Many people wonder what makes personalized or custom guitars different from a factory-made guitar and whether they are better. In this blog I try to answer this. Below I summarize the main differences.
Number of options
The first difference lies in the number of options the musician has. Factory guitars are made to fixed specifications and in large numbers. Every factory guitar will be exactly the same in every detail, and if you want something different, you can’t get it. A custom guitar builder will provide an instrument that is specially made for you. So there is only one of them. Depending on your music style and playing technique, you can choose between different shapes and sizes, scale lengths, actions, neck widths, fret sizes, tunings, electronics, woods, etc. In addition, you can choose visual or aesthetic characteristics such as color, burst, inlays, etc. The custom guitar becomes your own signature guitar, completely tailored to your musical and aesthetic wishes.
A second important difference between factory guitars and custom guitars is in the quality. Factory guitar manufacturers regard quality as how efficiently their instruments can be manufactured. Their priorities are: automation and standardization of procedures. The musician, on the other hand, is interested in the comfort of playing and how good the guitar sounds. This is normally also the attitude of the custom guitar builder. The priority for him is to create a personal, effective and beautiful instrument for the musician. The collaboration with the guitarist is therefore central to the custom builder.
A third difference is the attention your custom guitar gets from its builders. A custom guitar will require many hours more in terms of labor than a factory built guitar. In general, luthiers use a factor of 10 for this. In other words, on average 10 times as much labor time is spent on a custom guitar as on a factory guitar. This has the logical consequence that custom guitars are often more expensive than series guitars. Most custom guitars are built from € 4.000,–.
Furthermore, factory guitars are built by machine operators who manage and control certain procedures in the production process. The builder of a custom guitar, on the other hand, is an accomplished luthier (guitar builder) who masters every piece of the building process. The custom builder has to be good at everything. He often spends years mastering all the techniques and skills needed to build a perfect guitar. This attention is reflected in quality.
In summary, a large number of options, top quality and a multitude of working hours are the main differences between series and custom construction. A well-made custom guitar sounds great, plays almost by itself and therefore offers a lot of playing pleasure. The custom guitar is 100% tailored to the guitarist’s musical wishes and that is reflected in our statement: “Homestead: Your Choice, Your Sound, Your Guitar”.