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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Custom shop vs. production line guitars: Really that much difference???

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Telephonist, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Telephonist

    Telephonist Tele-Meister

    Mar 9, 2010

    I´m wondering, if custom shop guitars are really that much better than normal production line guitars. I mean are they worth the extra cash?

    I´ve been thinking about buying a real good Les Paul someday (sorry I know this is a Tele forum, but I already got a Tele ;) ). I always had an eye on a 1957 Goldtop. But a few weeks ago they raised the prices here in Germany and now I cannot justify to spend so much money.

    That said I´m thinking about getting a Les Paul Traditional and wonder if it can be close as good as the custom shop guitar. I know the specs, but what I don´t know is, if they make so much difference concerning play ability, sound, sustain...

    Aside from my Gibson thoughts: Do you think a 51 Nocaster (custom) is by far better than a 52 American vintage Tele. They are both superior guitars, aren´t they, but is the Nocaster recognizably better (playability, sound, sustain...). I have to note, that I don´t care about relics, so I would only go for N.O.S. guitars. To me the sanded Relic necks are too slippery.

    So let me hear what you think! Can a Mexican Jimmie Vaughan Strat be more fun than a ´56 Custom Shop Strat... just wondering... :confused:

  2. KhaykinD

    KhaykinD Tele-Meister

    Dec 6, 2010
    Cologne, Germany
    Oh no, not again :)

    It's all in the player, especially if we are talking classical designs like this with little to very little effect into a great amp. Give Carl Verheyen, Eric Johnson, David Gilmour etc a Squier, and see what happens...
  3. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire


    [Audience: "Go on son, you can do it...."]

    ................Tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, CLICK, buggar......!

    [​IMG]................................. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  4. DKoor

    DKoor TDPRI Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    I think they are better generally considering the material quality (visuals mostly, flames/birdseye etc.). But in terms of playability they can hardly be better guitars than high end Fenders.
    But what do I know... this is mostly my guesswork and unfounded opinion (still haven't tried say 10 CS vs 10 AVRI properly set up). :D
  5. Steamroller

    Steamroller Tele-Meister

    Feb 15, 2011
    Obvious stupidity (or not) : I think the best tele is the tele with better sound and CS doesn't warranty you has gotten a good guitar.

    I love posts like this or like "ash or alder", "mapple vs rosewood", "diferences between CS and masterbuild" , etc ... because it means new posters entering here and every newbies like me have the same questions.

    BTW. Who knows the difference between CS and Masterbuild? :D
  6. BradL

    BradL Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Feb 9, 2009
    Sussex, UK
    The Custom Shop is a "you spec it, they build it" kind of operation. Teambuilt is what it sounds like. Masterbuilt is by one guy only. Not better, just different and I guess some folks are always happy to pay for that perceived distinction.
  7. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

    Apr 15, 2005
    I have both and I have come to the realisation you get what you pay for.

    The '52RI is superb and justifies its price. But the build quality and detail on the Nocaster is better, hard to define here, just better. You'd need to play both in person to understand the subtle differences.

    Like I said, you get what you pay for.

  8. Steamroller

    Steamroller Tele-Meister

    Feb 15, 2011
    No discussion. I have a Nocaster and it's not necessary ask it to a expert : Everybody who visit my home doesn't want hear another guitar, and I have another tele and a really good Les Paul. Everybody only want hear the Nocaster and they don't know nothing about teles or guitars.
  9. LakePlacidBlue

    LakePlacidBlue Former Member

    Aug 9, 2009
    I haven't played any new CS or regular AVRI Fenders, but I have a couple of Wildwood and Dave's "Thin Skin" AVRI Fenders. I don't know if those guitars could be much better made. They all play nicely and the fit and finish is really good.

    Can anyone compare if those are equal quality with regular AVRI's? I've been thinking about upgrading to a Nocaster, but I live in an area where I can't try it before I pay/order.
  10. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    I have a thin skin 52 from Wildwood and a Custom Shop 50's NOS Tele.
    The 52 is great and like it more than the AVRI 52 but the CS NOS is definitely several notches above the thin skin.
    The fret work is better, it's lighter, the tone is more resonant and the overall feel of the instrument just screams.
    I liked it so much that I ordered another CS 60's NOS so I would have a vintage white with rosewood (my favorite combination).
    That said, I have a 99 Am Deluxe Strat (with rolled edge fingerboard) that is a great playing and sounding guitar and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
  11. Phelonious Ponk

    Phelonious Ponk Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2011
    charlotte, nc
    It may have been asked a million times, but it's still a good question. The question to the question is what's "better?"

    Is "better" about tone and playability? Because if it is you can take a neck that is the right shape and a body that is the right weight, put into them exactly what you would put into your custom shop order, find a tech who is really good with fretwork and set ups, and no, the custom shop guitar won't be "better."

    If "better" is about fit and finish, the beauty of the woods the visual aspect of the guitar...if you've got enough money the custom shop will build you something that will make your heart race.

    Now you should be able to answer the question for yourself. :)

  12. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 8, 2007
    Norfolk UK
    I thinks its probably best to buy the best guitar you can afford ,full stop .That may be an SX or a Custom shop .both play OK usually but I know which one I would prefer .
  13. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    I think, on a previous iteration of this question, the consensus came to the conclusion was that (finish and pick of the parts apart) the additional attention to detail reduced the likelihood of one getting a "dog" in respect of tone.

    In other words, you can get an outstanding production guitar with a bit of luck during manufacture and with the specs suiting you.

    An increase in investment (Off The Shelf CS) increases the odds of that with regard to fit and finish - a further increase improves the odds with selected specs.

    Any guitar can have the metaphorical pixie dust of having all the parts just "being so". Its just more likely with quality parts + skilled manhours - hence why many here go to the quality luthiers/builders resident at TDPRI (as well as on other planes of existence).
  14. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    I had to play about 30 AV52RI's to find one I wanted.

    I only had to try about 10 Nocasters to find the one.
  15. Skub

    Skub Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jul 28, 2010
    Nine rejects out of ten played seems a very high attrition rate for what is a top end guitar. Not doubting,just quite surprised. Those odds aren't very good for mail order buying.
  16. Steamroller

    Steamroller Tele-Meister

    Feb 15, 2011
    Really was 11 but I came before you.:D
  17. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    I think "Rejects" might be a bit of a strong word, in this context.

    I don't think anyone would expect him to find THE ONE 1st up?
    Its a lottery, at any pricepoint, and 1 in 10 odds of a guitar "speaking to you" is pretty good odds.
    Afterall, he could have picked that one up first, and would be posting...."1st CS I picked up spoke to me".
  18. Skub

    Skub Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jul 28, 2010
    I'm not sure about 'the one' concept,maybe I've either been lucky or don't know what I'm missing. I don't have any shops even vaguely close to me that sell CS teles,so I haven't the luxury of multiple test rides which leaves me at the mercy of mail order,or at best trying a used guitar before buying,which again gives me no direct comparison.

    Perhaps naively I expected any CS model to be 'the one'.
  19. imsilly

    imsilly Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2009
    You just have to play them to find out.

    I played every Tele I could get my hands on and eventually went with an old Custom Shop Nocaster. Plenty of good Tele were out there and not all of them were expensive. If you can get away with buying a cheaper model that sounds like you want I say why not snap it up?

    The most consistent differences between regular production line models and custom shop ones are weight and finish. Tone is nearly always random and specific to each individual guitar. Many opt for more expensive custom shop model purely because of aesthetics and feel.

    Also what can't be underestimated is how the right setup can alter a guitar's sound. Not all guitars that are bad players or tonally boring are destined to stay that way. Always take into account if a guitar is improperly setup before judging it.
  20. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    I didn't say they were bad guitars, most of them could probably have been really good with a little tweaking. Some were not chosen because weight, some because they just didn't feel right.

    If you expect every top of the line or Custom Shop guitar to be perfect "for you" right out of the box, you would be disappointed.
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