Features & Woods


This page provides an overview of the features available on a custom build as well as a discussion of tonewoods and the woods I have in my inventory.

Features (click)

Each guitar can be customized in an infinite number of ways. The best way to get a sense of what can be done is to look at my past builds. I have prepared separate galleries for individual features and have linked them here as well as below along with descriptions (click the respective headings). Refer to the right for tonewoods. If you have seen something you like that I haven’t done, I’m happy to work with you include it in your build:

Rosette – My basic rosette is a wood ring with an outer band of shell. I have done rosettes including a single wide band of shell to narrow bands of wood with one or two rings shell.

Purfling – Fine black/white/black is very classy and works with any wood. For the more adventurous, I have made custom purflings of osage orange, bloodwood, and yellowheart.

Top Trim – Around the top perimeter, I like to use something more decorative than the purfling noted above. I have done wider strips using leftover wood from the sides, herringbone, shell, burl, and a wider version of the purfling used elsewhere.

Binding – Most any hardwood can be used for binding. I try to limit the number of woods used on a guitar and make sure those used work well together. I may use the same wood for the binding, the back of the headstock, neck laminations, and/or rosette.

Neck and Heel – I can do a single piece neck, but I almost always use multiple laminations. These include a very thin black lamination up the middle to wide curly maple. A really interesting feature is a five piece laminated neck with the 2nd and 4th thinner laminations fanning out over the heel. For the heel cap, I often use the same wood as the binding but many options are available, including binding the heel cap.

Fingerboard and Bridge – I like to use the same woods for each of these. The most common woods are ebony and east Indian rosewood, but I have used a number of other woods as well.

Inlay – I can cut and inlay basic dots, diamonds, and squares, but I do have a CNC. Pair the CNC with a bit of an artistic inclination, and I can do some detailed custom inlay work in both shell and wood. If you have an idea, we might be able to find a way to make it happen.

Back strip – I always book match the back plates, and some customers like a decoration inlaid up the center seam.

Headstock – Bookmatched back remnants make a great headstock faceplate laminate, but ebony is always nice as is the wood used in the rosette. For a more classed up look, the back of the headstock can also be bound.




Tonewoods (click)

I have a good selection of common and more exotic woods. My base price includes a choice of wood from the Basic group below. In addition, I have some nicer wood available for an upcharge of $100 to $3750, depending on the set. The Select group includes a bit nicer woods with upgrade costs that run up to $500. The Premium group below has woods for an upcharge up to about $1500. For those wanting a guitar from something even rarer, I have woods available in the Reserve group, which carry a significant upcharge. I have also included some brief information on the Soundboards I have. I won’t go into detail regarding how each wood may sound on a specific guitar. The internet can provide hours of reading on the topic. As we discuss your guitar, we can talk woods, and I can offer some thoughts given what you are looking for in sound.

Below are the woods included in each of the aforementioned groups. Click on the header of each section for a photo gallery of the related woods.

Basic Woods – EIR (3A), Black Walnut, Bubinga, Mahogany, Curly Big Leaf Maple (4A).

Select Woods – EIR (4A), basic Madagascar Rosewood, Curly Black Walnut, Big Leaf Maple (5A), Basic Koa, Curly Mango, Curly Red Oak, Black Locust, Sycamore, Flamed Movingui, figured and spalted Myrtle, Tineo, Swartzia Wamara

Premium Woods – Curly Koa, Curly Bastogne Walnut, Myrtle, Uber Quilted Sapele,  Cocobolo, African Blackwood, Malaysian Blackwood, Brazilian RW, Madagascar RW, Crelicam Ebony

Reserve Woods – Brazilian RW, Madagascar RW, ‘The Tree’ Mahogany

Soundboards – I typically use the following and have most available in various grades: Sitka, Adirondack (Red Spruce), Lutz, Italian Spruce, Port Orford, Western Red Cedar, Salvaged Old Growth Redwood, Butternut (yes and nicely QS)