The trail to my first custom built instrument began like this… Less than a year ago, I purchased a Mike Lipe guitar (sounds like hippy) – A Virtuoso (#004) marked way down due to a slight backbow in the neck, not correctable due to the old style single action truss rod. I purchased the instrument with the intention of having the neck repaired, or having a new neck built for it. I then contacted Mike Lipe, who was in fact happy to build a new neck for this instrument, asked me for my own personal specs, and dollarwise for just a bit more than a proper repair to the neck would have cost. My own personal specs (if such a thing existed)? Gosh I am feeling right flattered and fancy now, especially being the hack that I am. My best guess spec (based on measurements of my favorite instruments) was quarter sawn roasted maple, with Ebony fretboard, MOP dots, 6105 frets. 12”-14” compound radius, a full C at .850” to .950” 1st and 12th. I sent the instrument to him and awaited the return. About a month later, what I got back completely blew me out of the water, both in feel and performance, as I got to light it up for the first time. Lipe has a special method for the neck attach, and it results in a rock solid connection, creating tons of sustain. The instrument just rings… very thru-neck feel to it. Yet bolted on, looking quite common. The neck shape? ...well, it was as though I sat there while he shaped it. He absolutely nailed it. I decided that Mike would be the one to bust my cherry and build my first complete Custom build, as it were. I’ll post again on that subject, with pics. It turned out to be Virtuoso #181.