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Old 06-11-2013, 09:20 AM   #1
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Build to Order Guitar Specs Thread

Hello all,

I'm ordering my first BTO guitar at the end of the Summer and wanted to share some specs. I figured everyone can discuss and some may even learn here about different woods, sounds, and set ups when it comes to guitars.

My long story short is, I played for years as a kid, joined the military, and got hurt. So my spine and hands haven't worked right for years and I've missed playing a ton. Well, I recently had a little pain relief and decided I just can't miss this window of opportunity to possibly play again. So, I'm doing it right and getting the perfect guitar for me

Since my hands are still pretty weak and in pain I'm prioritizing "easy to play" and getting a Taylor Grand Concert (their smallest full size body) with a scaled down neck (which puts less tension on the strings, making it easier to play) and a 12 fret (the neck meets the body at the 12th fret rather than the 14th making both the neck shorter and the guitar have a more powerful sound since the bridge is moved down on the body).

I'm going with Ovangkol back and sides (similar to rosewood but less zingy in the highs and a more solid mid sounds, doesn't scoop the mids) and a Cedar top. This guitar is going to respond well to a very light touch, which is what I'll have since my hands are messed up. To counter the small size of the body, and quiet, warmer topwood I not only moved the bridge down with that 12 fret neck but also went with Adirondack Spruce bracing. For those who don't know Adirondack has virtually no volume limit when the bracing and whole top are made from it and much of this is from the bracing alone. So I should have good volume and snap from that bracing and yet the wonderful warm tone from the cedar that I love

Im going with a Venetian cutaway, no electronics, and a 1 3/4" nut width. Should suite my hands really well
Mahogany neck (satin finish) and all natural wood tones, no extras.

Slotted peghead with Gotoh tuners and a whole bunch of other little nuances in the little things.

That's my BTO.

Everyone else feel free to share your specs, your dream guitar specs, or even just ask questions about why different measurements, body sizes, wood options, etc.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:39 AM   #2
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Very jealous of your setup! What style of music you play? I used to own a Taylor 312ce (grand concert size) and that baby was SWEET! Fingerpicking was a breeze on the short scale, hard strumming often lead to overdriving the tops and distorting a bit, but anything other than metal was excellent sounding

Make sure to show some pictures when it is all done and said in your hands. When Taylor came out with their custom shop and the ability to produce BTO guitars, they brought a whole new game to their ballfield. Custom luthiers can often push prices in excess of >$10K for a guitar and I do not know many people who have the cash lying around.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:55 AM   #3
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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The 12 fret bringing the bridge down and the Adirondack Spruce brace should make it a lot harder to over drive the top. Plus the top will be cedar.
Even more so, I don't use a pick ha. I fingerpick mostly so I've adapted my strumming to fingers only as well.

My little brother just got his first banjo too, super stoked. He's learning quick already ha

I forgot about this thread. Must not be many aspiring musicians on here. Personally, I play for me because I enjoy it. I don't even have electronics built into any of my guitars simply because I don't typically play in front of anyone.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:05 PM   #4
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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12 fret
Short scale (24 7/8") 5/8" shorter
Grand Concert
Venetian Cutaway
1 3/4" nut width
Slotted peg head
Western Red Cedar Top
Ovangkol Back & Sides
3 piece back
Rosewood mini wedge
Mahogany Neck
12 fret Adirondack bracing
Indian Rosewood headstock overlay
Macassar striped ebony truss rod cover
Rosewood binding
White fiber purfling
Rosewood 3 ring rosette
2.5mm Mother of pearl fret inlay
Gloss finish
Satin finished neck
Mother of pearl peghead logo
Taylor slot head tuners
Ebony bridge pins
Tortoise shell pick guard
Tusq nut and saddle
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzzardsGottaEat View Post
12 fret
Short scale (24 7/8") 5/8" shorter
Grand Concert
Venetian Cutaway
1 3/4" nut width
Slotted peg head
Western Red Cedar Top
Ovangkol Back & Sides
3 piece back
Rosewood mini wedge
Mahogany Neck
12 fret Adirondack bracing
Indian Rosewood headstock overlay
Macassar striped ebony truss rod cover
Rosewood binding
White fiber purfling
Rosewood 3 ring rosette
2.5mm Mother of pearl fret inlay
Gloss finish
Satin finished neck
Mother of pearl peghead logo
Taylor slot head tuners
Ebony bridge pins
Tortoise shell pick guard
Tusq nut and saddle
NICE!!! Very jealous - that thing is going to be sweet to play and the sound will be incredible. The cedar tops work very well with your style of playing (fingerpicking). If you don't mind me asking, how much does all that run you?

I have went through my share of guitars in the 15 years or so I've been playing, but I have always kept my trusty Guild F-30R (westerly) by my side. I was thinking of investing in a BTO from Taylor but I know they can get expensive rather quick.

Sounds like we are both couch professionals. I never play out anymore and just use my guitar as a method of meditation and relaxation when I get home from work - no picks for me either. Still like to jam with my buddies when we meet up but that is the extent of my "playing out". I installed a K&K Mini Western pickup in my Guild and use it so hook my guitar up to a dinky crate amp and have a Boss RC-2 loop pedal to work on my improv every now and then.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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It'll be more than I'd ever spend usually.

I was forced to take several years off from playing due to serious spine, hand, head, etc, injuries. I just recently have had enough pain relief to play some but it's still painful and limited. I've got the BTO all set up but I'm going to make sure this pain relief trend is here to stay before I pay for a overly expensive guitar and end up back at square one. I have been enjoying learning banjo with my brother and do have an old crappy acoustic Latin around that I play. Someday I'll order this BTO and a Recording King Madison RK-R35 resonator banjo . . . Hopefully this year, I'd just hate to buy it and have my hands go on me again.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:22 PM   #7
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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Well, feeling better and the BTO is done. Just waiting for it to ship to my dealer and for him to ship it to me. will post pics soon!



I'm surprised no one else on here has custom guitar specs to share haha even you dream guitar specs or questions about choices are welcome.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzzardsGottaEat View Post














Extremely jealous!! Must of cost a pretty penny and that set of Ovangkol is superb. Give me an update report on how it sounds - nothing better than looking at pictures of fine ass guitars.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:08 AM   #10
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wow, what a beautiful guitar!

i should pick up my acoustic again, its been collecting dust for months now. i've been jamming my electric more often now.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:20 AM   #11
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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It should be here next week but the seller said it's got a lot of horsepower for such a small guitar. Which is precisely what I was going for with the 12 fret and Adirondack bracing. I'm pretty stoked to get it.


What would be you guy's "dream build" specs? Woods? Size, cut, etc?
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:27 PM   #12
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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I've been playing it for a couple days now. It's made me late a couple times, but it plays like a dream.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:46 PM   #13
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Nice guitar. I could never get good sound out of steel string guitars cause I heavily use bar chords. So I have a Cordoba CE5 with alvarez high tension for the lows and low tension for the highs. I also have an Agile LesPaul knock off that sound pretty good and is very well made for the price and country of origin. Both guitars satisfy my needs. I fingerpick a lot too on the cordoba cause I like the flamenco sound I get out of it. I hope you can play your guitar for many years. It is soothing for the soul.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:56 PM   #14
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
BuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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It is, man. I enjoy it

Surprisingly I have a cheapo made in China guitar, that I bought in Japan oddly enough, that plays pretty well now that I have some elixers on it. I literally wouldn't care if someone kicked that one over its so cheap haha so I use it for when I'm teaching people or when others ask to play my guitar.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:57 PM   #15
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NOICE!
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:41 PM   #16
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(I'm a little late here..)

I'm seriously jealous of you all. If I had the money.. haha I've always wanted a BTO. I bought my current guitar (Eastman E6OM) last summer and I love it though. I love the body style of the OM and GC guitars with the tighter waist, and this thing sounds amazing for the $675 I paid for it. Solid Mahogany b/s and a solid sitka top. It's great for when I'm in the mood for some blues, but I've also found that it's great for my bluegrass jams and flatpicking.

just wanted to say hi! I always love talking about guitars with people.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:21 PM   #17
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
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I love mahogany as well. Especially with a mahogany or cedar top.

My favorite guitar I've ever played though was Macasser striped Ebony. Cocobolo can be fun as well. Both are beautiful. And both are way too expensive ha.

My build had to be more of a do-it-all package. If I could afford it if have one of each for each specialized style that I enjoy. But that will never happen and I'm more than happy with my Ovangkol/Cedar/Adi 12 fret
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #18
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I've been out of building for a living now for more than a decade (spent a good chunk of my life at Santa Cruz Guitar Company, look 'em up sometime). I still bash out an instrument or two a year for kicks, but I do electrics only and some repair/restoration work. No room at home for the molds that acoustics require.

Taylor has an awesome facility. I learned how to build the old fashioned way, literally carving necks with a spokeshave. Taylor doesn't do any of that shit, and I think the buyer benefits hugely. They've been really innovative with a lot of their building techniques, especially the neck joint. Bob was using his noodle when he came up with that one.

Given your situation and physical limitations, this is pretty much what I would have recommended for you. Possibly an even smaller body along the size of a 00 Martin, but if this fits you go with it. And a great call on the cedar top. Gives players with a light touch stunning tone, better than a traditional spruce top in some ways but you really can't hit it too hard or it chokes. For recording a fingerpicker it doesn't get any better. And I might add that Taylors were built from day one for players with a light touch.

Always glad to hear about somebody getting a good axe and being happy with it.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:13 PM   #19
"Pick up some speed.. You'll make it."
BuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shedBuzzardsGottaEat is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Hey, we've got an expert in here. That's one trade I would love to learn. I enjoy woodwork and creativity of many artistic sorts and think I would love building guitars. Even if only to assist and learn from an expert luthier of some sort.

I'm glad to hear you wouldn't have recommended something too different for my situation and style. I love constructive criticism but this ain't something I can just do over a few times ha. I researched for over a year before I felt comfortable choosing everything. It's been playing like a dream. My sore hands can handle it just fine for a while at a time so far.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FTD View Post
I've been out of building for a living now for more than a decade (spent a good chunk of my life at Santa Cruz Guitar Company, look 'em up sometime). I still bash out an instrument or two a year for kicks, but I do electrics only and some repair/restoration work. No room at home for the molds that acoustics require.

Taylor has an awesome facility. I learned how to build the old fashioned way, literally carving necks with a spokeshave. Taylor doesn't do any of that shit, and I think the buyer benefits hugely. They've been really innovative with a lot of their building techniques, especially the neck joint. Bob was using his noodle when he came up with that one.

Given your situation and physical limitations, this is pretty much what I would have recommended for you. Possibly an even smaller body along the size of a 00 Martin, but if this fits you go with it. And a great call on the cedar top. Gives players with a light touch stunning tone, better than a traditional spruce top in some ways but you really can't hit it too hard or it chokes. For recording a fingerpicker it doesn't get any better. And I might add that Taylors were built from day one for players with a light touch.

Always glad to hear about somebody getting a good axe and being happy with it.
I see you're in San Diego? I lived down there last summer and got to meet some local luthiers. It's amazing to me how big the local acoustic music/building scene is out there compared to here on the east coast. My only regret about spending the summer out there was that I was working and didn't have the chance to make it out to El Cajon. haha I have to say though, I played a SCGC 1929 at the store out there where I bought my Eastman. That was an absolutely beautiful guitar. It played like butter and could handle pretty much anything I played very elegantly and clearly. It felt like it was custom built for and I loved it, but it was about 4x my budget

That is definitely something I would love to do too, but around here I just don't think it would be profitable enough to make a living, and I have absolutely no woodworking experience haha. I've also been interested in just learning how to do some repairs like set ups, basic cleating, etc.
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