Stratocaster - Mod Shop/Partscaster/Other? (UPDATED)

diego

Member
Messages
3,205
Suhr neck shapes include:
  • 50’s Round .860" - .980"
  • Even C Fat .880" - .960"
  • Even C Huge 1.000" - 1.000"
All Parts necks:

 

EL 34 X2

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,346
I have one of the Lindy Fralin model necks that is a little smaller than the standard All Parts SMO-FAT neck. I like it a lot. I bought it from the Fralin website about 6 years ago. It has a slightly tinted satin finish. Not the tint you seem to be going for. The price wasn't bad though. I think the partscaster is the way to go. But you won't get much on resale, even parting it out. Thirty years ago I decided to go the partscaster route rather than chase down super expensive vintage guitars. I've kept most of them, swapping parts and pickups as my tastes have changed over the years. It's been fun and MUCH less costly than acquiring vintage pieces that couldn't be altered without dropping the value. I found I could build 5 or 6 partscasters to my specs for every vintage guitar I owned. I've enjoyed the variety that's afforded. My 2 cents, FWIW.
 

killer blues

Member
Messages
4,028
Hello TGP,

I will say very much up front that while I love the sound of the Stratocaster, I have never played one that I'd want to keep. I've tried and tried but just have never bonded with one or found one that I couldn't live without. (This is very much a ME problem, not a critique on the instrument in any way). I think the biggest issue here is the neck, almost every Strat I've ever seen or played has an annoyingly thin C neck, and it kills the playability for me. I am a big fan of the Nocaster/Baseball bat style necks and generally gravitate towards bigger neck shapes on my instruments.

Having said that, it feels pretty hard to find a Stratocaster with the right color combo and neck. My options are a customer builder, a partscaster I make myself, or the Fender Mod Shop. I don't want to spend a ton on this but I'd pay for the right instrument. The problem is that all of these options are "buy it or make it and you get what you get," making resale hard if I don't end up bonding with it. I am also very conscious of instrument weight, something that will be impossible to deal with if I go with the Mod Shop.

The Mod Shop route is the "easiest" way to do this, but paying almost $1900 USD for a Strat that is not returnable and has an instant hit in resale value feels like a risky move. It could be heavy, it could be dead, it could just not play like I'd like. Fender is offering a soft V with lacquer (maple+lacquer tint is an absolute must for me on a Fender) in the Mod Shop, but I am not sure the soft V would even satisfy, and with COVID I'm not venturing out to stores to try one.

The second route is a Partscaster, but crafting the specific neck shape/tint I want from Warmoth is approaching $450 just for the neck (plus $100 to actually level the frets, which never come right out of the box ime), and the Warmoth body color for Surf Green is not the correct color IMO, nor do they advertise the weight of the body or neck.. and then you're stuck with a custom order that might be a boat anchor in terms of weight.

Any suggestions I may be overlooking? Other companies besides Warmoth that are of equal quality (I like their products but there are some downsides) that I could consider for the body and/or neck? I specifically want that position 2/4 quacky Strat tone, with a neck that wont make my hand hurt after 5 minutes.

If you've purchased a Mod Shop instrument, I am very curious for every detail of your experience. I am curious how heavy the instrument you received is, and even more interested in if you've decided to sell it after receiving it. How much of a bath did you take on the value?

tl;dr:

Musts:
* Thick U shape/Nocaster style neck shape, but mostly thicker than Fender C
* Maple with amber tinted lacquer
* Surf green body (the actual Fender/DuPont color)
* Not heavy (less than 8lbs preferably)

Many thanks for any insights or suggestions. Have you been in this scenario? All feedback welcome :)

Edit: one last question, the Suhr Classic S caught my eye, but I am not sure if their 60's C carve is going to be the same problem for me. The measurements I found online seem to indicate it's not as thin as the Fender C, but hard to know for sure.
mod shop heavy c is a very chunky neck. if i were to do a strat id go mod shop
 

wraub

Member
Messages
1,727
Partscasters and Mod Shop guitars have zero resale value, relatively speaking.

[snip]


You can use that to your advantage, though. I recently scored pretty much exactly the Strat I would have built, somebody else's partscaster, bought for less than $200. There are deals out there to be found.
 

mysticaxe

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,021
If you see a body on Stratosphere that fits your criteria, snatch it up. Lots of the vendors mentioned in this thread have neck heel designs that are compatible with the standard strat body. Then pick the source for the neck that gives you the most confidence you will get what you want.
 

Platypus

not in rivers, but in drops
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,199

no weight listed, but hey: it's on sale!

I saw this but the brand name seemed suspect..not that it super matters to me in the end, but it's not a Fender body at least, and thus, the color is slightly wrong too. Could be the photo but, I think a lot of people use the term Surf Green but it's not actually the right color combo. It gets mixed up with Seafoam green too, but both are massively misunderstood/misrepresented for whatever reason in the aftermarket world.
 

Platypus

not in rivers, but in drops
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,199
Don't think I saw the recommendation here yet, but if you get a chance to try an Eric Johnson strat, do it. Completely scratched the strat itch for me, and I was exclusively in the Gibson baseball bat neck camp prior to that. The profile was just perfect and the 12" fretboard radius felt like home. You'll see some people complain about the sticky neck and more modern sounding pickups, but I haven't experienced either of those issues on my tropical turquoise EJ strat. Plenty of those classic strat sounds in there.

EJ strat was the closest of any I've ever tried in the past, almost pulled the trigger on one when they first came out years ago, but alas my brain is firmly in the camp that Fender guitars (with some exceptions) for my tastes need to be Surf Green with a lacquer tinted maple neck :)
 

JeffK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,281
I saw this but the brand name seemed suspect..not that it super matters to me in the end, but it's not a Fender body at least, and thus, the color is slightly wrong too. Could be the photo but, I think a lot of people use the term Surf Green but it's not actually the right color combo. It gets mixed up with Seafoam green too, but both are massively misunderstood/misrepresented for whatever reason in the aftermarket world.
OH, I see what you are saying. Yeah, I don't think that is an official Fender body. Interesting. I thought all they sold was parted-out name brand stuff, but I guess not.
 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,000
EJ strat was the closest of any I've ever tried in the past, almost pulled the trigger on one when they first came out years ago, but alas my brain is firmly in the camp that Fender guitars (with some exceptions) for my tastes need to be Surf Green with a lacquer tinted maple neck :)

 

Muttlyboy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,000
You might like this one...

 

Platypus

not in rivers, but in drops
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,199
So just a quick update, I ended up finding a super light Vintera 50's Strat MIM that I was going to use as the base for this. It came with a 50s soft V neck profile (which I think is kind of the Clapton boatneck profile?) and I have to say I was pretty shocked to find that it's like 95% there for me. I was going to order a boatneck from Warmoth to replace it, but I don't think it's a $600USD (neck, plus inevitable work needed to make the Warmoth neck play perfectly, plus tuners) worthy upgrade over what came on this already.

Based on the paper measurements this is obviously thinner than the boatneck I was going to get, but it fills the palm out nicely as-is and is chunkier than most any Strat neck I've tried previously. Comparing it to my Tele Deluxe, which has the CBS 70s Strat neck on it, is night and day comfort difference already. I think I'd still probably prefer the thicker neck, but this one is comfortable and doesn't give me the same annoying feeling as their thinner profiles.

So a happy surprise I guess, and saves me some serious cash to just keep this one. I really am pretty impressed with the fit/finish of this MIM Vintera... not a huge relic fan but not a relic hater either, this one seems to be tasteful and the guitar is light and resonant.

Overall I think with some new pickups and a minor cosmetic upgrade I'll be pretty happy here.
 




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