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Build your own guitar kit?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Weston, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Weston

    Weston Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Here is the link.
    Super LIghtweight Strat Style Kit- Maple or Rosewood!

    Has anyone ever dropped the 90 bucks for these? I know they are cheap for a reason but how bad could they be? I am a bit bored and thought it would be fun to get one of these and paint it and put it together and be able to play it.

    So how are these? The neck, the pickups, the bridge, the bodies? Im not expecting one of them to outdo my Fender Strat but was wondering if they are a waste of 90 bucks.

    So if anyone has got one of these let me know what you thought, or better yet upload pics of your finished result.


  2. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 5, 2009

  3. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    I've built 3 or 4, they're not worth the money. 1 of them turned out gig-worthy. You'd be better off buying a pawn shop squier, refinishing it and modding it for cheaper, and you'd get a guaranteed playable result.

  4. softwarejanitor

    softwarejanitor Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Central Texas
    My personal opinion is instead of buying the kit, look at what is in the kit and buy all the parts separately and put it together yourself. You can do that all on the guitarfetish web site, or substitute any other parts from other vendors you prefer. Definitely some things like the pickups that come in those kits are usually going to be kind of crappy and you may want something better qualiry.

    Buying all the parts separately gives you complete control over pretty much every aspect of things. One advantage is you could, for example, select a pre-finished body or neck which would be a lot easier and might give your completed product a more professional appearance.

    Your other option is to buy the kit and just swap out whatever parts you aren't satisfied with quality wise (like pickups for example) in the kit. If there are very many such parts you may find it cheaper to buy a-la-carte.

  5. stratphobic

    stratphobic -----------------------

    Jan 14, 2011
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    You get what you pay for. The only kit I would even consider building is a carvin kit.

  6. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    That can get really pricey. A good body is at least 50 bucks before shipping, and a good neck is usually 75 or more. Then comes all the electronics and pickups, and other hardware. Even then, there's the possibility that the neck won't line up just right.

    But for 60-80 bucks you can get a squier you like, disassemble it, refinish, do whatever you want to it, you can even rewire the whole thing if you're looking for the full experience, then reassemble. You will have a perfectly fitting, good playing specimen (because you saw and felt what it looked like before you ever messed with it.

    The kits are awfully made many times. The nuts usually are not an appropriate height, I've had a warped neck, and nothing is really even as good as a Squier about it.

    I ended up using the parts from a few of the kits I bought on other projects. The bass kit I put together was the only one worth the money.


    And even on this one, the D and G strings are quiet because the poles don't line up with the strings, and there's not a simple way of fixing it without buying a new pickguard, cutting it, or routing excessively. And this is the finest made specimen of the ones I've made. The other SG copy I made just feels flimsy, the nut was super high, and it just doesn't really sound very good.

    Believe me, as a guy who's done both kits and modding, you'll feel that same attachment to a guitar you rescue as one you build from a kit. Only difference is that the one you just mod will actually be stable and playable.

  7. jimmiraz

    jimmiraz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 3, 2010
    Buffalo NY
    I agree Carvin is the only kit i'd buy too.
    Owning lots of Carvin gear now, I wouldn't blink an eye reguarding the quality of their guitar kits.

  8. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    Carvin is the real deal as far as kits go, but you pay a premium price for their stuff. The cheap Asian factory kits are about the same percentage of success as those carnival basketball games with the misshapen hoops.

    It took me 4 kits to finally figure that out. Slow learner, obviously.

  9. softwarejanitor

    softwarejanitor Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Central Texas
    It can, depending on what parts you select. I just filled a shopping cart on guitarfetish.com with what I'd consider a nice base Strat kit (unfinished body and neck). Came up to around $250, but the quality of the parts I picked, even though they were generally fairly mid-range for what is on that site (plain wbw pickguard, for example), are probably better overall than what is in their kits. Pick a finished body and neck and it would be a little more too. On the other hand, for what you get, still comparable to what I generally have into a Squier I buy and upgrade.

    That is true.

    If I run into this sort of problem on all new parts I bought, especially if from the same vendor, they are going to get returned.

    Well, that is all generally true... of course the perfect fitting and playing part depends on your skill level, but the same thing is true as much or more with a kit. And generally by the time I'm done I have about the same into a Squier as I'd have in a guitar if I bought all the parts new. On a typical Squier I usually end up replacing everything except the body, neck, strap buttons, string trees, neck plate, knobs and screws... Some models maybe I would keep the pickguard or tuning machines. About the only major exceptions would be the Classic Vibe or Vintage Modified... about all those need is the crappy thin pot metal trem block replaced with a full size steel one.

    Which is why I suggested buying the replacement/upgrade quality parts a-la-carte instead of the kit. If I get parts that aren't right, they get sent back.

    Over the years I've put together several guitars a-la-carte from between decent to the best quality parts I could get, and I've never had the kind of problems you are talking about. The replacement parts are just generally of better quality, which is why it costs $250 to buy the parts a-la-carte from guitarfetish instead of $120 for their Strat kit. To a certain extent you do get what you pay for. Warmouth bodies and necks, for example, can add up the price pronto. Of course their stuff is arguably often of better quality than "real" Fender.

    Nuts need to be fitted into the neck. If you buy a new nut for a Squier it will likely have the same problem. You usually need to sand them down to fit at the right height and finish filing and smoothing the string cuts. It is rare to find a pre-cut nut that fits a given neck exactly perfectly.

  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    now,,, ya gotta ask yourself... how good could a kit be that costs less than a good (good being the key word) set of pickups...

    Ron Kirn

  11. pepsiblue32

    pepsiblue32 Strat-O-Master

    Sep 6, 2009
    Murrieta, CA
    Yeah, I've built one of those kits for a friend. Ended up having to do a lot of modification just to get certain holes lining up. Wouldn't recommend it.

    If I were you, I would keep an eye open at GC for used guitars. Occasionally, you'll find a Bullet that's been marked down significantly because the body has been beat to hell or the neck is unplayable.

    I picked up a Arctic White from 2007 for like 35$ a few weeks ago. Body was thrashed (looked like someone did a bad relic job) but the neck was really smooth. The hardware was useable as were the pickups. In your case, you might just pickup an after market body that you can paint from there.

  12. MelodicBends

    MelodicBends Strat-Talker

    Apr 3, 2011
    $35?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?! Holy f*&%in' s#!% man! That's almost as good as that guy who got a really nice blue strat for 30 bones at a garage sale a few months ago!!!

  13. pepsiblue32

    pepsiblue32 Strat-O-Master

    Sep 6, 2009
    Murrieta, CA
    Haha yeah, I walked really fast out of there hoping they didnt make a mistake on the price tag.