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©2005 S.B. MacDonald All Rights Reserved :: Last update: October, 10 2005
Q: What is the difference between a "custom shop guitar" and a true custom guitar?

A: A true custom guitar is made just for you from the ground up. Most "custom" guitars are actually customized pre-existing models where you have choices on cosmetic details, inlays, etc....A guitar that is designed and built just for you will take into account your hand size, finger length, voice, style and personality. It will be built around who you are as an artist. Details such as body woods and shape, scale length, neck contour, fingerboard radius, string spacing and more are all considered during design.

Q: How do you design a guitar around me as an artist?

A: I try to get to know as much about you as possible! I'll listen to your music, ask you MANY detailed questions about who you are, what kinds of guitars you have and what you like most about each of them. The size of your hands, how you hold your guitar...These elements all come together, painting a picture of what would be ideal for you.

Q: Should I modify my factory made guitars?

A: Your guitar is the way it is for a reason. Mods can not only damage the value of your guitar, but may give uncertain results. It is something I will only do in the case of swapping pickups, tuners, or other parts on a guitar that is not a valuable vintage instrument, and then only if said parts drop in without needing new holes or woodworking. It is fine to add pickups to modern acoustics as well, providing that it is done respectfully without puting holes where there were none! There are many good "low-impact" systems that drop easily into fine modern acoustics. Is it ok to refinish a guitar for cosmetic purposes? NO! When in doubt, please feel free to contact me. Vintage instruments are sacred and should be left alone!

Q: How should I ship my guitar to you for repair or restoration?

A: Please call me in person, and I'll walk you through it!

Q: I've never worked with you, and am nervous sending my guitar out to a stranger. Will everything be ok?

A: I've been doing this full-time out of the same location for over 17 years. I am fully insured, and have long standing relationships in the indusrty with Martin, Taylor, Gibson, and many other comapnies. My customers come from all over the world, and I have over 2,000 clients in my database. My reputation and ethics are solid. I care about each of my customers as much as I do their instruments! I invite you to read the testimonials page!

Frequently asked questions about custom made guitars and guitar repair.

Q: How important is a good set-up?

A: Many many of my clients were struggling for years without realizing it! A well set-up guitar will play perfectly for your style and touch, will intonate correctly, stay in tune and make you very very happy. Many music stores will charge you for a set-up, and simply change your strings and perhaps adjust the truss rod (sometimes when it shouldn't be adjusted!) There are many fine points to a set-up, subtle details that combine to bring everything into focus and maximize your guitar's playability. Your technique will be better too!

Feel free to e-mail me with a question you'd like added here!

Q: Is my guitar worth restoring?

A: I get a lot of inexpensive instruments in for repair, this is a common question. I always tell people when a repair will cost more than the instument is worth. Often there is emotional attachment or sentimental value at play. In these cases, it is pretty common to do what is needed to keep the instrument healthy despite the cost. There are times however, when an inexpensive instrument should simply not be fixed due to too much structural damage or an excessive cost to repair it. In the case of higher-end instruments a repair is the obvious choice. In addition, a restored guitar is often a great investment, and may actually outperform a new one!