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Is "Build your own" strat a good option?

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by scogs, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. scogs

    scogs Strat-Talk Member

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    Hey fender folks,

    Here is a noobie question.

    Is there an advantage to the "Build your own strat" or tele a good option? I am not looking a ROI at the point of resale, nor am I looking to throw good money after bad. I desire to build a guitar that play good and sounds amazing. Since joining this forum I've seen where many people mod their strats, some quite a bit, so why not build one get go? My son sent the below link for a tele from Guitar Fetish BLEM sale and that got me thinking. So, here are my questions:
    1. Where are these made?
    2. Why the set neck?
    3. If the set neck is better then why doesn't fender do a set neck?
    4. Has anyone on this forum done one from the "ground up" so to speak?
    5. How does the pricing work out?
    I am looking forward to your comments. Thanx!

    https://www.guitarfetish.com/BLEM--...raditional-Single-Coil-Maple-FB-_p_33052.html
     
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Set neck for these was just how they decided to make them, it might also help sales because so many believe set neck is better. It's not.

    They're made in China....they're so cheap because they are blemished / factory 2nds....

    The necks need nut work and level and crown luthier skills, it's not for everyone...

    I don't know what you mean by 'how does the pricing work out?'
     
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  3. montemerrick

    montemerrick you can't stay the fool Strat-Talk Supporter

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    i don't know about the guitarfetish stuff... i never use them, but putting together your own strat or tele is a joy that shouldn't be missed... if you do your own finish work and soldering, you can bring in something very nice, very playable with high end pickups for about 400-500 USD...
     
  4. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Senior Stratmaster

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    I'd say it depends on your abilities with tools, woodwork and geometry. It's not rocket science but there are measurements that need to be respected.

    I would suggest if you are doing a first build (it sounds like you are doing a first build) that you build a bolt on neck guitar. A Strat or a Tele are about equal in complexity but you'll want to make sure that the neck and body you select are accurate in dimensions and machining. Especially when it comes to a first attempt. My first successful build is a telecaster with a cheap Chinese Neck and an unfinished pine body from Tone Bomb. What made it successful was that the neck is about the same dimensions as a telecaster neck and the body is darn near identical to a 1952 Telecaster body. The Body was $50 (plus sanding and finishing), the neck was about $50 too and then you need pickup, hardware, bridge, controls, tuners, strap pins, etc... Mine came to somewhere in the ballpark @montemerrick suggested.

    I would add that the build is one thing. The setup is the magic. Level the frets, regardless of where the neck came from. Level, crown and polish them and then set up the height and any relief. That'll get you to the finish line.
     
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  5. space

    space Strat-Talker

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    Ive built about 5-6 guitars (ground up)
    On my last one I used a neck off another guitar ("Blue Frog" guitar company)
    The other 5 or so I made my own necks and fretboard
    as well as body electronics and plastics
    imo the neck is the part that will you the most trouble
    other than that its a lot of fun
     
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  6. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Ive put together two telecasters.... Um, i mean heltercasters.... Using warmoth bodies and necks and parts ive bought from various places. They turned out to be excellent guitars and one has become my #1.
    FB_IMG_1541966479468.jpg
     
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  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    In general, I'd suggest finding a used Fender MIM on your local CL and take it to a nearby guitar tech for a full setup. Then go about swapping parts you might like to test out such as ordering a different kind of 'loaded pickguard' (say the MIM you get has HSS, get a loaded SSS). Eventually, you may have an entirely different guitar. I have one Strat that is just the body, decked trem, and the neck pickup. I have another that is just a new pickguard so I have the reverse Hendrix bridge pickup angle and the rest is stock except for a few wires re-routed for a series/humbucking blender.

    Otherwise, I would check out Thomann US. They are doing quite a good job with their import guitars. Pricing is low because they are skipping a couple levels of price markup in the other common sources. They will ship in the US for a flat $35 for one to three guitars. They have raw kits too where you can do your own sanding and finishing and assembly.

    https://www.thomannmusic.com/st_models.html?filter=true&manufacturer[]=Harley Benton

    .
     
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  8. El_Pistolero

    El_Pistolero Strat-O-Master

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    Do some searching for "build" threads, there are quite a few threads out there of folks documenting their "ground up" (as in woodworking to make body/neck from blocks of wood) they really are fantastic threads to follow.

    Not that many have done from scratch builds, but tons of us have assembled partscasters. If you are a tinkerer, it's a ton of fun to do. The pricing is basically what you make it. If you use cheap parts, you'll have a cheap guitar. You can easily drop $1500 on a parts guitar because 1. you may use high end made to order parts and 2. you're not a manufacturer buying material in bulk. Your supply chain is one off purchases.

    That said, you can get high quality parts at good prices, usually buying used, but this obviously requires a bit more digging and caution. For example I got a very nice body at a great price because the previous owner drilled a couple new pickguard holes. No impact on me other than getting a good price. All in, I used the parts of about a $900 guitar (high end MIM model parts) and spent about $600. Not to mention I enjoyed the researching and the assembly itself on top of the satisfaction of plugging in for the first time and getting a decent sound of it.

    Hope you get some good advice, diy work is a ton of fun.
     
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  9. montemerrick

    montemerrick you can't stay the fool Strat-Talk Supporter

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    especially if youre buying a finished body and a finished neck and a loaded pickguard...
     
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  10. scogs

    scogs Strat-Talk Member

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    Buying a new/used fender verses building a comparable guitar. Some DIY projects are not worth the time in dollars and cents, but are worth it for the fun factor.
     
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  11. SILENCER

    SILENCER Strat-Talker

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    I love mine, worth every dime
     
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  12. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    You will pay a lot more building your own than you ever would buying one.....unless you cut corners and use cheap parts....
     
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  13. scogs

    scogs Strat-Talk Member

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    Yes, first build. I have a pretty nice, (to me), MIM strat. So, a tele would likely be my first. I don't recollect ever playing a tele before, so it would be a treat to have one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  14. Smokey3

    Smokey3 Strat-Talker

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    I have never built one but it is something that I want to do someday. I noticed on EBay you can buy some really nice body's and I thought I would spend the extra money and buy one of the new roasted maple necks from fender, because to me the neck is everything. I also have seen some really nice looking partcaster on EBay for sale at a really good price. But I do think building your own guitar is really a great ideal. But I'm definitely not a expert at doing this so I wish you all the luck in the world and I say go for it. Thanks
     
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  15. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    I would avoid Guitar Fetish BLEM for a first build. Something caused those to fail quality control--maybe it's something easy to fix or easy to ignore, and maybe it's something that compromises the structural stability of the whole build. It's really hard to evaluate those, when you haven't got it in your hands--even if you know what you're doing.

    If you're building a guitar yourself as a one-off, you're paying for shipping individually on everything. And there is no way you can beat Squier pricing; they've got bulk purchasing power, supply chains and all that. In fact, for a first build I suggest you look at a Squier and modify it to taste.
     
  16. montemerrick

    montemerrick you can't stay the fool Strat-Talk Supporter

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    this has not been my experience - my builds have produced guitars that i like much better than high end MIM (also great guitars) becuase they're high quality, personally appointed and finished in a real wood finishing technique that's hundreds of years old, not adapted from automotive paint techniques... for a little more than half the cost of a classic series, or classic player.
     
  17. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Strat-Talker

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  18. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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    Yep. Especially if you're using top-shelf stuff. But still, you'll end with a guitar that's uniquely yours, waaay less expensive than a Custom Shop project. You'll have to pay a top-notch tech to set it up nicely if you're not up to it.


    Pierre
     
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  19. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I disagree with this. I mean, yes, you could......very easily.
    But i used quality stuff and built a guitar of what i consider to be as good or better quality and for less money than a new made in usa tele. AND i got it exactly how i wanted it.
    But i never ever built my teles with the idea of selling them.
    I would have lost money.
     
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  20. CigBurn

    CigBurn Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Go in with a plan..

    Bodies, pickups etc.. all that stuff is easily sorted. Don't have the skills to do the decent finish that you envision? Well then you just choose a body that is already done. Simples.. There are a myriad great and affordable pickup options to suit any taste. And the same applies to pick guards and control sets and other hardware.

    The real make or break it part of a bolt on project is neck quality, and that's where most of the project money should go IMHO. All the rest is easy, but a great neck is a make or break decision.
     
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