Steel String
World class hand built steel string guitars by luthier James White
guitars, handbuilt guitars, custom guitars, steel string guitars, James White
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James White Custom Steel-String Guitars


On my steel-string guitars all top and back braces are sized and individually hand scalloped to optimize the clarity of the separate bass, mid-range and treble voices on each guitar.  I use my own unique fan bracing design that consistently produces a lively, responsive top with extremely balanced tone. For the bracing on the back I find that Honduran Mahogany is excellent.


My steel-string guitars are all made with a classical “Spanish Heel” to be certain that the neck is absolutely solid. The backs and inside of the heel blocks of all my steel string guitars are finished using lacquer.


The guitar pictured at the left is a small jumbo with stunning African Blackwood back and sides.

Click on any image to enlarge.


Steel String Front and Back


Double 00


The  00, or Grand Concert” body style is the major body style most directly derived from the classical guitar. It has the thinnest soundbox and the smallest overall size of the major styles, making it very comfortable to play but also one of the quietest. Its smaller size makes it suitable for younger or smaller-framed players. These guitars are commonly called “parlor steels” as they are well-suited to smaller rooms. The example at left has figured mahogany back and sides, snakewood binding, and is twelve frets to the body.


Steel String Front and Back


Triple 000


The Triple 000, or Concert style is a personal favorite of mine. Perfect for finger style players yet confident enough to backup a singer or stand out in jam. I build them in both 12 or 14 frets to the body, slotted or solid heads. The bodies are not overly deep but provide rich bass tonality, yet not sacrificing any of the mid or upper tones. As I have matured, I have great respect for a guitar that is comfortable to play for long periods of time.


Small Jumbo


The steel string jumbo is a great guitar with a voice that won’t quit. It can fill a large room with sound yet has the nuance and separation to convey even the most delicate fingerstyle piece. Also available with a venetian cuttaway.




A Dreadnought is like the mother ship, you may explore other guitar dimensions but sooner or later you always find a need to come back to it. My style of “dread” has slightly sloping shoulders and is braced for strength yet the bracing is tuned to produce sparkling trebles, clear, controlled mids and enunciated, but not overbearing lows. I build them so every note is distinct and not overpowered by a bass rumble that sounds like a teenagers bedroom. You can, of course, specify your own voicing.



Twelve String


There is just something magical and exciting when you sit down with a 12 string guitar. New songs emerge. Old repertoire is transformed. I still own the first 12 string I built. I can’t part with it. I will build you a twelve string in your choice of back and sides. You can choose sizes from a concert, dreadnought, or jumbo. Add a cutaway to get at the top end. Design it the way you’ve always wanted or we can put our heads together and find the sound you’ve always hoped for.


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