uniquely yours

The advantage of a luthier-built instrument is that your instrument can be customised to suit your exact requirements and specifications such as scale length, neck width, neck shape, bindings and more.

customing your personal guitar

Your wants and needs around the size, shape and appearance of your guitar are unique. Planning a guitar together is the best way to get the perfect instrument for you.

The choices below allow you to have some input into the design of your ultimate guitar and provide a starting point for further discussion and planning.

This process of customisation will enable me to give you an estimate of the cost.

Type of guitar


Classical with Elevated Fingerboard

Classical with Elevated Fingerborad

Elevated Fingerboard Sideview
Elevated Fingerboard



scale length

650mm (standard) /640/630/ or other.

A measurement of your stretched out hand (thumb tip to little fingertip) would help in this decision.
Commissions for 640mm scale guitars have become quite popular.

630mm is the smallest I will go without having to alter the body shape of the guitar.
I make a “Baby Grand” (see picture) classical with a scale length of 550mm. this guitar has a conventional lower body with a slightly compressed upper body and has a far superior tone to most ¾ or ½ scale children’s guitars.

Over the years I have personally selected super grade, European Spruce, from trusted German and Swiss tone wood suppliers.

All woods are acclimatised over years in my humidity-controlled workshop before being used.

“Being given the opportunity to have a guitar tailor-made is truly tremendous. Being of small stature, I asked Rodney if he would make me a shorter scale guitar, adding a few more specs which I had liked and admired on some of his guitars. I noticed the difference immediately. It enabled me to tackle works that I had struggled with in the past and inspired me to spend more time working on technique. For years I had issues with carpal tunnel: I now am hardly bothered by it, if at all, and I do put it down to an instrument better suited to my physique. 


Soundboard Wood

European Spruce/Western Red Cedar.

Over the years I have personally selected super grade European Spruce, from trusted German and Swiss tone wood suppliers.

All woods are acclimatised over years in my humidity-controlled workshop before being used.

Back and sides

Traditional classical guitars were made from the Dalbergia species of Rosewoods. I have a good stock of Brazilian Rosewood, Madagascan Rosewood, Indian Rosewood and African Blackwood.

These precious woods are all protected by international CITES regulations. My Brazilian Rosewood is certified pre-CITES 1.

NOTE: If you choose Brazilian Rosewood, it will be necessary to obtain a CITES 1 certificate if the guitar is taken across any international borders.

Other wood options

More sustainable wood options are available and are almost equally effective in sound quality. You can choose African Rosewood (Bubinga), Malaysian Blackwood, Flamed Maple, Tasmanian Blackwood, African Kiaat, NZ Mangeo, Imbuia.

For flamenco “Blanca” Back and sides I would recommend either Monterey cypress or NZ Kahikatea. These woods are suitable substitutes for the traditional Spanish cypress which would be available as a special order.


Every handmade rosette is unique. My heritage African rosette has a leopard skin central pattern. The New Zealand rosette has a Ponga fern insert. My basic rosette uses inlays of attractive woods matched to the woods used in the guitar.

Leopard Rosette
Wood Inlay Rosette
Ponga Rosette
Santos Rosette
Forget Me Not Rosette
Making a Santos Rosette

tuning machines

I will use good mid-range Gotoh or similar tuners unless an upgrade is requested. Any upgrade can be ordered and will be priced as quoted.

Nut width

The standard nut width is 52mm.

This is another variable that can be customised. A narrower nut width has been requested by current steel-string flattop guitar players who want a classical guitar with a bit of the steel-string feel.

Smaller hand players also benefit from a slightly narrower nut.


20th fret

Traditional classical has 19 frets. A 20th fret has become popular and is done at no extra cost.

22 fret


There are two reasons for using an armrest.

The first is comfort as it provides a larger area on which your arm rests.

The second reason is that it prevents the arm from touching the soundboard and on a small scale damping the sound.

7 String guitar

A good example of customisation is this 7 String classical guitar which I made for the New Zealand Guitar Quartet.

See a 7 String Guitar in action with a little bit of a twist. Here the NZGQ play a well-known tune from a Kiwi classic television show.

Play Video


I DO NOT do classical guitars with a cutaway. Ordering an elevated fingerboard will assist your reach up into the high trebles.

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Uniquely Designed Guitars