there is nothing on the market that meets my demands.
Now the two main demands i have are these:

-Everything has to feel very solid, no cheap components.
-Tone is another very important element, and ofcourse it's up to the player to deside what's "good or bad", but let's say i want the guitar to sound a bit thicker, i might get a blocky heel, or maybe neck thru... Here is where i need some opinions, but we get to that part later...

My idea of a "perfect guitar" is this:

1: Basswood body, and for the shape it has to be a RG. Now i was thinking about making the body a little thicker, would this fatten up the tone? Like more mass= more tone?
Besides that, basswood is kinda white looking. But i like the look of lightbrown wood with a maple top. Could some sort of oil make this darker, or is mahogany the only brown looking wood?

2: Flamed maple top (orange spray)

3: 24 jumbo frets (stainless steel, because i hate to wear off the frets like a always do).

4: One humbucker bridge, one single coil neck (not sure what pickups yet, but since "tone" is the main element, i would say nothing with too much compression and output...).

5: Fixed bridge, or string tru... now, can anybody tell me what the best sounding solution is?

6: Fat maple neck and maple fingerboard. But here i have this "crazy idea"... I love maple necks, because of the snappy sound, and look/feel. But.... when pairing this with a maple top, things might get a bit "too bright", so i was thinking... What if i get like a thick rosewood fingerboard, but with a maple veneer... Is that crazy?

On the other hand, if the body was mahogany, things might smooth out with the maple neck/fingerboard, but than again it "might" sounds less tight. Besides that i don't see many guitars with mahogany body and maple necks. Why?

7: One volume knob, no tone. I don't use tone knobs, but when removing this, would the guitar sound "brighter"? I heard this somewhere...

8: Five way switch

9: Tuners, i don't know yet, any recommendations? Grover?

10: Should i get locking nuts for more tuning stabilty, even if i don't have tremolo?

11: any recommendations are welcome!


When replying, please use the number system so i can get answers related to my questions. That would be great! Thanks :-)!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 05:03 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Sounds like you have a good chunk of what you want figured out and just need to iron out some details.

1: Basswood is a good choice, it's warm without going into the dark catagory. Making the body thicker isn't going to give more tone. All you'll do is end up adding more weight. The extra weight will add some sustain but probably not enough to justify a thicker body. As far as the wood color, you can always stain the basswood or tint the clearcoat. Only thing with that is staining basswood can come out blotchy so you'd need to make sure to condition the wood before staining.

2: Flamed maple tops always look nice to me. It won't affect the tone very much if at all. If it's something you're really worried about you can always do a veneer top.

3: I would advise against stainless steel frets. They will definately last but if you insist on them your luthier will hate you forever. Staineless steel frets are very hard on tools. I've seen brand new fret cutters get all torn up just from trying to cut a few frets. There are tools made specifically for working with stainless steel but they're expensive and can get just as torn up on one fret job.

4: Pickup choice is going to all be up to you. The configuration and type will be dictated by what you want out of everthing. I suggest trying out as much as you can both single coil & humbucker in both positions.

5: This depends on what kind of bridge you're talking about. Are you wanting a TOM Gibson style or a fender style hardtail? Either style will work well as long as it's a good quality bridge. My personal favorite is the shaller 475. It's really robust and sustains for days.

6: I've never seen a veneer done on a fretboard and it's something I wouldn't personally try doing. I'd suspect that the frets would either not seat properly or the tang wouldn't have enough solid wood to grip on to. What I have seen done before is a maple & rosewood striped fingerboard but Think that was done more for aesthetics and I have no idea how it would affect tone.

7: A tone pot does filter out some highs vs no tone pot but really not enough to make any difference.

8: Switch type will all depend on your pickup config. You may only need a 3 way switch or maybe want options and do a 5 way super switch. Keep your options open here until you fully figure out how many pickups you want, their configuration, & what wiring scheme you want.

9: Any quality tuners will be fine; grover, shaller, gotoh as long as they're quality ones. Pay attention to gear ratios, the higher the ratio the easier it will be to fine tune the strings.

10: A locking nut is not necessary with a fixed bridge, it really is overkill. You could do locking tuners if you want.

11: Only recommendations I have are suggestions are fine but don't take them a law, go with what feels right & sounds good to you and have enjoy the build.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 06:56 PM
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

These questions just say to me that you're not quite ready to spec a custom guitar.

You need to play some more, different guitars with the features you're not sure about to get your own idea of how your ears hear the differences you are considering.

Relying on others to help spec a custom guitar is a sure way for someone else to pick up a bargain in the classifieds in about 2 years time, which will be about just 6 months after your shiny new guitar arrives.

I know that's not the answer you're after, but I've seen too many discarded customs not to warn anyone who asks for this level of help to do some more research with their own ears first. I've also picked up some awesome second hand customs at ridiculously low prices because the original owner made snap decisions and didn't think the whole thing through and got a great guitar but not quite what they really wanted, I've literally saved thousands that way
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 07:57 PM
 
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jono View Post
These questions just say to me that you're not quite ready to spec a custom guitar.

You need to play some more, different guitars with the features you're not sure about to get your own idea of how your ears hear the differences you are considering.

Relying on others to help spec a custom guitar is a sure way for someone else to pick up a bargain in the classifieds in about 2 years time, which will be about just 6 months after your shiny new guitar arrives.

I know that's not the answer you're after, but I've seen too many discarded customs not to warn anyone who asks for this level of help to do some more research with their own ears first. I've also picked up some awesome second hand customs at ridiculously low prices because the original owner made snap decisions and didn't think the whole thing through and got a great guitar but not quite what they really wanted, I've literally saved thousands that way
I'm with Jono here- You'll pay triple the guitars actual value because it's a full custom and you'll only recieve 25% back when you go to sell it. You need to know exactly what you want and need to know WHY you want it. Of course coming to Jemsite is a great idea for research, so that part I'm fully willing to lend any small amount of help I can. In that Vein, I'll ask:

Why Basswood? As Hatter described, basswood IS very tricky to get a nice finish on. If you don't have a highly experienced finisher you should expect disappointing results. The trade-off is that Basswood does sound great.

DO NOT- put a maple veneer on a rosewood fretboard. Rosewood MUST be able to breathe. Maple MUST be sealed. You'll be shooting yourself in the foot.......... If your worried the combination of maple top and fretboard will be too bright, go with a thinner top- as Hatter mentioned. An 1/8" top will take dye just as well as a 5/8" top.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Thanks so far for all the response!
Ofcourse i'm just browsing, and i won't make hasty decisions... But i do know what i like in a guitar for the most part. I love all my ibanez guitars, but there is always a part on one guitar that i want on the other.. and no i'm not gonna switch them ;-).

Can someone explain these locking tuners to me?

Thanks!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-07-2015, 09:04 AM
 
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shreddingjoris View Post
Can someone explain these locking tuners to me?
Basically locking tuners have a clamping mechanism (styles vary slightly with brand and model) that clamps down on the string eliminating the need to wrap the string around the peghead. It helps with string slippage and provides better tuning stability with a tremolo. Weather it helps with stability on fixed bridges is debatable depending on who you ask. If you do alot of bends I feel they're benificial. They're a little heavier than normal tuners which can be an issue if you already have a headstock heavy guitar. I also find string changes are a little easier with them.

On another note after reading the other replies I will have to agree; don't go ordering a custom until you have everything figured out and have played other guitars with details you want so you know how they feel and if you truly like them. If you don't like it or ever want to sell it you won't get back much back on your investment.

An alternative to a full custom is to do a custom-ish parts guitar. Sounds like you may be wanting traditional woods and parts just in a different combination than what's offered from the factory. You can usually find bodies, necks, and parts in what your looking for for pretty cheap and just have to put it together with only minor modifications. Your investment won't be nearly as much going this way (a few hundred $ vs a few thousand $) and you'll probably get more of your money back if you decide to sell. Honestly I only find full custom builds worth the money if your going for exotic woods or a custom designed shape (or if you're like me and do all the work yourself for the fun of it). like I said, if your looking for traditional stuff just in a different combination you should be able to get what you want from a parts guitar.

Last edited by madasahatter; 07-07-2015 at 09:06 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-07-2015, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by madasahatter View Post
Basically locking tuners have a clamping mechanism (styles vary slightly with brand and model) that clamps down on the string eliminating the need to wrap the string around the peghead. It helps with string slippage and provides better tuning stability with a tremolo. Weather it helps with stability on fixed bridges is debatable depending on who you ask. If you do alot of bends I feel they're benificial. They're a little heavier than normal tuners which can be an issue if you already have a headstock heavy guitar. I also find string changes are a little easier with them.

On another note after reading the other replies I will have to agree; don't go ordering a custom until you have everything figured out and have played other guitars with details you want so you know how they feel and if you truly like them. If you don't like it or ever want to sell it you won't get back much back on your investment.

An alternative to a full custom is to do a custom-ish parts guitar. Sounds like you may be wanting traditional woods and parts just in a different combination than what's offered from the factory. You can usually find bodies, necks, and parts in what your looking for for pretty cheap and just have to put it together with only minor modifications. Your investment won't be nearly as much going this way (a few hundred $ vs a few thousand $) and you'll probably get more of your money back if you decide to sell. Honestly I only find full custom builds worth the money if your going for exotic woods or a custom designed shape (or if you're like me and do all the work yourself for the fun of it). like I said, if your looking for traditional stuff just in a different combination you should be able to get what you want from a parts guitar.
Thanks for the advice!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-07-2015, 06:39 PM
 
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Re: Help me out here with a few custom guitar questions :-)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by madasahatter View Post
Basically locking tuners have a clamping mechanism (styles vary slightly with brand and model) that clamps down on the string eliminating the need to wrap the string around the peghead. It helps with string slippage and provides better tuning stability with a tremolo. Weather it helps with stability on fixed bridges is debatable depending on who you ask. If you do alot of bends I feel they're benificial. They're a little heavier than normal tuners which can be an issue if you already have a headstock heavy guitar. I also find string changes are a little easier with them.

On another note after reading the other replies I will have to agree; don't go ordering a custom until you have everything figured out and have played other guitars with details you want so you know how they feel and if you truly like them. If you don't like it or ever want to sell it you won't get back much back on your investment.

An alternative to a full custom is to do a custom-ish parts guitar. Sounds like you may be wanting traditional woods and parts just in a different combination than what's offered from the factory. You can usually find bodies, necks, and parts in what your looking for for pretty cheap and just have to put it together with only minor modifications. Your investment won't be nearly as much going this way (a few hundred $ vs a few thousand $) and you'll probably get more of your money back if you decide to sell. Honestly I only find full custom builds worth the money if your going for exotic woods or a custom designed shape (or if you're like me and do all the work yourself for the fun of it). like I said, if your looking for traditional stuff just in a different combination you should be able to get what you want from a parts guitar.
Good post man, and it gives me a though.........(stand clear, this may be dangerous )

Joris, What do you think of putting together a "parts mule"? If you have a skilled luthier available, you can find a cheap RG to start modding and trying out parts combinations on. Don't bother making it look good, just try out a few different neck shapes, fingerboards, bodywoods, electronics combos....etc. This would give you first hand knowledge of everything that interests you while spending very little money. Once you've nailed down all the parts that work best for you, you can go ahead with a full custom knowing full well that it's going to be the guitar you want. Treat the parts gently and you can sell anything that you didn't end up liking. Parts usually sell very quickly, and for a good percentage of what you initially paid.
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