Custom Guitars: Building Help – Luthiery Help in Calgary

Many people are buying guitar kits online and making their own custom guitars these days, with amazing results! If you need help with any of the tricky steps, such as: setting the neck angle, installing binding, fretwork, electronics, tuners, intonation or setup please give Steve a call (403 837 9958).  As the only Luthier in town who is also offering repair services, you can trust that your project will be done to the most exacting specifications.


Want the sound of a custom guitar on a budget? Get any cheap acoustic guitar with a bolt on neck (Art & Lutherie, Simon & Patrick, Norman, La Patrie, Seagull, Baby Taylor, etc) and we can swap the top for one of ours, handmade right here in Calgary, Alberta. Functioning as the engine of the acoustic guitar’s tone, no other part of the instrument will contribute more to its overall sound. Different species of wood will have different sonic characteristics, giving you the option of choosing a wood that suits your personal playing style the best. For under a thousand bucks (including buying the guitar!) you can have a handmade guitar top, who’s volume and tone will rival those costing many times more.

Hide glue construction, custom rosette and French polish finish (high gloss or satin).

  • Englemann Spruce $899
  • Western Red Cedar: $999
  • Sitka Spruce $999
  • German Alpine Spruce $1099
  • Adirondack Spruce $1199

Custom Built Acoustic Guitars

R Guitars specializes in building professional and premiere grade, all solid wood (including solid wood rosette, binding and purfling) acoustic guitars in both steel string and classical styles. Contact us for more information.

All instruments are handmade, one at a time. Currently our steel string models are offered in 3 sizes: 00, 000(OM), and Dreadnought. We also build Classical and Flamenco styles based on the famous 1943 Hauser model.

Each instrument is unique both in looks, as well as tone. Below are some more examples of our custom work.

For us, it’s all about the wood. At R Guitars, we have Calgary’s highest quality and largest selection of tonewood. All pieces are tonewoods in the truest sense of the word. When tapped next to your ear, they will ring a musical note that you can then hum out loud. Tops for acoustic guitars are nearly always made of spruce or cedar. The backs and sides are made from various species of both local and imported hardwoods. br250

As there is no universally accepted way to grade tonewoods, and seeing as we are located in Calgary, Alberta – R Guitars grades our wood like we grade our beef:

| B | A | AA | AAA | Prime (often we also refer to Prime as Master Grade)

Keep in mind that unlike beef, these are all select tonewoods that have already been hand picked among thousands for their stiffness, weight and tone. The grading system’s primarily focus is aesthetics. We have seen many very expensive acoustic guitars in the ‘fine instrument’ range ($10,000+) on our bench over the years, and were shocked to see the prevalence of “B Grade” sets of wood. More unique and wild looking, the lower grades are “lower” only in uniformity of color, and grain spacing.

It is the bracing, thicknessing, radiusing and voicing processes that give the top its sound, and not its AAA or Prime rating. Speaking of bracing, we also have an abundance of air dried Brace Wood in all the species of Spruce listed below.

Figured Hardwoods for backs and sides such as Maple, Mahogany, Indian Rosewood, Paduk, Ovankol, Redgum, and Koa of various grades are always in stock.

R Guitars carries a massive selection of Spruce: Adirondack, Sitka, Englemann, and European (German – to be specific) as well as a selection of Western Red Cedar in all the grades.