I continue offering hand-crafted guitars, individually made in the American, European and Latin-American traditions—tailor-made, specifically, for a particular buyer. Prices for made-to-order steel string guitars begin at $5000. Prices for custom-made classic guitars begin at $5500. They are available in a wide variety of materials and configurations to suit the owner's preferences. Delivery times for these instruments vary according to William’s work load and teaching commitments.

     An instrument can take four to six weeks to complete from the time that it is begun, but it may take as much as  6-12 months before the buyer’s particular commission can be attended to. The order in which commissions are begun is determined by the order in which commission deposits are received, so if you are seriously planning to commission a Cumpiano guitar, it is advisable to reserve your position in my work list at the earliest possible time.


Commissions for custom-made instruments usually follow this sequence:


  • The buyer contacts me by phone or email to dicuss a commission, or makes an appointment to visit my shop.

  • Preliminary discussions regarding design, materials and appointment are begun. At the conclusion, I will propose an approximate commission price.

  • Before any further detailed discussions can proceed, a deposit representing a third of the proposed commission price must be paid. At this point, the commission is entered on my building schedule.

  • Shortly after, the precise final details of the new instrument are confirmed after one or more additional conversations.

  • I'll submit to you by mail a commission contract specifying the final costs, features, appointments, materials and design of the commission and my refund policies (see below). Signed copies are exchanged.

  • Contact is renewed when construction of the buyer’s instrument is about to commence. The instrument is actually begun after I receive a second payment representing 50% of the balance of the final costs specified in the commission contract minus the original deposit.

  • When the instrument is completed, the final balance becomes due before the instrument is delivered. If the instrument is shipped to the buyer, a check for the final balance must be received before shipment. 

  • The check is held un-cashed until the buyer receives, evaluates and approves the instrument. If the buyer does not accept the instrument for good cause, the final balance check is returned immediately upon receipt of the instrument in saleable condition.


Returns and refunds:


In almost five decades of professional guitarmaking, I have never had an instrument refused or had to  refund a commission fee (save for instruments that were damaged in shipment), either due to the instrument not passing muster or from neglecting a feature which was originally requested. Indeed, every one of my instruments have met or surpassed the buyer's expectations! However, there is always a first time, and I know that potential buyers need understand what my refund policy is, so that they can decide the nature of the potential risks which are indeed involved. 


I risk that the buyer will not be able to pay for the instrument when it is completed, and that I may end up owning an instrument that has an unusual or otherwise unpopular design feature that will make it difficult to resell. On the other hand, the buyer is risking that the instrument may not appear in a timely fashion, or even appear at all, or that it will be a disappointment when it does appear.


Thus I feel that it is reasonable that these risks be shared between maker and buyer in the following fashion (the following is included in the commission contract):

If the finished (completed) instrument is deemed to be a disappointment for a clearly articulated and well-defined reason ("I don't know, it's just not right for me" is not a valid reason), I will cheerfully refund the already-proffered payments in the following manner and under the following conditions:


  • Final payment: returned immediately upon receipt of the returned instrument in a saleable condition (note: all shipments to and from the maker must be adequately insured!).


  • Second payment: the middle payment made at the time that the instrument was begun will be returned in full to the buyer within sixty (60) days.


  • First payment: the original commission deposit will be returned to the buyer upon the resale by the maker of the instrument at the originally quoted price.


Cancellations: If the commission must be cancelled before the instrument is completed because the buyer or the maker has realized that the buyer will be unable to pay either the second or final payments, the following considerations apply:


  • If work has not commenced on the instrument: Deposit refunded in full within two weeks.

  • If construction has already commenced: because of lost opportunity costs, time spent, and materials used, 50% of the second payment only will be returnable within thirty (30) days. Buyers simply cannot cancel a commission which has begun with a demand that the payments be returned immediately and in full.

  • If due to illness or accident, or any event beyond the maker's control,  the maker himself is unable to complete the instrument, all earlier payments are returnable within thirty (30) days.




Commissioning a new Cumpiano instrument...