Partscasters or High End production Bolt ons?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by big mike, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,358
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    What's you're preference?

    Something I noticed at NAMM, and have been pondering.

    I really WANT to want the high end flashy super strat. Insert builder of choice here....but I want to want the trendy strat.

    It doesn't work for me.

    I spent time in most of the 'must have' booths at Namm, fender booth as well and you know what I took back?

    That I love my damn MIM Esquire, 80s Strat Plus (both modified) and partscasters just as much if not more. Plus I don't have to 'worry' about them.

    Probably lose my corksniffer status, but none seemed worth the extra cash for me. In some cases I thought my current stash played better.

    Go figure.:crazyguy
     
  2. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

    Messages:
    16,413
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
    If you build a partscaster and pay 2000 bucks for parts, since it has no "name" on it, it will probably net 500 or 600 in resale if you decide it's not "you"...

    If you pay 2000 for a high-end super-strat (used Suhr, Anderson, Tyler or the liked), and decide it's not you, you might get 1500 in resale.
     
  3. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,358
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    True, but I buy smart. That's a valid point, but usually you can 'part out' the partscasters if needed for 'about' the same loss of $.
     
  4. Caretaker

    Caretaker Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,877
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    ALL strats and teles are partsocasters. LOL. Having said that, I have a partsocaster(Fender body, Allparts neck, Wolfetone pickups that I`ll put up against ANY strat I`ve ever played and I built it for well under $600. OTOH, I just traded for a Tinman tele that I can`t put down. Lots of help, huh?:rotflmao
     
  5. mprvise

    mprvise Member

    Messages:
    6,410
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    In the back room
    A friend and I were having this discussion not long ago. My take was that it's a lot like making the choice to eat at a really good locally owned Mexican place or Taco Bell. Both are edible for sure, and every once in a while you might get a good meal made with care at the Bell, but more often than not the more costly local place will be better.
     
  6. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,547
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern California
    Bolt-on's are all about the wood and the skill assembling and setting up. It's gotten to the point with today's CNC technology that aftermarket parts are being built at pretty high tolerances. So, if you stumble onto the right wood and choose your hardware and electronics with care...have it assembled/set up properly you can build yourself a fantastic playing guitar.
     
  7. RvChevron

    RvChevron Member

    Messages:
    2,467
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Hong Kong, China
    Get what you want!

    For me, I want a partscaster cuz I can get exactly what I want in every single detail.

    I don't believe most highend builders' wood are better than what USACG or Warmoth can offer.

    Get a great tech (Phil Jacoby for instance) to put the whole thing together and the end result would be just as steller or average, sound wise.

    Who cares about resale? If I want to sell it, I'd take it a part and sell them in pieces. You get way more back then selling the complete guitar in one blow.

    Mind you, a part-o-caster does not necessarily cost mush cheaper though, depends on the parts.

    I'm in the process of getting a USACG neck that'll cost me $500, finishing for $150, a Body, around $300, paint job for around $475, plus hardware and paying Phil to put the whole thing together and a plek job.

    The whole thing adds up. I haven't taken pickups and electronics into account yet.

    But at the end, it's two different things. If I want a Suhr/Grosh/Anderson/Dpergo, I'd get them.

    If I want a strat exactly the way I want, I'd get a part caster, it may not sound the way I want though, that's the gambling.

    That's just mho, ymmv.
     
  8. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,358
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area

    Probably where I'm at. I can't 'really' get what I want off the shelf, and I'm not willing to spend the big price tag on full blown custom for a bolt on.
    Mental hurdle.


    As I say, not taking anything away from the upper line boutique builders, lord knows I'll spend it on a set neck....
     
  9. Caretaker

    Caretaker Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,877
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Lots of "parts" listed in the Emporiums today Mike. looks like a gearheads garage sale.:roll
     
  10. shuie

    shuie Member

    Messages:
    1,301
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    ...down Highway 61
    I prefer the good ones. They are available at almost any price point.
     
  11. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,358
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    LOL

    No, I"m good right now. Basically just finished a strat.

    Just some observations.
     
  12. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,358
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Usually I just stick it together, then take it to Greg to fix.

    Bwahahahahahahaa
     
  13. JZG

    JZG Member

    Messages:
    1,045
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Well, I think both are kind of a crap shoot. With high end guitars, some are great, some not so great, so it's a matter of playing as many as you can to find the great ones. The benefit is that you get touch, hear, and feel the final product with nothing more than an investment of time. With parts guitars, it's kinda the same thing. You can spec everything out to exactly how you want it, but that doesn't mean it will be a great guitar when it all goes together. I recently parted out 4 partscasters. While a couple of them definitely had vibe and a certain coolness factor, none of them really turned out to be winners.
     
  14. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,033
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    It's an easy choice for me as I have a lot of parts preferences not readily available in a high end offering. I like Wilkinson VSVG bridges, Earvana nuts, scalloped boards and so forth. Most of the boutique builders are going for a vintage vibe, but I'm not.
     
  15. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    As a guy with several bolt-on Chapins, I know that I couldn't buy the right combination of parts from Warmoth et al to get me the same sound and feel and so on that I've got with my Chapins. With a parts-o-caster I might get lucky and end up with some planks that happen to work well together with the lucky guesses of hardware I made, might end up with something only comparable to a grabbed-at-random-off-the-wall-at-GC Fender, might even suck completely. And it will only be a little cheaper than a low-end model of a high-end luthier's work, by the time you throw in all the bits.

    But I know that when Bill is done doing his magic, the cost and the wait-time don't matter - what's coming into my hands is going to be stellar. I'm sure the other high-end luthier aficionados will feel the same way.
     
  16. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,358
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Bill doesn't count Dave. Everything he makes is freaking ridiculous.
    a bargain at twice the price.

    My reference is to the 'production' boutiques.

    I'd steal any of your Chapins if I could've...LOLOL
     
  17. Chops

    Chops Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,463
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Exactly! It's a case-by-case basis. What amazes me is when a builder creates a buzz on TGP no one seems to get a less than stellar (best I ever played; transcendent!) sample, at least until the buzz begins to subside. When you bolt all that stuff together you never quite know what your getting until you see the finished product. Not to say that there aren't steps that ensure a reasonably reproducible, quality product, but it's not totally science. That's where the magic comes in.
     
  18. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

    Messages:
    11,808
    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    I've built two partsocasters - a tele and a strat. Both had excellant components, body and necks. Stainless frets. The only thing I could've done is maybe dropped another $100 for boutique pups ( I went Seymour Duncan). Neither cost more than $1200 in parts. Both are very interesting and unique, play and sound great. I enjoyed the process of choosing, buying, finishing, assembling, and setting up the guitars. One day I may want to spend the money and enjoy a guitar built by someone else, but for now, all my Fender style guitars will be partsocasters.
     
  19. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,570
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    I've put together two partscasters and have two more in the works. I'm real happy with the two that are finished and would've spent far more on high-end guitars.

    I also buy parts when the budget allows, so it's like making interest-free payments.
     
  20. 2x6L6

    2x6L6 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    467
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Talkeetna Mtns.
    I think about this a lot - great topic, Mike. I built a USACG "Strat" 4 years ago, and I think I did "stumble on to the right wood." Well, maybe Tommy at USACG would argue with the "stumble" part, but this body is very light and exceptionally resonant (I know, not all lightweight guitars are resonant, OR exceptional), the one-piece neck came out great and fits so tightly in the pocket it almost doesn't need screws. Final fretwork, nut, etc. were done by a great luthier. The parts are pretty run-of-the-mill, including regular old Fralin Vintage Hots p/ups, yet the sum of the parts is simply spectacular. I don't believe for an instant that I could do better spending three times what I spent (I have ~$1,200 into it). I've played lotsa custom shop and other production Strats over the years and have never found anything close.

    I love the way the guitar feels and sounds such that GAS for a D'Pergo or other high-end handmade Strat-type guitar is nonexistant. I don't have any illusions that it could compete with an instrument of that caliber but the fact that it keeps me perfectly satisfied - in fact, loving it - four years later says to me that the right partscaster can be a very special instrument indeed.

    That being said, I'm gonna build a USACG Tele at some point, but I don't necessarily expect the same lucky stumble... :cool:
     

Share This Page