by Chris Herrod
Uh, oh, money's tight! What to do when that itch to build a guitar won't leave you alone? Come to LMI, where there are always a ton of great options to save you some dough.
1) Use the Custom Guitar Wizard! With the Custom Guitar Wizard you have the freedom to include any tonewood you want, from great budget oriented choices (lower grade tonewoods) to the highest of the high end. And the savings you get by using the Custom Guitar Wizard are substantial. They sometimes even eclipse the wholesale/discount prices we charge the big manufacturers.
2) Check out the 2nd grade offerings. With a little imagination, ingenuity and know-how, you can weave lower grade parts into a professional quality instrument. Confused about what constitutes second grade on a particular part? Give us a call or email and we will let you know exactly what to expect - and what your options are for special selection of your woods (always a no - charge option at LMI!).
3) Explore the alternatives. We are proud of the huge variety of alternative woods we make available for discerning customers. Here is a sampling:
- Primavera back & sides (WPRIM) - Our best value for back and sides, the grain structure of Primavera is similar to Mahogany, roey and with some subtle ribbon figure seen here and there. It is substantially lighter in weight than Mahogany, but it has a surprisingly deep and responsive tap tone. The light color makes it a good candidate for some creative dye work. Wine-red, burnt orange, tobacco brown, antique amber; Primavera provides that perfect canvas for these attractive colors.
- Sipo back & sides (WFSA) -This wood is a very close cousin to the familiar and popular Sapele, but with a clear cosmetic advantage -figure! Each set features broad ribbon patterns and shimmering beeswing patterns that are sure to turn heads. Sipo (like Sapele) exhibits a deep, cinnamon brown color and it is denser and more resonant than Mahogany, which it is sometimes confused with. Tonally it splits the difference between Mahogany and Rosewood.
- Khaya back & sides (BSKH1SS/BSKH2SS) - As genuine Mahogany grows more and more scarce and expensive, Khaya (also called African Mahogany, though not a true mahogany) has become it's best alternative. Khaya is a bit lighter in weight and slightly more porous than Mahogany, but it exhibits the same subdued elegance and chatoyance of the "real thing". The tone is punchy, direct and clear with the characteristic mid-range voice that many players are drawn to.
- Engelmann tops - We are happy to offer these fine AA/A grade soundboards. Well-quartered and stiff, these tops differ from the higher grades due to the acceptance of a one or more subtle, cosmetic imperfections (slightly wider grain, a bit of color etc).