• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Squire, mim,Mia,mij, or just build it

toolshed

Member
Messages
914
I'm a " do it yourselfer". I like moding guitars. I'm really thinking about either buying a mighty mite, GFS, ECT kit and building a strat or tele. Then again,. I think I might be better off just buying something already built and changing out pieces. What is the cheapest way to go for the highest quality guitar?
 

guitarmook

Member
Messages
2,925
Depends... if you want something that's pretty standard (basic tele or strat configuration), it's usually cheapest to find something already built - especially if you can find a used version that you don't need to modify, or maybe pickups.

Next cheapest is to start w/ a used, or discount (guitarfetish, etc) finished body, and add your specific parts.

But if you want something you can't find on-the-shelf, (gretsch-orange tele thinline w/ humbucker in the neck, etc) you'll have to go warmoth, etc...
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,307
The main thing is: build or bought, you don't know what you have until that first note is played.

Off the rack: you can seperate the dogs from the gems and go home with what your ears & hands, and hopefully your eyes, like.

Build: crap shoot...even if you spec a guitar exactly how you want it, it could be a dog, gem, or anything in between. No two pieces of wood are the same and guitars tend to be sensitive to the sum of their parts.

Resell: a factory label usually brings a higher price on resell.

Fun & education: building can be educational & fun but you need to invest in the right tools to do the build right. Any new neck will need leveled/crowned and the nut slots tuned in...which requires special tools & know how or paying someone to do the final setup. Even built with the "best" componants, guitars aren't bolt & play.

All things considered: if I were looking for a player, I'd "run the racks". If I wanted to build for the experience & fun of it, had the funds to invest in proper tools, accept the risk of the final results, and didn't care about the resell value, I'd build.

My harem: out of my dozen guitars, I currently have 4 home builds in my harem. And, while my home builds sound & play great, what I consider to be my "best" all around guitars are two I cherry picked from running the racks at my local dealer...where everything came together just right in each guitar based on what my ears & hands told me. They weren't the prettiest guitars in the shop the day's I bought them, but they deliver the goods when I flip on the stand-by switch ;).
 
Last edited:

bgmacaw

Member
Messages
8,080
It depends on what you want to achieve and the tools and workspace you have to do the work. For example, pickup and hardware swaps are usually easy on an existing guitar. Painting and finishing a raw body requires a more dedicated workspace due to paint fumes and environmental control. Fretting and woodworking require dedicated space (dust control, etc) and specialized tools.

I've enjoyed putting together cigar box guitars over the past couple of years as well as doing the occasional rehab on an existing guitar.

if I were looking for a player, I'd "run the racks".
If you're looking for the perfect "THE ONE" out of the box or off the wall I agree. But if you're looking for a modification candidate it's best to check out ugly ducklings because you can get them very cheap if you're willing and able to put the work into them to make them swans.
 

Whiskeyrebel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,732
90s USA Peavey, either to play as-is or as a modding platform. The prices on these are absurdly low for how well the necks and bodies are made. Especially the two piece maple necks with the center seam. I really like those.

The Peavey international series may also be good but I don't have experience with complete guitars to give you an informed answer. I used a couple of these necks on a build and they are basically problem-free, but I like the construction on the US necks better.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
Buy a cheap one you like and mod it. Really. Much cheaper, better result for most of us. The other thing this gets you is you know what the basic guitar is. How resonant etc. Putting a bunch of pieces together is a turkey shoot. A good combination of parts is a random event.
One of the worst Strats I ever played was a custom shop $2400 one. ... and that's 2005 dollars.
 

shakeshakeshake

Senior Member
Messages
5,030
If you spend about 1000 bucks you can wind up with a guitar equivalent that a brand name will charge $2k for that is completely custom spec to your liking (although resale will be far less than the total money spent on it).

or

You can spend less and get something like a used MIJ that will most likely be very good and then switch out what you most want changed on it like pickups to wind up with a nice modded guitar that will be a little bit cheaper than going all out with everything individually purchased (resale will be about what you paid for it).

Everytime I've gotten a really cheap guitar like a Squier and then started modding it/messing around to imporove aspects of it, I've wound up with a guitar of inferior quality to something like a used MIJ Fender despite sinking more money into it than it would have been to just buy a used MIJ. Good for fun and tinkering though.
 

toolshed

Member
Messages
914
Thanks for the replys. I'll check out the peavey for sure and the mijs... Usually good quality there for sure
 

GrungeMan

Member
Messages
6,643
Build it yourself it's definitely more satisfying. For instance, you are building a Tele. Get the parts from different sources...the pups, neck, body, bridge, control plate, knobs...keep your eyes open and wait til you find exactly what you want. Take your time.
 

olgluefoot

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,380
Old Yamaha pacificas and 90's Peavey's can be great modding platforms on the cheap. If you want something truly custom there are a ton of ways to go. The issue is always resale value, even with the bigger names like Warmoth and Carvin. I had a great time building "Suzanne"



But I would have to part out the electronics or find a special buyer to get any money back from it. Luckily, she is here to stay.

(Suzanne is a Rockaudio hardtail Strat body, Stew Mac neck, Warmoth pickguard, Dimarzio Super II in the neck, SD SH-6 in the Bridge with traditional 3-way switching) Let me know if you have any questions.
 
Last edited:

edro

Member
Messages
938
If you must mod and you did say cheapest, I'd say look at a black label Squire and go spider monkey on it.

Find one with a good neck if you aren't gonna change that, dress up the frets, and you're about done with that.

I'd jump on the pickups and electronics next... Pickguard too if you can't hang with plain...

Save the old populated pickguard with everything on it.

If you sell guitar later, you can swap back and keep your new populated pickguard with all the goodies for another project.

Then decide on where you want to go with saddles, bridge, and whammy.

Gears are fine until they're not. Read that again. Change em when they're not...

Get the sound/playability jacked up first....

Just suggestions... Carry on....
 

toolshed

Member
Messages
914
So what about if we throw resale value out the window and focus on buying, building, or moding something that would have less money into it than the quality of guitar it is. Is that possible?
 

scott944

Member
Messages
3,957
All things considered: if I were looking for a player, I'd "run the racks". If I wanted to build for the fun of it, had the funds to invest in proper tools, accept the risk of the final results, and didn't care about the resell value, I'd build.
I concur, and make it the "used" racks.
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom