June 16th, 2012, 08:17 AM
I'm ordering a Rick Kelly tele this summer. However, I know the wait will be long, so in the meantime I'm considering doing my first partscaster. I'm looking for suggestions to help me get started.
A couple notes: I have neither a woodshop nor woodworking skills. So I'm looking to assemble. Second, I want to do it on the cheap. Don't want to mess with expensive stuff on my first attempt.
I'm aiming for an Albert Collins type: kinda BSB, bucker in the neck. I like a neck that can actually get or look "road worn".
So what's the best place to start? Body, neck, pickups... I apologize for posting ridiculously simple questions here amongst all you master builders, but I thought maybe you'd help a brother tele guy out.
I have no problem with Squier type stuff, btw. My current #1 is a frankensquier.
Thanks for any help you can throw my way.
Bob in Lancaster, PA
June 16th, 2012, 08:33 AM
I have built a couple of partscasters over the years and they can be a lot o fun but also a complete headache. After market parts seem to be all different sizes and shapes so the parts you source may not actualy fit your guitar and you will find yourself altering nearly everything you buy. Neck pockets are probably the biggest problem so be careful and measure everything twice before sourcing.
June 16th, 2012, 08:36 AM
We all start with ridiculously simple questions (I'm still asking them).
I'd say don't go too cheap on the important bits - i.e., the neck and tuners. Mighty mite necks are good for the price.
Apart from that, have fun and good luck!
June 16th, 2012, 10:05 AM
Remember you will need some type of work area and a substantial number of tools even to "assemble" a partscaster. You'll need to align the neck and predrill the neck bolt holes in the neck - even if the through-holes are already in the body. The bridge mounting screws probably won't be pre-drilled, and the pickguard screw holes and mounting plate holes certainly won't be. So you'll need a drill and bits and good marking and measuring tools. neck pockets and heels need a little help with a chisel and rasp. finishing requires sanding and scraping and then polishing. Even once it's assembled you'll need tools for a setup, which at least requires something exceptionally flat with sandpaper glued to it to dress the frets (and if the neck really needs it you might need a crowning file after you're done leveling the fret tops). Then there's the nut - you'll need some sort of gauged nut slot cutting files (and there are entire threads debating whether you can get away without them) even if you buy a "pre-slotted" nut.
Take a look at the Stewart MacDonald catalog or web site for some of their pricey but high quality tools; they even have basic sets for setups or fret work. Also hunt around some woodworking mail order houses like Woodcraft or Rockler.
So, it's a great process and a good way to start, but don't think you're going to throw it together with a Swiss army knife on your kitchen table one evening. You'll need tools and by the time you're done you will have some woodworking skills.
June 16th, 2012, 10:12 AM
You would be surprised what ebay has in terms of high quality parts. If you read the feedback of the builder, you can get an idea of their work. A pine body runs anywhere from 50 to 150 dollars there. It is a good venue for the small unknown builder. An Allparts neck can be had from 100 to 125. Decent pickups and hardware...you have a pretty nice guitar. Have a good tech set it up.... A boutique caliber guitar for less.
June 16th, 2012, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the responses and good advice and encouragement.
So what's the first thing to decide? Body?