Custom builders vs. big(ger) name brands... questions


Silver Supporting Member
As I posted before I just sold off my Fender Custom Shop Custom Classic because I had a little too much cash in it and wanted a Tele. Now I have a Baja Tele on the way which I'm hoping is as good as they say and I ended up getting it for a great deal (so good I may have been able to keep the CS strat afterall :cry: )
Anyway, I also have this American Standard that is pretty sweet. Playing well, I can envision the upgrades I would like to do, BUT -- I'm short on time, patience and SKILL. I can do it all, but I have next to no time to play, let alone stay up all hours of the night modding and when it comes down to it, a pro could surely do it better in the long run (lightly relic the neck, fret job <not that it really needs one>, replace the nut, pups/pots/cap replacement. But, it would be fun for sure and I'd still stay under the $1K mark total which is good.
I also have a chance to swap the American Standard and move into something that looks killer (basically the EXACT thing I'd want to do for the American Standard). Trade plus a good deal of cash maxes me out and gets me back into $1300 land. BUT, at that point I assume I'm paying a premium for the expertise of the assembler/luthier as far as relicing, neck feel (not just look), etc...
Than there is the all time best buy's for F style guitars used - G&L. I've had several, two Legacy's and many ASAT's and they really are great guitars. The play a little heavy for my tastes, but I can get used to them (jumbo frets, 12" radius, pretty wide/fat necks, heavier hardware, etc...).
I'm kind of lost at this point... it's a great time to be in the market, but you have to be careful and I always still consider resale.
Do the smaller builders K-line, Rocketfire and others have any type of markings to indicate they are legit from their shops? Any type of paperwork or COA? I'm just thinking if you get one of these builds (without putting on a waterslide decal) and they don't put anything on their headstocks, how do you prove it was built 100% from their shop? All of this revolves around resale like I mentioned and in most cases TGP is the only place where people have heard of these great new builders.


Silver Supporting Member
Sounds like your sold the one you really kind of wanted to end up back in the same $$ range. Nut job at my luthier is like $30 including new strings.. pots, caps and pickups you can do in an hour in one sitting..

Get the sound the way you like it, then play the snot out of the thing and quit worrying that it doesn't "look" old. I guess this relic thing has kind of gotten out of hand for me.. :bitch It really doesn't make it play better, sound better, (or even look better IMO). It is like putting a one of those fiberglass kit cars on a vw chassis.. To each their own :) On one forum they are talking about aging the finish on $5K R9's by putting them outdoors in 0 degree weather and bringing them in and hitting them with a heat gun.. If someone did that to my guitar I would be inclined to try and kick their butt!

Don't know about K'lines and stuff, but you probably won't be happy until you sell what you got to get a CS relic that is what you have pictured in your mind.. at least it will hold value.. a "home reliced" modded american strat may be harder to sell.

Will Chen

If you want to home relic a guitar, go grab yourself a used Squier and have at it. No worries about losing your investment due to the low initial cost...

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