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Custom Shop Home: Body Design

Body style, wood, pickups and electronics are all a matter of personal preference. The way in which the parts of a guitar are combined is critical to ensure your custom design needs are met. The look of a guitar is the combination of these elements but the first impression is the shape. Is the guitar a classic looker? Is it a radical looker? These are subjective issues and personal to each player. At Ballurio Guitars, our goal is to provide you with both classical and radical looks and elements. Our guitar body shapes are unique, embodying classic design but stretching to encompass new ideas and more radical stylings. A Ballurio Guitar will never look like every guitar that been built since the 50s.

The following four body types are currently available, but we strive to keep things fresh and currently have several others on the drawing board.

Body Types 

Artist Body Type Beetl Body Type Brio Body Type Stag Body Type
15" x 11 1/2" 14 1/2" x 11 3/4" 13 7/8" x 11" 13 7/8" x 11" 

Body & Join Styles 

Style

Construction

Description

Note

BA

Solid Body

Single solid wood 2" depth

Example (Beetl Standard)

BB

Solid Body

1 1/4" solid core between 3/8" top & bottom 

Example (Artist)

BC Solid Body 3/8" top with veneer between solid 1 5/8" core body Example (Beetl Ace)

BD

Solid Body

3/8" top with solid 1 5/8" core body

similar to BC without veneer strip between top & core

BF

Chambered Body

Single 1" chambered top & bottom with veneer between

Example (Artist Echo)

BG

Chambered Body

1 1/4" chambered core between 3/8" top & bottom with veneer

Example (Beetl  Deuce)

BH

Chambered Body

3/8" top with veneer between chambered 1 5/8" core body

 

BJ

Chambered Body

3/8" top with veneer between large chambered 2" or 3" core body

 

Body Neck Join

JS

Standard Join

Standard body to neck join

 

JC

Custom Join

Custom 1/4" hardwood between body & neck

 

JV

Veneer Join

Veneer between body & neck

 

 Body Control Cavity Layout Styles

Body Style 2 Knob Cavity 3 Knob Cavity 4 Knob Cavity 5 Knob Cavity
Artist Yes Yes Yes  
Beetl Yes Yes Yes  
Brio Yes Yes Yes  
Stag Yes Yes Yes Yes
 

Things to Remember

When choosing a body type, remember that the design must match your style of playing. You need to ask yourself do you play rhythm, lead or both, do you play Jazz or Rock or do you fuse them? What type of bridge - do you require it to be fixed? Do you use a tremolo, and if so what type of tremolo? Do you use it occasionally or is "dive bombing" your style? You also need to figure out what type of pickups you want - single coil or humbucker or a combination, and how many. Finally, and perhaps most critically, what type of electronics control is required for the pickups. Do you play with one pickup all the way up? Do you use the tone? Do you ever use the neck pickup?

It seems like a lot to think about, but when building a custom guitar you are investing money to get the right instrument and we want you to get what works best for you and your style of play.  At Ballurio Guitars, we’ve tried to make this process a bit easier. We provide a Design Checklist to help you do it right! (See the Pickup Page Index for a discussion on helping you to what pickup is best for you, and the Electronics section to help with your control selection).  

The following section describes the woods used in our instruments. It provides insight into how the woods sound alone or in concert with other woods. This section is not a complete list, for additional information you should review the On Wood section which lists the availability and use of all the woods currently used by Ballurio Guitars.


Overview on Body Woods

Basswood:
Basswood is a soft wood with a close grain. The mid-range is pronounced because of the "rounding" of highs and the reduction of lows due to this wood’s overall weight. The total characteristics and overall mid-range tonal singularity make this an excellent wood choice for a solo guitarist.

Northern White Ash:
Ash is resonant throughout all frequency ranges. It has clear highs that "growl", a pronounced mid-range, and a strong, ringing lower range with great overall sustain. This makes Ash well-suited for use in both rhythm and solo guitars. It offers good note separation and consistent energy for rhythm, and good upper range growl for solos. Ash, when used by itself, is a fine wood for the guitarist looking for a "harder" guitar sound (rock guitar).

Mahogany:
The open grained, large pores and constant density of Mahogany may slightly restrict its mid-range, this restriction also tends to provide a feel that is "fat." It has a nice low- and mid-range and the interaction of the lower, middle and upper ranges are consistent with no "push to the front" by any one range. The wood’s density provides great support for guitar frequencies. Overall, it is a versatile wood adaptable to any style of play.

Hard Maple:
Maple is a loud wood with a crisp upper-range and a strong mid-range that decreases when moving towards the lower ranges (although overall it is a very consistent wood). Because Maple tends to be an "upper" range wood, it is best supported by combining with woods such as Basswood, Mahogany and Walnut to help "round" the overall tones. Additionally, the use of “darker” humbucker pickups improve overall sound quality and depth.

Soft Maple:
Soft Maple is softer and heavier than Hard Maple although its tone is similar with a compression of the upper-range and a fall off towards the lower range. This can cause a dulling on tone. As with Hard Maple, we suggest combining it with Basswood, Mahogany and Walnut.  

Black Walnut:
Black Walnut is a dark, hardwood wood with large pores, nice grain, and uniform density. Its tone is bright with a complex mid-range that can be dynamic as well as compressed in some frequencies. It has a crisp attack with rounded highs similar to that of Mahogany, but with a slightly more dynamic lower range. The tonal response of a solid body Walnut guitar is best supported by single coil pickups. The darker tonal response of humbuckers can result in a "nasal" sound. A chambered Walnut guitar produces a completely different tonal response and can support both single coil and humbucker pickups, producing a warm consistent tone. Thus a solid body Walnut guitar with single coil pickups may lend itself to a rock position, and a chambered Walnut guitar with humbuckers may find itself in a Jazz position.

Overview on Body Tops:

Tops enhance the overall attack of the notes while the resonance and amount of sustain are a product of the body wood. Factors such as thickness and sculpting play a role in the actual tone.  

Maple as a Top:

With Basswood:
The attributes of Maple and Basswood complement each other. Maple adds to Basswood’s lack in the upper-range. No frequencies are added to the lower-range when combining these two woods and the overall tonal characteristic of the combination is consistent and bright with a nice clean mid-range that falls off gradually and cleanly.

With Mahogany:
Maple adds a dynamic response to the overall lower-mid and upper-range of Mahogany, providing a nice "rounded" feel to the upper-range. This classic combination has been around for a long time and is usually associated with the Les Paul.


With Black Walnut:
Maple adds a dynamic response to the lower-mid and upper-range of Black Walnut, providing an increased clarity and punch to the upper-range while rounding off the "nasal" sound that can result from a larger solid body of Walnut. The combination is similar to that of Maple and Mahogany but with a greater lower-range and more aggressive overall tonal response. It is a great combination that we believe has been neglected by other guitar builders.


Black Walnut as a Top:
This wood has a response similar to that of Hard Maple although with a slight decrease in upper-range frequencies, but greater openness and lower-mid and lower range definition, which make it a nice alternative to the classic Maple top. Black Walnut tops are terrific when used in combination with a Mahogany tone body.

Delbergia's (Rosewoods) Tops:
Various exotic Delbergias (true rosewoods) such as Kingswood, Tulipwood and others Rosewoods will augment overall sustain by adding to the guitar’s density when used in combination with other woods. Many of these woods have a high oil content that can negate some of the upper-ranges. 

Exotics such as Zebrawood, African Paduak, Purple Heart Tops:
Woods such as African Zebrawood, Padauk, and Purpleheart have similar characteristics to that of Hard Maple, but with a slightly different responses at the upper-mid and upper-ranges. Generally, they are very good tonal alternatives to Maple, and because of their amazing grains and colors can be stunning alternatives to traditional figured Maple.