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“Soon after learning to play, I began buying old, junker Kays and Harmonys with my chore money,” remembers Artinger. “For years, I tore apart and rebuilt those guitars. I ended up building my first guitar from scratch when I was 16. It was a Martin from a dreadnought kit.”
But Artinger didn’t approach guitar building as a hobby or something to fiddle with—he knew this was going to be his life. To improve his woodworking abilities, Artinger took a job helping a local master cabinetmaker, and then at age 19, he founded Artinger Custom Guitars. The shop has had some up and down moments over the years, but Artinger is still glad he made the decision to be a luthier.
“As a 19-year-old entrepreneur stepping into this business, I’d have never believed that at age 33, I’d have built more than 500 instruments and still be going this strong,” says Artinger. “I have no idea what may be around the corner for me or Artinger Custom Guitars, but I’m ready and willing to build it.”
Art Deco Archtop
The Art Deco Archtop has a carved German spruce top, a carved figured bubinga back, bubinga sides, and a Brazilian rosewood neck matched with a 25"-scale ebony fretboard. This particular model features a one-off, custom headstock with a floating Artinger logo. Other custom appointments include its hand-carved ebony bridge and tailpiece.
Quilted Sapele Hollowbody
Featuring a one-piece sapele top and back with matched sapele sides, the Quilted Sapele Hollowbody has a 25"-scale ebony fretboard with abalone and ivory inlays, a carved ebony tailpiece and bridge, and Seymour Duncan P-90s with custom sapele covers. The mahogany neck is reinforced with carbon fiber. Unless a customer requests otherwise, Artinger uses carbon fiber in all his necks because he feels it increases strength and stability without adding significant weight.
10th Anniversary Florentine Hollowbody
Although tin is the traditional gift for a 10th wedding anniversary, the 10th Anniversary Florentine Hollowbody could provide a beautiful exception to the rule. This model features a relief-carved chevron quilted maple top, a relief-carved mahogany back and sides, a dual carbon-fiber reinforced mahogany neck, and a 25"-scale ebony fretboard. To really set the guitar off, Artinger applied flamed koa binding and tiger-eye finish, Ken Parker-inspired soundholes, 10th-anniversary inlays, and a Brazilian rosewood headstock and pickguard. This particular instrument features Seymour Duncan ’59 pickups.
This beauty boasts a carved flame-maple top, mahogany back and sides, and a striking oxblood finish. The Kyngsland model also comes with a dual carbon-fiber reinforced mahogany neck, a 25.5"-scale ebony fretboard with custom parallelogram inlays, a Bigsby tremolo tailpiece, Throback Electronics PAFs, and NOS vintage pots, caps, and wiring.
Pricing and Availability
A fan of unique instruments, Matt Artinger says if a customer can imagine a guitar, he’ll try to build it. His base prices start at $3600 for a chambered solidbody and up to $5500 for hollowbody models. “I’ve made some life-long friends through these guitars,” says Artinger. “I couldn’t even imagine building guitars on spec at this point.” Currently, Artinger Custom Guitars is a one-man shop, and the wait time on an order is 9-12 months.