Upgrading to a Custom Electric Guitar

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Making Your Unique Musical Statement with a One-Of-A-Kind Guitar

Once you have played electric guitar or bass for a while, you may reach a point where you are looking to make a stylistic statement that goes beyond what you have been playing. Most likely, you are looking for a synthesis of aesthetics and sound that is unique to you.

If you have the money and the patience to wait for your unique axe, you are in luck. Many guitar makers, from major brands to small local luthiers, are waiting to create the guitar that says to the world, “This is me.” Following is some of the basics of custom guitars.

Levels of Custom

What many brands such as Gibson and Fender offer as “custom” models are not truly one-of-a-kind models; they are actually limited-edition replicas of some of their older and/or more famous models, often with updated electronics or features. Some of them offer a certain level of customization, but for the most part, these are basically high-end editions of famous models. This is not to say that they are not worth considering. Many of these guitars will simply blow you away with how well they are made and how terrific they sound compared to their stock model brethren. For example, have you ever picked up a Gibson 1959 Les Paul and played it? There is nothing in the world like it. The “custom” replica models feel and sound the same, but will cost you a lot less than the originals.

Custom Gibson Les Paul electric guitar

Custom Gibson Les Paul electric guitar




Many smaller guitar manufacturers give truer meaning to the term “custom guitar.” A great example is San Diego-based Carvin. In addition to their high-quality stock guitars and renowned amps, they offer you the opportunity to customize your own guitar from the ground up. You can choose from 6 different neck woods, 8 top woods, 5 fingerboard woods, 18 solid colors, and over 50 finishes…and we haven’t even touched electronics, headstocks and body shapes.


Another respected company offering customization is Halo Guitars. You can actually create your dream guitar or bass directly on their website. Have fun choosing different body shapes (from traditional to “out-there”), woods, finishes, colors, and electronic configurations. You are bound to find what you are looking for.


Here is something that may surprise you: The custom guitars offered by companies like this are sometimes lower in price than their big-name competitors’ American-made models. Consider giving these companies (and others like them) a try.

True” Custom Guitars

The above-mentioned company Halo accepts your custom designs for a truly one-of-a-kind axe. Other companies that offer this service include Ed Roman Guitars, The Custom Guitar Shop, and Artinger Guitars.

Things to Think About

When you get to this level of guitar manufacture, you must be absolutely sure of what you want. Once an order is placed, making changes to the specifications will become either problematic or impossible. Refunds will not be offered, especially if what you think you wanted doesn’t turn out to be what you truly wanted.

In other words, become infinitely familiar with different woods and the tones they create, the effects of different pickups, fret sizes, and everything else. If you have any questions at all before you place a custom order, ask them. The guitar maker will be happy to explain everything in detail.

Custom Fender Stratocaster electric guitar

Custom Fender Stratocaster electric guitar


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