partscaster vs. custom build

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ash, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. 95strat

    95strat Member

    Messages:
    495
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    You guys are encouraging me to do one of these. I've got to stay away form this place!
     
  2. ratkent

    ratkent Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Sugar Land, TX
    I had a USA Custom Tele put together for me that did not turn out as I wanted. It was not the fault of the guy who put it together but more a matter of a neck that just did not work with the body. It was a maple neck and ash body with no deviation from a normal tele other than the pickup configuration. Electronically it sounded good but after my tech spending hours and hours trying to get it to play just right we were stumped. It played OK, but not great. I put it aside for a while and later just for grins I put the neck from a Fender Aerodyne Tele on the USA Custom body and the whole thing came together immediately. Played and sounded fantastic. The USA Custom neck went on the Aerodyne body and while it still is not exactly perfect it worked better on that body for some reason. The swap improved both guitars and I now use them. I have used other Warmoth and USA Custom necks for Fenders in the past and never had a problem. But I have to say after that Tele experience I will probably never take the chance and put together a true partscaster again.
     
  3. WordMan

    WordMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,503
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Really well said - +1

    I found someone's cast-off Parts-o-Tele which had about $1,200 in parts on it for $300. It was a great way to start - while trying it in the store, I realized the neck needed to be shimmed; getting it home and 15 minutes later, I was playing a guitar with a lot of possibilities.

    I tweaked from there - swapped in a new body, re-shaped the neck, upgraded the electronics. All hugely educational and now the guitar is my main player. I can use it as a boat oar with no guilt, but would stack it up against a CS model anyday.

    As others have said, having a real tech do a final set up is key - I don't have the skills to bring it completely into true.

    A Parts-o-Caster is perfect if you -
    - Enjoy doing stuff with your hands
    - Want/prefer features that are simply not available in standard model combinations
    - You know you want a particular guitar, but are willing to tweak and be open to how it ends up. Using a P-o-Caster to test whether you are a Tele or a Strat guy is not wise - you have to *be* a Tele or Strat guy to know how to tweak that design correctly once you get it assembled. But by the same token, I have come to realize that the final guitar usually has some key differences to what I had in my head - you have to listen to / play the guitar and know what parts you can usually tweak to modify what you are hearing / feeling.
    - Focus on ending up with a no-guilt, beatable tool designed to your spec and care NOTHING for resale...

    My $.02
     
  4. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

    Messages:
    2,265
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Excellent post.
    End of Thread.
     
  5. Stringz

    Stringz Member

    Messages:
    632
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    If you have a specific sound in mind, I'd tell a luthier what I wanted and have him make it for me. There's just too many parts out there for you to evaluate every combination. An experienced luthier who has made a lot of guitars has had the chance to do the experimentation for you and will probably be able to come up with something close to what you want for less than you would spend experimenting.
     
  6. WordMan

    WordMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,503
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Thank you - coming from you, that is very cool.

    I am building a guitar that most closely resembles a guitar I found you testing on YouTube - a Korina-bodied Tele with a maple neck and Braz RW fingerboard. But yours had a Smuggler's rout under the pickguard (I found a 3.5 lb Korina body!!) and I am putting a conversion (i.e., Gibson scale) neck on it - so it is a Tele / Les Paul Special hybrid...in Gibson Heritage Cherry with a T-Shell Pickguard. Kinda like that limited run Tele Jr. that Fender had a while back...but I am going with a Tele bridge p'up...
     
  7. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Messages:
    39,310
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    In a van down by the river
    Sorry, didn't mean to lump you into an exclusive activity. I have seen a couple of your "assembled" guitars on the emporium, and thought of you due to that.
     
  8. Tommy Tourbus

    Tommy Tourbus Senior Member

    Messages:
    565
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    the finished piece will only be as good as the quality of the parts, how well they are matched, and the skills of the person doing the final assembly and setup.

    If you do your research and get good quality parts that 'work well together' and have a skilled luthier put it all together, it should be as good as anything by a boutique builder.
     
  9. sberryreal

    sberryreal Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Second this...it's often worth the $150 to have a luthier put the parts together and set it up correctly. Saves a lot of frustration, and they're really good at what they do.
     
  10. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,371
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Run the racks to find the tone & feel you want. Play a wall of Strats at any music store, with the same specs, and the tone & feel will be all over the spectrum. Building a parts-o-caster can be educational & a lot of fun...but financially & tonally risky. Even with "quality" parts you don't know what the final tone & feel are going to be like until that first note is played. Even "quality" wood is tonally inconsistent...and you can't fix tonally bad "quality" wood.

    Run the racks ;)!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice