“How much will it cost?”
This is by far the most common question we address, and unfortunately, it isn’t one we can quickly answer. When you are commissioning custom artwork from our art studio, prices have to be calculated based on multiple factors. Our paint prices are calculated at $75-$100 per hour for the painting or design work, which is determined by the complexity and the products used, and the fee for final finishing, which for most guitars is $350. There is also fees involved if you are ordering a custom body through us, need assembly or disassembly on your existing guitar, need a new headstock logo ordered, etc. As you proceed through the ordering process, the prices are all clearly stated. Very soon we will have an affiliate program on board that will offer necks, electronics, and the parts you need to truly customize your dream guitar into a one-of-s-kind work of art all in one place.
We have made great strides to try to streamline the pricing process through our store that holds our new, awesome lines of art guitar offerings as they are developed. As you peruse the designs, prices for the art are available, which will be the completed art including the finish. If you are just window shopping, we heartily welcome you, but please don’t ask us to work out a price on an art piece if you aren’t planning to proceed with the commission.
“Can you paint this?”
The short answer is “Well…maybe”. Just like all artists, Ian and Shadoe have strengths and weaknesses and styles they love and styles they don’t care for. For instance, some of Shadoe’s strengths are in organic and naturally flowing art and high contrast pieces that create good drama. Not every piece that is asked about is up our alley. Pride in our work and in the studios reputation for quality art may lead us to deny your request if the art is too far outside the scope of our strengths or our tastes as artists.
“Is all your work hand-painted?”
No, not all of it. Beyond Custom Guitars has matured into using many avenues and mediums of art and design to offer very unique pieces. Shadoe’s painted work can be all hand-painted but most likely are a combination of hand-painting and airbrush. Digital pieces are a combination of digital art and airbrushing. We implement whatever techniques and styles we need to use to realize the finished work of art.
“How do you do the digital art?”
After years of experimentation, we settled on the perfect recipe for our digital art application process. Needless to say, we aren’t very forthcoming with how we do it. Even though we probably aren’t the only people who have figured it out, we don’t want anyone else to do exactly what we do. Let’s just say it’s a super cool way to expand our offerings beyond mere paint into the amazing digital art world and we can do freaky cool things with it that could never be pulled off with paint. And, no it isn’t a decal. There are no edges or textures, nothing you can see that makes it look like anything other than a complete work of art. It is protected by the same beautiful finish that the painted pieces wear.
“Do you offer different finishes?”
Because we are a small art studio and not a big guitar refinishing company, we are equipped and skilled in polyurethane clearcoats. Our clearcoat from PPG is a fabulous way to achieve our priorities, which is to preserve the art and make the guitar beautiful, playable and last for many years. We have no desire to work with toxic laquers or experiment with other finishing techniques, and do not offer options for our finishes.
“How long does the whole process take?”
Because we are a small and efficient studio, we have a pretty quick turn-around time. From the time we receive your guitar or body to the time it is ready to come home to you averages about 4-8 weeks, give or take. Turn-around time is also affected by how much work is running through the studio, and the weather, believe it or not. High humidity and high or low temperatures all affect the speed of the work. We NEVER rush a job. Every instrument is given the greatest respect.
“Can you paint a replica or emulate this other artist?”
Although there are quite a few of these in our archives from years gone by, we no longer offer replicas of famous guitars or emulations of other artists’ works. If you request a quote for a replica or emulation, you may receive a general rejection letter. Incorporating the style or characteristics of an artist you like is a great idea to help us understand your vision.
“Can you order or build a guitar for me?”
As we are an art studio specializing in guitars and not a guitar shop, we do not offer custom builds, and for liability reasons, we will not order full guitars for your project. If you are planning on having us paint a new guitar, you need to order it on your own, receive and inspect it thoroughly, and ship it to us. In addition to painting your existing guitar or body, we offer custom ordered bodies, and very soon we will have an affiliate program on board that will allow you to order necks, electronics, and parts to build your own guitar dream from start to finish.
“Can you fix the dents and dings in my existing guitar?”
Any minor damage to the wood body can usually be repaired in the prep stage. The neck is another matter. Any major damage to either may or may not be fixable by us. A couple of good photographs of the damage and a consult should answer that question. Keep in mind, there may be additional fees charged for this service.
“Can you set up my guitar before sending it home?”
Yes. We do a general set-up, but if there is anything that you are particular about, you will have to go to your local luthier to perfect it.
“Why haven’t I heard back from you?”
We make every effort to return e-mails in as timely a matter as possible, but as you can imagine, it gets a bit overwhelming. Do not take our delay in responding as a personal disregard. All clients and potential clients are important to us. Occasionally, if we feel strongly that your paint request is not in our wheelhouse or not something we feel comfortable painting or designing, you will receive a general rejection letter, which seems impersonal, but it necessary due to high volume. Showing a bit of patience with communication is greatly appreciated.
“Can I wax or clean my custom finish?”
Most references say not to do this, as the new finish “out-gasses” for about 3 months. Use a microfiber rag to wipe it clean of any fingerprints when needed.
“Is your topcoat flawless?”
We strive to achieve the highest level of finish, but we are human and cannot perform like machines. If looking with a magnifying glass, you may find tiny human and natural imperfections. We have spent many years comparing our finishes to what comes out of the big guitar companies, as well as other small guitar studios, and we stand up to the test. Our finishes come out super smooth and glossy and we make every human effort to achieve perfection with each and every guitar.