We hope to have guitars for sale by January 2017. Please start making plans now! We're currently developing all the pages of the site so you can begin to make your decisions. Thanks for your patience!
How are you able to build guitars and either ship them as a kit or finished? Isn't this against the norm?
We're able to offer the entire gamut of guitar building because want you involved in the process all the way, whether that's just building a kit for you or finishing your guitar for you. You bet it's against the norm, and I also know that this way of building and selling is very unique.
The main difference is that a large manufacturer isn't going to sell you a kit of their unfinished guitar. One, because they don't want you messing with their branding. Or possibly misrepresenting their brand. PLUS, the reason you are charged so much more is not only because of their wonderful craftspersons, but because of the name itself.
We care about our brand, but our branding includes your unique interpretation of our guitars! (top)
Isn't it true that the reason you charge much less is because you don't have the same guitar building experience as the big names?
We will let the craftsmanship you see speak for itself. The truth is that the factory has many years of experience in guitar building, and in some cases the luthiers have experience with company names that you know. No, we charge less because this method of selling guitars directly to you cuts out the retail chain. (top)
Why are you giving away the majority of your profits?
Because, it's the right thing to do. We want to help an organization that plainly is in the business of building a better life for the people of their country. This organization, Malawi Cares, gives their people the tools and skills in order to not only survive, but to thrive in the 21st century. We are choosing to direct our money within this organization that focuses on digging new wells in villages.
We hope that this business model catches on. We only keep the profits we need in order to keep designing new guitars. In our case, this situation is a win/win/win: the people of the factory get paid for their high craft, we get paid for our designs and children in Africa get to drink more clean water! (top)
What are your turnaround times?
Our base turnaround time is currently 4-6 weeks for raw wood kits and additional time for add-on build requests. Please remember that so much depends on the timeliness of your particular build. Here are the basic ideas, and please feel free to contact Steve at the About / Contact Me page if you have questions: (top)
|Unfinished raw wood kits (body and neck separate)||4-6 weeks|
|Raw Detail Setup||add 2 weeks|
|Paint and Finish||add 4-6 weeks if *UV Poly paint, add 12 weeks if *nitrocellulose|
|The Full Breeze Package||14-16 weeks total if UV Poly paint, 22-24 weeks total if nitrocellulose|
* for descriptions of the polymer-based paints and the nitrocellulose finish, see the technical FAQs
What is the address to ship my hardware to you?
Contact us when you order and we'll send you the address. (top)
Why can't I order a 60's neck on the 59 Shaped Awe or Spartan Arch models? Is that a mistake?
No, that's not a mistake in the shopping cart. The 60's neck isn't available on the 59 Shaped Awe nor the Spartan Arch models at this time. They are technically incompatible because of the size of the 60's neck in both cases. It's not something that would be impossible to accomplish, but there are programming difficulties in marrying these two designs. If you would really like to have either neck profile on your build, just submit a profile request option with the build. For any questions at all, please contact Steve at the About / Contact Me page. (top)
Is my order final when I hit Submit Order and then pay you?
No. What's going to happen is that your order is going to generate a page of options. Then we'll evaluate your request and email you to confirm your choices. Nothing is final until we have worked out any details of your order and you have gotten back to us and said to go ahead. (top)
Why do you use a UV Poly paint?
The polymer-based paint is mixed with a hardening agent that is activated by ultraviolet light. Very thin coats are used, and dries to a highly durable finish. (top)
Why does it take extra time if nitrocellulose-based paint is used?
The process of using nitrocellulose paint requires many hours of separate spraying and drying. It's just a time-consuming process to do correctly. (top)
Am I limited to the colors that you offer?
If you don't see the colors that you'd like from our choices, get in touch with us at the contact page. We'll make every effort to get you what you want. (top)
What's the best way to glue the neck to the body?
The neck tenons are cut to be an individual match with each body. They are literally made for each other. There's a video on gluing the neck to the body coming soon, but here it is in a nutshell:
There's no need to measure to assure that the neck will be in the proper position, side-to-side, to be aligned exactly in the center. There's no need to assure that the neck only goes so far into the body so the 12th fret is perfectly halfway between the nut and the bridge: the factory has taken care of all of that. The tenon and body are cut very precisely at the same angle and with rounded corners. It's a beautiful fit each and every time.
It's ready for glue. I recommend Titebond. You'll also need one or two wood clamps and a couple of boards to protect the guitar when clamping and a rag or paper towel.
- Place the neck and body together. Make sure all is smooth and there are no foreign objects.
- Using your finger or a brush, cover all three sides of the neck tenon and all three sides of neck cavity in the body with glue. Use enough glue that you have a small amount of squeeze-out, but not so little that you don't have coverage. Have a rag ready at all times to wipe up excess glue. You want to be careful not to drip glue on the body, but if you do, wipe it up right away.
- Place the neck into the body and clamp. Hand tight, but not too tight.
- Let sit with the clamps for 24 hours undisturbed.
- Remove clamps and let sit for 24 hours undisturbed.
Here is usually how our luthiers and custom shop - old school guys do this: they'll glue the neck and body together while all is raw wood and then completely assemble the guitar and take notes. Then they'll disassemble the guitar hardware and paint the raw body and neck as one. This is a rougher way to go, and it requires spray booths and other elaborate techniques and systems to do this the right way.
But many people will paint and finish the neck and body separately. It's the better way to go unless you have all of the spray equipment. Even if you do have the spray equipment, that doesn't mean that is the only way to finish a guitar.
If this is your first build, definitely consider finishing the neck and body separately. Then glue together. But be sure to mask off the neck pocket and neck tenon so no drops of paint get there. Once the neck and body are glued together, you can give a final clear coat so you won't see the body and neck join. (top)
Do I need to do any sanding to one of your kits?
The factory finishes the kits to 320 grit which is pretty good for paint. Some people might like to take it to a higher number of grit, but that is going to be preference. All the sanding and shaping is done for you.
Two suggestions: if you're going to have a TruOil finish, consider sanding the neck up to 600 - 800 grit for the ultimate smoothness. The second suggestion is that if you are going to apply a water-based dye color to a maple top, consider not sanding up past 400 to leave the grain more open to accepting the dye color. (top)
Under Construction, so connecting info on this site is going to be a little rough. But if you have questions, please send a note via the About / Contact Me page.