#1
what companies give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to custom guitars?
Guitars:
Agile Interceptor Pro 828
Martin and Fender acoustics

Amp:
Bias amps
#2
The ones that give you what you want at a price you'd pay.



The question is too subjective; too broad. Depends too much on what you actually want.


That said, I'd look at semi-custom makers like Carvin and US Masters for delivering good value for money, and true customs like Jon Kammerer, Rock Beach, Crimson, Myka, Rice, Hi-Tone, Driskill, Bowes, Blade, Caparison, Rolf Spuler, Stevens UK, Bacorn, Ruokangas, Maton...

The list goes on.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
#5
I really like Carvins...


Rondo Music has a pretty good semi-custom thing going on. http://www.rondomusic.com/customquote.html

For example, you can get the AL-3XXX (LP alike) with 24, 24.75, 25.5, 27, 28.625 or 30" scales.
Right or left handed.
Various kinds of binding (or no binding)
Four kinds of bridge (including Floyd and Kahler)
Nickel silver, stainless or no frets.
ebony, maple or rosewood fretboards
Various inlays,
Neck-through or set neck
contoured body, neck heel
chambered or not
single or doublecut
22 or 24 frets
buncha colors/finishes
Last edited by dspellman at Feb 26, 2014,
#6
I thought I saw somewhere that us masters had shut down. The websites still there so I'm not sure.

Carvin makes some great guitars with a lot of options but also has a few limits on what you can get. They will not do custom inlays or sell non carving pickups.
#7
Quote by mhanbury2

Carvin makes some great guitars with a lot of options but also has a few limits on what you can get. They will not do custom inlays or sell non carving pickups.


Right. They're technically semi-customs, I guess.
That's part of the reason they do pretty well as "bang for the buck" guitars.
#8
G&L does some nice semi customs too .... I have bought/ordered four in the last year from G&L , definetly bang for the buck
#9
Check craigslist and try to find the local guys. Some of the best stuff I've played from my friends came from $1,000 custom jobs that guys do in their home workshops. Especially if you play bolt-ons. You can get a lot of bang for the buck if you're not worried about the headstock.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#10
Carvin rules the semi-custom roost because of the quality of their products, the availability of options, and perhaps most of all, the fact that you do not have to wait months or even years for your instrument. Some of the big custom houses have a waiting list that is years long. Yes; they will not make a guitar or bass with someone else's electronics or pickups, but you can always opt for the bare-bones versions of these and then swap them out when you get your instrument.

Beyond those factors, there are simply too many makers turning out incredibly good instruments at competitive prices to choose just one. As for the big makers, they all have "Custom Shops" that will build you one of their models to your specifications, but the wait can be long and the customer service - unless you are a rock star - can be iffy. This is because these big makers do not make money off of their custom-made instruments. It probably costs them more to keep the Custom Shop running than they ever recover from building customized versions of their standard models.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#11
Quote by dspellman
I really like Carvins...


Rondo Music has a pretty good semi-custom thing going on. http://www.rondomusic.com/customquote.html

For example, you can get the AL-3XXX (LP alike) with 24, 24.75, 25.5, 27, 28.625 or 30" scales.
Right or left handed.
Various kinds of binding (or no binding)
Four kinds of bridge (including Floyd and Kahler)
Nickel silver, stainless or no frets.
ebony, maple or rosewood fretboards
Various inlays,
Neck-through or set neck
contoured body, neck heel
chambered or not
single or doublecut
22 or 24 frets
buncha colors/finishes




That custom shop... I can't believe I could get one of their custom built guitars for me at a relatively low additional building cost. I'm in, totally doing it. Next guitar purchase already decided. Thank you dspellman, your da boss!
Last edited by JGM258 at Feb 26, 2014,
#12
I have a bunch of Warmoths I love.

I never see them mentioned on here.
I'm always screwing with my rig. Muh chilluns:
Warmoth NRFR strat JB/Jazz
Mesa Boogie Royal Atlantic, Diezel 2x12
Turbo tuner, J Cantrell wah, Alesis 3630
Green Rhino, Wampler Velvet, Strymon ElCap/Lex, Phase 45
#13
Quote by FatalGear41
Some of the big custom houses have a waiting list that is years long.


yea, i heard there is a luthier at the fender custom shop that has a 4 year waiting list!

As far as highest quality options, PRS are pretty amazing, last i checked they still even offer brazilian rosewood as an option for their custom shop orders.

Bang for your buck, carvin is a great option.
#14
Quote by JGM258


That custom shop... I can't believe I could get one of their custom built guitars for me at a relatively low additional building cost. I'm in, totally doing it. Next guitar purchase already decided. Thank you dspellman, your da boss!


Just to avoid any nasty surprises (and I'm sure you've read it carefully, but this is for those who skim) -- note that there are two payments. The first payment is the amount that shows up after you've selected all the bits and pieces, the second is the $299 (for the AL-series) due just before the guitar ships (this includes the case, BTW). The one I want came to around $1100 all up (both payments). That may seem like a lot of money for an Agile, but an equivalent Carvin or Gibson (well, neither Gibson nor Carvin makes a guitar with all of these options) would have cost over $2K for the Carvin and well over $5500 for the Gibbie.

Every cycle there are people whose ability to tick off checkboxes exceeds their design sense, and the resultant guitars are sometimes eye-popping.

Carvin will get you your semi-custom in 6-8 weeks (sometimes faster). The Agiles mosey in within about 4 months (mine was this on the nose). Gibson quoted me 5-7 months on an Axcess Custom with a fancy maple top (and $5760 to start the order).

My guess is that the Agile semi-customs are put together by the prototyping shop at the factory that makes Agiles. At the time I ordered mine, they did a few at a time. These days Kurt reports that the semi-custom shop is being necessarily limited in the number that they can take; the response has been literally overwhelming, and to avoid mistakes being made and delays in shipping, he's back to instituting cutoff dates and now quantity levels.

I ordered mine with no preconceptions regarding how it should turn out, and I didn't expect much. What arrived was an absolutely spectacular guitar (construction-wise; I selected conservative finish options). In the interest of full disclosure, there have been some screwups here and there. After I ordered mine, I was prepared for one of those; I'd absent-mindedly ticked off "single piece back" and "neckthrough construction" on the same guitar. Neckthroughs of this type usually have two body wings glued to the central neck core. But in this case the prototyping shop shrugged its collective shoulders and carved a channel down the inside of the single-piece back and laid the neck blank into that. It turned out more of a "really long tenon" guitar. And since I had a Floyd on the thing, the neck really didn't make it past the top of the Floyd's spring cavity anyway. Duhhh. I'm not sure why I cared about a single-piece back anyway; given the number of modifications I've made to the guitar, the back is a checkerboard of control cavities (sustainer, battery boxes, Floyd spring cavity, extended/moved controls, etc.).

I think that with any custom guitar you need to do your best thinking before you place the order and try very hard to accurately visualize what you'll get. Then sit back, relax and see what arrives. In every case where I've ordered a custom guitar (Moonstone, Agile, Nik Huber, Carvin, Gibson) the result has either met or exceeded my expectations. But I've allowed the builder a lot of creative freedom in his interpretation of my requests. I think entering the process that way allows you to be a lot happier with the results.
#15
Quote by Guy_Mitchell
I have a bunch of Warmoths I love.

I never see them mentioned on here.


Warmoth does some great work, but they don't build complete guitars. In fact, I don't believe that they even do the fretwork on their guitar necks (other than putting the frets in, of course). Some of their woods and body paint jobs are amazing.

Warmoth-based guitars are only as good as the person putting them together, and as a result, resale is usually terrible. I picked up a separate Warmoth body and neck from eBay auctions for cheap; the neck was a brand new black-painted Jackson-style neck that hadn't been used for anything, the body was a half-assed-modified explorer type thing in raw wood. I handed both to a "well-respected luthier" who'd been doing great custom work for major artists. Unfortunately, he broke up with his girlfriend, went into a complete funk and it took me half a year just to get what he'd done (I'd already prepaid the job) back from him, and it was badly done at that.

At this point the guitar is excellent, but it could easily have been resold as the disaster it was, and the next owner would have been blaming it on Warmoth, I expect.

Warmoth is a great place to go, but does not offer "bang for the buck." It offers reasonable pricing on very good work, but only as far as it goes, which is to provide good pieces that may or may not result in a really good guitar.
Last edited by dspellman at Feb 27, 2014,
#16
Quote by dspellman
Just to avoid any nasty surprises (and I'm sure you've read it carefully, but this is for those who skim) -- note that there are two payments. The first payment is the amount that shows up after you've selected all the bits and pieces, the second is the $299 (for the AL-series) due just before the guitar ships (this includes the case, BTW). The one I want came to around $1100 all up (both payments). That may seem like a lot of money for an Agile, but an equivalent Carvin or Gibson (well, neither Gibson nor Carvin makes a guitar with all of these options) would have cost over $2K for the Carvin and well over $5500 for the Gibbie.

Every cycle there are people whose ability to tick off checkboxes exceeds their design sense, and the resultant guitars are sometimes eye-popping.

Carvin will get you your semi-custom in 6-8 weeks (sometimes faster). The Agiles mosey in within about 4 months (mine was this on the nose). Gibson quoted me 5-7 months on an Axcess Custom with a fancy maple top (and $5760 to start the order).

My guess is that the Agile semi-customs are put together by the prototyping shop at the factory that makes Agiles. At the time I ordered mine, they did a few at a time. These days Kurt reports that the semi-custom shop is being necessarily limited in the number that they can take; the response has been literally overwhelming, and to avoid mistakes being made and delays in shipping, he's back to instituting cutoff dates and now quantity levels.

I ordered mine with no preconceptions regarding how it should turn out, and I didn't expect much. What arrived was an absolutely spectacular guitar (construction-wise; I selected conservative finish options). In the interest of full disclosure, there have been some screwups here and there. After I ordered mine, I was prepared for one of those; I'd absent-mindedly ticked off "single piece back" and "neckthrough construction" on the same guitar. Neckthroughs of this type usually have two body wings glued to the central neck core. But in this case the prototyping shop shrugged its collective shoulders and carved a channel down the inside of the single-piece back and laid the neck blank into that. It turned out more of a "really long tenon" guitar. And since I had a Floyd on the thing, the neck really didn't make it past the top of the Floyd's spring cavity anyway. Duhhh. I'm not sure why I cared about a single-piece back anyway; given the number of modifications I've made to the guitar, the back is a checkerboard of control cavities (sustainer, battery boxes, Floyd spring cavity, extended/moved controls, etc.).

I think that with any custom guitar you need to do your best thinking before you place the order and try very hard to accurately visualize what you'll get. Then sit back, relax and see what arrives. In every case where I've ordered a custom guitar (Moonstone, Agile, Nik Huber, Carvin, Gibson) the result has either met or exceeded my expectations. But I've allowed the builder a lot of creative freedom in his interpretation of my requests. I think entering the process that way allows you to be a lot happier with the results.


Yeah, I was aware of the extra $250-450 depending on the model. Still an absolute steal all things considered. It's unbelievable really, can't wait to order mine!
#17
Carvin, Rondo, and Ran all make nice custom guitars for under $1500. But, if you are going (any) over $1500, I would recommend Skervesen, just go to their website (skervesen.eu) and check out their tops. Amazing.

Im saving up for either a 4AP, Shoggie DC, or Raptor right now
#18
Carvin's gotta be the best for the budget. I would say it's border line "custom" even though they won't let you change simple things like mix and matching cheap plastics Still very high quality.

For the best stuff I'd say something on the lines of Suhr or Ron Kirn.
#19
Ran Guitars are amazing. Check em out! They are made in Poland and they will make any shape or form you can think of.
Aside from that, ESP is also great of course.