Frequently Asked Questions: Custom Shop Guitars
Where is Gaskell Guitars located?
What guitars do you make?
We make one-off, individual builds of left handed electric guitars and left handed basses. We do not make right hand guitars. We do not make acoustic guitars.
Where are Gaskell guitars made?
Gaskell guitars and basses are 100% made in Australia. They are made under a partnership with Charles Cilia of Cilia Custom Guitars. I have been working with Charles for over 10 years. Charles has been building custom guitars for 25 years. I design them. He builds them.
What is the turnaround time for a Gaskell guitar?
Coming out of the Covid era turnaround times are a little difficult to predict. I would have to say anywhere from 9 months to 12 months. Sometimes this is a real test of patience and this is the only thing I ask of you during a build: patience. The result is always worth it.
Why would someone want to buy a Gaskell guitar?
If you are a left handed guitarist then you know your choices are somewhat limited compared to right handed guitarists. I am a left handed guitarist. I know how it feels, I know what it is like. I make left handed guitars only. You would buy a Gaskell instrument if you wanted a left handed guitar that you cannot get elsewhere, either because some other brand won't make it for you, or if they do, it would cost too much money. If you are interested in a guitar like that then you have to forget about mass produced guitars or "custom shop" guitars built by people who aren't actually interested in building left handed guitars. There are ZERO other guitar builders in the world that make just left handed guitars. I am the only one. Gaskell guitars are built with the best materials, tonewoods, hardware, and electronics that money can buy. Gaskell instruments are high-end instruments. If you are interested in the best guitar in the world then you would buy a Gaskell. Every Gaskell instrument is individually built.
What is the cost of a Gaskell guitar or bass?
Prices vary depending on options. Your base price means a full completed build with hardware and pickups in a solid colour. Prices start from AU $3990 (approx US$2700.) Figured tops and caps, hardware upgrades, bursts and custom paint, etc cost extra. Gaskell instruments are individually built to your specifications. If you provide your own hardware or pickups we can work these adjustments in to the price. There are lots of ways to do this. You do not have to pay in full up front if you want to pay in instalments. You can pay in Australian dollars, US dollars, British Pounds, Euro, or any other currency.
What is the warranty on a Gaskell instrument?
Please CLICK HERE for our Warranty, Terms and Conditions, and Returns Policy.
Why buy a Custom-built guitar anyway?
Here are FIVE REASONS why you should invest in a custom guitar. It's not just to save money in the long run...
How easy is it to import a Gaskell from Australia to my country and what costs am I up for?
If you live in the UK here is the link to an excellent article as found on LEFTYFRETZ outlining costs and procedures to import musical instruments into the UK. CLICK HERE to go straight to the article. We have been sending guitars and basses to UK and Europe for many years successfully and we are able to minimize some of those costs. At the time of sending your guitar we will discuss options with you. Here is a generic DUTY COST CALCULATOR you can use to get an idea of figures. Remember, we can minimize these costs considerably in some cases.
For our many customers in the United States and the rest of the world the process is much the same, however each state in the USA has different tax rates and these differences will affect the charges the US government imposes on all imports into the country. We have been sending guitars to the USA for many years. We know how this works and we can minimize costs. We will need to talk about this up front.
Can I get a guitar made in other colours than those on your Colour Chart?
Yes. Our chart shows the most popular colours but certainly not all. We can do any colour.
What are some of the common options for hardware and electronics?
We use only top of the line hardware and electronics in all our builds. Common choices for pickups include EMG, DiMarzio, Bareknuckle, Gibson, or Seymour Duncan. TonePros, Gotoh, Hipshot, Kluson, Sperzel and Schaller products are popular hardware choices. The choice is yours. If you are not sure we are happy to advise you. CLICK HERE to go to our list of recommended hardware and eletronics options. There are some links there to help you decide.
I thought Gaskell guitars were factory-made?
From 2008 until 2013 we did have a very good factory-made line of guitars and basses. These are now known as our "Legacy models." These were top quality instruments built to a price point. Models could be upgraded as PRO SERIES models which included paint, pickups and hardware swaps all done in house. So in fact we were already a Custom shop even before we switched fully to Custom shop after 2013. If you want information on Legacy Gaskell models please CLICK HERE to see our Legacy FAQ.
Where do you get your tone woods from?
Many traditional timbers used in making guitars have either become commercially extinct or are on the verge of becoming banned due to international corruption which has caused these beautiful woods to become scarce, especially mahogany and rosewood. All tone woods used in Gaskell instruments are from renewable sources in accordance with current international laws. For example our genuine American mahogany comes from Fiji, which is also where the majority of the world’s American mahogany comes from today. On this website there are two guides you can read to help you choose tone woods for a custom build. See our RESOURCES page.
What options do I have for guitar cases?
Over the years I have amassed considerable knowledge about what cases and gig bags will fit and not fit left handed guitars. Remember, I have been doing this a long time now. It is best to read my guide "Cases for Left handed Guitars" See our RESOURCES page.
My guitar has a very low action and has a sort of "rattle." Is something wrong?
It is normal to have what is called “acoustic rattle” on a guitar set up with very low action (for predominantly lead playing.) This is NOT "string buzz." String buzz happens when a guitar is not set up properly. It may be because the nut is cut wrong and/or the frets are uneven. That's a set up issue. On a guitar with a very low but properly set up action you might hear some acoustic rattle with the guitar unplugged. This is normal and is the trade-off you get with having the action set very low. The acoustic rattle is not audible through the amp. To check, listen to what’s coming out of the amp. That’s what your audience hears. An electric guitar is not an acoustic guitar. Acoustic rattle doesn't mean there is something wrong with the setup.
People usually compensate for badly or wrongly set up guitars by playing hard. Sometimes that habit is one of the things you have to “un learn.” If your guitar is set up properly you don’t have to fight or wrestle with it to play it. A properly set up guitar makes you play better with less effort, and less force. If a player treats a perfectly set up guitar like a badly set up guitar he will get plenty of string rattle because he hasn’t made the transition yet. So, if you are getting rattle, stop playing it like a badly setup guitar! Ease off. That’s all.
For some lefty guitarists, playing a Gaskell will be the first time they've ever played a perfectly set up guitar. When you buy a guitar from a music store the guitar has been set up for all round playability. And who does the setup normally? A right handed player. Do I need to say more? I am a left handed guitarist. There isn't any other brand in the world that makes left handed guitars exclusively. I know about left handed guitars. I've been doing this for a long time now.
How do you send guitars internationally?
We regularly send guitars internationally from Australia and have been doing this successfully for almost a decade. There are a few ways to send things internationally and how we do it in the present we know is the best and safest way possible. Before any goods of any kind depart Australia they may be inspected by people at the departure depot for the usual (drugs, bombs, contraband, etc) and this is all done out of sight of the sender. During this process there are possibilities of repacking blunders or mishandling of products resulting in damage happening before the goods have even gotten on the plane! The same thing of course can happen upon arrival at the destination country by Customs staff at the other end. I have learned that you cannot trust people to pay proper attention to packaging labels such as “Fragile”, “Handle With Care” or “Top Load Only”, even though it's their JOB to pay attention to these notices. For this and other reasons all Custom shop guitars are sent with insurance to the actual value of the guitar, unless otherwise previously agreed.
I now and always send guitars internationally through Pack & Send Australia, an official agent who also does the final inspection and with whom I am always physically present when that it is done. I even handle the guitars myself during the inspection rather than have someone else touch or handle them. Every guitar that has been sent to another country has been packed by me and seen by me when it has been taped up ready for shipping. Every single guitar goes through this personalized process. You’ve paid good money for an instrument of perfection. It is important that you receive your Gaskell guitar in perfect condition. Every single instrument we send from Australia is sent in this way. International shipping is never cheap. We want you to be fully aware of what it is you get when you pay for shipping and the insurance costs for the journey. It is not something to be taken lightly.
Who is Kevin Gaskell?
Born in New Zealand in 1968, Kevin grew up in Auckland where he learned music and played in bands from the age of 15. He moved to Australia in 1992. A para military career saw him spend 10 years overseas, mostly in South Africa ending with a stint in the United States and finally a return to Australia. Revisiting his love of music Kevin got involved in music again. However, when it came to buying a guitar he discovered that what he wanted was not available in left hand. A quick search showed there were many guitars that left hand guitarists never could have as they were not made in left hand option by their original manufacturers. This came to a head in 2007. A new motto came out of this: "If they aren't going to make them, then I will!" Thus Gaskell Guitars was born. Thereafter Gaskell Guitars became the only guitar brand in the world that made left handed guitars and basses only. As the brand became known internationally a lot guitars ended up in the hands of lefty players all around the world. Unfortunately we had the global economic disaster in 2008 and this eventually made it impossible to continue to make production guitars. There were only two choices: shut up shop or change. The only change possible was to become 100% custom shop. From 2013 Gaskell Guitars shifted to individual builds. Between 2017 and 2023 Kevin retired from the business and moved from Sydney. Post-COVID Kevin had a fresh look and after seeing there were still holes in the market decided to take up factory guitars again, i.e. the RELIC Series and a couple of unique models exclusive to Gaskell Guitars will be launched in the latter part of 2023 including a lefty headless. Stay tuned!