The ‘Custom’ advantage

The advantage of having an instrument built for you, as opposed to buying one off the shelf, is that you can have more or less exactly what you want. And that is not just having certain timbers or colours or tuners, but having the whole instrument designed for your specific requirements.

Parlor Gutar 1Take, for example, my daughter Lorraine, who you have seen before in these pages. She has always struggled with some aspects of playing a full sized guitar, due mainly to never having reached the five foot mark in her growth and having hands to match. By any standards they are tiny and the whole hand has difficulty spanning three frets!

The answer was a custom guitar, and although I don’t build many guitars I decided (as Dad’s do) that she deserved one for Christmas. As size was the main criteria I based it on a baritone ukulele body with a 22″ scale length. It was half built before she knew anything about it, but once the neck was made I thought I’d better check with her that the size of the neck was suitable. At that point she wasn’t shown the body!

I guess you would call it a Parlour or Piccolo Guitar, but the strings are so close together that virtually nobody else could play it sensibly. Many Thanks must go to Gary Zimnicki for his invaluable advice while building it. :)

She got her guitar for Christmas and earlier today she came along to the workshop to tell me how she could now form chords that were impossible with ‘normal’ instruments. I now have a very happy daughter! :)

This will be my last post for 2012, so may I take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy and prosperous New Year.

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