Oh. Baby. Yeah. I’m here today to tell you: there is nothing – nothing – like a custom guitar. No way will a production instrument compare. To illustrate, I will describe the guitar I have just collected.
This is truly a fantastic instrument; I can hardly keep my hands off it. It plays like a dream, and the tones it produces are fantastic. It looks awesome, and is mine – all mine. Everything about it is how and what I wanted. It’s not the product of corporate compromise, or appeal to the lowest common denominator; the good stuff isn’t kind of “averaged out”. The care and attention to detail is something that of course doesn’t happen in a mass-produced instrument, and it really does make a difference.
This all started some years back, when for the first father’s day after our daughter was born, my wife and I agreed that I’d get a custom guitar made by Adrian Hamilton – a friend, and wonderful luthier in Auckland, NZ. The result of that was actually more of a mostly-custom, as it involved a body from an old Rockson (though Adrian made it about a googleplex times better: fixing up screwy bits, putting in beautiful bevels in the cutaways, staining it up …) and an Ibanez neck (also modified, with the locking nut gone, and replaced by a graphtech nut – and little paua buttons in the back where the screws for the locking nut used to come through). Starting points/limitations notwithstanding, it’s a fantastic guitar, and attracts a lot of comments and questions on my YouTube videos.
When we had our son then, my mind was full of plans for the fully-custom guitar that I would get for him. (N.B. by “for him” I mean that if he wants it when he’s old enough, he can have it … and I haven’t yet decided how old that is. Same deal goes for my daughter and the guitar I got for her.) Anyway … looking at what I had already, what was most obviously missing was a 2 humbucker fixed-bridge set neck sort of affair. Kind of like a Les Paul, only not – since I don’t like Les Pauls (except for Billy Gibbons’ Pearly Gates; Pearly is awesome, but all other LPs seem to have a weird fizzy, honky, quack thing going on – even with replacement pickups). Read more [+]