Hello I'm Ryan, owner and head luthier of Solstice Guitars. We produce a limited number of guitars per year. This allows us to focus on our quality and customers.
Solstice is growing surely and slowly, yet our schedule fills quickly each year. Wait times depend on the model and current orders. We typically have guitars available here on our site, and you can reserve guitars in-process that are still available.
It Started With An Obsession...
I became obsessed with guitar building at fourteen. I'm still unreasonably inspired by the craft, now my career of some 20+ years. I still find the different qualities of wood species a fascinating gift. Trees have been integral to human survival and our existence in so many ways, as is music to our life experience.
Our guitar models are customized individually, based on the designs I've refined from years of repairing and restoring instruments while building on the side. I call our process 'strategic variation' because we craft each guitar individually, giving nuance to every build. I have limited models, but we never build the same instrument twice.
To learn more about the individual models, head over to Our Guitars.
~Ryan R. Elewaut
It depends on the model. Electric guitars take 4-6 months. Acoustic guitars can take up to 12 months.
Solstice warranties all guitars against defect in craftsmanship or materials for ten years. This warranty includes general maintenance and one complete setup (with fret leveling) within the first two years of your ownership. All services to be completed by our shop only. This warranty does not cover any issues related to neglect or adverse reactions from improper care, climate, humidity, or temperature. Pickups and electronics are warrantied for 3 years.
Go to any of the model pages and fill out the form at the bottom or link to the deposit page. Make some notes about your design ideas and specs. We'll have a discussion and I'll offer you a draft estimate. After we finalize the details I will send you the official quote and the engagement letter.
No. We don't offer rush jobs any more. However, depending on your situation I can try to expedite if possible.
I allow two instruments per drop-off appointment. But once you're in the rotation you can bring another one when you come to pick up your repair.
Not usually. We're out of the retail game, and that includes buying / trading instruments. We are happy to fix up your guitar and direct you to Reverb.com where they make it easy to price out and sell used gear.
You will receive a confirmation email with your repair quote and notes after the initial appointment. Your instrument is secure and fully insured while in our possession. A 50% deposit is required for estimates over $250. Initial quotes and commitments are based on our best estimate of required time and effort necessary to produce a professional result. If unforeseen issues arise during the work we will notify you before addressing them.
We'll schedule another appointment when your work order is complete. Your email address will be used to send invoices and follow-up communications. You can choose to opt out any time after your order is complete. Instruments left here over 30 days after completion will be sold to recover our costs. Solstice Guitars, Custom Sound Companies, LLC, their affiliates, employees and owners will not be held responsible for any decrease in value to your instrument due to any procedure or occurrence while in our possession.
Sales & Returns, Other Policies
All guitars shipped get a 3-day trial period to make sure you love it first. If you want to send it back for any reason, no problem. We’ll make the return shipping arrangements for you. You’ll get a full refund minus the freight and insurance costs (approximately $190.) The delivery date counts as trial day #1. If we aren't notified or contacted by the 3rd day, any refund will incur a 25% restocking fee in addition to the shipping/insurance charge. PLEASE NOTE: the demo policy only applies to purchases of in-stock guitars and does not apply to custom orders. This offer is only available for customers in the mainland United States.
All guitar sales get free shipping if you live in the mainland United States. We'll take this into consideration for other locations. For instance, if you live in a US territory or Canada, the shipping charge will be compensated, and usually costs around $95. We do not offer the demo policy to any locations outside the lower 48 states in the USA.
We offer Official Appraisals complete with a full write up on company letterhead signed by the head luthier and owner, Ryan Elewaut.
This website is operated by Custom Sound Companies, LLC; dba Solstice Guitars. Ryan Robert Elewaut is the individual owner/operator of the company. The terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Custom Sound Companies, LLC and any of our associated brands, staff, and partners. Any offers on this website, including all information, products, tools and services provided through this site to you, the user, are conditioned upon your acceptance of all terms, policies, and notices stated here.
We reserve the right to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Service by posting updates and/or changes to our website. It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes. Your continued use of or access to the website following the posting of any changes constitutes acceptance of those changes.
Modifications & Accuracy
We are not responsible if information made available on this site is deemed inaccurate, incomplete or not current by you or anyone else. The material on this site is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making any decisions. This site may contain certain historical information. Historical information is not, necessarily, veritable and is provided for your reference only. We reserve the right to modify the contents of this site at any time, but we have no obligation to update any information on our site.
Prices for our products are subject to change without notice. We reserve the right at any time to modify or discontinue the Service (or any part or content thereof) without notice at any time. We shall not be liable to you or to any third-party for any modification, price change, suspension or discontinuance of the Service. Certain products or services may be available exclusively online through the website. These products or services may have limited quantities and are subject to return or exchange only according to our Return Policy. We have made every effort to display as accurately as possible the colors and images of our products that appear at the store. We cannot guarantee that your computer monitor's display of any color will be accurate.
We reserve the right, but are not obligated, to limit the sales of our products or Services to any person, geographic region or jurisdiction. We may exercise this right on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to limit the quantities of any products or services that we offer. All descriptions of products or product pricing are subject to change at anytime without notice, at the sole discretion of us. We reserve the right to discontinue any product at any time. Any offer for any product or service made on this site is void where prohibited. We do not warrant that the quality of any products, services, information, or other material purchased or obtained by you will meet your expectations, or that any errors in the Service will be corrected. We reserve the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions, and to change or update information or cancel orders if any information in the Service or on any related website is inaccurate at any time without prior notice (including after you have submitted your order).
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In addition to other prohibitions as set forth in the Terms of Service, you are prohibited from using the site or its content: (a) for any unlawful purpose; (b) to solicit others to perform or participate in any unlawful acts; (c) to violate any international, federal, provincial or state regulations, rules, laws, or local ordinances; (d) to infringe upon or violate our intellectual property rights or the intellectual property rights of others; (e) to harass, abuse, insult, harm, defame, slander, disparage, intimidate, or discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, race, age, national origin, or disability; (f) to submit false or misleading information; (g) to upload or transmit viruses or any other type of malicious code that will or may be used in any way that will affect the functionality or operation of the Service or of any related website, other websites, or the Internet; (h) to collect or track the personal information of others; (i) to spam, phish, pharm, pretext, spider, crawl, or scrape; (j) for any obscene or immoral purpose; or (k) to interfere with or circumvent the security features of the Service or any related website, other websites, or the Internet. We reserve the right to terminate your use of the Service or any related website for violating any of the prohibited uses.
Limitation of Liability & Indemnification
We do not guarantee, represent or warrant that your use of our service will be uninterrupted, timely, secure or error-free. You agree that from time to time we may remove the service for indefinite periods of time or cancel the service at any time, without notice to you. You expressly agree that your use of, or inability to use, the service is at your sole risk. The service and all products and services delivered to you through the service are (except as expressly stated by us) provided 'as is' and 'as available' for your use, without any representation, warranties or conditions of any kind, either express or implied.
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Changes to Terms of Service
You can review the most current version of the Terms of Service at any time here, at this page, in this section. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Service by posting updates and changes to our website. It is your responsibility to check our website periodically for changes. Your continued use of or access to our website or Services, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Service, constitutes acceptance of those changes.
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Ryan R. Elewaut
Owner, Head Luthier
Ryan R. Elewaut is a seasoned repair luthier with extensive knowledge and experience building custom guitars. After building his first guitar in high school, he earned an apprenticeship at a high-end shop called Shade Tree Stringed Instruments. He trained with restoration expert Greg Mirken in Laguna Niguel and later managed the repair department at Arizona Music Pro in the early 2000’s. In 2006 he was invited to the Taylor guitars headquarters in California for a week of private warranty repair training. He has trained with other luthiers along the way, including specialized courses and other short apprenticeships. Ryan has studied the works of Ervin Somogyi and other noted and published luthiers, including the lecture notes of John Greven, Dana Bourgeios and others. Prior to Solstice Guitars, Ryan owned and operated Custom Sound Instruments from 2004 – 2019. He has logged over 6,200 repairs and produced over 90 instruments.
Development & Design Luthier
Jason is a talented luthier, designer, and director of CNC operations here at Solstice Guitars. Jason also helps out with repairs and has a vast amount of experience working on guitars. In 2017 he completed a four year masters in design theory and guitar construction in Santa Cruz with custom builder Scott Walker. Jason graduated from the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in 2012. He specializes in drafting digital guitar designs, including pre-production and inlay operations. Check out his own creations at Lindsey Guitar Works.
A Short Story
I started playing acoustic guitar when I was 13. Everything about it was magical to me. Music made a big impression and fast. A couple years later a family friend loaned me a book called Guitarmaking Tradition & Technology and I was immediately obsessed with the notion.
The concept of a person building a guitar was like a revelation to me. It rocked my understanding of how things were made. The fact this was possible for an individual person was astounding. After buying a copy of that textbook I read it through twice while highlighting and making notes.
We had an old ShopSmith woodworking tool buried deep in our garage at home. My father dug it out, and I was overwhelmed to learn this dream might be a real possibility. He taught me some basics on the ShopSmith multi-tool, and I began building my first guitar at age 16. I found a natural talent for the process, along with an aptitude for woodworking and the required attention to detail. But my career as a guitar maker didn't begin for a while longer.
A Long Story
Back in 1996 I was a teenager taking guitar lessons at a small acoustic shop while reading the guitar making book. I started bugging the shop owner with a lot of questions.
I finished my first guitar when I was 17. It was a modern classical guitar with an Engelmann spruce top and Macassar ebony back & sides. With that guitar I earned my first apprenticeship. The guitar was impressive, especially for a kid working in his garage teaching himself. It's pretty good for anyone's first build. I still have it hanging in my office to this day. (But I'd never use Macassar again for a nylon string!)
In 1997 I began learning acoustic guitar repair and restoration work from Greg Mirken at The Shade Tree Instrument Store. He did a lot of Martin restorations and general acoustic work. While learning more about repairs I began designing my next two guitars. I was hooked.
Back then, the notion of becoming a guitar builder was barely even considered a real professional possibility. And in 1999 I moved to attend Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Well, I ended up dropping out of college to build those two guitars that I had previously designed. Then I went back to finish my degrees in microbiology and music composition while working on the side as a guitar repair tech. I ended up managing the repair department at the big music store in town.
Instead of pursuing my degrees any further, I decided to start my own shop. It was called Custom Sound Instruments. I was a talented repair luthier by then and the opportunity came about to open a new store in downtown Flagstaff. At age 24 I didn't completely know what I was getting myself into, but I was up for the challenge. I already understood the basics of the biz. And I started studying business administration in earnest.
The next decade was a long and arduous education in accounting, marketing, and operations management. That experience served me well and I learned a lot about myself, creating multiple brands, revenue streams and business models. In those 20 years I became a top repair luthier in the region.
We closed the Custom Sound retail in late 2019 to pursue a new direction. Solstice is the culmination of my study and career.
Philosophy & Strategy
Throughout my career I’ve worked on thousands of guitars and other instruments (approx. 6,500 as of 2020.) My history as a repair luthier has significantly informed my approach to design and building. The way a guitar plays and feels, along with longevity and stability are some aspects of my target as a builder.
For me, beauty is something understated and elegant. I design with an aesthetic that is both classic and original.
My goal is to craft the best guitars possible in the style that I build. This includes a detailed setup with precise action adjustments when complete. The guitar must play perfectly in your hands.
Like most luthiers, I have an obsession with superior materials and a wood collection that keeps growing. Every piece of wood is different, just as every player, and likewise every guitar. I believe in creating models with specific attributes to make the best possible instrument for your playing style.
We build each guitar with the final target of exquisite beauty, powerful voice, perfect playing action, and superior stability. My repair career has given me a deeply informed understanding of what makes some guitars sound amazing and play great.
There is no such thing as a perfect guitar, only a perfect musical experience. I guarantee that every guitarist can experience a perfect musical moment. My goal with Solstice is to give you a deep connection to your instrument, helping you create the best musical experience possible.