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Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Kiwi_Neil, Jun 14, 2017.
That's "purdy". I really dig that.
My partscaster build was roughly the same cost as what an AVRI 52 would cost me here in the US. But I got a thicker neck profile, pickups I like better, the frets and fretboard radius I like better. After getting used to my guitar, I played a new American Professional Tele and I was way underwhelmed. It's 6.7 pounds. No regrets here at all.
The downside is that the parts could come together and the whole guitar might not have that certain something. So it's more of a gamble.
What you are saying makes a lot of sense. I do hope you get to do your dream guitar one day. Have you located/contacted any local builders? I doubt it would be any cheaper, but it would be an interesting data point.
Anyway, the Epi ES339 is a real nice guitar. If you do get one, don't disappear. Tele not required.
Neil, my first partscaster (a strat rather than a tele) was fairly straight forward.
I started with a Samick copy (they were making the MIJ Stratocasters at the time), and eventually found a suitable neck used from eBay.
Was looking for a large headstock neck with a RW board (already had an S Series with the large headstock, with a maple board and was looking to investigate the other one) and eventually found one.
Since it was Fender it bolted right up and since it was used it didn't even need a turn of the truss rod.
Previously I'd only had limited guitar set up experience, although I was pretty good at it (taught lessons for a store, and realized their setup guy was nothing more than another teacher who learned how).
Had a tiny bit of soldering skills, so that part wasn't hard. Even tackled some custom wiring (Gilmour switch for the neck pup) and a custom installed Graph Tech Ghost system (added a separate volume pot, mini 3 way switch, and using the 3 way in the middle I can use each volume to blend the output signals, each going through its own signal chain and amp, or PA board as the case for the Ghost might be depending on the situation).
And I took my time building it. Bought the Samick in 1996, finished it a couple years ago. Wanted Lace Sensor red pups, and bought them one at a time (wanted first generations) as they came up on eBay.
Gathered the hardware, upgrading from the import stuff to MIA vintage over time also.
I would say go for it, buying parts as you need. Take your time assembling, study online, ask questions here and you should come out with exactly what you want.
I dig how you want a quality instrument that you can keep as your pal for the rest of your life, and I know first-hand how cost-prohibitive it is to get USA parts outside of the US as I live in Singapore. I recently managed to build a very personalised strat from majority USA parts, hope you don't mind me sharing on your thread, prices in USD:
Warmoth neck - $400 including shipping and taxes.
MJT body sourced locally - $300
Fender decal - $20
Klein neck & bridge pickup sourced locally - $100
Seymour Duncan SSL-1 middle pickup sourced locally - $40
All electronics + '62-spec tort guard - $100
Total outlay come up to US$960, about S$1,300 in my local currency. This is still technically my number 2 guitar, as it's hard to knock a Gibson Nighthawk for blues and rock, but it's definitely my number 1 strat.
For that kind of money, I could get any of the following:
Fender Classic Player 60s strat
Fender Roadworn Strat
Almost any MIJ Fender strat
Fender 65' Princeton reissue (second hand)
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (second hand)
the list goes on...
I guess what I'm trying to say is, maybe for a Kiwi, you need not travel all the way to Canada to get USA parts. Come to the region for a short holiday with the missus, and see what you can scalp in terms of parts. Japanese Fenders sold here are really killer for the price/spec balance.
I'm definitely up for a pint and showing you around myself!
I must say that an Epi 339 pro is a wonderful guitar for the money. The Chrome hardware is awful. Awfully awful, but mine plays and sounds great and after four years that is my only complaint. It's very possible that you would be happy with it long enough to build your dream guitar. Then you would have two. That's how we think around here.
Sorry to upset you. I'm not calling you a liar! You can check my numbers too:
I can post links to everything else. I was going to go with DMZ pups, ~$160 pair (maybe less on reverb or ebay) and hipshot locking tuners ~$60 at GC. Warmoth has neckplates from $2-$7 and locking schaller strap holders at $13. Pots, jacks, and wire is cheap at places like Stewmac; a complete Tele wiring kit, caps and all, is $27. I will admit I have some of the small stuff lying around from other projects, but that's nickle and dime stuff.
Is everything that much more in NZ? Don't any US online retailers deliver to NZ? I buy bike parts from an outfit in the UK for cheaper than I can get in the US and they deliver free and I usually have the parts 3 days. I've also ordered from HK free shipping, great price and free fast delivery. China too, but shipping is usually slower.
Did you even read my original post?
Did you see where I said, "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."
Add to your neck price $97 shipping to gain a total. Then convert that total to NZ dollars and you'll see that the neck in your link is considerably more expensive than the one I quoted.
The Warmoth neck I quote, in USA dollars breaks down like this:
Neck price = $195
Shipping to NZ = $95
Total = $290
$290 US dollars in NZ dollars = $400, which is what I said in my first post.
Lindy Fralin pickups = US dollars $250
Shipping to NZ is unknown
Total = $250
$250 US dollars in NZ dollars = $345, which is what I said in my first post.
Pretty much everything else I quoted comes from this NZ website, with the exception of the wiring, pots, cap switch and output jack which comes from another NZ site. http://www.guitarparts.co.nz
Lastly...I'm not interested in cheap wiring or DMZ pickups. I said in my first post, "I want to buy quality components because this will be a keeper for me"
I had heard that about the chrome hardware not being up to par. I was told that it's 'usable but not great and will need replacing sooner or later' which concurs with what you're saying. Strangely enough I'm now toying with the idea of the 339 this year, and the partscaster at the end of next year......shhh....don't tell her I mentioned that!
I really do like the idea of the partscaster, I have a very clear image of how it will be and I guess I'm going to have to do or else spend the rest of life wondering 'what if....' Like you say, I'll have to accumulate parts as I can afford to and eventually in will happen.
The trip to Canada is going to happen because step son #2 is about to start breeding.....so I'd better front up at the christening or my life will be serious strife!!
I was in Singapore about 18 months ago and I love the vibrant and happy people that I met and some of the wonderful food that I ate. I would love to come back and it's really just across the water from here. Thank you for the offer......I will keep that in my mind and the first round is on me!
Local builders, or the 2 that replied from 5 that I contacted, are not really interested in "Fender copies" and I guess I can understand that from their standpoint. They make their own (lol) Fender copies and wish to sell them rather than make something else. I don't think it would be any cheaper and in all likelihood it would cost more.
I've had a reasonable mess around with a friends ES 339 and it really is nice to hold and it feels good. He plays very well and he can make it sing....much more that I ever will be able to do, but somehow it just feels nice in my hands for some strange reason.
Life is a gamble is it not?
I know what you mean though. Years ago I upgraded my car to a pretty much top of the line model....not new, but only a couple of years old. It looked great, went well, in short it did everything that it was said to do. After a couple of weeks though I realized that I just didn't like it. I couldn't put my finger on any reason why I didn't like it, I just didn't. I sold it within a month, lost a bit of money and went for something else instead. It happens!!
I have a good friend whose built many Teles and Esquires over the years and all used a caliber of parts equal to or greater than what one would find on a comparable stock model. I even sold a number of them for him. Maybe 5 years ago it was possible to build a custom Tele type and at the very least get the parts cost back out of it at resale.
That's no longer seems to be the case due primarily to the increased cost of parts and the enormous increases in shipping costs. So I sympathize with you Neil. Getting exactly what you want by building it yourself is no longer as economical as it once was. I'm very glad I did most of my modifying a few years ago since price increases have caused me to pause more than once as far as upgrading other guitars I own.
Good luck on your journey to owning "the one".
I admire people who can craft, shape, and/or cobble-together their own guitar.
(I personally possess neither the skills nor the patience to do such a thing, but I really admire those who do.)
I may be echoing the thoughts and opinions of many of you in this thread (I only read the first page), but here goes;
* Building a guitar from scratch or from pre-manufactured parts isn't about the money, it's about the creating.
* Comparing the expense of putting-together ones' own creation to the cost of buying a guitar off the wall of a music store is a bit like apples and oranges.
Or, to be more accurate,
more like carefully gene-splicing various strains of apple seeds, dutifully planting the garden, patiently tending the plants as they grow into tall trees, and finally yielding awesome apples,
just buying a bag of apples at the grocery store.
I'm no guitar snob, just an enthusiastic band leader, guitar player, and guitar-acquiring addict.
Speaking strictly for myself, if given the choice between owning a hand-built creation that one of you crafted, versus buying a Squier or an Epiphone,
I would much rather buy your hand-built creation from you.
There's a history of love, frustration, and personal pride going on there, versus a history of mass-production in an overseas factory.
Just my two cents worth.
I've got no dog in this race, so I don't really care one way or another, but one thing seems strange to me.
@Kiwi_Neil you say you want to build this dream partscaster from only the best parts, and have been ultra specific about accepting only the parts you've listed when folks offer alternatives... but then you also say in your initial post you're considering a Squier standard or you'll most likely end up with an Epiphone 339 pro. Now I'm sure both those guitars are fine, and I've got no prejudice against Squier or epiphone; but that's quite a leap from boutique partscaster to mid level Epiphone/Squier.
You're turning your nose up when someone suggests a cheaper pickup alternative but you'd be ok with the stock pickups in the 339?
Ultimately it's your guitar, your purchase do what you want. If it were me, and I were you- I'd take a trip to Japan and buy used while I was there, and take the guitar home as my carry on luggage.
A large percentage of us partscaster nuts do it on the lower end. Cheaper bodies, necks, pups, etc.
Bridges and tuners you're always gonna want to buy decent stuff, but those costs are still reasonable.
So we put together something that in the end runs us maybe $400, $450 total (making up a number here) and that we feel kind of competes with a MIM Standard.
But the way we configure them, they're not available from Fender or anyone.
Out of my three partscasters, only one comes anywhere near what you would consider a MIM Standard, but still with huge differences.
So to me, the partcaster fascination is the less expensive stuff customized to your heart's desire.
I wouldn't do one for the big bucks.
With a lot of using cheaper components (see my post above), can you guys in NZ get Asian parts for the dirt cheap prices like we do in the U.S., considering that you're so much closer?
Or do duties and/or exchange rates still bury you?
I must admit to being very surprised at the cost of the shipping, especially given the sheer amount of international airfreight that flys around the globe. Also, NZ is a small country (which certainly has it's advantages) and therefore the market for musical instruments is of course small. For that reason, and our geographical location, we have to pay more for these things. We're not 'bulk buyers' of musical instruments as were such a small player (excuse the pun) in the market compared to USA.
If it doesn't happen, then as I said before, it's not the end of the world.
Yes you're right......the handbuilt is certainly the number one choice for the very reasons that you mention. As I mentioned before, if I do that, I want the paddle tilt back neck because I have a plan. Compared to many other Warmoth neck options, it's at the lower end of the price scale, but it still runs into NZ$400 with shipping. The locally sourced body at NZ $168 is something that could work with to make it what I want, and the pickups are what they are...expensive!!
My brain is swimming at the moment from all the posts this has generated, so I'll need to step back and think about this for a while!