Matt Mcgibney Guitars and other smaller (less known) builders

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,456
Edmonton, Alberta
Even with Facebook market place or Craig’s list or any other local marketplaces, it’s really easy to spot something that’s off.

“2012 fender American deluxe Stratocaster, mint condition”.

It takes seconds to google that, find all kinds of pics, specs, colour options. So compare pics from google and the ad. Even a rookie can do this.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,176
Athens Ga
As per another thread, I was going to check out a used one-off-build Strat from a small unknow builder. On Paper the guitar checked all the boxes
I worked out a price with the seller that I was comfortable with, and I was going to drive about an hour to check it out.

.......One thing I learned in this life is....TRUST BUT VARIFY

I requested, after the deal was struck, but before i made the drive, was that we remove the neck in order to verify the truss rod works and to also verify that it is not a partscaster, but a true one-off-build. I know it's a big ask but..............is it a "bridge to far? Would you not agree to this request. The seller, who seems to be well versed in guitar tech, (respectfully) said "Removing the neck is not part of testing out the guitar"

If there was a return policy then It would not be an issue, but its a one-on-one all sales final purchase.
If he won’t take the neck off to show you, then pass on it. More folks than not tend to call their partscasters a “custom made” guitar. A lot of guitar assemblers conflate what they are doing with actually building.
 

stratblast

Strat-Talker
Jan 17, 2015
459
OMAHA, NEBRASKA
As per another thread, I was going to check out a used one-off-build Strat from a small unknow builder. On Paper the guitar checked all the boxes
I worked out a price with the seller that I was comfortable with, and I was going to drive about an hour to check it out.

.......One thing I learned in this life is....TRUST BUT VARIFY

I requested, after the deal was struck, but before i made the drive, was that we remove the neck in order to verify the truss rod works and to also verify that it is not a partscaster, but a true one-off-build. I know it's a big ask but..............is it a "bridge to far? Would you not agree to this request. The seller, who seems to be well versed in guitar tech, (respectfully) said "Removing the neck is not part of testing out the guitar"

If there was a return policy then It would not be an issue, but its a one-on-one all sales final purchase.
Yeah I think you did the correct thing backing out of the deal. Just because a guy get s stuck with a one off guitar as a way to settle a debt with his room mate does not give this guy the right to pawn it off ….so to speak on soneone else. What he should have done was say he would take the guitar to settle the debt temporarily until his room mate could come up with the money to buy the guitar back. This way that guitar stays between them.
 

bigreen505

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 5, 2021
86
Colorado
I'm trying to piece things together between the two threads, but have not read all of this one. If we are talking about the McGibney from the other thread, all off his guitars are one-off customer orders. He doesn't have time to build spec guitars, and when he does they're not Strats. I think McGibneys have a unique look and are pretty easy to spot. As far as pricing, I think they are absolutely worth $1000 used provided they have the feel and sound that you want. Personally, if I was trying to sell a guitar and someone wanted to see what the neck heel/pocket looked like, I would be happy to spend the five minutes to do it.
 

stratblast

Strat-Talker
Jan 17, 2015
459
OMAHA, NEBRASKA
Thanks for the response, and yes I called off the deal. It was the correct thing for ME to do. But the question is, which perhaps i did not articulate fully, is this standard practice? Would you as an educated "Straster" be opposed to this request. Would you make the request when purchasing a used guitar? Inquiring minds want to know :)
Making requests when purchasing guitars. ? If I was purchasing a guitar from a place like Guitar Center. Then no. I would not ask them to unbolt the neck before I bought a guitar. Guitar Center has a return policy. If I was buying from a private seller. I would definitely want all my reservations squelched first. That s why I do not buy guitars used off eBay. Though I am tempted to. And I am sure many are great guitars. But just because the seller states the guitar is top notch dies not make it so.
 

Mbroady

Strat-Talker
Mar 21, 2022
157
WNC
I'm trying to piece things together between the two threads, but have not read all of this one. If we are talking about the McGibney from the other thread, all off his guitars are one-off customer orders. He doesn't have time to build spec guitars, and when he does they're not Strats. I think McGibneys have a unique look and are pretty easy to spot. As far as pricing, I think they are absolutely worth $1000 used provided they have the feel and sound that you want. Personally, if I was trying to sell a guitar and someone wanted to see what the neck heel/pocket looked like, I would be happy to spend the five minutes to do it.
Thanks for all the info bigreen505. In reference to one of your comments about how Matt's builds got better with time, another unknown variable is how old the guitar is. It could be one of his first. which as mentioned, might not be as good as a more current build.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,176
Athens Ga
I'm trying to piece things together between the two threads, but have not read all of this one. If we are talking about the McGibney from the other thread, all off his guitars are one-off customer orders. He doesn't have time to build spec guitars, and when he does they're not Strats. I think McGibneys have a unique look and are pretty easy to spot. As far as pricing, I think they are absolutely worth $1000 used provided they have the feel and sound that you want. Personally, if I was trying to sell a guitar and someone wanted to see what the neck heel/pocket looked like, I would be happy to spend the five minutes to do it.
You can’t even begin to sell a pre CBS Fender without pictures of the end of the neck and the neck pocket.

Matt’s custom guitars are probably worth a grand. He usually makes all the parts, such as the neck and body himself. He likes making Rickenbacker style guitars and I’ve seen a couple of his offset models. I found them (Jazzmaster copy) a bit on the clunky/heavy side but his overall work and finish was decent.
 

bigreen505

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 5, 2021
86
Colorado
Thanks for all the info bigreen505. In reference to one of your comments about how Matt's builds got better with time, another unknown variable is how old the guitar is. It could be one of his first. which as mentioned, might not be as good as a more current build.
I don't think mine is THE first, but it is definitely early. I don’t know what to tell you. I bought it. I also played a recent T-style and they were more similar than different. Again, if you are looking for a Fender Stratocaster, this is not the guitar for you.
I found them (Jazzmaster copy) a bit on the clunky/heavy side but his overall work and finish was decent.
I think this is his preference because they all have a similar feel to them. My hardtail S-style is maybe 7.4 lb, which strikes me as being a bit much for a hardtail. Matt made the neck, but I think the body started as a Fender and was modified by him. Also it has Porter pickups and I know he's been winding his own for quite some time. Like I said, I think it was very early in his journey. The guitar has been tweaked a bit and this summer it will probably go back to his garage for a bit more tweaking. It needs a new nut, I'd like to try some different frets and as stated in the other thread, maybe a bit of a neck re-carve. If we are complaining about Matt's work here, I think his process for relicing the tuners may have damaged them, and the finish is pretty thin and brittle. Also, there is a lot more neck than most people like. I want a guitar to play well and sound good. I don't need more. I never succeeded in buying a Strat before this guitar, and there are several things I don't love about it (see above), but the only two guitars I have played since I bought it that have caught my attention were a really nice relic'ed CS Postmodern Strat and a PRS Fiore. Loved the CS strat but couldn't justify the $3,600 price (though if I wouldn't have missed the cash I would have grabbed it) or the pickups (Texas Specials).

Not sure I have any more to add to either thread at this point. Buy what you like. There is no right or wrong answer.
 

Mbroady

Strat-Talker
Mar 21, 2022
157
WNC
I don't think mine is THE first, but it is definitely early. I don’t know what to tell you. I bought it. I also played a recent T-style and they were more similar than different. Again, if you are looking for a Fender Stratocaster, this is not the guitar for you.

I think this is his preference because they all have a similar feel to them. My hardtail S-style is maybe 7.4 lb, which strikes me as being a bit much for a hardtail. Matt made the neck, but I think the body started as a Fender and was modified by him. Also it has Porter pickups and I know he's been winding his own for quite some time. Like I said, I think it was very early in his journey. The guitar has been tweaked a bit and this summer it will probably go back to his garage for a bit more tweaking. It needs a new nut, I'd like to try some different frets and as stated in the other thread, maybe a bit of a neck re-carve. If we are complaining about Matt's work here, I think his process for relicing the tuners may have damaged them, and the finish is pretty thin and brittle. Also, there is a lot more neck than most people like. I want a guitar to play well and sound good. I don't need more. I never succeeded in buying a Strat before this guitar, and there are several things I don't love about it (see above), but the only two guitars I have played since I bought it that have caught my attention were a really nice relic'ed CS Postmodern Strat and a PRS Fiore. Loved the CS strat but couldn't justify the $3,600 price (though if I wouldn't have missed the cash I would have grabbed it) or the pickups (Texas Specials).

Not sure I have any more to add to either thread at this point. Buy what you like. There is no right or wrong answer.
i was referring to the guitar local to me. the seller did not know when the guitar was built. If it was an older one it might have also been, as you say, a modified Fender body not a true one-off as the seller was advertising. which is why I wanted the seller to take the neck off.. But it is what it is. thanks again for the response and for the links.
 

bigreen505

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 5, 2021
86
Colorado
i was referring to the guitar local to me. the seller did not know when the guitar was built. If it was an older one it might have also been, as you say, a modified Fender body not a true one-off as the seller was advertising. which is why I wanted the seller to take the neck off.. But it is what it is. thanks again for the response and for the links.
Mine is an HSH route and has a COL stamp on the body and Porter pickups. If the seller won’t pull the neck, maybe he would pull the pickguard. Also ask for pics of the neck/body area. You may be able to tell some from that.
 

eclecticsynergy

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 23, 2014
4,165
NY
Nice looking neck. Wonder if it's roasted maple, or just under a homey finish.
At $950 sight unseen it's be a hard pass for me too.
But if you play the guitar in person and it's great, and you can get it at an MIM-level price point, that could be a nice score.
 

tonedesign

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 6, 2012
28
Nashville, TN
I buy and sell a fair amount of guitars (I’m one of those people that needs a few months with a guitar to see if it’s going to work out for me). Taking the neck off isn’t difficult, but it can be a pain - pull the strings off, unscrew it, do the test, restring.
So, my answer is “it depends”. How badly do I want to sell this guitar? How much interest has there been in it? Am I getting what I want for it financially? Do I think you’re a serious buyer - online selling generates a lot of inquiries and few actual sales. I can usually tell who is serious, but not all the time.

As a buyer, is your request unreasonable for a partscaster? I think it depends on the price. If the guitar is a couple hundred bucks, probably. If it’s a midrange guitar and up, ask whatever you want.
You don't have to remove the strings if you loosen them, capo them at the 1st and 12th frets, and are careful. I do it all the time.
 

dspellman

Strat-O-Master
Mar 24, 2013
842
Los Angeles
Thanks for the response, and yes I called off the deal. It was the correct thing for ME to do. But the question is, which perhaps i did not articulate fully, is this standard practice? Would you as an educated "Straster" be opposed to this request. Would you make the request when purchasing a used guitar? Inquiring minds want to know :)
I don't think it's standard practice, and honestly, I probably wouldn't do it as a presale condition unless there's more than six grand in the pot.

I have a near-perfect vintage Gibson (late '70s and not an LP) that I offered for sale, something I rarely do. Price was over $7K. A buyer who claimed he was interested sent a bunch of emails wanting weight, pot codes, first digits of the serial number, some additional photographs and a few other things. So I complied and everything, he admitted, was in order. He was, in the end, an extreme lowballer and was never actually interested in buying the guitar. Annoying, but non-destructive, and now I have photos and proof of more bits and pieces on the guitar.

But I would not have removed the neck on a perfectly set up guitar, nor would I have been interested in pulling the pick guard on a Strat if the money just wasn't there. It would have to be on condition that the flipping guitar would go out the door and that the money would be paid if those particular items were in order.
 

Genghis Bomb

Strat-Talk Member
Dec 9, 2008
15
As per another thread, I was going to check out a used one-off-build Strat from a small unknow builder. On Paper the guitar checked all the boxes
I worked out a price with the seller that I was comfortable with, and I was going to drive about an hour to check it out.

.......One thing I learned in this life is....TRUST BUT VARIFY

I requested, after the deal was struck, but before i made the drive, was that we remove the neck in order to verify the truss rod works and to also verify that it is not a partscaster, but a true one-off-build. I know it's a big ask but..............is it a "bridge to far? Would you not agree to this request. The seller, who seems to be well versed in guitar tech, (respectfully) said "Removing the neck is not part of testing out the guitar"

If there was a return policy then It would not be an issue, but its a one-on-one all sales final purchase.
I don't see the difference. If you're not hand carving the body and neck, it's a partscaster. I see guys that claim to "build" guitars, and they *might* hand cut a body, and then use a Warmoth neck or some similar company, and commercial hardware and electronics. So what about it is a "build"? Unless the person making the guitar is making the majority of the parts on the guitar, it's a partscaster.
 

stratblast

Strat-Talker
Jan 17, 2015
459
OMAHA, NEBRASKA
if it's a one-off-build Strat from a small unknow builder, what will removing the neck accomplish?
I believe the point was made that the buyer here wanted to make sure the truss rod was in working order.. and on older models the only way to adjust the truss rod is by removing the neck... so. .. this seems like a perfectly valid request.... it.s no worse than getting in a used car and trying to steer it to make sure the steering wheel is working properly... .. the tech selling this one off.. should have realized this would be a viable request.... Not wonder about it...
 

Strattman

New Member!
Jan 16, 2021
2
Kings Grant
As per another thread, I was going to check out a used one-off-build Strat from a small unknow builder. On Paper the guitar checked all the boxes
I worked out a price with the seller that I was comfortable with, and I was going to drive about an hour to check it out.

.......One thing I learned in this life is....TRUST BUT VARIFY

I requested, after the deal was struck, but before i made the drive, was that we remove the neck in order to verify the truss rod works and to also verify that it is not a partscaster, but a true one-off-build. I know it's a big ask but..............is it a "bridge to far? Would you not agree to this request. The seller, who seems to be well versed in guitar tech, (respectfully) said "Removing the neck is not part of testing out the guitar"

If there was a return policy then It would not be an issue, but its a one-on-one all sales final purchase.
You were correct in my opinion..Ive been around Strats since soon after they came out. On numerous occasions I looked at various offers over these years. If it felt not quite right-then you werent wrong in your decision.
 

Caffiend

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 15, 2020
84
Yorkshire
Before ordering a steak dinner do people ask the waiter to see a picture of the steer?


:p
I see both sides here. Hang out on amp or car groups and you’ll find the same discussion over and over. Does repairing something and therefore replacing an original factory part destroy the resale value?

For me at least, the fact is that there are two types of people asking the question. There are those who are interested in all original collectibles and there are those who are players being caught up in the collectors market as it influences pricing.

My personal thought is that a replacement part should only affect the sale value if it drastically changes the sound or usability- fitting a Floyd or hogging out a body to fit a humbucker or battery where there shouldn’t be one etc. The bike and car markets have a concept of ‘period mods’ which are simply alterations most owners made which do stop something being sold as all original but don’t destroy the sale value.
 

knh555

Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 6, 2016
6,346
Massachusetts
I have an interest in my reputation too, something I've prided myself on since forever.

Of course. But strangers don’t know that.

I’m not advocating in any way how people conduct their transactions. I’m just pointing out buying from an unknown individual is not the same as buying from an established business. In the end, it depends on the guitar and the people involved to find their own comfort level.

I’ve never removed a neck or asked one to be removed either btw.
 


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