Why would someone buy a custom guitar?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by fretman_2, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. fretman_2

    fretman_2 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,276
    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Mobile, AL
    [webmaster edit] I wonder why would someone want to buy a pricey custom made guitar rather than the run of the mill Fen... or Gib...?

    There are reasons some people do better at selling than others...I'd like to know why I guess...

    1. Money is no object..
    2. To brag that you have a custom guitar...
    3. Better workmanship...materials and parts??
     
  2. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,212
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    I wanted a Tele that was just like the ones I played ages ago: light, twangy, made in the USA. Most of the Fenders I found were heavy and seemed to be a little more rock-oriented. I played a lot of them. Some of the non-USA Fenders were pretty good, but I really wanted American-made. I found one that fit the bill from the Fender CS and it was 4K. I got a custom Rutters Tele for less than that. It is a superb guitar with incredible attention to detail, far beyond what you find "off the rack." Sometimes custom guitars are not as expensive as the Fender equivalent and are better all round.

    So, in response to your points:

    1) it was less than a Fender
    2) I am a player. A guitar is an instrument, not a fetish object.
    3) Yes, better materials and parts.
     
  3. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    5,227
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Tryon, NC
    Reasons listed are all valid. I "commissioned" a "custom" guitar from Jason Banning of Banning Guitars out of Lodi, CA because I had a '06 Desert Sand Baja that weighed almost 10lbs and wasn't playing it much because of that.

    I had Jason build me a '62 Custom body relic'd out of swamp ash in sherwood green and put all the parts (neck, pups, controls, etc) on the new body. Sold the DS body on eBay. Ended up with an unbelievable Tele that weighs right at 7lbs!

    So in my case, wasn't the "money" or the "bragging" or even the "better parts",... it was the fact that I needed something custom to fill a need and Fender didn't have anything to help the situation. Sure it cost a bunch to make (I mean, he starts with an actual piece of wood!) but so well worth it. Pretty much one-of-a-kind.

    Only downside is that even though that's one of the more expensive Teles I've owned, I could never sell it for what it's worth. Resale value on "custom" jobs are tough. Even with the top shelf builders. Fact is upper end Fenders are soooo much easier to get their value than customs.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,761
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Location:
    apache junction az
    it really comes down because you can get what you want. and chances are it will be cheaper than having fender build it in their custom shop:p ( joking here sorta depending who builds it and what your options are i guess. one huge variable here :D so just laugh at my jab at the custom shops prices:d )

    if i had money i have one made with a nice fat neck. iv yet to find one with a nice fat neck.
    one day if i win the lottery ill make that happen. till then, i will suffer. :(
    chris.
     
  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    6,268
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Custom guitar, never done it because of cost, thought about it a lot over the years. I've pretty much been a "made in the USA, production guitar type guy" so far.

    I would only do it if I had one built to my exact specifications with every component dictated by me - my signature guitar; so I guess I wouldn't want a pre-built off-the-shelf guitar from a luthier. I could see buying one of these if I had money to spare, but like a lot of people it would probably be the only custom guitar I would ever own, and I would want it to fit my needs to a tee. I would choose a luthier who had a reputation for building killer guitars and had samples of his work, and I would expect superior workmanship.

    Now that I've switched from neck-through and set-necks to bolt-ons, I'd probably just do a partscaster on my own. Give me a pre-finished body and a killer neck and I can do the rest myself.
     
  6. FallsRockShop

    FallsRockShop Tele-Holic Vendor Member

    Posts:
    633
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Location:
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

    I think that you have two contingents that do it: musicians and guys who love to look at guitars. They aren't mutually exclusive, however.

    Musicians want something that works every time, feels the most comfortable, and generates the sound that defines them as a musicians. Money IS an object for them. Call it a custom guitar, a customized guitar, or a professionally built partscaster, but we can build a musician a guitar for $750-$1,000 exactly to their specs. These guys/gals don't have the luxury of testing a million different used American Standards or shopping around on CL for pre-modded guitars in that price range. That's Baja cost territory and, for that money, you can get a fully customized Made in America guitar and offer them support on repairs and upgrades down the road. They don't brag about the 'custom' aspect of the guitar, but they brag to their fellow musicians that they got a hell of a deal on a damned reliable tool to do their job. And yes, the materials and workmanship is better on a custom that a comparably priced Fender.

    Then you have guys that like to look at purrrrdy guitars. Some of these fall into the 'musicians that have made it' category. They're shopping for something a little more showy. Exotic woods, french polished finish, customized pickup specs, unique hardware...the works. I think that a lot of these folks fit the mold of 1, 2 and 3 combined. They have money, they like to throw it around and show off their things, and they appreciate/expect great workmanship.

    Just my observations from being in the business.
     
  7. jamorudd

    jamorudd Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,514
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    For me, I think it is 90% an appreciation of the craft, and 10% the personal aspect of having a guitar that was built just for you. Also, the only true custom build I've purchased is an acoustic, but I know of two full time professional luthiers around here putting out very clean high quality custom builds for well under $1000 dollars, and if/when I decide at some point to buy another electric guitar, rather than build it, it will almost certainly be from them, even though the name on the headstock will likely never be recognized.

    Honestly, since I began building, factory guitars (electrics, at least) have very little appeal to me.
     
  8. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,015
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    This applies to Electric only.

    For me a "Custom Guitar" is a Body and Neck From USA Custom Guitars. I can have the neck made to about any spec without Upcharge.

    I can have any finish I want put on it. All Electronics, Plastic ect to my liking.

    Then I can send All of the Parts to Glaser Instruments in Nashville and have a Complete Assembly, Set Up, Plek.

    It doesn't get any better than that and I can get it All done for 2000 or less.

    Ill never buy a Name Brand electric guitar again except for a Gibson type set neck Hollow/Semi Hollow Body guitar. ES335 or ES175
     
  9. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,761
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Location:
    apache junction az
    we forgot one option which i do not understand or get it.. maybe i just have to try one of these to get it. id call this more art than anything else ( some can look authentic, others throwing a guitar down your drive way just aint gonna cut it im afraid. and a million other ways to abuse a poor tele body.. check out youtube for relic videos.. damn right criminal how some of these guys do it.. and the wear is so not natural looking ). making a new guitar look old. i just do not understand the relic trend. sweetwater has their sweet mod relic tele yada yda for 5k and up. to me looks like a beat to hell guitar. and should be down to 700.00 or so for the quality parts cnc machine body/neck.

    i wonder how much longer the relic thing will continue. it will cause lots of head aches in the used field in the years to come when the boomers start to go south, and their family puts up their old friends on Cl, Ebay, reverb, etc. not having a clue what it is just remember dad saying its his 61.

    i can say whoever came up with the idea of a relic model at fender should of got a raise. ooo, now we can take all the stuff we normally would of thrown out, or stamp 2. and use it in a relic model. score another round for bean counters.. but fender should get some better bean counters at the rate they are losing company's they had bought up.
    chris.
     
  10. vuduchild

    vuduchild TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    68
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2014
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    For me at least
    1) No
    2) Maybe
    3) Probably. Specific materials, size, builder.

    4) As mentioned above, beauty. For me, that was the hook. With my first git, a gift, I could not play to save my life but damn that puppy looked great on the wall.
    a) Building one that you think will be a real beauty - and that will 'fit' you - even if, like me, you don't really know what that means. (Though I do, legitimately have some size requirements - like a thin neck.)

    5) Vanity. Straight up. Ha :lol:
     
  11. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,829
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, GA
    You can get whatever you want in specs and appearance by getting a "custom" guitar. Highly personalized and one-of-a-kind.

    Somebody had me to build them a guitar using woods all native to (and harvested in) Georgia. And they wanted a solidbody LP style with just a neck pickup. You're not going to get that from Fender or Gibson.
     
  12. Pete McC

    Pete McC Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    400
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Location:
    Co Down, N. Ireland
    To me a 'custom' guitar has to be just that, something that gets built to your own specs taht can't be bought elsewhere off the shelf. If you want a spalted maple strat with an all rosewood neck and hand wound pickups for example, you won't get that in a regular guitar shop..
     
  13. Nightatthehotel

    Nightatthehotel Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    614
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    The same reason someone would want a Tailor made custom suit/sport coat. They want something that is made just to their liking.
     
  14. Earth

    Earth Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    418
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Location:
    Putnam County, New York
    There aren't any options when you buy factory. You take what they offer you. I'd much rather build my own to my own specs, and parts I choose, but buying custom is pretty much the same. More money, but less time and hassle. I'm kind of confused why anyone would ask the question. It's pretty obvious.
     
  15. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Posts:
    12,310
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    44°55'09.9"N 79°25'39.1"W
    Admin Post
    Let me remind you all about the commercial rules of this forum, as some comments are getting close to crossing the line. The RED link at the top of the Tele Home Depot index page will take you to the rules.

    Please note in particular...

    I've removed one post already and will close the thread if there are other similar posts.
     
  16. '59_Standard

    '59_Standard Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Worldwide
    Or they like the inside of their leg measured and the butler ain't buyin' it...
     
  17. Jebrone Lames

    Jebrone Lames Banned

    Posts:
    617
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    florida
    The problem with buying custom made guitars other than being over-priced is how significantly their value drops if you sell them. I could see spending a large amount on a classic, brand name guitar that will go up in value but, I'd be a schmuck to buy a custom guitar that maybe .001% of the population is familiar with.
     
  18. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    6,268
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    'Tis why you want one from someone with a good reputation. Whenever I see a custom being sold I Google the builder and see what other people think about their guitars.

    Doesn't mean a new builder isn't making great stuff, it just means it might not maintain value as well.
     
  19. metecem

    metecem Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,374
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Location:
    berlin,now in Istanbul
    I think the reason is that we all wanna feel special in one way or the other.
     
  20. El Cavano

    El Cavano Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    327
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
    Location:
    St. Louis
    My quick 2 cents.

    Custom doesn't have to mean expensive.

    I went the custom route so that my guitar would have the components that I want, and would not need another round or two of upgrades.

    Turns out picking the color was really satisfying. Love that Daphne Blue.

    LC
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.