Philtone Guitar Company
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Building Parts and Custom Guitars and Basses

I have built both parts guitars (parts sourced from aftermarket suppliers for bolt on instuments) and custom (scratchbuilt) guitars. Due to time and tooling constraints, I do far more parts than custom builds at this time. I have some plans in the works to introduce my take on the single cut, bolt on, two pick up guitar.

The two most important things in building a guitar are 1) knowing what you want and 2) allowing the builder to meet your goal.

I have consulted on many pieces. I advise that folks play a broad cross section of guitars and study their similarities and differences in order to cull out the important qualities that they wish to incorporate in their personal build.

I have found it necessary thru experience to level the frets of every new neck supplied to me for a parts guitar build. A new neck is built flat on a bench without the effects of gravity and tension; this all must be accommodated upon string up and set up. If the plane of the fret tops is compromised or does not match the curves of the ringing strings, the action and set up will suffer. There is no reason for this in a new build. Just because a neck (or guitar) is new or hardly played doesn’t mean that it is right.

Many companies make nice bodies for bolt on guitars. I am very choosy regarding parts guitars necks.

My favorite for folks on a budget are the Japanese made Fender licensed necks from Allparts as they are reasonably priced and good quality. The Allparts necks are limited to the options they carry, so no mods beyond what can be done afterwards, but due to price and overall quality, they are a good value.

My favorite neck for folks that want a specific thing and appreciate high quality are from Tommy and crew at USA Custom Guitars in Washington state. USA will accept specific measurements and their customer service is top notch, incuding the wood selection. USA also understands and builds in the appropriate amount of fallaway into their fingerboards (something many others could benefit from).

The fretwork on the USACG stuff is usually pretty good; the Allparts stuff varies. Nonetheless, I level them all in order to make sure they are the best they can be. Do your build right and be happy!

  • Summer NAMM 2008 prototype for Taipan Tone Engineering
  • One-piece pine body
  • Modified Allpart neck
  • Custom Taipan hardware
  • Satin Nitro cellulose finish by
    Bavaria Finishing

  • Semi-hollow set neck Tele style with tilt back headstock
  • Mahogany sculpted heel/neck, bilaminated for stability
  • Mahogany body and control cavity cover
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Ebony neck, pickup ring, and truss rod cover inlaid with Philtone in pearl

  • Western Red Cedar top
  • Scalloped X bracing
  • Ebony fingerboard, headcap,
    bridge and pins, tuner buttons
  • Mahogany neck, back and sides
  • Flame maple binding
  • Pearl rosette
  • Wood purfling

This bass was commissioned and designed for musician John Willis (and now Fender Corporate employee) in order to give him a more usable and responsive fifth string. In order to make the low B sound like it was on the same instrument as the other strings, this bass is a 35 " scale length with a string thru bridge and a tilt back headstock. The 2+3 headstock places the B tuner further back, allowing the string to wrap around the tuner post without affecting how it addresses the nut. These features allow all the strings to have a better breaking angle over the points of contact resulting in a more efficient transfer of string energy into sound. It also intonates better as well.

The 24 fret neck is built for stability out of bilaminated rock maple with an ebony fingerboard, bocote headcap and two way truss rod. The neck heel is elongated and attached to the ash body by five recessed allen head bolts into steel inserts for maximum torque. Acoustically, this bass is capable of cohesive clarity charactorized by a tight and punchy, grand piano-like bottom and mids with articulate highs. The lows are never flappy or muddy, but distinct and usable. A pair of EMG DCs offer plenty of power to capitalize on the bass' presence.

Areas of Interest:

General Repairs

Acoustic Repairs

Structural Repairs

The Guitar and the Ideal Setup

Strings, Technique and Buzzing


Radius & Fret Out


Fretting Finished and Maple Necks

Measuring Fret Size


Using and Installing Neck Inserts

ABR Bridge Repair and Replacement


Building Parts and Custom Guitars
and Basses