Warmoth has ruined me for production guitars

Gclef

Member
Messages
2,695
I have also been ruined.... for fender type guitars.

I "built" a tele first, then a strat.

The tele is nice, but I am not really a tele guy.
The strat is absolutely amazing.
Everyone that has played it, likes it. I've had to decline a few offers too.

I did a chambered alder hardtail body with a maple/maple modern neck with ss frets and 59 profile.
Electronics went from hsh to sss w/ a clapton circuit.
Add locking tuners, a roller nut, and battery backplate.

It originally cost me about 1300 with case for the hsh. Add $400 for the electronics swap.

Oh, and its candy tangerine.

So, 1800 bucks after an electronics faux pas.

Try finding THAT anywhere but custom shops!

I built it and it was perfect when I assembled it 12 years ago.
Now? Its naturally reliced.

I will build another strat with a trem this time. I may go with musikraft and mjt for the wood and finishing (I cant believe I am saying this....I want a heavily checked relic finish:hide)
 

ragamuffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
243
I'm with you! Once you see what it's like to get everything about a guitar JUST the way you like it, it makes it really hard to go back to compromising on the specs of production guitars. I also love the feel of Warmoth's raw exotic necks and very few production guitars offer that.
 

atarilovesyou

Member
Messages
357
I've tinkered with having a build made, but it would never cure my GAS for actual models of guitar that I would like. Also, I keep trying to build 'the' guitar that will do it all for me. And that's just a recipe for disapointment, from my experience. But it's great if you want a Strat with certain features. Sadly, most of the features I want on an electric aren't available: things like an all access neck joint rather than a heel (even their recessed heel), something like a modern Ibanez. That's my biggest gripe. For those who want a Strat, though, and have it like what you might find from Fender themselves, then it's a no-brainer.
 

Steadfastly

Member
Messages
2,603
You are obviously interested in guitars, not the names on them. Custom building is the only way in most cases to get what you want and you can usually get it at a discount price. Many will argue that the resale value will cost you money but I think many of the ones that state that are selling their guitars because they don't really have what they want. When you do a custom, you hold onto it because it is what you want. Selling it is not something you think about; playing it is.
 

Alan Wolf

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
389
How's the fret work? I've heard that they can have sharp ends.
Not any worse than most US Fenders or Gibsons that hang on shop walls. Same with the overall fretwork. If you’re gonna put it together yourself, dressing the fret ends is part of what you will want to do, if you want to get a great guitar. I’ve built two from Warmoth parts, and to my joy, they get played as much as my Collings 290 and Grosh Electratone. My ends are still not up to Grosh’es standards, but very little out there is.
 

scr@tchy

Senior Member
Messages
3,899
Im in your camp but I don't have the money to risk on not liking a from scratch build's end result. So I just bought a used one that sounds acoustically the way I need and redo the electronics and aesthetics ,and it always works for me to where I don't feel I'm missing anything when I play an expensive rack guitar. The last one I did is of the best electrics I've played. If I get another electric I'd have to go this route again because of how I like the electronics to be. Having said that there are a couple of guitars from the past that I've always wanted for nostalgic reasons so I can't say I'll never buy a rack guitar again, I'm looking at you 80s Peavey T series.
 

Chad-Jag

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
72
I built an mjt jazzmaster with a nice musikraft neck. Plays nice I used mastery bridge and vibrato and Novak pickups. It’s probably worth about half of what I have in it. And it’s value will never increase a dime which is how I always justify the price of guitars. They go up. To me that’s the sticking point of partscasters. I would never buy one even at the cost of the raw components
 

Sean Mac

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
311
My strat is a 86 MIJ Fender maple neck and a 02 or so, swamp ash hardtail Warmoth body.

It is everything I hoped for.

If I ever build another S type, it will be from Warmoth parts.

I think some people go crazy with the exotic wood selection options.

The results are unpredictable and often unsuccessful, especially when it comes to resale value.

The ash/alder and maple/rosewood choices are a viable way to build a instrument that can stand up to anything you can buy.

If you have the skills.....

:)
 

AprioriMark

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,430
How's the fret work? I've heard that they can have sharp ends.
Warmoth necks do not come with finish work done. They expertly install fretwire at the proper radius and cut the fret ends at an angle. Final leveling and shaping should be done, as well as any fretboard edge rolling that you might want. They're generally playable out of the box, but not always, and never tailored to fit your preferences. So just assume you'll be doing that.

-Mark
 

Brooks

Member
Messages
5,253
Replacing pickups in guitars and speakers in amps always made sense, but I was skeptical of replacing bridges, bodies, necks (unless the fret size or radius was extreme). It wasn't until I bought a completely upgraded Warmoth/MJT/Callaham partscaster that I really got it. All those upgrades are incremental by themselves, but when you have them ALL together its a noticeable difference.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,236
I'm really happy with my partscaster; a Fender Pawnshop Offset Special with an ebony board American Elite compound radius neck.

I love the tones I'm getting from the neck Jazzmaster humbucker and the bridge pickup is fine but it's a little lower in volume and sounds much better with gain than clean.

I've been considering putting a Frailin Noiseless Jazzmaster in the bridge and maybe getting a Mastery vibrato but I'm torn about putting a lot more money into a guitar that was made in Mexico and originally pretty inexpensive.

I got the Pawnshop Offset Special for $650, paid $350 for the neck, $125 to have it installed and set up (the body had to be routed for the truss rod wheel) for a total of $1,125...almost twice what I paid for it originally. The Fralin would be around $200 installed. Installing the Mastery Vibrato would be at least another $275 with labor. Then the question is should I have one of their bridges installed as well for around $350 total. With the additional "upgrades" the total cost of the guitar would be around $1,950...far more than the original $650 I paid for it and also way more than I could ever get for it on resale.

I originally bought the guitar to be an inexpensive and easily replaceable guitar for international travel but the installation of the Elite neck has already taken the cost above something I could easily shrug off if it was lost or stolen while traveling. If I had $1,950 in it I wouldn't consider taking it to stay in a hostel in a third world country. Here's a shot of it sitting on a table in the rooftop terrace of my friend's B&B in Taganga, Colombia.


Investing $1,950 in a $650 MIM Fender sounds nuts on the surface but I really like the guitar except for the vibrato which at this point I'm not even using.

It is one of my favorite guitars and I've been playing it all week. Great Jazz tones, killer Metal tones and everything in between. It's light and the neck is ideal for my hand.

It's a tough call and I've been agonizing over it for the last year but haven't decided to pull the trigger on the additional upgrades because I just can't justify it financially.

I can't say I'm ruined for production guitars; I'd love to have a Sadowsky Semi-Hollow or a Gibson Super 400 but I'm really happy with the partscaster and think more about improving it than buying the Sadowsky or the Gibson, both of which would cost a whole lot more than putting an additional $775 into the Offset Special.

The question is, does putting more money into it make any kind of sense or is it just GAS Gone Wild?

 

Fredescu

Member
Messages
134
The question is, does putting more money into it make any kind of sense or is it just GAS Gone Wild?
The Mastery vibrato is quite expensive, and I don't think it's as big an improvement as the Mastery bridge is. What don't you like about the existing vibrato? It has a locking button, so it's not one of the really low end ones. Maybe replacing the spring would be enough? Failing that, you can get an American Fender one for less than half the price. It will screw straight in too, so I wouldn't be paying anyone to install it. I've replaced a couple.

They made some big improvements to the vibrato in the American Professional II Jazzmasters too. The screws no longer line up with the strings, and it has more travel. It might be worth waiting for those to become available at parts stores like Darren Riley.

Is there anything in particular you don't like about your current bridge? I have a Jazzmaster with the AoM bridge and it's fine to me even with heavy vibrato use.

The Mastery Bridge is good, but replacing the AoM style bridge you've got requires replacing the posts with their thimbles, and that's assuming they're the right width to begin with. Check the "classic player" section on their site here: https://masterybridge.com/which-to-buy/ .

Some people replace the AoM with a drop in roller style bridge, but you'd have to measure your post width to make sure you get the right one, and also match your radius. There's a thread here from someone who did that: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...des-to-my-squier-j-mascis-jazzmaster.2027746/

Basically I reckon you could spend $350 (roughly $100 vibrato, $50 roller bridge, $200 pickup) and get a pretty good result.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,236
The Mastery vibrato is quite expensive, and I don't think it's as big an improvement as the Mastery bridge is. What don't you like about the existing vibrato? It has a locking button, so it's not one of the really low end ones. Maybe replacing the spring would be enough? Failing that, you can get an American Fender one for less than half the price. It will screw straight in too, so I wouldn't be paying anyone to install it. I've replaced a couple.

They made some big improvements to the vibrato in the American Professional II Jazzmasters too. The screws no longer line up with the strings, and it has more travel. It might be worth waiting for those to become available at parts stores like Darren Riley.

Is there anything in particular you don't like about your current bridge? I have a Jazzmaster with the AoM bridge and it's fine to me even with heavy vibrato use.

The Mastery Bridge is good, but replacing the AoM style bridge you've got requires replacing the posts with their thimbles, and that's assuming they're the right width to begin with. Check the "classic player" section on their site here: https://masterybridge.com/which-to-buy/ .

Some people replace the AoM with a drop in roller style bridge, but you'd have to measure your post width to make sure you get the right one, and also match your radius. There's a thread here from someone who did that: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...des-to-my-squier-j-mascis-jazzmaster.2027746/

Basically I reckon you could spend $350 (roughly $100 vibrato, $50 roller bridge, $200 pickup) and get a pretty good result.
All of that sounds like good advice.

I actually already had the bridge replaced by one my tech had lying around (don't know what it is) because I was getting fret buzz due to the new compound radius neck. The new bridge is fine, replacing it is not a priority and all of the things you mentioned about potential complications going to the Mastery bridge are concerns and more than I really want to take on.

The current vibrato (I don't know if it's MIM or not) doesn't have a smooth feel and doesn't return to pitch. That's why I was thinking about replacing it. The Am. Pro. II vibrato sounds like a possibility, I'll look into it.

Thanks for the tips!
 

Mr Fingers

Member
Messages
2,678
I think "assemble" is more correct than "build" for the work you are describing. I like good partscasters a lot, but I do not think "build," though a common term for sure, applies. I assembled my kid's bike. I didn't build it. When I consider what is involved in building a guitar -- shaping a neck rather than choosing a neck -- I don't think parts guitars are "built." I realize this is an obnixious distinction to some, but out of respect to those who built the whole instrument, I think it's wirth recognizing now and then. I agree that partcasters are the best way to get what you like, in a Fender-style guitar -- and not at all just because it's economical as well. The world is full of great Strats that have 7.25 radius fretboards. Why settle for that when you can spec the exact neck you want?
 
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Fredescu

Member
Messages
134
The current vibrato (I don't know if it's MIM or not) doesn't have a smooth feel and doesn't return to pitch.
Lubing the nut with some graphite from a lead pencil might help with returning to pitch. I do prefer the feel of the US made vibratos though.

I think "assemble" is more correct than "build" for the work you are describing. I like good partscasters a lot, but I do not think "build," though a common term for sure, applies. I assembled my kid's bike. I didn't build it. When I consider what is involved in building a guitar -- shaping a neck rather than choosing a neck -- I don't think parts guitars are "built."
I think it's the same as "building" a PC. When you say that, no one thinks you're hand crafting a motherboard, but you are researching parts for compatibility and preference, often sourcing them from different vendors, putting them together, performing tasks you wouldn't have to with a prebuilt like cable management and OS installation. I think building is more appropriate than assembling when it comes to a PC or a parts guitar. Saying you're building a parts guitar is already sufficient differentiation between that and building one from scratch.
 

ferrinbonn

Member
Messages
1,213
Man, this thread is killing me right now. I put my order in about a month ago and I'm waiting for the parts. It will be my first partscaster build. I can't wait to get started on it. Here's how I speced it out.
  • Gloss black swamp ash soloist body (3 lbs, 3 oz!), HS pickup rout, volume, 3 way toggle, tone with push/push to split the humbucker
  • Standard thin neck, quartersawn maple, dark rosewood fretboard, 1.650 nut width, 6115 stainless frets, matte finish. Modern/vintage construction with 22 frets.
  • Hipshot Griplock tuners
  • Floyd Rose Rail Tail bridge
  • Duncan 59/Custom bridge, Dimarzio Virtual Vintage 54 Pro neck
I wanted to make something that would be super comfortable and easy to play. I mostly play humbuckers but I love the neck position of a Strat so I went with this layout. I considered HSS but I really never use the 2 and 4 positions. I think with the neck/bridge combo with the coil split on the humbucker, I should be able to get something close to the middle position of a tele.

I considered going hardtail, but the Rail Tail looked like it would almost be the best of both worlds. It's super beefy and lays flat on the body, so the tone/feel should be similar to a hardtail, but I can still use the trem if I want.

Can't wait to get this thing going! The wait is the worst part!
 




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