How to Choose the Perfect Custom Guitar: A Comprehensive Buyer's Guide

by Brett Quattrucci on October 09, 2023
Custom boutique guitars from Ploutone


In the world of music, the electric guitar stands as an iconic symbol of artistic expression and individuality. While mass-produced guitars have their place, nothing quite compares to the allure of a custom-made electric guitar. These bespoke instruments offer a level of personalization, quality, and uniqueness that can elevate your musical journey to new heights. At Ploutone, we understand the profound connection between a guitarist and their instrument. That's why we're here to guide you through the process of selecting the perfect custom electric guitar tailored to your unique preferences.

Our brand, Ploutone, is not just an intermediary between electric guitar makers and guitarists; we are dedicated to ensuring a seamless, stress-free experience for every guitarist. We collaborate with expert luthiers who specialize in meeting the demands of the modern guitarist. From revolutionary electronics and hardware to innovative multi-scale, headless, and extended-range designs, Ploutone is committed to positioning itself as a unique and trustworthy brand in the custom guitar industry.


Step 1: Determine Your Budget and Preferences


1.1 Price Point

Custom electric guitars are not cheap, but they are worth the investment if you want a unique and high-quality instrument. The price of a custom guitar depends on several factors, such as the type and quality of wood, hardware, electronics, pickups, and finish. Some custom guitars also have special features like inlays, carvings, or custom paint jobs that add to the cost. You should have a realistic budget in mind and compare different options to find the best value for your money.


1.2 Skill Level and Goals

Your skill level and musical goals are important factors to consider when choosing a custom electric guitar. If you are a beginner, you might want to start with a simple and versatile design that can suit different styles and genres. If you are an advanced player, you might want to customize your guitar to fit your specific needs and preferences. For example, you might want to choose a particular neck shape, fret size, or pickup configuration that suits your playing style.


Days Custom Guitars from PloutoneDays Custom Guitars makes some incredible, modern instruments at a very reasonable price!


1.3 Modern Advancements

The electric guitar is an evolving instrument that has seen many innovations over the years. Some of these advancements include multi-scale fretboards, which offer more balanced string tension and enhanced ergonomics; headless designs, which reduce weight and improve balance; and extended range (7 and 8-string) designs for lovers of heavy and progressive music.


8-string multi-scale headless guitar - Ploutone

My very own headless multi-scale 8-string guitar. Certainly not for everyone, but it's perfect for my style and sound.


1.4 Research

Before you decide on a custom electric guitar, you should do some research to learn more about the options available and the pros and cons of each one. You can use online resources like reviews, forums, and blogs to get feedback from other players who have tried or own custom guitars. You can also check out videos or podcasts that showcase different custom guitars and their features. This way, you can get a better idea of what you like and what you don't like.


1.5 Clarity of Preferences

The most important thing to consider when looking for a custom electric guitar is what you want and need from it. You should have a clear vision of your musical style, tone, and feel. You should also know what kind of features you want in your guitar, such as the body shape, size, weight, color, finish, pickups, controls, bridge, tuners, etc. Having a clear idea of your preferences will help you communicate them effectively to the custom guitar builder and ensure that you get the guitar of your dreams.

By setting a realistic budget and clarifying these most important preferences, you create a solid foundation from which you can work on filling in the rest of the details.


Step 2: Choose the Body Shape and Style


2.1 Genre and Style

The body shape and style of your custom electric guitar are not mere aesthetic choices; they play a significant role in the overall comfort and playability of the instrument. While the body shape itself does not drastically affect the guitar's tone, it should resonate with your personal taste. Here's what you should consider:


PB Guitars custom unique modern guitars from Ploutone

Luthier PB Guitars is changing the game with some incredibly innovative designs.


2.2 Comfort

Ensure that the guitar's body shape feels comfortable to you, especially during extended playing sessions. A comfortable instrument can greatly change your playing experience. Flying V’s are pretty killer looking guitars. However, they are nearly impossible to play sitting down. Les Paul shapes are awesome as well, but they can be quite heavy due to their size, and you may want to consider using certain woods or requesting weight relief cuts if you decide that’s the shape you’d like to go with.


2.3 Personal Aesthetics

Your custom electric guitar should reflect your personality and style as a musician. Many people get stuck on the classic shapes, but there has been an incredible amount of innovation in electric guitars, particularly over the past two decades, and there is a whole new world of shapes and styles available. Check out some of the unique offerings from our very own luthier partners.

At Ploutone, our mission is to guide you through this selection process, ensuring that your chosen body shape and style perfectly complement your musical identity. Whether it’s the standard designs you’re after, or something modern and innovative, we know a luthier that can make it for you!


Step 3: Choose the Wood Type and Finish


3.1 Wood Types

Common wood types used in electric guitar construction include Mahogany, Maple, Ash, and Rosewood. Each wood has unique characteristics and aesthetics. In electric guitar construction, woods have virtually no impact on tone. Much of the tonewood debate stems from acoustic guitar building, where the resonance and physical characteristics of the woods used have a much greater impact on the sound production.


3.2 Appearance and Weight

Consider whether the wood's appearance matters to you, especially if you plan to leave the guitar with a natural finish. Some woods have distinctive grain patterns, colors, or textures that can enhance the beauty of your instrument. Additionally, certain woods can affect the guitar's overall weight. For example, Mahogany is heavier than Ash, which can make a difference in comfort and playability.

Rebirth Guitar Co Custom Explorer Guitar - PloutoneNo need to cover up this stunning figuring on this custom explorer-style build from Rebirth Guitar Co


3.3 Sustainability

We are proud to partner with luthiers such as Rebirth Guitars, who prioritize sustainability in guitar making. They often use locally sourced woods like Russian Olive, Catalpa, and Orchard Cherry as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional choices. These woods are harvested from fallen or diseased trees that would otherwise go to waste. They offer unique aesthetics and are excellent alternatives to the often-overharvested woods that are used to make the majority of instruments.

We are here to help you find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality, ensuring that your custom electric guitar is a true work of art.


Step 4: Choose the Pickups and Electronics


4.1 Pickup Types

Familiarize yourself with common pickup types, including single-coil, humbucker, active, and passive pickups. Each type offers a distinct tonal profile. Single-coil pickups produce a bright and crisp sound, but they can also be noisy and prone to interference. Humbucker pickups cancel out the noise and deliver a warm and powerful sound, but they can also lose some clarity and definition. Active pickups use a battery-powered preamp to boost the signal and provide a consistent output, but they can also drain the battery and sound sterile. Passive pickups rely on the natural resonance of the guitar and offer a dynamic and organic sound, but they can also be weak and lack sustain.


Single coil vs humbuckers for your custom guitar
Fokin humbuckers vs Seymour Duncan single coils.

4.2 Genre and Style

Consider your preferred musical genre and style when choosing pickups. For example, humbuckers are often favored in metal and progressive genres due to their high output and versatility. They can handle high-gain distortion and complex harmonies without losing clarity or definition. Single-coil pickups are more suitable for blues, country, and classic rock genres due to their bright and crisp sound. They can accentuate the nuances of your playing and add some bite and twang to your tone. Active pickups are ideal for genres that require a consistent and powerful output, such as hard rock, punk, and metalcore. They can deliver a punchy and aggressive sound that cuts through the mix. Passive pickups are more versatile and can adapt to various genres depending on how you adjust your volume and tone knobs.


4.3 Prominent Brands

Explore reputable pickup brands such as Fishman Fluence, Seymour Duncan, Dimarzio, Fralin, and Fokin. These brands offer a wide range of pickup options across various genres. Fishman Fluence is known for its innovative active pickups that use multi-voice technology to switch between different tonal profiles. Seymour Duncan is one of the most popular pickup brands in the world, offering both classic and modern models for every style of music. Dimarzio is famous for its high-performance pickups that cater to shredders and virtuosos. Fralin is a boutique brand that specializes in hand-wound single-coil pickups that capture the vintage vibe of classic guitars. Fokin is a Russian brand that produces custom-made humbucker pickups that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern technology.


Seymour Duncan pickups - a great choice for your custom guitar
Seymour Duncan SH-4 humbuckers are highly versatile and a classic choice for many genres.

4.4 Effects Compatibility

If you enjoy experimenting with effects, select pickups and electronics that can accommodate your creativity. Some pickups are more responsive and expressive than others when it comes to effects processing. For example, single-coil pickups tend to work well with modulation effects such as chorus, flanger, phaser, and tremolo. They can add some depth and dimension to your sound without losing clarity or definition. Humbucker pickups tend to work well with distortion effects such as overdrive, fuzz, distortion, and metal. They can handle high-gain settings without producing unwanted noise or feedback. Active pickups tend to work well with compression effects such as compressor, limiter, sustainer, and gate. They can smooth out your dynamics and enhance your sustain without affecting your tone or output level. Passive pickups tend to work well with any effect as long as you adjust your volume and tone knobs accordingly.

The choices you make regarding pickups and electronics will shape the sonic character of your custom electric guitar more than any other feature. Our extensive industry knowledge is available to help you decide what the best electronics are to help you achieve your ideal sound.


Step 5: Choose the Hardware and Accessories

5.1 Hardware Colors

The colors of your guitar's hardware are a significant consideration for its overall aesthetics. Hardware options typically come in a variety of colors, such as gold, black, chrome, satin, and nickel. You should choose colors that match or contrast well with the body and neck of your guitar, as well as your personal taste. You can also mix and match different colors for a more eclectic look. For example, you can have gold tuners, black pickups, and chrome knobs.

 Nova Guitar Parts custom color options from PloutoneExamples of custom hardware coloring from Nova Guitar Parts.

5.2 Tuning Stability

Achieving and maintaining precise tuning is essential. This is arguably the greatest roll that your guitars hardware plays. Consider features like locking tuners and high-quality nut materials, such as TUSQ, for unparalleled tuning stability. Locking tuners prevent the strings from slipping or stretching, which can cause tuning issues. And a high-quality nut material reduce friction and improve string vibration, which enhances the tone and sustain of your guitar.


5.3 Customization

If aesthetics are essential to you, remember that many hardware options come in a variety of colors, such as gold, black, chrome, satin, and nickel. Manufacturers like Nova Guitar Parts even offer custom coloring, allowing you to create a truly unique instrument. You can choose the color of your pickups, tuners, bridge, knobs, switch, and more. You can also select different shapes and sizes of hardware to suit your preferences and style. For example, you can have humbucker or single-coil pickups, vintage or modern tuners, fixed or tremolo bridge, round or flat knobs, toggle or blade switch, etc.

We recognize the significance of these hardware and accessory selections, as they play pivotal roles in both the performance and aesthetics of your guitar. Our dedication to assisting you in crafting a custom electric guitar that aligns with your unique requirements encompasses every intricate detail, regardless of its size.



In summary, selecting the perfect custom electric guitar is a journey of self-expression and musical exploration. By following this comprehensive step-by-step guide, you can confidently choose an instrument that aligns with your budget, preferences, and artistic aspirations. The benefits of owning a custom electric guitar, such as unmatched satisfaction, self-expression, and pure enjoyment, await those who embark on this path.

At Ploutone, we are dedicated to making your dream of owning a custom electric guitar a reality. Our seamless process, constant communication, and partnership with expert luthiers ensure that your custom electric guitar experience is as unique as the instrument itself. Trust in Ploutone to provide you with a custom electric guitar that not only embodies your vision but also elevates your musical journey. Your dream guitar is just a step away— reach out begin your custom electric guitar journey with us today! 👉🏻 Boutique Guitars - Handcrafted, Modern Instruments – Ploutone


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Author Bio

Brett, the owner and founder of Ploutone, is a modern guitarist on a mission to create a sustainable future and build a thriving community through the power of music. Brett founded Ploutone to celebrate independent artists and foster connections among guitarists worldwide. With a vision of spreading positivity and promoting sustainability, Brett hopes to inspire others to push the boundaries of their instruments and contribute to a better world.