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

Partscaster idea isn't going to fly.....

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Kiwi_Neil, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    I think my first post here was in surprise at the cost of assembling a partscaster vs an off the shelf Fender (or similar). Of course I was a bit naive in my thinking....of course mass produced items are cheaper than one off specials.....silly me.

    I've been gathering information since then and although I can't afford to lash out and buy everything I need all at once, I can buy the body and stash it away until I can buy the neck, bridge etc etc. I don't want to buy 'cheap' components, I want to buy quality components because this will be a keeper for me, and I'm not interested in the slightest about resale value. So before I pull the trigger and order the body, I just ran through some costs today. Take a look at the following. All prices are in NZ dollars, so you can do your own conversion. All parts costs include shipping except the pickups, which will have to be guessed at for now.

    Tele Body, unfinished (locally sourced) = $168
    Neck, unfinished 'paddle' (ex Warmoth) = $400
    Tuners (locally sourced Gotoh) = $100
    Bridge (locally sourced Gotoh) = $100
    Neck Plate & screws (locally sourced) = $25
    Switch Plate (locally sourced) = $25
    Strap locks (locally sourced) = $25
    Wiring harness inc pots, 4 way switch and output jack (locally sourced) = $120
    Pickups (pair) ex Lindy Fralin USA = $345 + Shipping
    Body & neck finishing materials = $300 (estimate)
    Pickguard (locally sourced) = $30

    Total Cost = $1638 + Pick up shipping costs.

    For arguments sake, lets round it off at $1,700 which will cover the pickup shipping costs plus miscellaneous screws, jig saw blades (for the paddle neck) etc etc

    Now have a look at the cost of some 'off the shelf' guitars

    Squier Standard Tele = $600
    Squier Vintage Mod = $900
    Squier CV = $900
    Squier CVC = $1,000
    Fender Std Tele = $1,300
    Fender Classic Player Baja = $1,800

    Epiphone ES 339 Pro = $900


    Interesting isn't it?

    For me, the only off the shelf Tele that interests me is the Standard Tele, but it would require some modification in due course. I don't like sunburst, but I could live with the Antique Burst of the Std Tele. All the other off the shelf Squiers I don't like the colours. The Fender Std Tele doesn't interest me and the CP Baja is just too expensive.

    So, I'm not in a position to buy right now, but it looks like the only Tele that I would like to have (and I haven't handled one yet so I may hate it!) is the Squier Std Tele. To be honest, I think for the money I might well prefer the Epiphone ES 339 pro, which I have played around with and I like.

    So....that's my story. If I fade away and disappear, then you know I bought the ES 339!!
     
    rayrayspork likes this.

  2. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Meister

    365
    Oct 26, 2010
    Nonurbana
    I've gigged my 339- no teles. A little guilt, but no shame, they sound so good. Looks like cutting out the finish and getting a painted Warmoth? It stinks it's so much more for you cats.
     

  3. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Meister

    472
    Oct 28, 2015
    Kalamazoo
    The only reason for assembling your own guitar is to end up with one that is much better than squiers and epiphones. If you are at the store playing a Squier and you like it so much you can imagine having it as your only guitar for the rest of your life, then just buy it. If the $600 guitars seem the same to you as the $1600 guitars, there is no reason for you to go to the trouble of being your own guitar factory.
    You can save a lot of money by collecting parts beforehand. If every time you are in a store you ask if they have any interesting used parts for sale or dissasembled projects, you will soon meet the folks who have parts stashes. You will become one of them. You will be happy to trade parts.
    Besides the money that you tabulated, it takes a lot of time to get the parts to work together. Plan on spending a lot of time slightly modifying the parts to fit correctly. If you haven't done a lot of guitar repair work before, there is the time it will take you to study. Don't assume that the parts will just all magically fit.
    Finally, if you don't already have a hobby of finishing wood, there is the time it will take you to learn those skills.
     
    rayrayspork, Gdolly and xafinity like this.

  4. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Dec 30, 2010
    New York City
    Wow, I forget how spoiled we are in the US on pricing for guitars and things like that. Today's exchange rate from NZ to US dollar is 1/.72, so that makes a regular Squier $435 US over there, and a CVC $720.
     

  5. hemingway

    hemingway Friend of Leo's

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    Hmm, for me the reason for making my own guitars was just the fun and experience of it. I learned a hell of a lot - mainly about how little I know about guitars.

    It actually took me a couple of years of tweaking with both my partscasters to make my peace with them

    But 5 years later my first partsy (telemaster with a neck HB) is my number one, even over my Baja. It cost me the equivalent of a MIM tele to make. But it has a much better story. It's beaten to hell and has 3 colours showing and the paint is falling off and I LOVE it.

    How about buying a cheap kit, like a Harley Benton, sticking that together, and then seeing how you feel about building?
     
    songtalk likes this.

  6. JORear

    JORear Tele-Meister

    Age:
    42
    179
    Jun 11, 2017
    Alabama
    You can always buy used and strip it down, then upgrade it to make your own. This 72 Reissue Deluxe was black. Now it is pecan with custom pickups, cloth wiring, 500k Pots and .047 orange drops. I have equal to what a new one would cost with a case.
    20170605_165122.jpg
     
    rayrayspork and Gdolly like this.

  7. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    58
    Dec 21, 2004
    central ky
    i just built a mostly warmoth strat, which i consider to be as good as a custom shop strat (or better) for less than $900. but i didn't have to have it shipped to NZ.

    $400 sounds pretty high for a warmoth neck, to me. i think you could get one like you want for about $100 less.
     

  8. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    I'm not really interested in hanging around the music shop scavenging for parts! My list is the parts that I want to include in my (dream) partscaster! There's no way to save on the cost of those parts, that's what they cost!

    I don't expect everything to snap together like a kids lego set, but I don't foresee any major difficulties, especially when using quality parts. I certainly don't envisage any problem that I couldn't figure out....although I might have to farm out the fret leveling and crowning process.

    The finishing process is one part of the project that is not a major hurdle for me as I have quite a lot of experience in that area.....it's actually one of the main attractions to the project because I can finish it exactly as I see it in my minds eye.
     
    rayrayspork likes this.

  9. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    Yeah those are nice conversion prices, but you have to add shipping to that of course.
     

  10. Gibsonsmu

    Gibsonsmu Tele-Meister

    303
    May 7, 2015
    Texas
    $350 for pickups? Wow. You can't get an American standard with a neck like this. Mine all in was around $1300 but it is 100% top shelf and is 100% custom for all of my idiosyncrasies like fret size, neck size, fretboard radius, string spacing, nitro finish, callaham bridge, etc. It's not an economic trade as others have said. You really should be comparing to a custom shop - which is way more expensive. If you don't care about the stuff I mentioned then it doesn't really make sense.

    White Strat.jpg
     
    dogwatermike likes this.

  11. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand

    The reason you mention for making your own is the same reason for me too. But I have to draw a line somewhere when the expense gets out of hand. The $1,700 will easily blow out to $2k.....and I can't justify that, not matter how much fun I have making it, or how much I learn.

    I don't want to buy a cheap kit, but I did think about this ( https://www.rockshop.co.nz/shop/gui...-butterscotch-blonde-t-style-elec-guitar.html ) which is the Trevor Wilkinson inspired Tele, but that's the colour that I hate the most (sorry) so I would have to re-finish it. It is an option that I haven't completely dismissed though.
     
    Ira7 and hellopike like this.

  12. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    There isn't that many used Tele's on our (small) market here, and the prices are still pretty steep....to the point that I would only need to add a bit more then I could buy new!!
     

  13. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand

    Nope...the Warmoth neck came to about USD$180 + USD$100 for shipping which when converted to NZD came to $400
     

  14. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    I only play the ones I build. They sound like I dream guitars sound in my happiest dreams.
     

  15. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    Nice guitar!

    Yep....that's the cost of the pickups in NZD PLUS shipping!!
     

  16. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    Neil, you've come to the same conclusion that a lot of people do. You can't build your dream guitar for less than you can buy a pretty good guitar. On the other hand, building your dream guitar isn't really comparing apples to apples. Could you buy your dream guitar for less than you could build it? Probably not.

    And like hemingway said, a lot of people learn how much they don't know about guitars when they try to make one. Like anything else, building a guitar and setting it up to play well is a learning process, and most people don't figure out all the nuances in their first build. If you're prepared to work through that process, it's worthwhile to invest the time. If you want it to just work the first time, it's worthwhile to add a couple hundred dollars to your budget and hire someone to do the assembly for you.
     

  17. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    352
    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    Yes, I was going to argue on your costs, when I saw the price of the Baja. Here in France, my unfinished Warmoth Tele with other good hardware, was exactly in that price range.

    It was well worth that money. For that money I got very nice looking pieces of wood from the showcase, stainless steel frets, compound radius, locking tuners, four way switch, top notch pickups, and I enjoyed to do the finish. I'll make another one next year.

    When I buy a mexican Tele or low end Gibson, I want to upgrade every hardware parts... Not that they are bad, but they can be upgraded. Then you have the hassle to store these parts, or sell them.

    What you really can't get from Fender in that price range is the compound radius, stainless frets and the choice of a nice piece of wood.

    The way I see it, you get "custom shop" options for the price of mass produced stuff, plus the pleasure to do it yourself.
     

  18. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    I was already at that conclusion, and I accept that undeniable fact, no problem.

    I honestly don't believe that (fret leveling and crowning aside) that I would run into too much difficulty that I couldn't overcome. I accept the learning curve and I look forward to it, BUT, I'm really not prepared to spend (more or less) $2,000 to build my partscaster. $2,000 is a lot of money for me, and as simple case of economics, it would make more sense to (for example) spend $900 on the ES 339 and $500 on a suitable amp and still walk away with $600 in my pocket. Remember that after I spent the $2k on the partscaster I still have to buy and amp!

    It would be sad to not have the build experience and enjoyment, but I'll get over it!
     
    src9000 likes this.

  19. Wicked-T

    Wicked-T Tele-Meister

    Age:
    47
    268
    Apr 1, 2017
    USA
    Go on ebay and get some of the parts used that's what I did. I got a great Fender
    neck for about $160 and pickups much less than $345 you should shop around a
    bit, the deals are out there.
     
    Grux and jaybones like this.

  20. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    265
    Nov 8, 2016
    New Zealand
    I can assure you that the prices I quote are completely accurate as at today's prices....I can provide the links to back up my costs.

    Be sure that the body, is NOT a Warmoth body.....it is a locally sourced body. Only the neck is Warmoth, and not a top of the range neck by any means, not even SS frets.

    You're right, I would get a 'custom shop' instrument but that's not really the issue. The issue is the total cost, and I'm not crying about it, I'm just stating it to show the reasons why I cannot justify taking on this project.

    For instance, if I buy the ES 339 for $900......then I could spend $1,000 more on it and still come out no better or worse off that had I gone down the partscaster road. $1,000 buys a lot of upgrades as I'm sure you'll agree!!

    As I say, I'm not complaining about it, I'm just showing that putting together a quality partscaster in this country is quite a different thing to doing the same in USA....and as such, it's cost prohibitive for me. :)
     

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