Halla Custom Instruments is one of a number of cool small instrument makers in Finland. The company is run by trained luthier-artisan Ville Mattila and specialises in one-off custom electric and acoustic string instruments. Ville Mattila is a member of the Guild of Finnish Luthiers.
Kitarablogi received a stunning Halla Custom electric for testing. The guitar may look like a tribute to the Gibson SG, but there’s more to this Halla than meets the eye!
Just looking at the Halla Custom SG (price approximately 3,000 €) I had to catch my breath. This is a turquoise bombshell of a guitar, with a healthy dose of additional glitz added by the golden hardware.
But the fantastic paint job (using very hard acrylic lacquer) is only part of the story: ”It’s an SG, Jim, but not as we know it!”
The Halla Custom SG fuses design aspects from two classic guitar models – the Gibson SG and the Fender Stratocaster.
We find the classic lines and the set neck of an SG, but the Halla uses Fender-typical materials – namely a maple neck and an alder body – as well as a long scale (25.5″/64.8 cm).
The Floyd Rose-equipped Halla comes with a bound rosewood fretboard with a compound radius and 24 gold-coloured stainless steel frets.
Hidden beneath the fretboard lie two neck-stabilising graphite rods, placed either side of the truss rod.
The instrument sports a set of golden Gotoh tuners, as well as a neck wrist-strengthening volute.
The Floyd Rose is a top-drawer Gotoh unit, which comes with a screw in vibrato arm. An adjustable nylon cuff lets you decide how loosely (or tightly) the arm stays in place.
The Custom SG is equipped with a pair of Halla Custom’s hotter-than-vintage Venla-humbuckers.
There’s a nice little twist to the seemingly standard four controls plus three-way toggle set-up:
This Halla Custom guitar features a built-in passive fuzz circuit, which can be activated using a push/pull-switch hidden in the neck pickup’s tone control.
You really get what you pay for with a Halla – quality components, ultra-clean workmanship and thoroughly applied foil shielding.
The eagle-eyed among you will surely have already spotted the treble-bleed caps on both volume pots.
The Halla Custom SG was ordered by its lucky owner (a man known as Make El Weirdo) as a hot-rod Rock guitar with Gibson-esque looks, but a Superstrat sound.
What can I say? This is a fantastic guitar that ticks all the right boxes!
Some Gibson SGs can feel a little bit insubstantial, and many suffer from tuning problems due to their long necks. The Halla Custom SG has no such problems, this is a rock solid, chunky instrument.
The owner’s preference for a ”baseball bat” neck profile, this guitar’s thicker-than-a-Gibson alder body, and Ville Mattila’s considerable skills as a luthier take the Halla Custom SG to a different level altogether!
This Halla came tuned to E-flat, and set up with a very low action, as specified by the customer. The playing feel was extremely fluid, and with a light picking technique this Halla played buzz-free all across the fretboard.
The Gotoh Floyd Rose worked great, too.
Halla Custom’s own Venla-humbuckers are the bee’s knees for fans of the harder styles of Rock guitar. The pickups pack an enormous punch, but miraculously manage to sound as open and chiming as vintage, low-powered ’buckers:
Halla’s built-in passive fuzz is a fun little addition that’s more than a gadget, especially when you’re playing with a single channel amp:
But with a guitar such as this, you will surely spend most of your time enjoying its precise attack and chunky crunch:
The Halla Custom SG is a shining example of the high standards of luthiery in Finland.
Naturally, handmade quality such as this comes at a price. If you have the money, though, you should really ask yourself if you want to spend it on an off-the-peg, production line guitar, or rather on a special instrument made exactly to your own specifications.
Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style
Prices for Halla Custom guitars start from 1,200 €, depending on the guitar type and options chosen. A similar guitar like the reviewed instrument would cost approximately 3,000 €.
Contact: Halla Custom Instruments
Thanks to Make El Weirdo (aka Mutantti Make) for the loan of his personal guitar!
+ handmade in Finland
+ tuning stability
+ built-in fuzz