...or stuff you should probably ask first
Hey, I like the look of your guitar models. What are the options when getting one made?
The four models serve as somewhat of a ‘blank canvas’ template of a body, neck and pickguard design. From there we work together on the colour scheme, pickguard type, pickup preference and electronics preference to make it uniquely yours.
What’s your build process?
I initially integrated both CNC (for body and neck raw outline cuts) and hand building for most of the early builds but currently the process is all hand routed, hand made. Don't be fooled into thinking that CNC vs 'Hand Routed' is a valid argument. It's about as stupid as it gets. A CNC isn't a robot that builds a guitar. Using CNC routers simply replaces the use of templates and routing by hand to cut outlines, cavities and profiles. The end result is the same... a guitar. EVERY single large and medium scale electric guitar builder uses CNC technology to some degree. The suggestion that there is some sort of inherent 'quality' difference is just marketing BS. You can make great guitars or shitty guitars using either process. If I find a CNC cutter that I can use in the future then i'll definitely integrate it for cutting body and neck outlines. It simply saves me time, guarantees accuracy in some very critical areas of design and mitigates the dangers of hand cutting and routing (I like my fingers - they're kind of important to a guitar player).
So... once the body is cut and cavity routed (either by hand or CNC) I then route the rollover edges and/or binding channels, hand sand the body, grain fill (if required) and prep for paint/finish work, do the binding, inlay work etc. The finish work is also all then done by me and I can accommodate both stain and oil, or nitrocellulose ‘thin skin’ finishes, in a variety of colours. My finishes are not high gloss, glass like paintwork. It's not my personal preference but I do accept that thinner nitrocellulose finish work is going to be more prone to wear. I'm OK with that because I prefer the feel of a worn in guitar and don't tend to look at guitars like a precious ornament. When you order a DeluxeTone build you’ll get progress pic updates throughout the build from pieces of timber to the final finished guitar.
Are your necks hand shaped?
Yes - they all are. CNC shaped necks are perfect and i'm fine with them (again, all medium to large scale, and even some small scale, manufacturers are CNC shaping their neck profiles too these days folks!) but hand shaping the neck gives me a lot more opportunity to uniquely carve it to the general feel that you’re looking for. I only build one guitar at a time (very occasionally two) so the hand carve process is manageable and enjoyable. Every one of my guitars will, as a result, have its own fretting hand experience. I have owned a LOT of guitars over the past 35+ years so chances are if you mention a specific neck type, I’ll know what it is you’re looking for and try to carve an approximation (won't be exact of course, but it'll be familiar).
What do your guitars sound like?
In your hands? - You. I have intentionally designed my guitars and selected the pickup standards for each build to produce an instrument that looks, feels and sounds unique to what we’ve all been playing for the last 70+ years. I want you to create your own playing voice with one of my guitars. If you want a Strat/Tele/Les Paul - buy one. Trust me, you’ll only end up selling a guitar if you buy it wanting it to be something it isn’t. Fender and Gibson do a great enough job without me making replicas of their designs. What I can tell you is that you will DEFINITELY be stoked with the tone of my builds. Occasionally I capture a clip of someone playing one that I can upload to my Instagram account so if you follow that you’ll at least get a feel for the tonal potential. Ultimately, I’m not trying to create a substitute for the brilliance of those iconic guitars that already exist but an instrument that will inspire you to play and explore sounds that are ‘you’, not an imitation of what’s come before.
I’ve always wanted a custom guitar built in a shape that I have in my head/drawn/photo of like x/y/z brand guitar. Can you build it for me?
I’m afraid not. The guitars that I build are my own designs. It’s what I derive the most amount of joy and satisfaction from. Life is awfully short, and I have zero motivation to build replicas of other people’s/company’s historical designs with what I have left of it.
Can you refinish my guitar?
Short answer is probably not. Longer answer is that I can consider it… if what you want to achieve is a relic/aged refinish on a Fender style guitar and if the timing works with the building of my own guitars. I do have some excellent peers who will do highly professional, factory gloss level refinish work that I can refer you to if that is what you are chasing.
What sort of repair work can you do on my electric guitar/bass?
Please check out the scope of repair and restoration work that I do via my Repair & Restoration page.
Do you charge a benching fee?
Nope. It’s lonely out here in the Hinterland. If you want to book in a time to come and bench your guitar, have a chat, and get an idea of what needs doing before you might be ready to commit (or afford) to do it then that’s OK. No charge. Tell me prior if you want coffee and I’ll make you one.
How much will my repair cost?
It’s very, very difficult to provide an exact quote on any repair/modification work without seeing the guitar. I do have general fee limits for common work (refrets, pickup installation, nut replacement) but every guitar that gets benched is unique. Even an ‘hourly rate’ indicator is a challenge as doing the same job on one guitar may take a lot longer on another depending on what other associated needs are evident. That said, my current (2024) ‘time’ fee is $60 per hour with a minimum of 1 hour chargeable. A good example is re-fret work. It’s almost never ‘just’ a fret replacement. Any re-fret will usually require a replacement nut or modification to the existing one and a complete re-set up of the bridge, neck action etc. ‘But’, I hear you say, ‘I just need my jack replaced man - 60 bucks is a rip!’. Well, I don’t just replace the output jack… I have to access and then de-solder the existing one, check all of the electronics to make sure it’s actually the output jack that is the issue, I’ll clean and lubricate your potentiometers and fix up any dodgy soldering while I’m there, replace your old jack with a new USA made Switchcraft one, properly insulate the connection points, check and test it, and give your guitar a good once over clean while I’m at it.
In any case, If I quote a set amount for a job and it takes way longer to do then I just have to eat it! No one likes surprises so you can be confident that the repair cost won’t just escalate. As I mentioned previously, just come and bench it first so we can figure out what you’ll be up for.
I would like to replace/modify/upgrade the pickups and electronics in my guitar. Are you able to source the parts I need?
Sure, I can advise you on options and source the required parts. Be mindful that there is an additional time charge for me to do this and the client must pay any associated postage costs in addition to the cost of parts ordered. I am more than happy to provide guidance over the phone (for free) if you want to source it all yourself so we can be confident that you’re getting parts that actually ‘fit’ what you’re trying to use them for. The frustration with the guitar industry is that there are no real ‘standards’ and measurements for just about every aftermarket product you can think of will vary. Add that we have the ongoing imperial vs metric minefield and its tiger territory! Consider this especially if you want to upgrade/modify an instrument made using metric measurements/parts (most Asian built instruments) with parts made in the US using imperial measurements. Stuff just don’t ‘fit’ as often/easily as we would like it to. I can clue you up to that before you go investing in a bunch of ‘upgrades’ recommended on TPG that end up being a nightmare to actually install on your guitar and WAY more expensive that you thought it would be.
Do you supply strings?
I can - or you can supply them when dropping your guitar in. Personally, due to our harsh coastal climate I recommend that my clients use Elixr Nanoweb strings or a similar coated string alternative to get the maximum life out of them. Regular strings might be cheap, but they corrode while you look at them here on the Sunshine Coast, and once the corrosion appears, they start to wear away at your frets (simple regular restringing increases fret life people!). Honestly, the latest technology used in Elixr Nano and Optiweb coating is nothing like the bad old days of coated strings. I hated them when they first came on the market wrapped in glad wrap but now, I use them on my own guitars and these days end up changing strings because I want to, not because I have to. But hey, strings can be a very personal preference so if you’re set on using that shitty set you got for 8 bucks, your call, right?
Q) Do you repair acoustic guitars?
Not normally. I specialise in electric guitar and bass repairs, but I can however accommodate restring, cleans, nut replacements and fretwork (basic servicing). For bridge and saddle modification, top bellying remediation, neck re-sets and pickup installation needs I can refer you to acoustic luthiers on the Sunshine Coast. Those guys have an immunity to the pain of acoustic modification and rebuilding that I don’t have so I happily pass that work on to them.