Rob Allen Guitars logo

clear

Instrument Models

Model comparison

Store

About Rob Allen

FAQ's

Reviews

Ordering

Pricing

Contact

Home

Custom Instruments by Rob Allen

 

Over the years I have made quite a few custom instruments ranging from subtle variations on existing models, to completely original designs to suit a customer's particular needs. The following are a few examples of this work.

Example 1: 8-string bass/guitar

custom 8-string

Click for enlarged view

8-string custom guitar Bridge: Brazilian Rosewood/Goncalo Alves Fretless/fretted fingerboard Dual output jacks/alder body Design phase

 

Example 1: 8-string bass/guitar

Mark Robinett contacted me about making a truly unique piece: an 8-string instrument with 4 fretless bass strings and 4 fretted guitar strings on one neck! After emailing back and forth about 10 times, the plan was finalized. Mark wanted two sets of electronics so he could run each group of strings through a separate amp. I suggested goncalo alves for the fretted side because of the warmth it would add to the tone: for the fretless side a piece of Brazilian rosewood gave a tighter, clear tone — good for a short scale bass. This also turned out to be a nice visual. I have to admit this one was so cool, it was hard to let it go... not that I could play it, but is sure got a lot of attention around the shop!

  • 9-piece koa/Brazilian rosewood neck
  • 27" scale
  • Brazilian rosewood fingerboard (bass side)
  • goncalo alves fingerboard (guitar side)
  • single truss rod
  • alder body, koa top
  • two volume controls (one for each set of strings)
  • two output jacks

 

Example 2: Custom 5-string MB-2

Click for enlarged view

Alder body with koa top Pino’s mb-2f Quartersawn indian rosewood fingerboard Koa “drop top” feature

 

Example 2: Custom 5-string MB-2

Pino Palladino contacted me in 2009 to have a custom 5-string MB-2 made with the following features:

  • 33" scale length
  • quartersawn walnut neck
  • fretted
  • alder body
  • koa "drop top" feature with no binding

 

This bass is strung E to C and has a two-piece compensated bridge for accurate intonation. Pino wanted a shorter (33") scale so that the bass would be more comfortable for chordal work. The neck is quartersawn walnut which is very rigid, but still nice and warm sounding, as walnut always is. This works very well for basses with a high C as the shorter scale adds fullness to the tone. The top is one of the most unique and beautiful pieces of koa I have ever seen, it is 1/8" thick, and was steamed prior to being vacuum pressed onto the alder body. It features a quartersawn Indian Rosewood fingerboard and tiny mandolin frets.

Example 3: Short scale MB-2

Click for enlarged view

Pin stripe curly koa back Piezo pickup + passive magnetic pickup in matching koa cover LED side dot markers (activated by plugging in the jack) 5-piece koa/brazilian rosewood neck Semi hollow mahogany body with sculpted waist

 

Example 3: Short scale MB-2

Rob Holmes contacted me about building his “dream bass” and here is what we came up with.

  • 31.75" scale length
  • koa/brazilian rosewood neck
  • madolin frets (super small)
  • Hipshot drop D tuner
  • LED side dot markers (activated by plugging in the jack)
  • semi hollow mahogany body
  • sculpted waist on body
  • koa top and back
  • piezo pickup + passive magnetic pickup in koa cover
  • volume/blend and bass/treble controls on bridge, all Brazilian rosewood

 

This was a fun bass to make, and has one of the prettiest tight-grained 3D koa tops that I have ever come across. The Brazilian rosewood for the neck, fretboard and bridge was over 50 years old when I got it, and it rang like a bell when tapped — nice!

Sometimes I put away certain pieces of wood that are truly one of a kind, waiting for the right project. This was one of those occasions.

Example 4: Sam Oakes custom 6-string MB-2

Click for enlarged view

MB-2 custom 6-string with 1 pc. curly redwood top Macasser ebony overlay 5 pc. laminate neck

 

Example 4: Sam Oakes custom 6-string MB-2

This is a very custom 6 string mb-2 that I built for Sam Oakes. It features a swamp ash body, rare 1pc. redwood top, two custom made magnetic pickups with ebony housings and a piezo pickup in the bridge. Another special feature are the dot markers under the high string. This is the only bass (to my recollection) that I have ever made that features knobs ON the face of the instrument. Controls are master volume, pan between the magnetics, blend between the sum of the mags and the piezo, and a stacked bass/treble control on the bridge, where the volume usually is. The neck is made from quartersawn maple, and is a 5 piece laminate with ebony strips. The fingerboard and bridge are macasser ebony.

Click for enlarged view

Integrated thumbrest ala Sam Oakes

Integrated thumbrest ala Sam Oakes

I have made several instruments for Sam Oakes, and one of them was a Mouse 30 koa where he asked me if it was possible to incorporate a thumbrest into the fingerboard. This was the birth of the “integrated thumbrest” as it has come to be known. I made a drawing or two and showed him, it was a collaborative effort (most of the credit goes to Sam) which yielded a really nice feature which has now become a popular option.