Got the artistic talent of a toddler? Never mind Photoshop, you’ve never even fired up Microsoft Paint? Not to worry – virtual guitar builders are here to help design your dream custom guitar in just a few simple clicks!
Being able to try out different color, material and hardware configurations before parting with cash is a sure-fire way to ensure that you end up with something aesthetically pleasing. Having a design or two to send over will also help to ensure that there is no confusion between customer and builder. This was exactly what I did with my own custom guitar as English was not the luthier’s first language.
And it’s incredibly simple to do this, thanks to the various virtual guitar builders than you can find scattered around the interwebs. In around 20 minutes I managed to knock out the 5 crazy designs below. How awesome is the pink binding on that 2nd one, right?!
You’ll find these tools on various websites, for example Fender and Ruokangas both have builders which let you design and then even buy the guitar. However, the Fender website is restricted to only a few models and limited configurations. The Ruokangas tool is only useful if you want to, you know, buy a Ruokangas. What if you want more guitar styles, more color options, more hardware choice?
Kisekae VIM Virtual Guilder Builder
Out of all of the virtual guitar modelers, perhaps the most in-depth is the one from Kisekae – this is what I used to design the guitars above. Note, you’ll need Adobe Flash to use this particular builder. Check the end of this article for links to some alternative virtual guitar builder apps if you cannot use Flash.
This website will allow you to choose from a good number of popular guitar models and then let your imagination run rampant. You’ll find well known models such a Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, 335s, RGs, JEMs and many, many more. Finish the guitar in almost any color under the sun, choose the tonewoods, hardware color, pickup types, binding color, inlay material – if you can think it up, Kiesekae can manifest it for you.
Below is a screenshot where I am choosing the body finish. As you can see, there are six sliders for colors alone.
Designing is super simple. Just hit the “Switch Part” button and select the area you want to configure. Once you’re done, simply hit the “generate image” button and the site will render out an image which you can save to your computer or mobile device.
Thought you’d need to spend hours in Photoshop to do this kind of thing? Nope! Although you might want to spend a minute in MS Paint to flip the image to a lefty ;)
As a side note, if you are seriously considering going the custom build route, I recommend checking out this book. It goes over (in great detail) how everything from the tonewoods to the nut material will affect how the guitar sounds. A must read!
Try it out
Kisekae Virtual Guitar Modeler
Other Builders You Can Try
Still hungry for more options? These builders will let you try some additional styles.