Balaguer Guitars are based in the USA but use guitar manufacturing in the Far East to cut costs. Their latest lineup of semi-custom, built-to-order guitars have plenty of options and variants to choose from. The Growler is an offset style guitar that’s also part of their standard range, and now forms part of the new semi-custom range.
Aimed squarely at offset guitar lovers, the Growler is based on classic Fender guitars from the 1960s. The Standard version of the Growler has some modern updates like 12″ flatter modern radius fretboards, a more accessible heel joint with no neck plate, a hard-tail bridge and is strung through the body, rather than the standard Jazzmaster/Jaguar tremolo system.
You can now specify a lot of different options for the Semi-Custom version of the Growler. Let’s begin with the finishes. These include optional binding for the the body and matching the top finish either with a natural or black bottom tone. There’s also a range of colours on offer, with metallic, gloss or satin finishes as well as options for two-tone and see-through finishes. So, plenty to choose from here.
You can even go for a through neck design or set-in if you don’t want the bolt-on neck, which is more traditional for Fender offsets. There’s also a choice of neck woods, including maple, mahogany, korina and roasted maple, plus options for 5-piece necks and a walnut stinger. Balaguer also offers choices for the neck finish: satin, vintage tinted or matching the body colour. Other options include inlays (none, dots or blocks), scale length and number of frets. The customizations list allows you to fine-tune the body shape, colour and even goes as far as allowing 7-string versions of the guitar as well. Pickup choices include Humbuckers, P90s and single coils, which you can vary at the different positions.
Other options include adding different bridges including Floyd Rose trem system and TonePros Tuneomatic hard tails, as well, as the standard strung thru bridge and then you can choose which inlays (none, dots or blocks), scale length and number of frets. The customizations list allows you to fine-tune the body shape, colour and even goes as far as allowing 7-string versions of the guitar as well. Pickup choices include Humbuckers, P90s and single coils, which you can vary at the different positions.
This is a good way of allowing players to get what they want, with some constraints. However, the build time is listed as 3-4 months and that can vary depending on the build queue. That’s shorter than, say, a year like some boutique builders, but still a bit of a wait. As the company are based outside the UK, it’ll also cost you to get it shipped, plus import duties/taxes. So may not work out as cheap for us on this side of the Atlantic.
RRP: Prices start at USD $900 and go up depending on your choices
Balaguer Guitars site here