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Advice on doing a complete Partscaster Build

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by axejock, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    I know that this is not the forum to discuss other Fender models, but the post above is consistent with my "thinking". It's OK to offer a beginners guitar, but don't imply that it as good as any other Strat. In my humble opinion (no slight to any opposing beliefs) the bottom end for me would be a new Standard MIM Strat in cherry sunburst. I think they are about $600 and are absolutely beautiful. I played one a short time ago, and that is a fine instrument! Not perfect, but very nice.
     
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  2. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    Patience!!!! Waiting for parts for this guitar is like watching grass grow! Of all things I don't have yet is the pickguard...it seems to be in some "shipping do-loop". Without it, not much more can be done. I have polished frets, re-fit the bridge, installed the string tree, realized that even with a "loaded pickguard", I still have soldering to do for the output jack and tremolo claw, and a whole bunch of "small steps". Hopefully the custom pickguard will arrive tomorrow and then the fun part should commence. (Yes, the loaded pickguard came on a nice pickguard, but it just isn't the color or look that I want...I will have to move all the components which should be easy). Patience is the operative message, here.
     
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  3. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    Oh, boy! I got the custom pickguard today and successfully transferred all components (pups, switches, pots) from the original "loaded" pickguard that I bought to the new pickguard....quite a delicate operation! Now all I have to do is ground the trem claw wire and rewire the output jack and I can button it up! I am really pleased with the pickguard...it is beyond my expectations! Back to the fun!
     
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  4. sp8ctre

    sp8ctre Strat-Talker

    196
    Mar 8, 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    Is it invisible? I can't see it...
     
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  5. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    It will be invisible until complete and mounted on the guitar....I don't want to get ahead of myself. Once all body items and the neck are installed and some things are "buttoned up" I will post pics of what I THINK is turning out great! One thing I didn't notice before the component transfer to the new pickguard was that the SD Rail pups use some VERY tiny wire to run to the 5 way switch, and I had to be super careful with that....just hope I didn't damage any of the wire or connections. And, the new pickguard had pup adjusting screw holes just a little bit undersize, so I just screwed the screws in like a the holes were threaded and when they bottomed I kept turning them until the holes were properly reamed out. Crude but it worked! Oh, and I used the Callaham aluminum shielding that covers the entire backside of the pickguard....it is .014" thick and has the exact same hole patterns as the pickguard to hold it in place. Having that included in loading the new pickguard presented another challenge, but it turned out great! Fun, fun!
     
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  6. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    OK, I got the body fully loaded with everything closed up, and thought I would take it for a test though an amplifier. I must have wired something wrong as the minute I plugged in to the amp, and cranked the volume just a small amount, I started getting a loud "hum" through the amp, and any exposed metal part of the guitar I touched made a louder noise in the amp. Whoa! I wonder what is going on. The only wiring I did was to solder the tremolo claw ground to the back of the volume control, and rewired the output jack after having removed it to run the wires through the body. I wonder if I could have wired the jack "backwards? Would that cause this sort of problem? I'm sure it's something stupid I did....par for the course! But by the way, this thing really does look awesome with all the parts (except the neck) in place. I'm really pleased with the "look"!
     
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  7. sp8ctre

    sp8ctre Strat-Talker

    196
    Mar 8, 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    Grounding issue...check all your grounds and make sure you wired the output jack correctly.
     
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  8. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    Boy, do I feel like a jerk! I actually DID wire the output jack backwards! I guess that made everything on the ground side "hot" and the live feeds all grounded. I reversed my mistake and everything works perfectly. I guess this is a lesson to not work on something too long at a time and get sloppy. On the upside, if the amp hookup test is any indication, that bridge SD Hot Rail is indeed hot! Can't wait to finish this and see what it sounds like!!! I am really happy with the aesthetics of the thing...it looks great! Hopefully, I will finish it tomorrow!
     
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  9. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    OK, so in keeping with the "60's Re-Issue" nature of the MIM guitar body I used in this build, I bought the proper Vintage (Kluson-type) tuners that were used on the original guitar. Very nice tuners, but putting new strings on the guitar with those tuners is a real "trip". Instead of the cross hole in the tuner peg to install the string end into when beginning the stringing process, these tuners have a vertical hole in the end of tuner peg to insert the string end and then bend the string downward on the peg to do the winding process. I thought this might be easier than the cross hole idea, but it definitely is not! It uses a little more string length than I expected which led me to only have one to two wraps on the peg. And on the smaller strings, they kept popping off of the peg as I was winding them up. Very frustrating. Does anybody have a really good method for using these tuners?
    And yes, since I am installing strings, it means that I am nearly completed with the build. Set-up and tuning remain, and I should have photos soon!
     
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  10. sp8ctre

    sp8ctre Strat-Talker

    196
    Mar 8, 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    :thumb::cool:
     

  11. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    Finally, the "Partscaster" is completely assembled, tested and I even bought a new case for it. It still needs a complete, proper set-up, but I did tune it and it sounds fantastic! And, here are some pictures to prove that it actually does exist....I've called it my "Earthcaster Custom". That seems appropriate? Let me know what you think.
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. sp8ctre

    sp8ctre Strat-Talker

    196
    Mar 8, 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    WOW! That turned out super nice and I love that pickguard backplate combo!

    Well Done!
     
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  13. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    I'm really happy with it, especially considering that this is the first time that I have put a guitar together from parts. It's really rewarding. My only concern now is whether or not I'm going to be happy with the WD Music neck that I used. I definitely need to adjust the truss rod a little, adjust string heights at the saddles, check intonation, adjust the pickup heights, and do a "quality" tuning job. The neck feels good so far, but I have not heard much about how these necks hold up and perform in the long haul. Certainly not a big thing at this time, though.
     
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  14. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    I don't think I've ever heard a bad word about WD necks. Build looks like it came out great, congrats!
     
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  15. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    Outstanding project! I've enjoyed following your progress.

    I've made that same mistake with the output jack. All.part of the curve.
     
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  16. sumran

    sumran Fan of Leo

    Mar 7, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    no need to feel that way. It happens a lot. Now that you have done it you are part of the club. I’m a member. When I did mine I got radio stations but the reception was lousy.
     
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  17. sp8ctre

    sp8ctre Strat-Talker

    196
    Mar 8, 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    No doubt! I've built a few of these and I've taken many more apart than I care to remember and just last week I wired an output jack backwards...I was cheated it seems...no radio reception at all!
     

  18. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    I've been studying all of the "recommended setup steps", and there are certainly a lot of recommendations for "how to do it right". A bit confusing, but I'm wondering if I should have it done professionally or do it myself. I'm sure I can do it, but concerned that I might miss something or not do it quite right. To me, this is probably the most important part of the whole build. Opinions? (I do have the genuine Fender procedure). Oh, and I have no radio reception at al....that music would be a great background!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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  19. sp8ctre

    sp8ctre Strat-Talker

    196
    Mar 8, 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    Try it yourself first and then if it becomes frustrating or you can't get it right take it to someone...

    ...watch a LOT of youtube videos!
     

  20. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    Age:
    71
    123
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    Oh, by the way, I totaled up my costs on this build, and it came to just over $800 including the case. Not cheap, but actually considerably less than I expected for a build of this quality and high end parts. And the fun factor cannot be monetized! I don't think I could buy a new USA Strat for that money?
     
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