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

How much did your partscaster cost? Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Telephonist, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    I don't have a true partscaster as it started out as a stock CV tele bought new. I first changed to dome knobs just for aesthetics. Then about a year later swapped in a Lollar CC neck pickup and Duncan QP bridge. Then I swapped to CTS pots and PIO cap. Then a few months later swapped in a Wilkenson dual load bridge. Then about year later swapped to Gibson style tulip tuners (Gotoh). Then a friend gave my a solderless wiring harness that allows you to switch tone cap values with dip switches. After about 6 years I wore down some frets so much that some needed to be replaced. I decided to swap the entire neck for a Fender MIM Classic 50s instead of paying of fret job.

    CV Tele: $299 (bought when the first came out)
    Dome knobs $25
    Lollar CC $175
    Duncan QP $80.
    Wilkenson bridge: $30
    Gotoh Tuners$ 50
    CTS pots and Vit. T cap: $20.
    Fender MIM neck $150 (coupon)

    Total cost is aprrox. $800 over the course of about 7 years. It's not my only guitar (have about 10), but it's my only tele. If I had to do it all over again, I probably still would. However if I bought a second tele I'd go with something in the vein of a Nocaster and still keep this one as they'd be quite different.

    If I started out with a more expensive tele, I'd probably still had put a CC neck pickup and matching output bridge and topload/dual load bridge.

    The only think original to the CV on it now is the body, neck plate and screws, and control plate.
  2. strat54

    strat54 Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2014
    *I am satisfied with the quality of what I have designed, carved and far:)
    *Guitar tech with 20 years more experience than I corrected a minor buzz problem on one of my showcase Warmoth necks.
    *I want other musicians to play my guitars because that is where all the proof is. It doesn't matter how good the guitar looks if it doesn't feel and play well. Tone matters. I can honestly say that my Koicaster has great, clean tone and I play it every bit as much as my Elite Butterscotch Tele with maple neck. I want folks that play WAY better than I to critique my guitars. That allows my next guitar that I make to be even better than the last. When they tell me they want to record with my creation that inspires me.
    *At the moment, I have 2 custom carved guitars- Timber Rattler Tele and my Koicaster. The Rattler has Lollar Gold Foil pups and the Koicaster has TV Jones Filtertrons. I like both guitars and I use them for different types of playing. They both sound quite a bit different from my store-bought Elite Tele and they are real close to comfort and playability of the Elite Tele, which is now my "gold standard" for judging all other solid body guitars that I make.
    ***I have had Teles, Strats, Taylors, Les Pauls, Gretsch and various other types of guitars over the years. The one thing that has been a mainstay for me is the feel and sound of a Tele:):):) I ALWAYS come back to the Tele.

    Attached Files:

  3. Kebmel

    Kebmel Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2008
    45 south
    kiwicaster 040.jpg

    I have two partscasters that I didn't build. This one I call
    the Kiwicaster, a member of another forum constructed it
    from top grade parts.... if I remember correctly......

    Glendale bridgeplate and compensated saddles
    OC Duff Big Boy pickups (something like that, the ones Redd uses)
    Brass knobs
    4 way harness

    about $900US in parts

    Superb instrument
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
    El Tele Lobo and tonyj like this.
  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    I tend to call them partscasters like everyone else, but I THINK of them (mine,anyway) more like mastercasters!
  5. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Meister

    Oct 25, 2017
    My first DIY partscaster is still in progress, so I can't say for sure whether it's worth it.

    The tricky thing about the cost question is what "counts" in the total cost of my project.
    - If I'd bought a complete guitar, I'd have bought a case for it so I'm not counting that
    - I am going to pay my set-up guru to fine-tune it when I'm done, but I would have done that for any new-to-me guitar
    - This project prompted some shop additions/upgrades, especially in my compressed air setup, that were not cheap. But I'm not counting those against the cost of the partscaster because I'll use them for many other projects in the future, not necessarily guitar-related.
    - I'm also not counting materials that I will still have substantial amounts left over for future projects. Consider this "shop overhead."

    So, just the actual parts and materials that will physically comprise the guitar, my project is going to total up around $575.
    It's going to be a cherry top / ash back thinline with a coastal customs flame maple neck, "Deaf Eddie" 5-way wiring, Seymour Duncan vintage neck pickup and GFS lipstick bridge pickup, wilkinson locking tuners, wilkinson bridge with compensated saddles, and what looks like it's going to be a very respectable lacquer finish (fingers crossed).
    Here's the mock-up:
    I'm sure I could have picked up a decent thinline for less than $575. Not with a cherry/ash body and flame maple neck, though.
    If I'd gone back and done all the pickup and wiring mods, it probably would have gotten close to $575.

    I've put countless hours into it, so if you count my time it would have been vastly more economical to buy something and modify it. Also, much less likely to wind up with a guitar that for whatever reason just isn't "right."

    But it's been fun, and if it turns out to be a guitar I really like I will say it's been more than worth the cost and effort.
  6. guitar0621

    guitar0621 Tele-Meister

    May 30, 2017
    Bought my first electric maybe two years ago. I had a choice between a super nice mint 2014 American Standard strat with upgraded pickups and nice hard case or a used MJT/Musikraft/Callaham/Lollar (strat) one. I went with the partscaster because it looked nice and was something different, and I wanted to learn about parts/building. Didn't like the neck profile or fret size when I got it but could live with it. Only discovered later that the headstock had not one but two screws broken off in it and that the trem claw holes were drilled in such wrong positions it was messing with intonation/playability. This reduced the neck and body value basically to zero. The only thing I have left of that guitar is the Callaham and the Lollars. It's got a USACG neck and other nice stuff now. The upside is that I ended up learning more about Stratocasters and partscasting than I ever dreamed I would, and the one I'm going to build in the not so distant future will be killer.
  7. Texas_tele2015

    Texas_tele2015 Tele-Meister

    Dec 17, 2014
    Mesquite, TX
    The learning curve from building your own partscaster or rebuilding one is priceless. You can't buy expirience or common sense with any amount of money.
    zippofan, alathIN, dkmw and 1 other person like this.
  8. dmoss74

    dmoss74 Tele-Holic

    Mar 28, 2010
    cost isn't as much a concern for me, although the prices i have paid for my "builds" certainly justify the endeavors. these three guitars averaged right about 650.00 each, give or take. plus, sales of items offset the costs.

    all three bodies are mjt bodies that i got from ebay. these cost way less than if i had ordered them directly from the shop. they have many bodies that they put up on the bay. i suspect they are returned items, but i have no way of knowing that for sure.

    the neck on the left guitar is from allparts, but a guy on the net did the nitro (all wood parts on guitars 1 and 3 are nitro finished). the pickups on that one are a zhangbucker chimecaster bridge, and an old (i can't remember where i got it) neck pickup. the neck pickup is the best tele pickup i've ever owned. i wish i remember where i got it. :)

    the second one has a set of fender '51 nocaster pickups (bought from a seller here). the neck came off a '50s baja tele.

    the right guitar has another allparts neck (finished by the same guy), with a set of cavalier pickups in it (nashville lion bridge, lion king neck).

    i also have (not pictured) a bsb with cavalier "bakersfield" bridge, and another "lion king" neck pickup in it. the neck is from a '50s classic series tele.

    i assembled all the parts myself, but had my tech do final setups. the allparts necks needed some fret finishing, and some nut filing. i think i may get a couple sets of nut files this upcoming years.

    oh, and i put a bone nut on the right guitar. i have an unbleached nut that will either go on the left one, or the bsb.

    all the control plates, harnesses and knobs came from local buys, at a price less than what they would have cost new. keep your eyes peeled, and you'll find deals.

    long story short, these were probably 600 bucks each. at that price point, to get a personally spec'd instrument (to me) is priceless.

    zippofan, El Tele Lobo and SheldonP like this.
  9. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    Mar 16, 2014
    With my first two Teles, I didn't start out to make 'partscasters', I was just looking to upgrade. My Classic Vibe 69 Thinline developed a twisted neck about a year after I got it. I first replaced that with another Squier neck, but it was really thin for my taste. Then I had an inexpensive Mighty Mite that was OK, but still didn't feel right. Last month I popped for a Warmoth showcase neck with bonus birds-eye and a set of my favorite Gotoh Kluson style vintage tuners. When I was setting it up I over-filed the nut, so I had my luthier install a bone one. The only thing left on the guitar from stock is the body, as over the years I had it I replaced everything, electronics (CTS, Russian PIO, Oak, Switchcraft, Electrosocket), pickups (the awesome Cavalier Fat Lion/Lioness), knobs/switch tip (Fender PV), pickguard (plain white), bridge plate and saddles (Rutters cutaway plate and steel saddles). I've made this guitar my own, but it's still a Classic Vibe because of the body. It ain't going anywhere, it plays like a dream and sounds fantastic.

    My Mexican Standard has had the pickups replaced (Fralin Blues Special bridge, DiMarzio Twang King neck), black pickguard, PIO cap, Emerson/CTS pots, CRL switch, Rutterscup, Glendale bridge plate, Callaham steel comp saddles, and a Fender 60's Baja rosewood board neck with TonePros Kluson tuners.

    I had a Warmoth showcase boatneck I orginally got for the MIM but decided on the rosewood Baja neck instead. I figured I'd build a guitar around it so I got an American Special body, Florance bridge pickup (local guy, had to try the TE-50 out and I really like it), had a DiMarzio True Velvet bridge p'up in my parts box along with a bunch of other parts I had lying around. That guitar came out the best of all, and I did all the setup work myself and didn't wreck the nut for a change ;)

    Even my Cabronita has had customization (TV Jones Classic/Classic+, Fender American Standard hardtail bridge) though the body and neck have never been separated. While I have no problem calling my latest build a "partscaster", the others, to me, have been "upgraded", I didn't set out to make a 'partscaster'. To me, the question is when do they become partscasters? When you switch the neck? I'm no purist (nor a good guitar player :p), but a lot of the fun is making the instrument my own.

    As far as cost goes, I'm not really sure. With the first two, above the cost of the original guitars they've had hundreds of dollars worth of upgrades over years. The one I did build from parts I guess cost me around $650-700 with the neck, body and parts I didn't already have like the bridge pickup. The guitarists in my son's band love to play my guitars and they are way better players than I'll ever be. When I picked up the CV last month from my luthier a couple of players hanging around really liked it too, one thought it was a Custom Shop. Technically it is, from "my" custom shop.

    When I get my next Tele (Harley Benton TE-80), I have no doubt I will install some upgrades too, at least a Madcat style pickguard.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  10. cmoore

    cmoore TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Jan 6, 2014
    Just finished my Warmoth (custom body, showcase neck, obsidian control, and SD pickups: Tele-Strat-Hum). It's by far the best sounding guitar I have had including a USA Fender Select HH Tele, MIM Nashville Deluxe, and a USA Gibson Midtown Deluxe. I think it looks better too. The Warmoth neck is prettier but more importanltly the finish is so much smoother and less sticky. The body is night and day more fun to look at but also is so much lighter (chambered and an F hole) that there is almost no effort to hold it. I'm not sure what I paid in total (parts bought over about 6 months) but there's no way it cost anything close to my Select or Gibson.

    Warmoth stuff is nicer than most of the Fenders I've seen/touched. Seymour Duncan pups are nicer, way nicer, sounding to me than any of the factory Fender pups I've had.

    No, I put it together myself.

    I think both.



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  11. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    I’ve got about $600 (Canadian Dollars) into my Telecaster.

    Nice Tonebomb unfinished knotty pine body, Generic 9.5” radius modern C maple neck with rosewood board and medium jumbo frets. Great Tonerider bridge pickup and Twisted Tele neck pickup, Wilkinson compensated saddles & bridge, locking staggered tuners, TBX tone control, 4-way switching. What’s not to love?

    It plays great and sounds even better. The experience has been a huge value. Every 6 months or so, I have a different setup idea and it’s my platform for experimenting. Worth every cent!
  12. 724SP

    724SP Tele-Meister

    Jan 26, 2008
    Salinas, CA
    IMG_3577.JPG IMG_3579.JPG

    About $1K here...good value? For me, absolutely. I can’t get the exact specs I like from Fender, so partscaster works for me! MJT body, chunky (1” all the way down) Musikraft neck with SS vintage size frets, 7.25” radius, Cavalier Nocaster Lion pickup, Glendale Raw Deal hardware. Came in just under 7lbs and plays/sounds great. If you’re putting one together with the notion that it will be with you for the long haul, it’s a great way to go!
  13. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 21, 2011
    ashland kentucky
    1st. Yes, mine was, and still is 7 years later, worth it to me. Every time I play it, it confirms its a great instrument.

    I got big $$$ in mine, but many of the parts I can get my money back on, but I didnt get it to sell it, or build it with resale in mind, and could care less. I already have a couple collectable guitars, Ive had since new. I got what I wanted. I love the old 82-85 Fullerton Reissue Bodies, as I have an early 6-25-82 x 62 reissue Ive had since new. So I found a fullerton body, and used it as the body for my partscaster.

    7-13-82 x 57 Fullerton Reissue Body

    2 x original 1966 Strat pups

    1 x 65 Strat pup

    Ilitch Noise Reduction Backplate

    MannMade USA Tremolo

    1 ply Discontinued Retrospec/Historic Makeovers Bakelite guard/pup covers.

    Gotoh SGL510Z HAP/Mag Lok 1:21 gears

    USA Custom Guitars Neck. I supplied wood. African Blackwood board/Torrified flame maple core. 1 inch Fatback. 12 Radius. 6125 frets. 1.625 nut

    Joe Glaser Assembly/Plek ect.
  14. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2016
    Raleigh, NC
    Thats what Im talkin' about! Nice!
  15. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2016
    Raleigh, NC
    A little under $250.......with upgraded pups lol! Special to me and cannot tell you how fab it sounds! Not tryin to be a minimalist by any strech and would welcome a very expensive Tele but I put enough TLC into both my builds that I know they'll be around when I the proper hands. They sure dont depreciate like a damn car!
  16. duncan121

    duncan121 Tele-Meister

    Mar 8, 2011
    Tulsa, OK
    I'm in the process of building'll end up coming in around 1200.00 w/ a case but I bought a fair amount of quality parts. I think I'll be very happy for a long time...At least I hope..
    awasson likes this.
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Tele-Holic

    Feb 21, 2004
    I'm left handed and have had to build many partscasters to get what I really want. I've made big investments in some and cobbled together others for peanuts. I do my own setups to my taste. I've mostly been happy with the end results, but once in a while I just don't bond with some. They get parted out and sold. Well, usually the body gets sold first and I try again with another body to see if I can get any magic out of the new combo. I don't think I cut them any slack just because I assemble or build them.

    My latest is an Esquire.

    A brand new Fender body off Ebay, Allparts neck, WD pickguard, aftermarket bridge with wilky saddles. Some parts are recycled, such as the plate, knobs and 3-way toggle. I made the pickup. I have about $400 into it. It's definitely a happy union and reminded me of an old flame I regret selling long ago. If I want something other than the slim pickings Fender offers me, this is what I have to do.
  18. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 8, 2007
    Norfolk UK
    I usually make a profit on all Fender and non fender parts when I break one down when I get fed up up with it .Never sell a partscaster in one piece .Its always worth far more in pieces .Most Fenders that come with a screw on neck are easy to sell as components .I just wish my Gibsons were bolt on necks .Much easier to sell ,and safer to .No crooks to say it wasnt in its case etc .
  19. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 4, 2003
    My T style cost about $800 when I assembled it 14 years ago. USACG body and neck, Fralin pickups, hardware from Fender and other sources. All new parts. I finished it with Minwax Wipe on Poly per Rob DiStefano's site. It sounds and plays great and has been my main guitar for many years so I guess it was worth it.

    My S style started out as a Fender Hwy 1 Strat that I bought new in 2005. I eventually, over the course of 10 years, replaced almost everything on it. USACG neck, MJT body, Fralin pickups, Callaham bridge... Again, all new parts. It probably cost about the same as the T style because I sold the original neck, body and bridge assembly for about what I originally paid for the guitar. It's a really nice guitar! Also worth it.

    Best of all, I really enjoyed putting these guitars together and it feels great playing them through pedals and amps that I repaired, modified or assembled.
    awasson likes this.
  20. cabra velha

    cabra velha Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    estados unidos
    Less than $400 in this one, scruffy MIM body, HD bridge pu, SD neck pu, wired with a 5 way switch, Warmoth roasted maple conversion neck w. SS 6150 frets, Sperzels. Everything was CL or Ebay except the unfinished neck and Glendale bridge plate. Currently my favorite partscaster. I'm always on the lookout for deals on loaded bodies.

    The "is it worth it" question is pretty much philosophical. I'm probably not the only one here that has read about the 17th century "tulip mania" and wonder about parallels in guitar "value".


    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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