I have talked to a lot of players that think a custom guitar has to be a whole new creation from top to bottom. But often, a custom build can have many familiar features with just a few specific specs that fit the player’s desires.
A customer called me explaining he played Les Pauls primarily but had bought a traditional Telecaster recently. From playing both styles, he decided he wanted an additional guitar with a sound somewhere between the thickness of a Les Paul and the thinness of a Tele.
He wanted the shape and light weight of a T-style body and loved the blue sparkle finish of Brad Paisley’s Water T-style guitar. He liked the shape and layout of a ’69 Thinline pickguard and added his twist to it by requesting the blue and white sparkle paisley finish like Brad’s guitar.
He really wanted his new guitar neck to feel similar to one of his Gibsons, so I had him measure the neck. We used his specs (size, shape, nut width, fret wire, etc.) but stayed with the 25.5 scale length.
His hardware needs were standard although he wasn’t a fan of the “vintage style” bridge, so we went with the modern Gotoh 6 saddle bridge for mounting a humbucker pickup.
He was concerned that humbucking pickups would be too muddy. I turned to Peter Florence of Voodoo Pickups for a set of his PAFs. Much like an original, Peter’s PAFs are bright and clear and never muddy.
While this guitar was not a brand new design, it incorporated unique features to make it a true one-of-a-kind custom guitar that fit the player. The customer picked up his guitar at the shop and nothing pleased me more than getting to know him better and seeing we had achieved his vision.