(What makes them different)
Hand built guitars have been able to endure the competition of factory assembled guitars thanks to an educated population of musicians, both professionals and amateurs. It is this knowledge and love for music which leads them to be willing to pay more for an instrument with a quality and character that simply cannot be achieved in a factory setting. There are many more aspects and details of a guitar that can be controlled and perfected when they are made individually, by a master craftsman. The single luthier can build the various parts of a guitar to complement each other, as well as compensating for the slight variations that occur in any different pieces of wood (even if they are the same type) through techniques such as tap-tuning and flex-testing. Generally in a factory guitar, pieces are made by separate people and to standard dimensions, thus making their quality inconsistent. Additionally, handmade guitars can be custom built to very specific demands of a customer, and all possess a character unique to one-of-a-kind instruments.
Sidelinger Guitars have several standard features that make them unique:
For years, all of my guitars came standard with a spanish foot neck joint. This joint has several advantages structurally and acoustically that have led me to prefer it in many ways to other joints. But most steel string guitars will eventually need a neck reset, so I have made a special type of dovetail that incorporates many of the elements of the spanish foot but will allow for a neck reset if need be in the future. Nylon string models will continue to employ the classic spanish foot design. Contact me for details on this.
Additionally, my guitars are lighter than most modern, factory-made guitars. Weight is conserved very carefully and strategically throughout the building process. Mainly my goal is to achieve top and back plates that are as light as possible without adversely affecting their stability under string tension. This is done mainly by very careful shaping of braces and careful material selection for all the various components. Neck/body balance is also very important to me. Just as with the body, the neck must be light to maintain the balance of the instrument. Weight is shaved through multiple laminations that add strength with minimal additional weight. The scarf-joint for the neck is a prime example of this, eliminating the weakening effect of "short grain" in the headstock, adding stiffness and strength. I often use slotted headstocks to further shave weight without losing stability. Check back soon for a photo documentation and visual explanation of the advantages of my way of making necks. Exotic wood rosettes, fingerboard extensions, and my signature heel round out the little details that make my instruments unique and elegant.Planning Your Guitar
Type of Guitar: I have plans for over 30 types of guitars and I am willing to track down or design just about anything that could be imagined. It is important for the customer to consider the type of instrument being purchased. I'm always happy to discuss these considerations and advise you.
Wood Selection: There are many different woods used for the various pieces of guitars, each with its own merits. Although there are some woods that are more traditionally used, luthiers today are experimenting with many non-traditional tone woods. This experimentation has been fueled by shortages of the more traditional woods. I'm very dedicated to finding sustainable and eco-friendly sources for all the woods I use. I work with several small sawmills that responsibly harvest with low-impact techniques, as well as buying FSC certified wood whenever possible. I also like to use reclaimed and non-traditional woods for this reason. When you order a guitar from me, we will discuss and carefully select the proper woods based on tonal and functional characteristics, visual appeal, and availability.
Setup: I like to discuss the setup options of your guitar. I tend to play softly, so I set up my instruments with low action. Many customers are impressed with how easy it is to play my guitars. Players with a strong attack will need a slightly higher action. It is extremely important to have the right setup; the way the instrument feels is going to directly influence how well one plays. I am always willing to adjust and tweak the action on any of my instruments, free of charge. I encourage customers to bring back their guitar after they have played it awhile to get the custom setup needed to insure optimum performance.