The title isn't meant to put anyone off from having a guitar made/assembled but to ask you to really think about the process.
It's also not about recommending certain people but about the whole concept of having a guitar made. Once you have the recipe you can have the cake baked. It's then just choosing the right baker.
It is not as easy as you think!
If you know you want a 54 Blackguard Tele that you can't find in the shops then you already have the spec. It will have a maple neck, black pick-guard and vintage tuners. Opening the case when it arrives shouldn't be an unpleasant surprise! It won't have die cast tuners for instance.
If you start with a blank sheet it is much harder to get the guitar you really wanted. I think the problem is that we don't really know what our own spec is.
I believe that you must get the fundamental specs Right.
Changing bridges and tuners and pickups can all be done after if you find you prefer something different. Body shapes, wood and neck material can't be.
For instance, let's make it simple, if you want a Tele made/assembled imagine going in to a shop with 50 Tele's of all varieties on the wall.
What do you go for first? Is it a maple or rosewood neck? What does your instinct go for?
Ok, let's say it is rosewood, suddenly there are only 25 Tele's to choose from. Do you want a bound or unbound body? Now you are down to 20. Do you want a Thinline? No, so now you are down to 15. Do you want a humbucker in the neck? No, so now you are down to 10.
What colours do you go for?? Now you are down to 5. You have honed in to what you really want in a Tele. No compromises being made.
You choose your favourite colour and you play it. If it shouts out at you then BUY it! You have in your hands your perfect Tele!
Having your own spec guitar made is an unknown quantity first time around. It is a great journey and one I have made 8 times now. I only slightly blew it once.
You have freedom to choose but choosing wisely is not easy. For instance, your mate has a cheap Strat copy but the neck is to die for!! It fits your hands like a glove so you can take measurements at various points of neck depth, you can take the shape of the neck at various points using a radius comb and have the measurements of your ideal neck. You know it will come back with a Tele headshape.
Hang on though! The frets are a bit small so you will get bigger frets fitted and have the radius changed from 7.25 to 9.5 because you can. You have just fundamentally altered how that neck will feel to you! Your web may fit the back of the neck perfectly but when you wrap your fingers around it the feel will be different. It won't be the neck you fell in love with.
I've been around guitars for a very long time although I am new here. One thing I am certain about is that I know what I like. The other thing I am certain about is that I don't know what I like! It changes all the time although I do have certain parameters.
This Forum has some great builders, finishers, pick-up guru's, parts suppliers and I am hoping they will add to the conversation.
Each can pass on their experience of getting the customer the right outcome based on what you are wanting made. The further "out" you go the less chance of it having any appeal to someone else. Make sure the Flying Vee with a bolt on Tele neck and three single coils with a Floyd is what you really want because you could be stuck with it playing Jazz on it in your old age!
Please join in to help others see things they may never have thought about. It's a great journey that just needs some thinking about.