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

THE perfect Tele: buy it or build it?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Ydwen Jones, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2016
    There is no perfect instrument being built today, they all will require some mods to match your needs. The real question should be: Do you build your own or start with a factory model and modify to preference? I think you start with the neck and body from factory and fill in the blanks from there. The body and neck will be pre-drilled so hanging parts is a relatively simply matter for most people.
    Ydwen Jones, FrontPU and El Tele Lobo like this.
  2. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    I only build partscaster tele's now. I don't know of a cheaper way to get what I want in a tele. Plus it's fun if there's no deadline involved.
  3. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

    Feb 24, 2005
    I was lucky that Fender already built the perfect for me Tele - 62 AVRI Custom Tele in Surf Green. I wouldn't change a thing other than rewire from vintage to modern - the capacitor for which Fender already included in the case.
    Ydwen Jones and El Tele Lobo like this.
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Get a used MIM and mod it with a few parts like a 4-way switch.

    Milspec, El Tele Lobo and JAckal66 like this.
  5. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    I have six, bought three, built three. There is no perfect Tele. There is only the next one with X, Y, and Z. If you want what you want, build it or you have to settle for something off the shelf.
    Ydwen Jones and DHart like this.
  6. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I wouldn’t know perfect if it slapped me in the face, so that’s one issue...

    I built a partscaster La Cabronita beacause at the time you could only get em from the Custom Shop for 3000 bucks; if they’d come out with the Squier ones at the same time I might never have gotten into building.

    I don’t recommend building or partscastering unless you enjoy that activity in and of itself, or you have a strong need for some really wacky specs. It’s a lot harder than it seems to save money going that route (though I hear some people can put things together cheaper than buying), and if you are a person who tends to sell guitars—some of us are NOT—:lol:—you’re gonna be sad when you try to get your money back out.

    Modding can be fun and easy and reversible, depending on what you want, but beware: it’s a gateway drug...
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I’d definitely have to build it.
    DHart likes this.
  8. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 1, 2018
    Timbuktu, Earth
    I didn't know the first thing about putting together a Tele out of parts, a "parts caster."

    Maybe I got lucky, but I only used great parts and the guitar was never even set up. I play it like it was built, but its amazing, it really is. Best one I've ever played:

    MJT solid ash body
    Real Fender '52 maple neck
    Kluson vintage relic'ed tuners
    Best quality wiring kit I could find online
    Pick-up Wizard twangy "Nashville sound" pick-ups
    pre relic'ed parts throughout
    brass saddles

  9. JAckal66

    JAckal66 TDPRI Member

    Dec 31, 2012
    NW Arkansas
    I would buy an MIM as close to what I wanted.
    Probably a Deluxe Modified.
    Try to get one with a scratched up body. Then, refinish it myself.
    Do some 'John 5' mods to it. FB_IMG_1493568421304.jpg
    Peregrino69 likes this.
  10. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    Not long ago I didn't have enough experience either. Most of what I know, I learned from the good people here. And I'm still learning. The journey is as rewarding as the destination if you let it be. Hope yours is as fulfilling as mine was.
    Ydwen Jones and Peregrino69 like this.
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    What I find is that it is possible to put together a partscaster that's worth more or less than the total cost.
    IMO it's a mistake though to view the value as a finished guitar, when resale will return more of the investment if you sell as you bought- parts.

    I don't understand why anyone would choose to sell a partscaster they don't like as a whole guitar. It's a collection of parts, and while the builder may feel like they put a lot of work into "building it", choosing to sell it whole gains nothing for that labor.

    If you follow some ebay auctions you might notice that a $150 Warmoth neck brings more used than it cost new.
    If you pay for all the options you'll likely lose some money, but buy top brand basic model and you can get your money back on parts you don't like.
    While there are some super cheap bodies and necks, I'd suggest paying a little more and getting parts with good reps for fitting and working well. You won't lose money on for example unfinished Allparts necks. Put on a basic easy finish and if you don't like it you can easily sell it for a fair price, maybe more than you paid.

    Another reason it's crazy to sell your builds whole is that there's gotta be at least some parts you like.
    If you start out wanting something different from off the rack, just stay in the game and buy another of whatever part you don't like.
    If you're not sure what exactly makes your new build uninspiring, follow through and figure it out!

    I find that since every guitar sounds a little different, even with the same pickups, it's possible to take two guitars I don't like very much and redistribute the parts into a two guitars I like better.

    Might be a thin sounding guitar needs a pickup that sounds a little muddy in a darker sounding guitar.
    Similarly an ebony fingerboard needs the right body and pickup to sound right to me.
    Ebony board, heavy ash body, and low wind bright pickups makes a harsh sounding Tele IME.

    While many will insist that only the pickups and the pots influence the plugged in sound, that fails to account for builds that are not satisfying.

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking a great partscaster is some mysterious unobtanium, keep changing it until you understand what effects the outcome.
    This may sound expensive, but for me I have all these left over parts now, so when GAS hits, I can bang out a "new" guitar for free!
    oceanblue, Ydwen Jones and DHart like this.
  12. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2016
    @El Tele Lobo, I read you loud and clear :)

    Mine will be a long road... I might be "finished" with it in about ten years or so :D I can't name exactly what kind of neck or pickups I want. But that's pretty much the point... parts can be replaced, and as long as they're something like Warmoth or Allparts - or Fender, why not? - they have a resale value. I am considering some kind of no-solder harness. Not cuz I can't hold a solder, just for convenience :)
  13. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2016
    IMO that's the only value a partscaster I built has, and only to me. My first build has an Affinity body, the neck, control plate, bridge plate and locking tuners are Chinese. Next bridge and control plates will also be - I'm keeping now to the engraved theme, and western ones are just too expensive if I want to test an idea; not to mention somewhat hard to find. I've got two other uprgrades / modifications and a partscaster strat underway; and a dream Tele in planning. They won't be benefiting from cheap parts just for the reason you stated... even if I didn't like the guitar, the parts can always be repurposed. Gimme a year or so and I'm in the same place - digging into spare parts when GAS hits :D
    telemnemonics likes this.
  14. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    One nice thing about getting into partscastering as a hobby is that after a certain point you got enough parts lying around to make an extra guitar! :D
  15. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2016
    Sorta hit that already. The only reason I'm building a strat is the extra pickup set, neck, trem and pots that have been in my drawer for a year :D
    DHart and Jupiter like this.
  16. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas

    Oh, man! That Aged Cherry Burst finish is gorgeous! And so is the photograph! :D
    DHart likes this.
  17. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo TDPRI Member

    Mar 22, 2012

    I would play several Fender Masterbuilt models at a dealer that had ample stock and buy the one that "speaks to me". If there is not a dealer nearby, then locate one and travel there. That is the best way IMO.

    Is it cheap? NO

    But that is how I have always found the perfect guitars for me.

    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  18. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 18, 2010
    Paris France - Rome Italy
    I am a simple guy: I am perfectly happy with my AV telecasters and my classic series 60s.
    Should I pick one, that would be the first 52 I bought.
  19. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Sacramento, California
    I'd build it. That way it would be exactly like I want it.
  20. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    So true... Teles can be so varied and not a single one of them scratches all of the itches perfectly. That's what forces us to have MULTIPLE Teles! :lol:
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    gkterry and Ydwen Jones like this.
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