Every guitarist has, at some point, considered getting a custom guitar built especially for them. But not everybody has the skills to be able to whip up a design draft in Photoshop.
Fortunately, there are some alternative ways you can go about designing a custom guitar without any program. The most popular way is to go through a company that offers custom guitar builds.
More often than not, these companies will allow you to customize every detail of a guitar’s build. The following websites are worth your time for all of your guitar design needs.
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As far as custom guitars go, there isn’t a name more reputable than Warmoth. The company has been making custom guitars since 1980, often using authentically licensed schematics.
Warmoth gives you an incredible amount of customization from the body to the neck, as well as the hardware involved. You’ll also be able to customize your color choices along with the wood used throughout the build.
To get started, simply scroll through Warmoth’s massive list of guitar bodies available and click the customize option. You’ll notice right away that Warmoth is able to offer components licensed by Fender if that is your desire.
Once you’re happy with your customized design, you’re free to add it to your cart. After that, it’s time to find a neck and there are gobs to choose from here.
Warmoth also sells hardware and pickups in their store as well. Perhaps the only thing they don’t do (necessarily) is put the guitar together for you.
Of course, Warmoth is pretty accommodating, so if there’s anything you need, they’ll usually answer your requests.
Fender Mod Shop
Fender is undoubtedly the biggest name in the guitar industry as far as manufacturers go. As such, it’s often one of the first families of guitars people consider modifying to their own liking.
Most people agree that Fender’s designs are absolutely timeless. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people don’t have preferences for what they’d like to see on a guitar.
The Fender Mod Shop is the answer to your dream of creating a customized Fender guitar. Going this route will allow you to create your dream version of the following instruments:
- Precision Bass
- Jazz Bass
To get started, simply click on the model you’d like to design. From there, you’ll be able to pick out the color applied to the guitar’s body.
You’ll also be able to customize options for:
- Headstock shape
- Neck contour
- Fretboard material
- Pickguard type and color
- Bridge type
- Tuning machines
- Strap buttons
Going this route actually isn’t as expensive as you might think. You can create a custom guitar for less than the most expensive normal production guitars that Fender offers.
Plus, you’ll even get a hardshell molded case to keep your guitar safe!
ESP is an especially popular guitar company in genres that require a bit of an edge. They’ve been producing guitars that are reminiscent of other guitars, but with their own unique twists.
There’s perhaps a no better way to ensure that your ESP is especially unique than visiting their custom shop. But, you had better be prepared to spend a small fortune when going this route.
With that being said, ESP does offer the ability to customize every guitar model in its catalog. This means you aren’t limited to a few select guitar designs.
Once you’ve decided on a body design, ESP will allow you to customize options such as:
- The wood used in the build
- Finish options
Many of ESP’s guitars offer the choice of unique quilted and flamed tops showcased by transparent finishes. If this is up your alley, ESP’s custom shops allow for beautiful bursts you won’t find anywhere else.
Sometimes, it’s worth your time to venture off of the beaten path when considering a custom guitar. One manufacturer worth considering is Emerald Guitars, which has an in-depth 3D guitar builder on its website.
If you’re unfamiliar with Emerald Guitars, the quick background is that they produce high-quality guitars made of Carbon Fiber. Many of their designs are quite unique, often offering hybrid acoustic/electric varieties along with some bizarre designs.
When using the 3D builder, you’ll have choices over every aspect of the guitar. You’ll also see the changes made to the guitar’s 3D representation in accordance with your choices.
This is especially helpful when choosing through the numerous wood veneer types the company has to offer. With the intuitive design of the 3D builder, you won’t have any guesses about what the guitar will look like.
666strings is a guitar manufacturer based in Germany that specializes in guitars crafted for heavy music. The company offers 4 unique designs based on some iconic guitar shapes.
While you can purchase a standard model produced by 666strings, the company offers custom builds. When going this route, you’ll have full customization of all 4 guitar models produced by the company.
Customizing your guitar can be a fun process here as the modeler changes in real-time to your choices. You can add custom tops for a heightened aesthetic appeal, as well as color choices for the hardware.
666strings goes the extra mile, offering some customization over specific design components. You can even choose whether you want a bolt-on neck joint, or a neck that’s glued into the body.
Many people turn to Kiesel Guitars when they want their axe of choice to be completely unique. While the company has standard production models, their options for customization are quite in-depth for any guitar nerd.
Kiesel makes it easy when you want to customize a guitar as their builder is quite intuitive. Simple start by selecting a base model to customize.
From there, the world is essentially yours as far as the nitty-gritty details of the guitar are concerned. You can even create custom 7 and 8-string guitars if that is what you’re after.
Every aspect of the guitar is covered here, and you’ll even be able to customize the fretboard inlays. If you want a guitar that is customized in every detail, Kiesel is a no-brainer choice.
Balaguer Guitars is based in Pennsylvania and is a fairly small company with regard to how well-known it is. Of course, you shouldn’t let reputation hold you back here, as many Balaguer instruments are top-notch.
The company produces a wide range of guitars, with designs reminiscent (but wholly different) of classic guitar shapes. To get started, you’ll ultimately need to decide which design you like the best.
From there, Balaguer offers the ability to customize every aspect of the guitar’s build. This includes options for:
- The wood used in construction
- Body color and finish
- Neck and headstock preferences
- Fretboard materials with aesthetic touches
- Hardware used along with the color of the hardware
Throughout the entire customization process, Balaguer’s modeling program updates the guitar in real time. By the end of your build, you should have a decent idea of what the guitar looks like.
Top Guitar Designers Online, Final Thoughts
It’s important to remember that these websites are actually guitar manufacturers. That doesn’t mean you have to order a guitar through that specific company.
Using these websites is a way to gauge what the possible cost might be for the guitar of your dreams. It also provides you with a wishlist of the features you’d like to see on your ideal guitar build.
Of course, not everybody has a luthier nearby to be able to design something completely original. Websites like these are often the next best thing.
What would your own custom and signature guitar look like if the cost was no issue?