How to Custom Order an Instrument

Ready To Order a Custom Instrument?

Maple Leaf Music believes that a custom order instrument is a great choice for the musician who wants something unique. Guitars, ukuleles and mandolins can all be made to your specifications. Design your own instrument! Maple Leaf Music will gladly work to help you . With years of playing experience and instrument knowledge, we are ready to offer advice and insight as to what would suit you best. Below are some suggestions for customization, and links to the Luthiers and Woods section. Ordering details  are also explained below. Click here to view some of the beautiful instruments that our clients have custom ordered.

Some Popular Changes made to Instruments

  • Width at the nut
  • Scale length
  • Neck shape
  • Top woods
  • Back and side woods
  • Custom inlays
  • Finishes


Each instrument builder varies significantly in how they approach the process. Some use more traditional building techniques, tonetapping the woods to find a perfectly matched set while others work with established forumlas. Some carve their tops and brace the inside with feather light constructions to give a responsive out of the box guitar while others build heavierst to ensure a guitar will stand up to on the road challenges. Please look over our page dedicated to Luthiers to garner a better sense of what they have to offer.


Most critical to the sound of the guitar will be the woods you choose. Our Woods section can give you valuable information about the materials you choose for your custom guitar. Also peruse the  acoustic instruments we have in stock for valuable information on the sound produced by varying wood combinations.  We have included in this new web site a section on guitar top and back woods, their appearances and what they have to offer for sound. Check it out!


Large or small? Dreadnaught, OM or Parlor?  Extra depth? We are very interested in the ergonomics of the guitar and want to make sure it fits you properly as well as delivering “your sound”.

Neck Shape

Many companies these days offer several different neck shapes. Traditional V or shallow C? We feel strongly that the neck should be comfortable in your hand. Different luthiers use different shapes and some companies have more than one neck shape available.

Width at the nut

Again an issue of comfort and physical fit. Most folks these days opt for a 1 ¾” nut width. Those of us used to older Martins will choose the standard nut width of 1 11/16”. A few opt in the classical direction and select the wider 1 13/16” measurement. Often fingerpickers will prefer the 1 ¾” measurement.

Scale length

Most builders today offer a short (around 25”) and a long scale (around 25.5”) on some of their guitar models, though the exact measurements will vary from company to company. In general, a short scale instrument is often easier to play for those with smaller hands; it will produce a round, warm sound with luscious overtones. With a greater stretch under the hand, the long scale will put the string under more tension, giving more volume and brighter, sharper individual notes.

Custom inlays

Want something fancy and elegant? We’ll send you pictures of inlay patterns available from our builders. Some are willing to entertain the possibility of a custom pattern or fancy engravings on the inlays.


The standard finish on a Froggy Bottom, Collings, Huss and Dalton, and Bourgeois is polyxxx.  Santa Cruz guitars uses a nitrocellulous lacquer finish. Collings and Bourgeois now offer a custom varnish finish which enhances the tone in an amazing way. Popular also these days is hide glue, offered by Collings, Huss & Dalton and Bourgeois. Please inquire about the physical and acoustical advantages to a finish change.

How to Order

Custom ordering an instrument at Maple Leaf Music is easy. All you need to do is e-mail or call us at 802-254-5559 and talk to our sales staff. We will help you design your dream guitar! After the details are finalized, we will send you a work order which we will ask you confirm. This indicates that we are all on the same page and the specifications are accurate. We ask for a non-refundable 50% deposit.  The balance is due when the guitar is completed and shipped to us. Most guitars will take anywhere from three to eight months to build, depending on the company and their building schedule, but our customers have all agreed that the wait is well worth it.

Free Quote

Would you like a free quote on a custom instrument? Please contact us and we will be back to you within a couple of days with the information.


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