The Ordering Process
1. Design Your Custom Guitar
Head over to one of our Guitar Customization Tools (configurators) to design your custom guitar, custom bass, custom archtop or custom acoustic guitar. The price of your custom guitar automatically updates based on which custom options you choose. If you want a custom feature on your guitar, but our Customization Tool doesn't offer it... no problem! Just add a note about it in the Special Instructions and we'll be glad to accommodate your request as we build every guitar from scratch (if your request affects the price, we'll credit you back or bill you accordingly after your order is placed).
2. Submit Your Payment (Pay in Full, Pay 50%, or Financing)
We accept all major credit cards, PayPal, wire transfers, and other major forms of payment.
To pay in full:
- Add your custom guitar to your shopping cart and checkout as usual. The price you see on the Customization Tool is the price you pay
To pay a 50% deposit:
- Click the Slider to change from "FULL AMOUNT" to "50% DEPOSIT" (the Slider is located between the guitar's price and the blue "ORDER" button
- Add your custom guitar to your shopping cart and checkout as usual
- Pay the final bill anytime prior to delivery of your custom guitar
To finance your purchase:
- Add your custom guitar to your shopping cart and begin the checkout process as usual
- Choose the PayPal Credit option during checkout. If you don’t see a PayPal Credit button, check out with PayPal. Then you’ll have the option to select PayPal Credit as your payment method
- Please be aware that you cannot combine PayPal Credit with any other payment methods when making your payment
3. Confirm Your Order
After you submit your order, a Halo Custom Shop Specialist will email you a Full Spec Sheet and Agreement for you to review. During this phase, changes can still be easily made to your order. If everything looks good, we just ask you to sign the Full Spec Sheet and Agreement and return it to us through email.
4. Order Status and Delivery
We build all our guitars from scratch and pay close attention to detail at every stage of the build process (engineering, wood selection, crafting, finishing, assembly, fret work, final setup...). To keep you updated on your order, you will be provided with an Order Status Page at our website (see this example).
After you receive your guitar... let us know how you like it! We're always seeking to improve our craft and would love to hear your feedback. And of course, if there are any issues whatsoever with your custom guitar, give us a call or email and we'll make it right for you!
Choose Left or Right Hand
A right handed guitar player uses his/her right hand to pick or strum the strings, while their left hand presses the strings against the neck. Left handed guitar players are the opposite.
Choose Number of Strings
A standard guitar comes with 6 strings. A standard bass guitar comes with 4 strings. If you are just starting out, you should stick with 6-string guitar, or 4-string bass. Some players want more strings on their instruments so they can extend the range of notes they can play. This extended range can be lower notes, higher notes, or both.
Choose Scale Length
There is not one standard guitar scale length, but the three most common are 24.75", 25.00" and 25.50", and they are known to be used by Gibson, PRS and Fender, respectively. If you are just starting out, you should choose any one of the three scale lengths mentioned above. If you are tuning your guitar down, we recommend choosing a Baritone Scale Length, which is any scale length longer than 25.50".For bass guitar, the most common scale length is 34.00". If you are just starting out, you should choose 34.00". Some players with relatively small hands will prefer a short scale bass because it is smaller and easier to play. We offer a 30" short scale length for this purpose.
Choose Construction Method
The construction method refers to how the guitar neck is attached to the guitar body. There are three ways to attach the neck to the body:
- Bolt-on: this is the most economical construction method where the neck is attached to the body with 4 large screws
- Set-Neck: this is a slightly more expensive construction method where the neck is permanently attached to the body with glue
- Neck-Through-Body: this is the most expensive construction method where the entire neck and body are constructed from the same piece (or pieces) of wood.
We don't believe any construction method is necessarily better than another construction method in terms of how the instrument sounds and performs. However, you could consider the following facts to aid your decision:
- Bolt-on necks are relatively easy to swap out or replace if broken
- Set-neck and Neck-Through-Body necks cannot be easily swapped out or replaced if broken
- Set-neck and Neck-Through-Body instruments require a higher level of craftsmanship
Choose Body Shape
We recommend you choose the shape that appeals to you most. Unlike acoustic and classical guitars, the shape of an electric guitar or bass does not significantly affect the way the instrument sounds or performs. Choose from our existing body shapes, or, send us a drawing of your original design - we can build that, too!
Choose Body Core Wood
All our instruments are handcrafted from quality tone woods. If you're just starting out, we recommend you choose the wood that appeals to you most based on its appearance, and don't worry too much about how the type of wood affects the sound or performance of the instrument.
* The type of body wood used can affect the way an instrument sounds, but it does not make as big of an impact on the sound when compared to other aspects of the guitar, such as the pickups.
Choose Body Top
Body tops are optional. If you're just starting out, you should either skip this option, or choose the veneer top that appeals to you most. We offer veneer tops (paper-thin layer of wood) and cap tops (thick layer of wood). Most people will add a top to their instrument because of the top’s naturally beautiful appearance. Some people will add a top to their guitar because it can affect the overall sound of the instrument, too (only applies to cap tops, not veneers).
Choose the Color for Body Top
Choose the color you want for the body top. You can choose the color for the sides and back of the body later. You can choose whether you want the color to be solid, transparent, metallic, or gloss, and matte in a later step.
Choose the Color for Body Sides and Back
Choose the color you want for the sides and back of the body. You can choose between solid, transparent, metallic, or gloss, and matte in a later step.
Choose the Kind of Color
We offer four kinds of colors:
- Natural - choose this if you want to see the wood grain and natural color
- Transparent - choose this if you want to see the wood grain
- Solid - choose this if you do not want to see the wood grain
- Metallic - choose this if you do not want to see the wood grain, and if you want highly-reflective metal flakes mixed in with the color
You can choose between gloss and matte (satin) finishes in a later step.
Choose the Kind of Finish
We offer two kinds of finish:
- Gloss - choose this if you want your guitar to have a very shiny, highly-reflective surface
- Matte (Satin) - choose this if you want your guitar to have a slightly shiny, slightly-reflective surface
You may want to consider the following facts to aid your decision:
- Generally speaking, gloss finishes are more durable than satin finishes
- Gloss finishes attract fingerprints
- Gloss finishes can be easily buffed to remove light surface scratches
- Satin finishes do not attract fingerprints as much as gloss finishes
- Satin finishes cannot be as easily buffed to remove light surface scratches compared to gloss finishes
* The type of finish can affect the way an instrument sounds, but it does not make as big of an impact on the sound when compared to other aspects of the guitar, such as the pickups.
Choose Neck Wood
The neck wood is used for the headstock and for the back of the neck (where your thumb rests when playing the instrument). Be careful not to confuse the neck wood with the fretboard wood, as they are separate and different. All our necks are handcrafted from quality tone woods. If you're just starting out, we recommend you choose the wood that appeals to you most based on its appearance, and don't worry too much about how the type of wood affects the sound or performance of the instrument.
* The type of neck wood can affect the way an instrument sounds, but it does not make as big of an impact on the sound when compared to other aspects of the guitar, such as the pickups.
Choose Fretboard Wood
The fretboard wood is used for the part where the frets are installed (front of the neck, where you press on the strings). All our fretboards are built from quality tone woods and materials. If you're just starting out, we recommend you choose the wood, or material, that appeals to you most based on its appearance, and don't worry too much about how the type of wood/material affects the sound or performance of the instrument. We also offer carbon fiber fretboards. Carbon fiber is stronger than wood and it reduces warping and other issues normally associated with wood.
* The type of fretboard wood used can affect the way an instrument sounds, but it does not make as big of an impact on the sound when compared to other aspects of the guitar, such as the pickups.
Choose the Color for the Back of Neck
Choose the color you want for the back of the neck. You can choose between solid, transparent, metallic, or gloss, and matte in a later step.
Choose the Number of Frets
There is not one standard # of frets, but the three most common are 21, 22 and 24 frets. The extra frets simply mean you can play some additional high notes. If you are just starting out, you will probably be just fine choosing 21, 22 or 24 frets. But, you should probably avoid the fretless option unless you're specifically learning how to play fretless instruments.
Choose the Size of the Frets
The frets are the little metal pieces that are installed in the instrument's neck. Frets do not make a significant difference in the sound of the instrument. They come in various sizes and materials. If you're just starting out, we recommend choosing Medium size frets made of Nickel-Silver. For a more scalloped feel, we recommend Extra Jumbo size frets. For increased durability (wear-and-tear), we recommend Stainless Steel frets. Some customers have reported stainless steel frets to be very slippery and brighter sounding when compared to nickel-silver frets – this could be a good, or a bad thing depending on the player.
Choose the Inlays
The inlays are the little shapes that are installed in the instruments neck/fretboard. Inlays do not make a significant difference in the sound of the instrument. They come in various shapes and materials. Inlays allow a player to quickly see where certain positions are located on the fretboard. They are also a great way to decorate, or personalize an instrument. Choose among our existing inlays designs, or send us a drawing of your own designs. Some popular inlay designs are band logos, initials, corporate brand logos, or tribal designs.
Choose the Inlay Color
The inlay color does not make a significant difference in the sound of the instrument. We use acrylic material for black, white and pearl white color. We use genuine abalone shell for abalone color.
Choose Shape of Headstock
We recommend you choose the headstock shape that appeals to you most. The shape of the headstock does not significantly affect the sound or performance of the instrument. Some of our headstock shapes are pointier, which means they can get damaged more easily when dropped or bumped. Choose from our existing shapes, or, send us a drawing of your original design - we can build that, too!
Choose the Color for the Headstock
Choose the color you want for the headstock face. You can choose the color for the back of the neck later. You can choose between solid, transparent, metallic, or gloss, and matte in a later step.
Choose the Tuners
The tuners are crucial components on all guitars and basses. They are installed in the guitar's headstock and they secure one end of the string (the other end is secured by the guitar’s bridge). There are two types of tuners:
Locking tuners are always better than non-locking tuners, but they are more expensive.
It is easier to install strings and easier to keep strings in tune with locking tuners.
If you can afford locking tuners, then we always recommend them over non-locking tuners.
Choose the Bridge Type
The bridge is a crucial component on all guitars and basses. It is installed on top of the body and it secures one end of the strings (the other end is secured by the tuning keys).
There are two types of bridges:
- Fixed Bridge
- Tremolo Bridge
If you're just starting out, we recommend choosing Fixed Bridge. They are easier to keep in tune and maintain. If you plan on using a whammy bar, then choose Tremolo Bridge.
Choose the Bridge Model
There are hundreds of different bridges available on the market. We narrowed our offering down to just a handful of bridges because we believe they are top-notch, and meet the needs of most players based on price and performance.
If you’re just starting out, then we recommend choosing a Tune-o-Matic Bridge, or the Hipshot Fixed Bridge.
Here are some things to consider when choosing among the other bridges:
- Tune-o-Matic bridges are one of the most commonly used bridges across the board.
- Hipshot Fixed bridges are made with solid brass baseplates, stainless steel saddles, stainless steel springs, and stainless steel screws. They are a string-through-body design.
- Evertune bridges are designed to keep your guitar in tune forever, and they do! Evertune bridges do not require any battery power or special robot gears. It is a passive, all-mechanical solution and can be installed on both flat top and carved top bodies.
- Hannes bridges are designed to be extremely comfortable, and to maximize each string’s sound characteristics. The saddles are made with GraphTech’s famed “String Saver” material. You won’t see this bridge too often, as it is most commonly seen used on higher-end, custom/boutique guitars.
- Floyd Rose Tremolo bridges feature a double-locking system for the ultimate in tuning stability. They have the widest range-of-motion. If huge dive-bombs and harmonic pull-ups are mandatory, then we recommend the Floyd Rose
- Kahler Tremolo bridges feature 6-way adjustable string saddles, which enables you to fine-tune your string action and intonation. They have a fairly wide range-of-motion, but less than the Floyd Rose. The Kahler tremolo arm has a smoother feel compared to the Floyd Rose. A bonus with the Kahler is that it has a convenient locking mechanism to convert the bridge into a fixed bridge (takes less than a minute to switch back and forth between fixed bridge and floating bridge).
- Hipshot Tremolo bridges are simple, yet very effective. They have great tone and stay in tune well. They are a more compact system and are great for most tremolo users. They are made with hardened steel pivot pins, a solid machined brass top plate, a solid machined steel tremolo block, and stainless steel saddles.
Choose the Pickup Configuration
The Pickups are crucial components on all guitars and basses. They significantly affect the sound of an instrument. They are installed in the instrument’s body. If you’re just starting out on guitar, choose Humbucker pickups if you are playing hard rock and metal styles; choose Single Coil pickups if you are playing country and blues styles; choose P90’s if you want something in the “middle of the road.”
For guitar, we offer three types of pickups:
- Humbucker (H) – generally have a thicker sound, higher output, and work well for most styles including hard rock/metal
- Single-Coil (S) – generally have a thinner/brighter sound, lower output, and also have a kind of “twangy” sound. They work well for most styles, especially country and blues. Not typically used for hard rock and metal, but this is not a rule.
- P90 – generally could be thought of as having a sound somewhere in between that of a humbucker and a single coil. They typically sound fatter than single coils.
For bass, we offer four common types of pickups:
- P Style – generally have a “fat, slightly hollow tone”. Commonly used in the neck position.
- J Style – generally known to have a brighter sound. Commonly used in the bridge and neck position.
- Humbucker – generally have a fuller sound with an emphasis on lows and mids. Commonly used in the bridge and neck position.
- MM Style – generally have a cleaner tone, a lot of attack and bite, increased highs and lows. Commonly used in between the bridge and neck position, or in the “sweet spot”.
Choose the Pickup Brand
There are hundreds of different pickups available on the market. We narrowed our offering down to just a handful of pickups because we believe they are top-notch, and meet the needs of most players based on price and performance.
If you’re on a budget, we recommend choosing Halo passive pickups.
To learn more about EMG, Seymour Duncan and Bartolini pickups, please visit their respective websites. They are all world-class brands. We can also install other brand pickups, just ask!
Choose the Color of the Hardware
The hardware color does not affect the sound or performance of the instrument. It is cosmetic only. Choose the color that appeals to you most. This color will then be used on all hardware, which include screws, nuts, washers, switches, tuners, bridges, and knobs.
Choose Optional Upgrades
- Guitar Case – we offer custom-fitted hard shell cases with a variety of exterior and interior color options. For the exterior, we offer black, tweed, and brown. For the interior, we offer black, white, burgundy, navy, and pink. If you’re ordering one of our larger/pointier models, we encourage you to order the guitar case because it will not fit into universal cases.
- Strap Locks – these enable you to lock your guitar strap onto your guitar. Without strap locks, your guitar strap is at risk of slipping off, which could result in damage. We highly recommended strap locks if you dance or jump around while performing on stage with your guitar.
- Kill Switch – this simple ON/OFF switch enables you to kill the volume of your guitar quickly. Without a kill switch, you need to turn the volume knob all the way down to zero to kill the volume. Some players use kill switches to create stutter effects by switching ON and OFF repeatedly while playing a chord or note.
- Coil Split - this option enables you to quickly toggle between full humbucker sound and single coil sound. The coil split switch can either be installed as a push/pull potentiometer, push/push potentiometer, or a 2-way mini toggle switch.
- Locking Output Jack – this output jack locks your instrument cable into your guitar. Without a locking output jack, your instrument cable can accidentally disconnect from your instrument, which could be a disaster when performing live on stage. We highly recommend this feature if you dance or jump around while performing on stage.
- Your Signature on Headstock – this is a great way to personalize your custom guitar or bass!
- Luminlay Side Markers – these side markers are installed on the side of the instrument’s neck. Without Luminlays, it can be difficult to see where the frets are located in low light. Professional players choose Luminlays because they are highly useful when performing on dark stages.
- Stainless Steel Frets – Stainless Steel frets are often considered an upgrade compared to “nickel silver” frets because they are more durable and they do not rust. For reference, there is nothing wrong with nickel silver frets, as they are installed on the vast majority of all fretted instruments at every price point.