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 truth about partscasters: time to be honest

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by hemingway, May 6, 2015.

  1. koko1

    koko1 TDPRI Member

    Jan 16, 2013
    I think, Hemingway is a guy like me, a hobbyist, who finds it a lot more exciting, doing all the guitar work by himself, rather than let a luthier assemble and set up a guitar according to his wishes.
    And if you do it by yourself (implied you are not entirely untalented) you can have a lot of fun and satisfaction, but you also will learn about the problems and difficulties a professional luthier can stumble in.

  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Of course it did .

    You know why?

    I buy DECENT parts (Warmoth,All Parts,Musikraft etc) not cheap/unknown parts that can cause "missmatches" during assembly

    I always do a professional CROWNING & LEVELING of the frets (ALL aftermarket necks NEED this and it is CLEARLY stated in the companies' sites) & choose the best pickups.

    I also know how to SET UP my guitars REALLY well (it is not rocket science)

    Do these things and it is IMPOSSIBLE not to "build" a killer partscaster.

    Here are a 3 of my babies


  3. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Tele-Afflicted

    You have my dream top 3 spec'ed telecasters.. especially a double bound sunburst-rosewood fretboard tele ala 62 telecustom, that is my number 1 dream telecaster

    though mine had a lake placid blue thinline, and would have a maple neck on the white tele..

  4. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    the last one I assembled didn't take long.... wiring the cross over switching, etc took the most time.... the rest was putting screws in....

    I build around a good neck, usually....:)

    I found this '97 JV Mustang neck+tuners for 125,,,a real beauty, a while back... I was going to cut/shape a body to suit... then this well made /painted body came up on local ebay for 120...under a hundy for the h'ware. too easy..even all the hardware/pg screw holes lined up ... wow!... built to spec....:cool:

    I wonder how much a proper Mustang is worth down under ?... ;)

    I don't really have to know now, I guess?..:lol:

    Attached Files:

  5. baiff

    baiff Tele-Holic

    Jul 17, 2011
    Those are all beautiful guitars Nick.

  6. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    All I have are partsacasters because I hate Fender necks. Therefore, the truth for me is, my partsacasters are better than any stock Fender guitar.

    My frankenstein tele with the graphics plate is my Numero Uno go-to guitar; Numero Dos is his companion "Boris", a black strat thats been operated on and changed so many times that even Karloff would say, THATS a frankenstein.

    Both guitars are rocks. Sometimes I mess them up by messing with them... thats what my guitar repair friends are for

  7. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2012

    110% agreement from me!

    Mine have all came out great. Was it perfect as soon as the last screw was tight? Nope. They all have to have a set up. A brand new Fender straight out of the box isn't right. (Normally)
    Set up is key. It can turn a so-so guitar into a WOW guitar.

  8. Tele-Caster

    Tele-Caster Tele-Holic

    Feb 24, 2007
    Tahlequah, OK
    Mine didn't (two Tele-Shaped Objecs, one bass) when I put in the last screw, but I still had a lot of work to do after that. The necks I used were things I bought from Schecter back in the 80's when I was in high school and never did anything with. They all had frets installed by they needed leveling, dressing, crowning, and polishing. More time-consuming tedium. Then I had to do the set-up, getting the neck relief I like, getting the string height where I like it, tweaking pikcup height, and so on. And I had to re-solder the first one -which was embarrasing to me.

    It took me over six months to build my fist one. It took me over three months to build my second one. It took me a bit longer to make my bass.

    It was fun each time, but I think I'm done with slapping guitars together for a while. There are only 24 hours in a day. Once used, I can't get them back. I'd rather use them for playing.

    Since I value my time, I would have been money ahead by calling up a guy like Ron Kirn and telling him what I wanted and paying him to make it happen. Bur I'd have missed the fun of doing it myself. Now that I've had that fun, though, I'd be currently content to leave guitar building to professionals.

    It's not that I couldn't get a professional end result. I like to think I did. I can't get it in the relatively short time that a real pro can, though. It was a lot of meticulous, slow, tedious, boring work.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015

  9. TeleTown

    TeleTown Friend of Leo's

    Oct 10, 2010
    Twangers Medows USA

  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Many approach the Partscaster (god, how I hate that term)... with the wrong motive.. i.e. saving money and having a top drawer guitar...

    while the collective "parts" will cost ya between 700 and a thou...and the resulting guitar will be made of parts of higher quality than those found on most retail guitars selling at the same price point... it's all the support tools you will wind up buying that cranks up the cost... and that's not a bad thing...

    if you DON'T get hooked.. and just build the one, then wind up taking it to a tech for the setup etc… you are still gonna learn much about guitar maintenance…. that alone will make you a “force to be contended with” on Saturday morning Garage sale treks…

    If you take it to the next step, learning how to do the level and crown then the setup.. that alone is gonna save you a truck load over your life as you maintain your heard, and those you haven't purchased yet.. also not a bad thing...

    with the new found knowledge, guitars that are available for virtually nothing, but look “dead” due to neglect, are now seen for their potential, and you “have the power”.. you can take a sad neglected Guitar that originally may have cost a thousand, buy it for 50 smacks and with an hour’s time, have ‘er singing like a choir.. That doesn’t happen unless you’ve assembled at least one…

    and if you do get “hooked” and spend a few thou on tools.. at least “she” will know where ya are… in the garage, knee deep in sawdust, not getting into any mischief, like that time ya were ogling the Beer winch at the local golf club.. when the wife walked up . . from behind… and mumbled those words… “What did you just say? Ya wouldn't kick WHO outta bed??? :eek: AND. . What exactly ARE her Bazooms?? :oops: What are ya lookin’ at there sport? :cool: So ya like sleepin’ on the couch . . Humm ?” :eek:

    Yep… buildin’ ‘em.. that’s the way to go.. the safe way to go…

    Ron Kirn

  11. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 5, 2011
    Ron - you are so right. I am very happy about my partscaster - which I gave to my luthier to do a proper setup (esp. frets and nut). I did learn a lot during the process. It was scary sometimes (drilling the holes in the neck, ugh...). The only reason I made this guitar was because I couldn't buy one like that anyway (Stetsbar tremolo, 5-way switching, Keystones).

  12. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire

    I'd like to add here that my experience with blueprint teles (I've made five of them, and I don't like calling them "partscasters" either) has left me with a deep and permanent appreciation for Ron Kirn and his posts. That alone makes it all worth it. I thank you, sir.

  13. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    I love making/working on my guitars. I will never go back to the way it was before.

  14. vintage clubber

    vintage clubber Friend of Leo's

    Apr 12, 2012
    Mechanicsville, VA

  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    I would agree that pretty much everybody that's interested should give building a caster from parts a try.
    Rons points about the value of the experience and resulting knowledge are enough by themselves, even if your first one gets stolen- you've learned how to deal with unexpected guitar problems, and can tell if a guitar that seems like a steal is actually worth buying.

    All my Fenders are not how they left the factories, but all are mostly Fender parts and I call them Telecasters or Esquires.
    I started building them when I started playing them, the darn things are made out of wood and many of them go out of adjustment regularly, often making them not very good for making music.
    This gets worse when you put them in a van and drive 1000 miles.
    If you want to make some music NOW, and your guitar is out of whack, it sure is a good thing to have the basic skills to fix it so you can play it.
    When I was a guitar tech in NYC, you could drop your guitar off in the morning and pick it up the same evening.
    More often you will be without your guitar for a few days. Bummer.

    Regarding how long it takes to get a parts caster working properly; there's a fair chance that we learned more from a challenging build than from an easy one.
    And some of what we learn might be that we have specific preferences for neck shape and fret size and body characteristics- that we might not have clearly defined just by playing one guitar after another off the rack.

    Some of the parts guitars I've found poor function with were made form parts that just don't suit my playing style.
    That would be a success, to not have to keep asking internet forumites what kind of pickups I like the sound of, or what shape neck I like best, or if I'll play out of tune on big frets.

    Once you conclude that your partscaster ain't what you hoped, it's time to figure out why.

    Hopefully you won't think something dumb like maybe the paulownia body is too lightweight and resonant for the response you want from your Tele, uh, partscaster.

  16. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    ^^ Depends on how deep down the hole people want to go. I'd say with a finished body/neck from a parts builder (which obviously ups the cost a bit) you'd need to: (iirc) drill the screw holes for the tuners, drill the pickguard screw holes, strap button holes, and if you get a pre-wired pickguard you'd still need to solder a few spots. Heck, when I did an apprenticeship I was shocked at how easy the handrill was to work with!

    So, cheap drill, couple bits, soldering iron and some solder isn't a big deal assuming the assembler already has screwdrivers. Then, I'd figure get the setup done locally otherwise then, yes, you're going to be dropping some bucks.

  17. Brunello 23

    Brunello 23 TDPRI Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Pacific Northwest
    Learn By Doing

    I've always enjoyed to learn by trying something, usually works out as a cool experience and sometime I mess up, but hey what's the journey about anyway, give it your best shot.

    So here's my first attempt at a Tele.Turned out better than I ever would have dreamed. The neck is fun to play (addictive) and smells amazing, love that roasted maple...

    Roasted Maple Neck
    Body & neck from Warmoth
    Lollar Pickups
    Glendale Raw Steel Bridge
    Grover Locking Tuners

    Perfect, no, but close enough for a first effort, I learned a ton on the forums and sourced the best parts, by the finish a trip to my friendly local luthier improved on my setup, nut, and fretwork just a bit, now it's hard to put her down...I dream about the next one, but feel real satisfied with what I've accomplished, along with the help of some good folks along the way...:rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

  18. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 8, 2010
    Up North
    Did your partscaster really sound fantastic and play like butter as soon as you put in the last screw?? Really??


    I had to fidget with it.
    Pick-up adjustment, action, intonation ... But now!!!!

    Sucker does indeed play like Buttah!

    I've got close to $700 in to it.
    I can't see getting even half of it back if I tried to sell it.
    But then, I did make it just for ME!

  19. Bassiaman

    Bassiaman TDPRI Member

    Nov 7, 2014
    I'm still new to this partscaster dance. But, getting my hog tele assembled and set up at a shop seemed to have been just what the doctor ordered. That thing sings. Build #2 is in process!!!

  20. PhatBoy

    PhatBoy Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    OKC, OK
    I've sourced 2 partscaster Teles cause I could get the colors I wanted.
    May do it again.

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