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Would you build a custom partscaster or buy off-the shelf??

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by JB74, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. Loleary

    Loleary Strat-Talk Member

    84
    Dec 1, 2018
    Ireland
    I don't know about that, man. I've built partscasters that I knew were crap so I just disassembled them and got my money back by reselling the parts. I've also bought new and used Fender guitars that were just as bad.

    Collecting my most recent bitscaster next week and will compare it to a Fender in the shop that costs the same amount. Somehow I think mine will be better but maybe I'm just deluded.
     
  2. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 13, 2014
    Florida

    I won't buy a partscaster
    Me 2...
     
  3. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 13, 2014
    Florida

    From what I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong) Nash guitars are partscasters. Nash assembles their guitars, but does not manufacture the bodies, necks, or any of the other components.
     
  4. Mr Dunlop

    Mr Dunlop Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 30, 2014
    usa
    Post # 74 sums up what I believe.
    Not everyone with a screw driver is up for the task. I believe when others (not everyone included) dont have the ability they are still convinced they built a great guitar.

    I know people who raved about partscasters and have assembled nothing but a POS. That squier neck still had uneven frets but better tuners, that is about it.
    One of the worse guitars I played was a MJT body with a all parts neck. Looked like a 4 year old put it together yet its owner was convinced it was custom shop quality. Sounds like koolaid?

    I have already stated a few times I am sure some guys are putting together some nice guitars. If your using quality parts and have the skill.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  5. axejock

    axejock Strat-Talker

    383
    Jul 26, 2018
    Washington State
    Boy, these threads sure have a way of going to he** when egos get involved!!
     
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  6. YALCaster

    YALCaster Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    20
    626
    Mar 14, 2017
    America
    All of my guitars are partscasters. I don’t think I’ll ever purchase another stock off the shelf guitar again. I’m building 3/4 this year alone.
     
    usul1978 likes this.
  7. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    55
    584
    Nov 6, 2018
    Vancouver, Canada
    I can’t argue with that. It takes a plan and the wherewithal to achieve the goals.
     
  8. perttime

    perttime Strat-O-Master

    502
    May 4, 2015
    Finland
    Eric Clapton's Blackie is a partscaster.
    Several of SRV's famous guitars were partscasters.
     
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  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    72
    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Gasp!! :p

    but... yeah... it's like, when some noob asks the ill-informed question, "How do I get Clapton's Blackie tone?" other than simply saying, "practice will get ya 90 % of the way there with anything..." I wanna ask, which damn configuration of Blackie?? Hummm ?? think that would be helpful to know? :D

    rk
     
    perttime likes this.
  10. drysideshooter

    drysideshooter Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    55
    49
    Feb 25, 2018
    eastern WA
    It's my belief that some of the organic materials used can have an effect, whether assembled by a manufacturer, luthier or an amateur. Some wood species have very uniform grain, density, etc, but it can vary, and maybe the resonance of one body just doesn't work with the resonance of the neck that happens to be installed. I've always felt that is why some guitars are "dead", "have no mojo", etc. I have no doubt that a very experienced luthier like Ron Kirn can diagnose and problem solve a lot of those types of issues because of intuition developed through a lot of experience. In an average, non custom build scenario like a run of the mill Strat I doubt they get much attention. With modern CNC and things fitting well it's no doubt helped the average quality, but we all know there is that occasional clunker. Set-ups can obviously vary quite a bit too, and some amateur's certainly don't set their partscasters up very well. I've been amazed at the variance in set-ups on guitars side by side at the store that probably came from the same place.

    I have become a big believer in building partscasters for someone that is so inclined. Getting the pickups you think you want right from the start is cool, you MAY save a couple bucks, can be much more personal, etc., but for me it's more about the learning more about the guitar. Face it, they don't seem very complex, but they do have a number of parts that all work together. Like an internal combustion motor, if some parts aren't quite optimal, or are out of adjustment, things just aren't quite right. What someone like Ron Kirn would just know might take me a lot of trial and error, addressing the wrong things first, and a bit of frustration. My fret job, taking a lot longer than someone with much more experience, will probably never approach what a real master can do, but maybe with enough time and patience I can get close. For me, the process and the education is the beauty of putting a partscaster together. I think those that do it only to save a little money, or believing that, especially the first time out of the gate, that with little effort and frustration their build will sound better than their friends custom shop build, will probably be disappointed and miss out on some of the potential joy of doing a build. I do believe most amateurs aren't critical enough of their own work, unlike most professionals. Instead of believing it's so easy and thinking they have defied the odds and built a perfect guitar right off the bat, it they were a bit more critical and spent a little more time tweaking and learning, they would probably end up with a much better playing/sounding guitar and learn things that may make the next project even better, and do it more quickly. My suggestion with a first build would be, be proud, you've put together a guitar. It's something a lot of folks wouldn't ever undertake. Admire it and pat yourself on the back. Now play it, feel it and listen to it and be realistically critical. Have friends play it and ask them to be honest with you. Guys like Ron Kirn aren't successful because they just put a guitar together one day, found it was easy for them, and now they can just crank them out. It may take a lot more time than you ever thought, and most of us will never approach the skill and intuition of a real master, but don't let that rob you of the joy, satisfaction and education you can get.
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    72
    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    heres the deal . . . it doesn't matter WHAT anything does to the tone of the guitar... If you cannot Count on a SPECIFIC sonic result, then the knowledge that something will change something is only an academic issue, it's meaningless...

    Like you KNOW what the difference will be between a Humbucker, and a single coil, to some degree, and even that is dependent on what the remainder of the "organism" will do to their sonic contribution.. but... if you think you can build a guitar that delivers a specific voice, buy choosing specific parts advertised as having the sonic qualities necessary to guarantee that sound... one, DO not take any money from anyone ya don't want to give it back to, and/or two.. do not guarantee you can accomplish the task.

    building guitars with sonic specificity in mind is fraught with more missteps and surprises than watching the Bolshoy perform Swan Lake with tacks in the dancer's slippers.. One can recognize that reality and deal with it.. or they can argue the point then one day, try to make the guitar and say, Damn.. that fat SOB was right...

    the problem is "you guys" are still, after 20 years of many of us sharing experiences, trying to quantify the sonic contributions of each factor/part in a guitar, so that to make one that sounds like (whomever) one just picks from a list the specific parts that yield the correct sound... Damn, that just plain sounds stupid.... yet....guys still labor under the notion that all ya gotta do is copy Blackie, and bingo you sound like Clapton...

    take this to the bank... the gear's got virtually nothing to do with how YOIU sound... but YOU do.... guess which one ya should work on...

    the old adage remains true.. If Clapton gave ya 100% of his "stuff" you will still sound like you, and if ya gave Clapton 100% of your "stuff" Eric still sounds like Eric... go figure

    it ain't the gear guys....

    rk
     
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  12. Duotone

    Duotone Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 12, 2016
    Norway
    I would up that to practice 95% interaction with band 4% and the rest is the actual guitar?
     
  13. pgjstrat

    pgjstrat Strat-Talker

    Age:
    49
    242
    Dec 26, 2018
    Pensacola, FL
    I think with the right combination of electronics and ability you can make any guitar sound like whatever you want.

    I used to be big into road cycling. With that crowd it’s always a quest for more speed. Usually it boils down to guys thinking a better bike or better gear (wheels, carbon fiber frame, groupo, seat, shoes, bibs...whatever) makes a better cyclist. Guys would spend thousands and thousands of dollars to trick out their bikes then get all pissy when some guy on a cheap bike smokes them. You won’t win the Tour de France on a $100 Walmart bike, but a pro rider on a $100 bike is way faster than 99.99999% of cyclists out there.

    Point is, the equipment only gets you so far. Skill, ability and dedication is 90% of the struggle. That pretty much goes for everything in life.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  14. drysideshooter

    drysideshooter Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    55
    49
    Feb 25, 2018
    eastern WA
    My son and I both shoot competitively at a very high level. There was an older guy at one match that was growing weary of my then 12 year old son absolutely smoking him. He finally couldn't resist and came up to my son and told him that he was only shooting so fast and so well because he had the best equipment. My son had also grown weary, but of this guys obvious bad attitude towards him. My son calmly told him he was welcome to shoot a stage with his firearm, or any firearm he chose, and my son said he would shoot that mans firearm, if he would allow it, and my son assured him he would still beat him. My son was really respectful and calm, and that only further frustrated the guy. As his dad, it was awesome. I have friends who are serious golfers. It's funny how often they change drivers instead of spending more time practicing or playing.

    My wife and I were recently in Memphis. A lot of talented guitar players there. There was one guy that made a cigar box guitar sound better than I could make any guitar on the planet sound. Clapton could probably sound more like Clapton with a cigar box guitar than most folks playing one of his Blackie's could.
     
  15. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    I mostly do partscasters to get a particular look/feel I want. Everything else is tweakable.
     
  16. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    49
    527
    Nov 28, 2017
    Spokane, WA
    Where does a Warmoth built guitar fit into the world of a parts caster?

    I don't make a distinction between buying a used MIM body and tricking it out vs buying a Warmoth body/neck and tricking it out. Yes one is an actual fender made guitar, but once you begin to mod it, it loses any appeal to me. I see it as it is either a showroom stock 100% original strat (okay if an electrical component stops working it HAS to be replaced) or it is something less than that. Take a custom shop Eric Clapton model and you put a different colored pick guard on it and I won't buy it for $100. Yes I can change that guard back but like with classic cars, too many changes like repainting a 1970 Boss 302 in grabber orange when it was originally grabber blue and you just destroyed the car's value.

    I typically only buy new guitars because in the grand scheme of life, they aren't that much money. But right now I really want a Graffiti yellow Strat and the only way to do that is wait for a year for a Fender custom shop build or buy a used one. But I'll never know if that used guitar has been modified in any way. Sure I can spot a different colored pick guard but if something was done under the hood I may not know. As such it would have to be new old stock or a guitar in a case that nobody has played the last ten or fifteen years. I did a google search and found a guy who bought a graffiti yellow strat that someone had won in the South Dakota lottery. It still had the original hang tags on the neck and APPEARED to have been never played. So a used guitar like that would be great to find and I'll pay a premium for it. But any regular series strat that has been around the block and modified is worth no more to me than a Warmoth.

    Someone above mentioned they would never BUY a parts caster but I took that to mean he may build his own. But to have someone tell me I should buy HIS partcaster because it was SO PERFECT for him is laughable. I don't want someone else's creation as that would be like dating a woman and raising another man's kid. No way. No how.

    That Warmoth will cost me about $1,000 if I go with a loaded pick guard and I may pull the trigger tomorrow. I'll probably forget to buy a component or two as I have never built a guitar before but it would be fun to do. And just as I would not buy this guitar off someone I know it will have zero resale value. But to get back to my original post, would folks who like building parts casters still consider this to be one or would they call it an abomination as it has a non-fender body and neck? And if any of you parts caster's guys call me out on just this, your machine better only have Fender parts as well . . . LOL.

    NC
     
  17. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    55
    584
    Nov 6, 2018
    Vancouver, Canada
    I think generally the term partscaster encompasses any non factory built guitar. More often than not it describes a guitar fitted with a different neck than the one it came with from the factory. I don’t change my opinion if the parts are Warmoth or Fender or some shop with a CNC and a good recipe for a neck or body. I think Warmoth has a really good reputation and they offer a lot of flexibility in terms of radius and neck profiles so you should be able to build a dynamite guitar.

    To me, the most important part of the build is the setup. It’s one thing to assemble the guitar so it’s the right shape but the magic is in getting everything dialed in correctly.
     
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  18. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    49
    527
    Nov 28, 2017
    Spokane, WA
    I think I'll spend a week scouring the web to see if I can find, good, not too used, Graffiti Yellow Strat and see what I can come up with, if I find nothing I like, I'll do the Warmoth thing.

    NC

     
  19. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Strat-O-Master

    801
    Jun 15, 2007
    CHARLOTTE, NC
    While I have nothing but admiration for you builders, I am not one of you.
    As far as I'm concerned, Fender, Gibson, etc, all do as decent a job as I've ever needed.
    I have never been offered a partscaster, but if I was I would have to evaluate that guitar, on it's individual merits, before I bought, or declined, it. Just the same as any other guitar that I've ever purchased.
     
  20. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master

    546
    Sep 8, 2015
    Eden Prairie
    Reminds me of Nigel Tufnel...."Listen...can't you just HEAR the sustain??" :cool:
     
    JB74 likes this.