While this is probably more suited at the small luthier's section, it probably wouldn't do any good there considering most of the people there already know what I'm about to say. No. This is for the uninitiated, like I was 2 months ago. This is no best kept secret, except that it's right there, and most people I know ignore it. If you are like I was in the past, going through guitar after guitar, spending cash on GAS and guitars that you thought would fit you just by picking it up, feeling comfortable, and playing it, then there's still something you are probably missing. I've owned a good number of guitars in the past. Almost hitting 30. (wait... almost? I think I might have exceeded that recently, but I lost count). This was over a span of 22 years, and I was going around various makes. From Ibanezes, to Fenders, to Gibsons, to PRSi, to ESPs to EBMMs to whatever. There were 4 7 strings in there, but mostly 6s. Those don't include the guitars I get to try at a friend's shop, which include vintage guitars (Fender and Gibson), Mosrites, Gretschs, Suhrs, Andersons, Melancons, Fender CS, Trussarts, Liquid Metal, and cool old 80s guitars like the Peavey Vandenberg or old RG550s. You name it, I've probably tried it. Everytime I come across something new, I would try the guitar, find the one that I felt most comfortable with, and take it home, only to find something else later that replaced it. Everytime, there'd be something else that felt more comfortable, and more usable than what I had in the past. (I even liked the Peavey and was tempted... very tempted) After a while, I got tired slowly of the hunt, and the constant moving on. I decided to take my money, try my faith in boutique custom guitars. I don't mean boutique off-the-shelf guitars which are widely available to those who can afford it. I mean 100% custom built, to everything you'd want. This was a nice long trip down self-reflection lane. I had to think very carefully, what I liked and what I didn't like in all those 22 years of playing guitars. I made a list. For some reason or another, my specs changed over the years. While I still enjoyed playing the sleek wizard necks on RGs, I realised that I couldn't survive with one if that was my one and only guitar. I needed something that didn't kill my hand in certain genres, yet I could fly with in others. I realised that as much as I grew to like single coils, I really couldn't live without humbuckers. I also realised how superior the Les Paul layout was compared to the strat in terms of controllability. My experience with my previous guitars definately contributed to this. I knew I preferred locking tuners, and I knew I didn't need a trem. I knew I liked the maple/mahogany combo more than I liked the maple/basswood, and I knew I really didn't like much the full alder or full ash idea. I knew I was more partial to ebony, but BRW was something I was dying to own. I also knew that I prefered super tall frets, but wasn't too bothered about the width. So I had a guitar made. In the course of the process, I must have changed my specs more than 10 times. Thank God Elizabeth Schroeder of Schroeder Guitars was extremely patient, and very forgiving. Everytime I tried something new, again, I'd like it, and my tastes would change slightly. But there was no major change. For example, after playing good Les Pauls, I knew I still didn't like single cuts, but I liked the shorter scale. A new Les Paul would have something new, and would be another influence. I could have saved the money, some said, by simply just buying an off-the-shelf, and settling for it, than to pay more for a custom build. What's the point? it's still a guitar after all. You'd get bored after all. You'd find something else after all. I'm not saying I won't, but today, I'm now looking for something I don't already have. Like perhaps, a customised 7 string. Anyways, the guitar arrived after a 2 and a half year wait. Wow. that's too long, you say? I also agreed with you in the past. I hoped I wasn't just buying "another guitar", but part of me resigned to the fact that it could well be. Here's the truth: A custom guitar is a leap of faith. You need to find the right builder for you. I chose Schroeder Guitars because they told me: "We will build you anything you want, it's your guitar, so we'll make it according to your specs". When the guitar came, I opend the case with anticipation, and with trepidation. I was worried it would fall short of expectations, and I'd come away with the thought that I should have just bought a PRS. Thankfully, that was not the case. The guitar not only met expectations, it exceeded them. I never expreienced how magical a well made guitar could be. Consider this: My guitar is solid bodied, and thick. It's honduran mahogany. And yet, it's only 7.9lbs. Why? Because Jason Schroeder literally went through a stash of HM, and found me the lightest, most resonant piece he had, simply because I asked for it. Here'e the important bit: Here you have, the builder going through each and every component wood plank of your guitar, selecting it carefully for you, and molding it step by step into something else. There's no way in hell any off the shelf guitar would deliver that. The PRS Private stock might do it, but we all know how much those cost, and my guitar was far from that exhuberant price. I also had an inlay built into the guitar, which was something I designed 18 years ago. To know that a design you hold so close to you for so long can now be built into a guitar that you would love is PRICELESS. I also found that everything I asked for in terms of specs was delivered. Now, if I can't bond with the guitar, it was purely my fault for not liking the specs that I chose myself! Thankfully, it was love at first plug in. The tones were beautiful, the guitar was extremely playable. And oddly all my old guitars now felt... wrong. Even my old No.1 Les Paul. This was the perfect guitar for me, because it was... well.. designed 100% by me! And with the custom guitar I own now, there's not much to hunt for these days. I've sold off almost everything else. I'd sell off everything, but some of these guitars hanging around were gifts, and my wife would kill me if I sold them off. Those guitars are now no longer out in the open. They're case queens. There's only one guitar I have out in the open for jamming, practice and the occasional gig. And what about GAS? Sure, I still walk into guitar stores to hang out with friends. I still pick up the guitars and play. But every one just feels wrong. When I pick up another guitar, I'm hoping it'll have the same vibe like my Schroeder. I'm always disappointed. I have walked into stores selling Gibsons and PRSi, and I have not batted an eyelid at any one. There isn't even a desire to try one out. Nothing. None. There hasn't been any one guitar that has made me want to walk in to try one like I used to in the past. Why would I when I have this: What I paid for was just a guitar. What I got back in return, was an extension of myself. The only drawback? I had to go through those 30 or so guitars to reach this one. You also MUST be very clear on what you like and want. So, to all who bothered to sit though this long post, I thank you for reading, and hope that my experience might encourage you to try out a fully custom built guitar. Because you deserve the best for yourself.