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

The truth about partscasters: time to be honest

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

  1. Tele-Caster

    Tele-Caster Tele-Holic

    673
    Feb 24, 2007
    Tahlequah, OK
    Assembling my own guitar seemed like fun, based on reading posts about it from this forum. It seemed like I could do most things that need doing. For example, I've been involved in the amateur radio hobby for decades, so understanding the electronics and soldering them didn't seem like a big deal (hence the embarrasment at having to re-solder my first one, as I mentioned in my prior post). I've long enjoyed various kinds of woodworking -making furniture; a few small wooden boats; cutting, shaping, and inletting gun stocks..... So I figured I'd be okay on that score. And I've been doing re-fretting and set-up work on my instruments for a long time now. From reading posts about it here, it seemed liked assembling my own solid body electric guitar was within my abilities, and I didn't seem to have much of a reason to not give it a whirl. I thought it would be fun.

    And you know what? Assembling my own guitars WAS fun! I didn't mean to imply that it isn't in my prior post, or that I didn't enjoy doing it while I was doing it. I did enjoy it, otherwise I would have stopped with the first one.

    What I enjoy most, I think, is the sense of accomplishment from having put together guitars that look good and play well. When I play out, people sometimes come up and ask what make and model of guitar I am playing. I do get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to say "Ah, it's just something I cobbled together on the dining room table from a pile of parts."

    That's not strictly true, though. On my second Tele-Shaped Object, I started with a piece of alder for the body and cut, routed, drilled, and final-finished it myself. I made the Fender Precision style bass body from a chunk of alder, too. I'm most proud of these because of the amount of work I put in to making bodies from scratch.

    For me, "pride of ownership" is off the scale where all three of my home-assembled instruments are concerned, but especially with the second Tele-style and the bass. That's something I couldn't buy hanging on a peg in a music store.

    The deal for me is that with the two Tele-style instruments and the bass, plus all the other instruments in my studio, I'm very well fixed for guitars at this point and don't need or want more. Also, as fun and rewarding as these builds were, they were very time-consuming for me. That's the only downside. I just don't have the time to keep guitar assembling an ongoing hobby. It would have to compete with fly fishing and shooting sports and cycling and amateur radio and autocrossing my Mustang and playing with all of the Windsor and Newton in my paints box, and also playing time. I already have plenty of time-consuming, expensive hobbies. Don't have enough time in a day for one more..... That's a shame, really, because I did enjoy putting my three builds together.

    My prior post made it sound like I didn't enjoy my builds and I wanted to clarify that because I did enjoy them immensely. I would encourage anyone interested in trying their hand at assembling a solid body electric guitar to give it a whirl. I could easily make a habit out of it if I didn't have so many other things competing for my time and attention.
     

  2. Brunello 23

    Brunello 23 TDPRI Member

    19
    Nov 20, 2014
    Pacific Northwest
    Yeah Tele-Caster, the sense of accomplishment is a really special part of this. I know every nook and cranny of my Tele and it makes me enjoy it even more.
    And I'm gonna try new things on future builds, different pickups, neck styles, finishes...

    Oh yeah...
     

  3. Guitar Jones

    Guitar Jones Tele-Meister

    I've built, I think about 10 partscasters. The quality of the parts is what sets the tone for the instrument. Not all of mine were perfect, usually some small flaw like dirt in the paint or something that I wasn't happy with but after a setup they all played very well. Well enough that I've sold every one of them, except one I built for myself, for a small profit.

    One in particular I wish I hadn't sold.
     

  4. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta
    It truly does seem to be the sum of the parts. case in point, I've got two partsacasters that use the exact same model all-parts neck, same frets, same everything. Both set up by the same guy.

    One plays great and the other not quite as easy to play. The easier to play one is basically a butterscotch FSR with an after-market top loader bridge and a GFS overwound alnico bridge pickup. It plays great and sounds fantastic.

    the other one is basically the same neck on a real mongrel set of parts I found lying around my guitar graveyard - unknown model bridge on no-name body with god knows what kind of pickups. Its pretty good, certainly good enough to do a gig with, and I have it as a spare.

    Quite a bit of difference, to me, in the two guitars, even tho the necks are the same model.
     

  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Yeah, but I see guys who have the patience and motor skills, etc. to be a competent guitarist, and yet they're unwilling to go the extra mile to get the best tools, set up a really nice work station, allot time to working on the guitars, etc. And so they "mess" with the guitar but never really improve it that much.

    I see some guys just totally in love with the guitar "project" they did and yet when they hand it to me, I see all sorts of nasty mistakes and stuff. They love it, so I just nod when they talk about how great it is. Meanwhile, another guy builds something and it is remarkable, and feels and sounds great and no matter what you tell the guy, he thinks he has failed.

    The biggest thing about guitar projects is they require a lot of time and fine attention to detail. IMO you cannot or should not tinker on the guitar when tired or tipsy - that's what posting to TDPRI is there for! :twisted:
     

  6. Guitar Jones

    Guitar Jones Tele-Meister

    Attention to detail is what sets a CS instrument apart from a AS instrument. In my opinion if you are willing to take the time and have the patience to attend to the fine details you will have a fine instrument as long as the quality of the parts is there.
     

  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Most things that turn out to be fun have a healthy dose of anxiety mixed in there.

    My approach was to buy (on closeout) over 30 Squiers and just hone my skills on those. Each cost between $ 69- $ 129 and you can learn a lot redoing the nut on 39 guitars; and you learn by replacing tuning machines and re-setting the necks and modifying the bridges and you don't switch over to expensive bits until you've practiced A LOT. You don't get on the stage without practice and so, why do it when developing guitar tech skills?

    I see guys order a bunch of expensive parts from Warmoth and then ship them to Tony Mellechamp or Joe Glaser. Which is fine for Trust Fund folks or folks who can go into the office and generate way more money than Tony or Joe might charge. But that's really just Sponsoring a guitar not assembling one. I'd turn to them only if I won the lottery or I had something I sensed could be great and I'd personally tried more than enough times and couldn't get it there on my own.
     

  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I thought that post was meant to be ironic. When a guy mentions spending far more than a nice CS usually costs, it had darned well better play better than one.

    I think most FMIC employees DO have excellent skills. What FMIC does IMO is severely limit the amount of time each employee gets to work on each guitar. You get it close, then pack it and ship it. I think if those people had access to 5 times more time to fiddle with these guitars, the guitars would be nicer. But they wouldn't be 5 times as nice and they wouldn't sell well at 5 times the price.
     

  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    The Dunning Kruger Band

    Yeah, I saw those guys (5 piece rock band) play at the State Fair a few years ago.

    Man, they played for a long time.

    They thought they were great, and I agree. They did think that! ;)
     

  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan

    Absolutely! :lol: For some guys, though, there's no joy in the adventure, the problem-solving, the skill-building; they just want the guitar to be done. To them I say, buy one off the rack and play the bejeebus outta it. There's TONS of guitars out there. Partscastering is a hobby in itself. It generally makes little economic sense unless the time you spend on it is intrinsically enjoyable. Even if you built one and sold it for slightly more than the materials cost, if you didn't like DOING it, your labor cost (opportunity cost at the very least, considering you coulda been doing something else) would almost certainly put you in the red...
     

  11. teleamp

    teleamp Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Oct 17, 2006
    Prairie Hill, Texas
    As long as the neck, body and bridge/saddles are sonically a good match, it's all about the setup.
     

  12. revlimitbounce

    revlimitbounce TDPRI Member

    39
    Feb 22, 2008
    Arizona
    I've built four so far; two Teles and two Strats. Dunno why, but the Strats came out far better than the Teles and I used them all the time. However, between parts cost and what would be the value of my time, they cost significantly more than a Custom Shop or a true luthier-built guitar. Yet, I'm proud of them...
     

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