The Rise of the Custom Guitar

Many people find that picking a custom guitar is something of a dream, and for guitar players having their own instrument made is something that may happen once in a lifetime, if that.

Of course, if you are happy with your new guitar, whether it is an Alhambra guitar or an electric, that’s all that truly matters. It will give you hours and years of happy playing time and ensures you feel at your most comfortable with your instrument.

Handmade guitars really came to the fore in the 1960s when people saw that most instruments were made by the large companies. For want of a better word, 'hippies' decided that it could be done by hand and wanted to take away the control of the guitar making industry from the powers that be. This led to the custom guitar trade, which has now over 3,000 registered makers or luthiers in the US alone. These luthiers make over 150,000 guitars a year.

Poor Quality Guitars

One of the reasons for the massive growth was the poor manufacturing by the likes of Gibson and Martin in the 1970s. This allowed the handmade guitar industry to get a hold of things and begin making electric and acoustic guitars as well as the traditional classical. This and the fact there was a significant folk revival around this time really played into the handmade guitar makes hands. It was during this period that manufacturers like Alhambra Guitars came into being

When choosing a custom guitar you will have to decide on whether you want one that is made for art’s sake or one that is made for more practical purposes. In most cases the latter requirement is the case and custom guitar makers can make whatever you require. If someone wants an Alhambra guitar that sounds like a Martin, but has the neck of a Tanglewood, then a custom guitar maker if skilled enough should be able to achieve this given the right materials.

Quality Instruments

These makers understand what makes a great guitar and know the different qualities of different pieces and what these different pieces can do. In the case of custom guitars there can be a real opportunity to get exactly what you want through the ability of the guitar maker or luthier to mix and match.

Of course, one of the most important things to do before making your new guitar is to talk to the luthier. This ensures that you know what they are like, their skill set and also the time commitment they can make. Some of these highly skilled people have months and years of waiting lists and a significant backlog – be aware of this.

You should also know what you want before asking the guitar maker to create a bespoke instrument for you. Going in and not knowing what you would like only leads to disaster and being able to communicate your requirements is the only way to get what you need. This may involve some time, some devotion and some research, though if you are a guitar lover it will be no problem at all.

This article was provided by London Guitar Studio.

Related Article:
Mary Ford's 1961 Gibson SG Les Paul Custom as seen on the Pawn Stars reality TV show

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