The basic body would we use is lightweight Paulownia, also know s the
Princess or Empress tree. It is the lightest hardwood and has been
used in Asia for hundreds of years for making stringed instruments. In
Japan, where the wood is know as kiri, it is used for making the
soundboards of stringed musical instruments such as the guqin, guzheng,
pipa, koto, and kayagum. When used for guitar the tone can be described
Since paulownia can be relatively soft it has not been used much for
building traditional electric guitars. A notable exception is Dean
Guitars, who build the Vendetta and ML XM from paulownia. Early versions
of Tala guitars used carbon fiber inserts in the body and neck pocket to
insure stiffness, but we have found over the last five years that the
exotic wood tops add more than enough stiffness to the body so that the
inserts are not needed. Most of our guitars weigh between six and eight
We can and do build guitars from other tonewoods as well, including ash,
maple, basswood and mahogany.
We use a variety of wood for our tops, including:
- Flamed, Spalted and Curly Maple
- Burl and Curly Redwood
- Claro, Franquette, Bastogne and grafted Walnut
- Pistachio - did you know it glows under black light?
Almost all our top wood comes from Oregon Wild Wood. They source from trees that have been blown down
or from stumps that have been salvaged from previous logging operations.
We get a Certificate of Source for most tops that show the wood was
harvested in an ecologically responsible manner.
Guitar tops can range in thickness from around 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch,
with some carved tops requiring a thicker top. Things to consider are
wheter or not you want a carve in the top, binding, or just a burt-over
on the finish. Thicker tops also add more weight.
All our necks are made from a single piece of maple,
except for the Alyse which gets a set mahogany neck.
Our standard neck is a thin C-shape such as you would
find on modern Fenders. We can also provide a soft V, an asymmetric
neck, or a custom profile of your choice.
We use either Ebony or Indian Rosewood fingerboards, or
you can choose a one-piece maple neck. Other woods may be used as well.
Our standard fretboard radius is 10 inches, but we can
build a neck with any radius you want. We can also do a compound radius
that starts at 10 inches at the nut for easier chording, and flattens to
16 inches at the 21st fret.
Our standard fret markers are dots, usually abalone or
white/black phenolic. Side dots can be white, black, or abalone. The
Alyse model come with trapezoid inlay.
All fingerboard inlay other than dot and block is outsourced, and this
the only part on our guitars that is. We can have virtually any inlay
you can design done on either rosewood or ebony. At this time we cannot
do one-piece maple necks.
Standard models come with medium/jumbo frets. You can
specify wide or medium fretwire in a variety of heights.
Very basic models may come with a plastic nut, but we
usually use GraphTech™ nuts. You may also choose other types as well as
locking nuts. Most are available in either black or white.
Standard models come with Wilkinson tuners, but you can
specify any other available brand. They are generally available in
chrome, with nickle, black or gold as a higher cost option.
The standard guitars come with the ost common bridge - a
six-screw tremolo bridge on the Lycan, a standard Tele bridge on the
Phoenix and a stoptail bridge on the Alyse. The Gryphon and Wyvern
basses come with standard Fender bridges. You can specify other bridges
as well, including a hipshot B-bender bridge on the Phoenix.
Our Wendigo™ pickups are hand wound using fiber
flatwork, Alnico 2 and Alnico 5 magnets and Formvar or enamel wire.
Our standard guitars come with Switchcraft jacks and
switches, Orange Drop caps and vintage 22-AWG cloth jacketed wire. Other
parts can be substituted upon request.
You can choose from a variety of shapes and colors as
well as knobs with abalone caps.
String trees, strap buttons and similar hardware is
available in a variety of styles and finishes.
Binding is available on any guitar. The Phoenix comes
with binding standard, as does the Alyse. The Lycan can be bound. You
will lose the rounded top edge, but the body contour will remain.
You can choose almost any color for the finish,
including bursts and natural. The guitar can be finished in either
traditional nitrocellulose lacquer (8-12 weeks curing time) or with
2-part catalyzed urethane. The nitro is a traditional finish, but not
very durable. The urethane finished are rock hard and cure in a day or
two. We don't use hazy polyester. All finished are hand buffed to a