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Anything and Everything you need to know about Born Guitars

Carving wooden guitar frame

Finish is the hardest part of the guitar, usually.  Today guitars are finished with car finishes at most big shops. Why? Guitar players demand fancy high gloss finishes, and those type of finishes are labor intensive and difficult to achieve.  Car finishes are designed for high-speed industrial production, which makes them easier and more efficient to use. They can be sprayed, cured and buffed in the same day! They also allow for brilliant colors and a rock hard clearcoat. 

So why doesn't Born Guitars® use car finish?  - Car finishes are horrible for the environment and us.  It releases toxic chemicals into the air, it requires toxic chemicals to clean it out of spray guns, and any leftover finish is toxic.  To give you an idea of how strong the chemicals are in car finish - If you simply take the lid off a can of car paint without a mask on, you might pass out from the fumes alone. Some of these finishes have warnings like - 'if finish contacts your will lose your eye'

Born Guitars® uses waterborne finishes to achieve the car finish look.  These water-based finishes clean up with water, require no additional chemicals, and are fairly harmless if we have an accident and get some on our skin.  They also have minimal chemicals in them, and are similar to interior house paint in terms of VOCs (Volitile Organic Compounds - The bad stuff).  

So why don't all guitar builders use waterborne finish? - It can be a complete pain in the rear.  Water-based finishes are much less forgiving, and for the inexperienced finisher they can be an absolute nightmare to spray compared to more traditional finishes such as nitrocellulose finish (most common guitar finish traditionally) and modern car finishes.  At Born we've developed specific methods to achieve excellent results with water-based finish, and we are also willing to deal with the slow and artisanal methods required to use waterborne finish.  We don't use it because it's easy, we use it because we feel its the only right thing to do.

To be frank, we are probably more particular than you are. W e work with you to confirm every detail of your guitar, and we are obsessed with getting it right. After all, we want you to be ecstatic about your new guitar.  When it comes to necks we measure the shape and size down to 0.001" (One - One Thousandth of an inch) or 0.025mm (25 Thousands of a millimeter).  

Essentially we obsess over the details, and we never cut corners.  When we are shaping your neck we are thinking about what you prefer and your playing style.  All we care about when we build your guitar is you.

Finally, if for some reason you don't like your neck, then we can make adjustments or even make a new neck for your guitar. How often do we have to do that? Well, so far never. We've been in business for over 10 years, and we've never had a request to adjust the neck shape (feel) or swap out a neck for a customer.  

How's that possible? We believe the neck is the most important part of the guitar, and we go far beyond almost any builder in the world when it comes to the feel of your neck and fretboard. So every time you play a Born Guitar® Neck, you're playing the best guitar neck in the world.

As for tone - we play it before we ship it to you, and we make adjustments if to make it sound and play its best.  We can even send you an audio sample. Worst case scenario is we make some adjustments or even swap the pickups out for something you like better. We want you to be happy - that's it.

We've only had a couple guitars ever come back to the shop.  Twice for electronics modifications, and once because an oil finish needed to be touched up. 

You don't live near the Born Guitar custom shop, but you still want to make sure every detail is just right. How do we make sure everything is to your liking?

Finish - We provide finish samples so on the same type of wood you are using so you see exactly what it will look like on your guitar.  

Look - We provide 3D images of your guitar before it's built.  You will be able to confirm every detail including, control layout, inlay design, size and placement, unique wood orientation, and other custom details you choose.

Design - We can provide 3D image to illustrate every detail of your design including internal chambering, controls and other design elements like laminations, pickguards and binding.

Neck Shape - One of our specialties is custom fit necks. We can match a neck you love already, modify a shape that's on another guitar, or we can use one of our neck shapes and fit it to your playing style and hand size.  We do this by taking precise measurements and using our experience and expertise to shape and size your neck to tailor fit your hands. 

If you happen to be local or know you will be in the Boulder/Denver area in Colorado, then we can schedule a time for you to come to the custom shop to look at finish samples, make your wood selection, feel your new neck, and unveil your new masterpiece when it's done. 

At Born we treat each customer with the upmost respect and attention, and we build every single guitar as if it was for ourselves.  We take great care each step in the process to ensure your guitar is excellent and to your specifications.

Here's is an example below of the typical process we use for designing and building with Born Guitars®. Every customer has different needs so these steps are flexible:

1. Phone Call &/or email about initial ideas and design direction

2. Key elements of the design determined including Body Shape, Bridge Style, Headstock, and general ideas on finish, pickups and wood choices

3. Wood species selected and wood options pulled from inventory

4. Wood choices finalized (Customer &/or Master Luthier pick from the best options)

5. Design is finalized with CAD (Computer Aided Design) and customer approves the final look, including custom control layouts, custom inlays and orientation of unique wood tops.  Final details regarding neck shape and dimensions are also noted in the customer's specifications

6. Custom finish samples are provided to the customer for final approval of look and color. Any special parts are ordered at this time.

7. Neck and Body are made from scratch to the customer's specifications using the specific woods selected for their guitar.  CNC Technology is used to precisely machine each part to within 0.001 of an inch.

8. Guitar Body is Finish sanded and goes to finish.  If you wish we will start providing teaser photos of your guitars progress.

9. Neck is hand shaped to final specifications, and the fretboard and frets are finished to the best standards in the industry.  Each neck is hand checked for excellent feel and playability. 

10. Guitar is assembled, setup, and evaluated to ensure every detail is just right. Your guitar is ready, sound and looks great! Let's celebrate a new Born Guitar® legend!


A $1000 deposit is required to hold your place on the waitlist and in the production line. This deposit also allows you to reserve specific wood pieces, and to work with our luthiers to complete your design before we start your custom guitar build.  Learn more about Our Process and Contact Us to reserve your place in production and start designing your guitar.  We are here to help!

Once you reach out to us to order a guitar or join the waitlist, then we will send you a deposit invoice with payment links.  

After your deposit is paid you're set on payments until we are ready to start cutting wood to create your guitar's neck and body.  We will ask for a second payment before we begin cutting out your parts equal to 50% of your price (minus the $1000 deposit).  The remainder of your balance will be due before shipment or pickup of your guitar. 

You may also request a special payment schedule that better fits your timeline and budget.  Please Contact Us if you are interested in alternative payment schedules. 

The waitlist locks in your place in production.  We currently have a sizable list of customer orders, and we want to make sure you don't lose your place in line.  A $1000 deposit is required to hold your place on the waitlist and in the production line. This deposit also allows you to reserve specific wood pieces, and to work with our luthiers to complete your design. 

Learn more about Our Process and Contact Us to reserve your place in production and start designing your guitar.  We will email you to start the process as soon as we hear from you. We are here to help so reach out anytime!



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