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Who's side are you on?

bdam123

Member
Messages
766
I never thought the world of custom guitars was so vast until I started lurking around guitar forums. Its seems that a lot of players prefer buying parts and putting together their own guitars over buying something off the shelf or even getting a custom piece from say Fender's Customs Shop (I think price has a lot to do with this though).

My question is how many of you think putting together your own piece beats out buying a production line or Custom Shop instrument?

I have yet to play a Custom Shop piece, but would I really be blown away by its quality over something I put together using parts?

I'm at a crossroads where I think I might put together every guitar I own from now on using parts manufactured by licensed companies. For some reason I feel as if the quality is going to surpass any production line instrument but I don't know if it will a Custom Shop piece. Opinion?

I just want to know what you guy's think about this topic since there are so many people here that put together their own stuff.

Also anyone have an opinion on Musikraft. I'm interested in their work and its important for me to represent Jersey when I can. I feel like I've heard more bad stuff about Warmoth than good and since I'm a snob when it comes to headstock shape USACG is not an option, unless someone convinces me that they produce the most top of the line quality parts.

Thanks to anyone who contributes.
 

dspellman

Senior Member
Messages
8,308
My question is how many of you think putting together your own piece beats out buying a production line or Custom Shop instrument?
I've put together a couple of Warmoth-based guitars in my time, and they're no great shakes. That's not Warmoth's fault at all -- I just didn't do a great job on my end.
 

Amp360

Senior Member
Messages
4,547
I find building my own from scratch (buying wood and building) is the cheapest and best way. I can build something for a couple hundred that would cost a couple grand.

The Warmoth stuff is very good, but I don't consider this 'building' a guitar any more then someone putting together Ikea furniture is Norm Abrams.

The main thing with the Warmoth type stuff is that it's going to come down to how good an electronics and setup person you are.
 

Drew816

Chupacabra Psychiatrist and Meme Thief
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,704
This is like a discussion on Religion, Politics and Economics all rolled into one; YIKES! :bitch

I have all of the above and quite frankly, a well put together and good sounding axe can be a pretty inexpensive adventure if you know where to look and the name on the headstock and a COA in the case doesn't really matter too you. This coming from a guy that has a few of those himself, along with a few Parts-o-Casters (Warmoth and otherwise). I have my flame retardant suit on so let her rip! I have a bad arse Warmoth Flame-o-caster in the final stages of assembly right now, it's going to be sinister and if I'd spec'ed it from Charvel or Jackson it would have been a $4k+ guitar, my total outlay will be about $1200 in parts, labor and finishing when it's all said and done and I'm pumped! But to others, well, it's a Parts-o-caster and just won't do. They forget, EVH's guitars were all Parts-o-casters to begin with too, didn't seem to hurt him too much; but then again, maybe skill, talent and technique had something to do with that?? :aok

Happy Playing and Happy New Year!
 

sleek

Member
Messages
522
Well, I suppose you should get one of every opinion...

I prefer to buy a pre-made instrument and then make it into what I want it to be.

"You get what you pay for?" Bah. You get what you can make...and I can make almost any guitar into a good guitar!
 

HHB

Member
Messages
6,641
I have 3 parts guitars as my main axes, I simply cant afford a Fender CS but I managed to make 3 guitars that I'm as happy w/ as any Fender CS I've tried, my guitars all came in around 400 bucks each
 

Pablo

Member
Messages
429
I just put together a Warmoth Part-O-Caster and it turned out to be a wonderful instrument - that does exactly what I wanted it to.
Why did I decide to opt for a partocaster? Because it was fun, slightly challenging, relatively inexpensive and offered me a chance to experiment with specs that I wouldn't dare on a 3500$ Custom Suhr (thanks to this project, I would now, though).

To me, the great thing about putting a guitar together in this fashion, is that you get to choose every single part of the guitar. I had great fun both planning the project, sourcing parts, thinking up the wirring and, eventually, putting it all together and enjoyed the fruit of my labours. Moreover, I ended up paying less for my Pablocaster than what an American Strat costs here in sunny Denmark. Essentially, I wanted features that were unavailable anywhere (unless getting into the much more costly custom market) and since I rather enjoy DIY projects, I speced out a Warmoth and got on with the job at hand.
The specs I went with are as follows:
Alder body with a contoured heel fitted with a scalloped all maple neck with stainless steel 6100 frets and a reversed headstock. Bridge is a Gotoh Floyd Rose and I have Sperzel tuners on there as well. The pickups are DiMarzios and I used a Breed Neck in the bridge, an Air Norton in the middle and an HS-3 off my Yngwie Strat in the neck position.

I've shown my terrible iPhone pics of the project before... but I'm always up for an encore ;-)








As I wrote earlier, both planning and piecing together the Pablocaster was GREAT fun for me and it was totally worth the very slight effort (especially as I really enjoyed the effort) over buying a bog standard American Strat. I am really not much of a handy man, but anyone can put together a partocaster... as I will prove again - as I eventually would like a rosewood boarded version of the Pablocaster with a vintage trem... I think it'll be green as well.

Now, for part of your question: is my tacky Pablocaster a Fender CS, Suhr, Tom Anderson or a Tyler? Nope, but it's a mighty fine instrument just the same and (more importantly) it is exactly what I wanted it to be... and MUCH less expensive than either of the companies mentioned above!
Honestly, the Warmoth parts that I received were of excellent quality and certainly more consitent than the Schecter parts John Suhr used for the Pensa Suhr guitars back in the good old days at Rudy's...

Cheers

Eske

P.s.: keep in mind that a partocaster is vitually worthless if you should ever want to sell it again... But, if your tastes are as eclectic and/or poor as mine a Suhr with similar specs would probably be virtually worthless as well.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,779
Partscasters are great in that you can get the exact features you want. The only problem with them is you can't predict the neck/body tonal interaction. If the neck and body you get just don't work together, you're stuck. The majority of partscasters I've built and played have not been as good sounding as really good finished guitars in the music store. Some have in fact turned out to be real dogs that shouldn't have been at all (one piece mahogany bodies, solid rosewood necks, etc). At least playing finished guitars in the store, you have a good chance of finding ones that sound good.
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,369
These are my partscasters and, yes, I'm keeping them over off the rack models.







Oh, if putting a neck and body together were such a mystery Fender would've gone out of business by 1955.

Just my .02 and personal experience.
 

bdam123

Member
Messages
766
Thanks for the replies.

I really want to sit with a Custom Shop piece and see if I'm totally blown away by it. I mean why does a Custom piece cost upwards of $3000. Is it because its "custom" or is it because it feels like Heaven?

I do like the idea of putting everything I want in a guitar together but I want it to be the best it can be and thats essentially what you're doing when you order a Custom Shop guitar anyway. Given the only significant difference is that I'm going to be assembling the thing, are the luthiers that make the parts competing with the Custom Shop guys? I heard that the Fender Custom Shop builders just go out to the warehouse and select bodies and neck off the line. What do they do next that separates these pieces from the production line pieces?

I've never built a guitar so I wouldn't know but what other work is there after the body and neck are made besides assembly and set up? If that's the case I feel as if I can buy quality parts and put together a guitar that rivals a Custom Shop piece given that the quality control from these licensed parts makers are higher than what comes out of the factory.

At the end of the day I just want the best guitar I can get. I can care less if it has "Fender" on the headstock or not. If it is possible for me to put together a guitar that rivals a Custom Shop piece I'll go with putting together my guitars forever. If not I'm willing to save up and get Custom pieces done.

And no opinions about Musikraft?
 

Pantalooj

Member
Messages
3,312
Well, I suppose you should get one of every opinion...

I prefer to buy a pre-made instrument and then make it into what I want it to be.
I've owned a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster, from which I upgraded to a Suhr Custom, ordered to my specs.

The Fender was a really great guitar ... very well made and very lively and resonant. It cost me AUD$1,400.

The Suhr is also very well made and the tone, courtesy of the Suhr V60LP pickups, is very clear and articulate. But it cost me AUD$4,950 ... well over three times the price. It isn't over 3 times the guitar. Nowhere near it.

With the benefit of hindsight, if I could re-make that decision, I would upgrade the Fender and save a pile of cash. I'd change pickups for 2 Suhr V60LPs and a Duncan Phat Cat in the bridge and get a re-fret with jumbo frets. Pretty sure I could do that for around AUD$1,000. I'd have enough change for a whole new tube amp of very respectable quality!

So, I'd have to agree with Sleek ... find a great example of a factory guitar (my Fender was definitely a very good example ... but I've played others that were as good) and then customize it. It'll be much cheaper and probably somewhere between 90% and 98% as good a guitar as a custom built guitar.

Edit: I should say that the above is in no way intended as a slur on Suhr guitars. They are fantastic guitars ... I just think it's possible to track down a really good factory Fender, customize it and get pretty close for a fraction of the cost.
 
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Tele71

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,316
While I agree with Amp360 100% in making your own parts and producing your own guitars though I still have bought others parts and put them together for myself. I used the same parts that some of the builders talked about alot on this board used to build the guitars they sell for 1-3 thousand $. The way I see it is this: no "custom Shop" production guitar is ever going to have the attention to detail payed to it then what I am willing to do when I do it myself. I do my own finishing and set up work. I also do my own wiring ect. I have been able to build some copies of some of the guitars that my heros played to the letter that aren't offered by the big manufacturers that would have cost thousands as well.
I will be getting into cutting my own bodies and necks in the near future and have been thinking of hanging out a shingle and start competing with some of the custom builders.
One thing is for certain if you have the skill with your hands and an eye for detail and the patients it really isn't that hard to build a t or s style guitar a Gibson type would be a little more difficult but they are fundimentally the same thing, wood, magnets and strings. I trust my skills more then I trust someone elses and the selection of parts available is limitless so I say have at it. There is nothing to loose.
Paul
 

blueshawk1

Member
Messages
418
I've built my own. I was glad I did it, always wanted to, and it came out fine, but now that I've done it, I won't do it again, I found that I just don't really get into building.
How does it compare to a custom shop - don't know, never had a desire for a custom shop. It compares easily to most standard stuff, but better because it's my own I built for me.
 

stormin1155

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,720
I enjoy building and modding as much as I do playing. That and the fact that I can't afford $3,000 CS Fenders. I've built several guitars completely from scratch, several partially (buy a neck), and several parts-casters. I enjoy them all, and most have only cost $300-400.
 

suhrbrutal

Senior Member
Messages
575
Built several, an Many, Many built by custom makers. Suhr is amazing, not looking back. I make a living playing guitar mostly. The Alllparts., Musikraft, Warmoth, USACG, and others were nice, but the Suhr was another level. You will not be sorry. THE best necks I have played in over 20 years of professional playing. Tyler is great too, but even more. Wish could build one as great, never could. play Suhr almost exclusively now, just amazing.
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,169
I have yet to play or hear a parts guitar that I would even consider owning at any price...not to say that it couldn't eventually happen but they have all been rather lackluster to say the least...

Chow,
Seegs
 




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