Dream Partscaster - Anybody done it? Worth it?

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


  1. T92780

    T92780 Gold Supporting Member

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    Don't forget small details of quality/vintage wire to, wire up pickguard. Think everything through...think like a Custom Shop. Luthier is key, research.

    Have fun.
     
  2. mvsr990

    mvsr990 Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking about doing one or two via GuitarMill, with their finishing - a Jaguar and a Tele Deluxe. Fender doesn't make either exactly the way I'd want, small boutique options are rare for them and would come in way more expensive than if I had GM finish the body and neck, wired it myself and had a good technician do the final setup and frets.
     
  3. Bob T.

    Bob T. Member

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    I had a nice run-around with my Les Paul and Strat last night. There is a huge appeal to get one axe that simply does it all, because I love simplicity. However, after last night especially, I'm having a hard time imagining how I can get the best qualities of both guitars into a partscaster.

    I think my best move is to play the "content card"; I have a Gibson LP Studio Faded that I paid $300 for, and a Classic Vibe Strat that I paid $60. Hard to beat these guitars at those prices, to which I know I got lucky. Whatever the situation calls for, that's what I should play.

    Maybe if I spent less time worrying about my ultimate instrument and spent more time practicing my riffs and get into song writing, I'd be somewhere different with my playing all together :dunno

    Cheers, TGP, for letting me talk this one through :beer
     
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  4. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    Very sage advice. Know what dimensions you are absolutely sure you want. NEVER buy to try.
    If you don't know neck dimensions, fret size, radius, nut width and are positive of your measurements you are not ready to buy. Know if you want all maple neck, or with a different fret board wood, and be sure of what that fret board wood is that you want.

    Also, many here have tried either finding or assembling a "do everything guitar". THEY DON"T EXIST. Of course ymmv, if you need a Fender for specific sounds then you need a Fender. Same for a Gibson.
     
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  5. kev

    kev Member

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    that's righ...WAIT...WHAT?!? This is TGP, logic here is NOT the same as reality. Enablement is our obsession!

    :D:D
     
  6. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    Here's the thing: "dream parts-o-casters" are the answer to two questions:
    1) How well do you know your needs and preferences?
    2) How well can you puzzle through ALL of the little assembly/dial-in-your-preferences challenges you encounter along the way?

    Getting to the other side, dodging bullets and solving that steady stream of little issues, and ending up with a guitar you truly love is, like, the best thing ever. So satisfying as a player and validating as proof that you really know your own playing and preferences. My parts-o-tele is the only electric I play and I couldn't be happier, which is a very cool thing for me.

    Conversely, if you can't get to that place, it is frustrating and perhaps a sign that you have more to learn about your preferences or how to puzzle through assembly. Hard.

    Either way, you learn a lot! Tons of luck!!
     
  7. T92780

    T92780 Gold Supporting Member

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    OP...

    Fender Mayer Sig Neck Shape is close to perfect for me, simply, why I used these Sig necks for most of my Strat builds. Again....know 100% what neck is right for you...can't drill that in your head far enough. Warmoth fat necks are "really" fat, like 58' Les Paul fat neck and "often" have compound radius of 10-14, so very different than 95% of produced Fender necks you see/play at a store, be careful.

    Below basically turned out to be my version of what could've been a Fender Custom Shop (FCS) Mayer Sig Guitar:

    Neck: Fender Sig Mayer
    Neck Hardware: Fender Relic
    Body: FCS Relic
    Bridge/Output Jack/Neck Plate Hardware: FCS Relic
    Pickguard: Fender Relic
    Pups: Fender Mayer Sig

    *Parts provided to my Luthier and he assembled and setup to my specs. Important.

    [​IMG]FCS MAYER by t92780 t92780, on Flickr
     
  8. GravityJim

    GravityJim Silver Supporting Member

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    I accidentally assembled my dream guitar. It was dubbed the Zencaster, as a way of reminding me what a guitar is for: not impressive gymnastics, but making music in the present moment.

    [​IMG]

    It started life as an MIM Strat, purchased new, and then upgraded over a couple years until there was nothing left of the Fender. Here are the specs.

    Warmoth "Hollow" (chambered) Strat body in mahogany, unfilled, finished in Danish oil and beeswax (fully cured), 3lbs, 8 ozs. Warmoth Modern Construction neck, satin tint, 10" to 16" compound radius, 6105 nickel frets (now I wish they were stainless, but what the hell), ebony fingerboard, bone nut, abalone dots. EMG X-Series pickups, pots, etc. Gotoh bridge plate with GraphTech "Classic" steel saddles and a Callaham block with custom trem arm. Schaller locking tuners with ebony keys. Ebony pickguard, cloisonné yin/yang badge from Chinatown SF, neck plate engraves with the Japanese kanji for "Zen," homemade headstock logo based on my signature.

    [​IMG]

    I've played this guitar against Custom Shop guitars and the CS's were found wanting, including one I really wanted to love because of its stunningly perfect sunburst. But the Zencaster shut 'em down. I have never played a better playing or sounding guitar. When I die, my family has been asked to cut the strings at any memorial (a Chinese symbolic gesture), and give the crematorium the rest to burn with my body, so that my ashes and the Zencaster's are intermingled. I'm not kidding. I once damaged the neck (it's been fixed better than new), and spontaneously burst into tears.

    Thanks, Warmoth. I love this instrument.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  9. Last Nerve

    Last Nerve Supporting Member

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    Yes. No.

    IMEs, the end-product always felt like 'parts.' Never one complete guitar with a vision start-to-finish.
    Maybe I was just terrible at the process. I purchased great parts and I had it set-up. I just missed some 'magic' I guess.
     
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  10. customguitars87

    customguitars87 Member

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    Generally speaking, I prefer to wait till other people build dream partacasters for $1500, then buy them used for $300-400 ;)
     
  11. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    That's exactly what I did. The orphan I found had the fat neck, Phat Cat in the neck, and 3-barrel brass bridge I wanted. It also had the Seymour Duncan Jerry Douglas bridge pickup I did *not* know I wanted but now swear by. I haggled to get it for $300. I had tried it and kinda thought Hmm, I think the neck needs to be shimmed. I took a chance, got it home and shimmed it in about 15 minutes. Everything lined up - which felt great. I then swapped the body for swamp ash and a few other things - every switch (after a bit of puzzle solving!) has been great. Yay.
     
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  12. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    While I didn't build my Strat/Partscaster to save money, I got exactly what I wanted, and have no plans on ever getting rid of it.

    I used an old 82 x 57 Fullerton Reissue body... Collectable

    2 x 66 Strat pups... Collectable

    1 x 65 Strat Pup.... Collectable.

    MannMade USA Tremolo

    Gotoh SGL510Z Locking/Height Adjust Post/1:21

    Illitch Noise Reduction

    USA Custom Guitars Neck. 1 inch Fat Back x 12 Radius x 6125 frets.

    I supplied the wood.

    Torrified Flame Maple x African Blackwood

    I sent all of the parts to Joe Glaser for Complete Assembly, and PLEK.

    Ive also got another in progress.

    Musikraft 1 piece very light weight Swamp Ash Body

    RS Guitarworks finish/Fiesta Red

    2 x 71 Strat pups

    1 x Duncan Scatterwound Custom Shop SSL 1C DG

    Illitch Noise Reduction

    Sent my 71 4 bolt, rosewood board to USACG to copy to 2 piece Maple Cap. I supplied QS large board Western Big Leaf Flame Maple Blank for both Board, and Neck.

    Gotoh SDS510 Kluson. Height Adjust Post/Mag Lok

    Blade Runner Tremolo
     
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  13. mikefair

    mikefair Member

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    A friend of mine has 2 custom builds. No expense was spared. I wouldn't give $10 for both of them.

    For contrast, I bought a used K-Line from TGP, sight unseen. It turned out to be one of the best guitars I've ever owned. It's like everything is right - weight, balance, neck profile, sound, feel, look. I don't think I could have articulated what I would have wanted in a dream guitar. This one just got into my hands and it was right. Pretty much a cosmic accident. I don't mean this to be a K-Line advertisement, but I think there are a lot of variables that you can't control no matter how carefully you source your parts.
     
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  14. customguitars87

    customguitars87 Member

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    Nice! I haven't even really had to go this far, been lucky to find some really high quality builds.

    This guy is one of my all-time favorite guitars now, probably a $1400-1500 build that I paid $350 for at my local GC. The loaded YJM pickguard is like $300, not to mention the birdseye Warmoth neck, high quality thick maple top, Fender USA hardware, etc.

    Some really great stuff out there if ya browse!

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. willie k

    willie k Silver Supporting Member

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    I have considered a partscaster. The neck I wanted was about $700, so I stepped back. Some here are saying to get the parts professionally fitted. What is the big deal? Is there a trick to it? It SEEMS so simple. Bolt on a neck and some parts, a little soldering. The finish seems like the tricky part to me. Not being snarky, just wondering from those who have done it.
     
  16. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Putting the parts together is easy, if you have some basic tools and a little woodworking savvy (knowing how to measure correctly and drill proper guide-holes, mostly). It's making the thing play well that can be tricky. Still, if you're used to doing your own setups, it ain't really that hard. All the various principles that make a guitar work are fairly easy to grasp.

    Heck, I've put lots of them together...all by my own self.

    Most basic guitar assembly stuff can be learned in pretty short order. (Don't expect to get it all right the first time, but with a little practice you'll have it.) IMO, the important things for most people leave to the pros are advanced fret and nut work, and paint (assuming you didn't buy the parts already finished....which you should have. Shame on you if you didn't...unless you're a pro painter, with a booth, sprayer, and a crap-ton of know-how).
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  17. Starshine

    Starshine Member

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    I'm in the middle of building my dream Partsmaster. I'm right at the point of cursing myself for thinking that finishing the guitar myself was a good idea. This is my second time finishing a guitar, and man is it unpleasant.

    My take on partscasters is if you're just going to build a Strat or Tele variant, I don't really see the point. There are so many different submodels of those two styles that I could find something that's either exactly what I want, or close enough. I'm building a Jazzmaster because there are so few options out there. Hell, it's hard enough to find a JM with a 9.5" fretboard radius, much less 12" or compound. And if you want a maple fretboard, or more than the four or five colors you always see them in, forget it. If I could buy a JM off the shelf that was even 75% of what I want, I would.
     
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  18. GravityJim

    GravityJim Silver Supporting Member

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    So, I should just call up the Custom Shop and ask them for a hollow Strat with a Callaham block and EMGs? I bet they don't stay on the phone with me very long. :eek:

    If you want features that Fender won't offer, then assembling your own guitar is better and cheaper. The Zencaster is practically an anti-Fender. So, for me, that's the point.
     
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  19. Starshine

    Starshine Member

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    Just saying where I draw the line for myself. Not judging anyone else.
     
  20. Hulakatt

    Hulakatt Supporting Member

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    I will also add in that if your finished guitar isn't your dream guitar than that doesn't mean it's a dud, it's means you're not done yet!
     
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