Painted good guitars?
July 22, 2014 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Is there a place online (either a store or a site that facilitates merchants or a single merchant) that sells custom or just awesomely painted upscale (Taylor, et al) guitars?
posted by jitterbug perfume to Shopping (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Grit Laskin makes custom guitars with custom-designed (each made only once) inlays.

Though my clients are buying Laskin designs when they purchase, the variables within these designs are many. (And I’m always open to good new ideas!) In the end I become the “tailor” who customizes guitars in ways particular to each player. It is a role that gives me great pleasure. Acoustics, playability, physical shapes, ergonomic issues, rare materials, aesthetic appointments, inlay art – all are topics for discussion until details are confirmed to each of our satisfactions. Since my clients live around the globe, you can imagine my phone bills!

With each of my instruments so customized and so specific to each client, my model sizes and alternate features are a bit more general that you would find from a larger producer or manufacturer. On this site each guitar type has its own area, within which you’ll find a description of the “base” model specifications as well as listings of some of the more common “alternates”. The engraved inlay art is always an original design – never repeated. As such, the selected samples on view throughout this site are shown to indicate what is possible and to help spark your own imagination.

Here's a gallery. (It took me a while to catch on, but it's actually separate galleries for each guitar. Guitars are listed on the left and then you see the gallery for that guitar).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:56 PM on July 22, 2014

In case it was unclear, Laskin's guitar inlays are not painted, they are engraved. Here is a description of the process.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:03 PM on July 22, 2014

Ok. I'm really sorry to keep posting. However, I wanted to point out that one of the testimonials is from Paul Mills about the first Laskin guitar he "obtained" in 1983. This would be referring to the guitar that he inherited from Stan Rogers when he died. Stan Rogers used it to write many of his songs and Paul Mills still plays that guitar when he performs Rogers' songs at the annual tribute concert in Toronto.

I'll stop posting now.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:13 PM on July 22, 2014

Speaking as someone who has bought custom guitars (solid body and archtop, never flat top), I'm not totally clear what you're looking for. But I suspect The Gear Page would be a better place to ask. It's a good community with a lot of knowledgeable folks, more so than AskMetaFilter when it comes to guitars.
posted by cribcage at 11:02 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Martin guitar factory in PA will do custom orders. Spendy, as you would guess.
posted by WeekendJen at 4:59 AM on July 23, 2014

It depends upon what you want. Luna Guitars sells mass-market guitars with various decoration on them. They are more in the affordable range, say $300-$800 dollars.

Most high end guitars rely on inlays and wood choices, rather than paint, for the beauty of the guitar. You might look at a list such as this one for some ideas.
posted by blob at 5:26 AM on July 23, 2014

Paint affects the tone of a good acoustic.
posted by spitbull at 6:56 AM on July 23, 2014

If you mean a single store or website that serves as a "middleman" for a variety of people who do custom paint jobs on instruments, there isn't one that I'm aware of, and I spend a pretty fair amount of my time online poking around music & guitar-related places.

Although ebay is maybe kinda a place where some of these things will pop up.

Seconding cribcage in that you might get some results asking in more music/guitar-oriented forums, like the gearpages, or,,,

Doing some Googling for "custom guitar painting" and similar phrases gets a bunch of results that go directly to the custom painters' websites, plus some Pinterest & Tumblr pages. And looking around these various refinishers' websites, it makes some sense that the kind of store you're looking for either doesn't exist or is really obscure.

Most of the places seem to do custom paint jobs as a sort of offshoot of either building custom guitars from scratch, or custom painting for cars & motorcycles. And they almost all seem to be pretty small operations, maybe even just one guy in a workshop. So if most of their business comes from people contacting them about their specific desires for a guitar or a paint job (and, y'know, that's kind of what "custom" means - paying someone to do something specific just for you & no-one else), it's likely they don't really have the time/energy/cash flow to refinish a guitar just for the heck of it and then hope that someone finds it and loves it and buys it.

And for the few who do sometimes build/repaint something just because or to have some stuff in stock for quick sales- these days, why would they really need a middleman? A quick fairly generic web search will lead you directly to their site, they probably don't see much point in giving someone else a piece of the action when it's so simple to get in touch with them directly.

Also, bouncing off some of the above answers, for various sonic & aesthetic reasons, custom work on acoustic guitars (like Taylors) is going to be much more focused on inlays and etching/woodburning and stains that still show wood grain and maybe very slightly tinted clear finishes. Maybe some airbrushing, but it's pretty unlikely that, say, someone's going to put a blue sparkle finish (which has to be a really thick finish - speaking from some experience here) on an expensive acoustic guitar. Unless they're fulfilling a specific order. Electric guitars are where most of the custom paint jobs are found.

TL:DR - I don't know of any such store: it's pretty easy to Google a variety of guitar painters/refinishers & get to them directly: depending on what you're looking for, a custom paint job on an acoustic guitar is likely to be a special order anyway, not something done as part of a standard line of work.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:57 AM on July 23, 2014

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