Dream Partscaster - Anybody done it? Worth it?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Bob T., Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Bob T.

    Bob T. Member

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    As the title reflects, I am strongly considering selling a couple of guitars that I like and use those proceeds to build a partscaster (via Warmoth, mostly I think). With about a decade under my belt of guitar playing, there are a few things that I know for sure I need; the most important of which being the neck. However, the idea of selling a couple of guitars in order to build one has me a little cautious; not sure exactly why I feel that way, but it doesn't seem like something to rush into.

    Have you done this before? Sold a few to build the ultimate partscaster? Any tips on the process? Any ways I can save a few bucks along the way? Experience and pics are welcomed! :beer
     
  2. Blix

    Blix Member

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    I've done two. I'm not the best at saving so I bought the parts over a fair amount of a time, with a solid plan for the end result.
    First off was a strat. I went fairly traditional with wood choices,MJT alder body, BGP roasted maple neck with rosewood fretboard.
    20" radius and 6100 frets. Wudtone trem and Schaller top-locking tuners.
    I had a Rutters tele-style trem on it for a while, but went back to Wudtone, that thing is awesome.
    Suhr V70 pickups.

    For the tele I bought a Rutters swamp ash body, Warmoth 1-piece roasted maple neck with a chucky boatneck and 6100 SS frets.
    Rutters bridge and Gotoh Kluson staggered. Cavalier pickups.

    I did all electronics myself, but I had a top notch luthier doing all the fitting, level and crown on the frets etc. IMO a crucial step having a pro doing that.
    I finished the tele myself with a Wudtone finishing kit, very happy with the result.
    It's the blue strat and tele here:
    [​IMG]


    Both guitars came out very good and sound great!
     
  3. T92780

    T92780 Silver Supporting Member

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    My advice: Top shelf on every single component, no exceptions. If possible via neck shape you require, buy Fender neck in new condition from Stratosphere or another valid source on ebay, as if you ever have to sell guitar, resale will be best. Don't pick a crazy/odd color for body, kills resale value. Be patient, don't rush to get all parts, this will also save you money.

    Top of line parts with top notch luthier setup cost $1,200.00 to $1,500.00. If you're thinking less than $1k, it can easily be done, but not top notch. Example, loaded pickguard with top level pups is about $350.00 alone.
     
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  4. kev

    kev Member

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    paging @Boris Bubbanov to the tele-phone (harharhardyharhar - you all now have your bad Dad joke of the hour)
     
  5. zul

    zul Supporting Member

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    Start with the neck.
    Any dream guitar has a dream neck.
    If you have a favorite neck, start measuring.
     
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  6. Geosh

    Geosh Supporting Member

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    It’s worth it if your ideal guitar doesn’t already exist.... and you aren’t looking to flip it later and make all your money back (which may be possible depending on how much you spend)

    I’ve made a couple and was very happy with the results. All cost about $800-$1200 when all said and done. Keep and eye out for deals from Warmoth and USACG. Good deals to be had if you are patient.

    eBay or the forums here is always a good source for hardware and pickups at a good price (again, patience is key)
     
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  7. Bob T.

    Bob T. Member

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    My plan for the neck is Warmoth roasted maple one-piece with the fatback contour, no finish, 6105 stainless frets. I haven't decided on the scale length; I really like the 24.75'' idea, but the 25.5'' doesn't really bother me at all, and it would help a bit when it comes to playing slide in standard tuning with 10s (I currently do this with my Les Paul).
     
  8. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Build partscasters to build a dream. Don't think of it in terms of saving money, or (worse) potential resale value if you don't like it. Assume every dime you spend on a partscaster is gone forever, and assume that you could have bought a "better" guitar for the same amount of money.

    If you accept those assumptions, and want to build anyway, you're on the right track.
     
  9. m.e.

    m.e. Freelance Bio-exorcist Silver Supporting Member

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    That Tele looks awesome, and great choices on the parts.
     
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  10. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    After building several I've come to the conclusion that for me there is no "one guitar to rule them all". Each guitar is it's own thing.

    If you have several guitars that you already enjoy, don't sell them. Enjoy them, save some money...and then build the dream.
     
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  11. Sean6247

    Sean6247 Member

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    I recently built a parts tele with a Warmoth showcase neck and body. It is based on a '52 blackguard. The whole project came out to just over $1k including finishing supplies, a couple of specialty tools, case, and all parts. All the parts are top quality, and the guitar came out great. Every time I take it out, I get at least one person who wants to chat about my tele, because it looks so close to an actual blackguard.

    Tips on the process... TAKE YOUR TIME! Don't rush especially if you are going to finish the guitar yourself (which I did). Since you are "building" this yourself, learn how to do the set-up and fret leveling. This alone makes the process of building a partscaster worth the price of admission. These are skills you'll be able use on your other guitars and saves you money in the long run.

    You can see my build thread on TDPRI here: http://www.tdpri.com/threads/new-t-style-build.749889/[​IMG]
     
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  12. bandintheclouds

    bandintheclouds Supporting Member

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    I didn't sell other guitars to do a parts build, but I did build a dream frankentele with a Warmoth conversion-scale roasted maple boatneck, a USACG ash body routed for filtertrons that I finished in stain and tung oil, TV-Jones filtertrons, callaham saddle, bigsby b5, and Schaller locking tuners, staggered with not tree.

    That makes a guitar that you cannot buy anywhere with features that I really wanted. Tele look and ergonomics with playability more like a Les Paul and tone somewhere in the Gretsch camp. That's sort of what a Fender Cabronita is...but this is even more bizarre. What is really great about that guitar is the fact that it has a huge neck and only a light oil finish on the body. It resonates so well! It also wears faster than a guitar with a full finish, so I am likely never going to get the money I invested in building it back...but it is worth every penny!
     
  13. Bob T.

    Bob T. Member

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    That's pretty much where I'm coming from. It's hard to find a two-tone sunburst strat, hardtail, hss (with a humbucker sized p90 in the bridge and alnico iii single coils in the middle and neck), and a massive one piece maple neck with stainless frets. Hence, partscaster idea.
     
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  14. Sean6247

    Sean6247 Member

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    This is not actually true. If one uses quality parts, those parts can be sold separately, as they were purchased. As a whole a partscaster has low resale. When disassembled, one can still achieve a normal 50-60% of new on resale.
     
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  15. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    If there is something unusual with uncommon specs I'm looking for that no mass-produced make/model guitar has, I'll build it. I fabricate the bodies and necks using stock from my lumber room, spin the pickups if necessary, and use what surplus hardware I have available that works for the project. Is it worth it? IMO, absolutely yes.
     
  16. Strangeman86

    Strangeman86 Member

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    I imagine I sound completely insane, but I only want to own one electric. I'm on my second body and soon my third neck (started with a mahogany body that was too heavy, moved to alder and my back is happy; first neck was too prone to move with weather, second has graphite rods that cure 99% of that, I have a third one on the way with SS frets and a compound radius). I've swapped in and out around 20 different humbuckers to find the right one and I'm on my third bridge (hopefully sometime in 2018 I'll have enough extra cash to get an evertune installed). I have the current body finished with some purple stain and finishing oil from crimson guitars (love it, easy to apply and feels so smooth) and I'm playing with some simple graphics to adorn the front of the body. It's been a several year quest to find, test and afford what I want, but it's been well worth it for me. Someone has already said this, but if you have or know of some guitars that are close, measure and measure some more (it will save time and money).
     
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  17. zul

    zul Supporting Member

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    "My plan for the neck is Warmoth roasted maple one-piece with the fatback contour, no finish, 6105 stainless frets. I haven't decided on the scale length; I really like the 24.75'' idea, but the 25.5'' doesn't really bother me at all, and it would help a bit when it comes to playing slide in standard tuning with 10s (I currently do this with my Les Paul)."

    Cool, you know what you want. I love their '59 roundback with 6100 stainless.

     
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  18. OotMagroot

    OotMagroot Supporting Member

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    I'm wanting to do a roasted alder body roasted maple neck warmoth build. Wolfgang neck profile. 1 5/8" width. Two humbuckers - Dimarzio Air Zone bridge and Gravity Storm neck. Special 3-way switching. Hardtail.
     
  19. Bossanova

    Bossanova Member

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    Buy used parts and practice... your first won’t be your last, and it’s a great great skill to learn
     
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  20. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

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    I've built about 10 guitars now. A couple were for other people, so I don't really recall how they came out other than I made sure they'd played great and exactly like they asked for them and I balanced out all the pickup heights, etc.

    For myself, I've built 2 strats, 3 teles and a jazzmaster. Now I'm working on some Les Paul JR type builds and have finished one of those, and a buddy wants a bass I am starting to collect parts for. I do everything myself except for cutting the wood, so all electronics, paint, fretwork, nut cutting, etc. This is the way to really save money, however, there are specialty tools you'll need and there are many skills you need to acquire. I practiced or stripped and redid at least 5 guitar bodies and even more necks before I started being a little happy with my painting. I'm still learning this skill. The same goes for leveling frets, cutting nuts, learning to solder, except now I consider myself at the very good level, should be expert in a couple more years, master in 10 or 20, haha.

    The thing with a partscaster is you can't dictate what it will be. You can have a general idea and guide it in that direction, but you really can't control what the overall guitar will sound like (if we're being precise). I can control what pickups go in and how they're wound, and how the guitar plays and feels - but you may be trying to build a really spanky sounding tele and end up with a more blunt midrangey tele, or vice versa. All wood is different.

    The luthiers and builders that can control this have access to more necks and bodies, and have probably done it enough to start to associate the wood weights with specific tones.


    Out of the guitars I've built, I've had exactly 1 failure and it was my first build. It was a strat that never worked right. It played fine but always had a weird buzzy kind of tone. I bought that neck from one of the commonly talked about neck companies, who I don't have to name as this was nearly 10 years ago.

    It turns out, that neck had a twist to it and I think maybe some other structural abnormalities. It was also very heavy. I eventually replaced the neck with a cheap allparts neck I bought used and painted, and that became a great strat.

    I would consider all of the guitars I built to be good guitars and good examples of each style, and if anyone ever sits in and uses one or jams at the house any of them will get comments like "wow, that's a killer tele!" or "This thing feels great!". Two teles in particular have a little special magic to them, they're very vibey and kind of make you play differently. both are inspiring guitars. My jazzmaster is one of the best guitars I've ever played. It sounds and plays fantastically and is really spectacular. It is very loud acoustically and will stay in tune (with a strobe tuner!!) for a whole gig, even with using the trem. I've gotten it out of the case for rehearsal or a session a week after a gig and had it still be perfectly in tune from tuning at the beginning of the gig the week prior! I would never say that I made that guitar sound like that, it was luck of the draw with the wood and the mastery bridge.

    The emporium is your friend for parts and pickups, you can really save some money there.
     
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