Building a Strat...

Jared Purdy

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Greetings,

I've been toying with the idea of building a Strat from parts that are available at the main sellers such as Allparts and/or Warmoth. My soldering skills pretty well suck, so I'd have to practice first. I'd get a neck that is fretted to do away with that chore. Anything I need to be aware of? Cheers.
 

1 21 gigawatts

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It is pretty straightforward. You could always get a loaded pickguard, so you would only have to solder the jack and ground wire.

A budget option is to buy a used Squier SE (aka. Strat pack) or a Starcaster for dirt cheap and mod away. The bodies on both are solid wood (not plywood) and full thickness, so they make good bases for modding. The necks are pretty nice as well.
 

Blackmore Fan

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A budget option is to buy a used Squier SE (aka. Strat pack) or a Starcaster for dirt cheap and mod away. The bodies on both are solid wood (not plywood) and full thickness, so they make good bases for modding. The necks are pretty nice as well.

Those Squier SEs from the Strat Pack from the early 2000s are excellent beginning points. They are well built and have a fuller neck than most Squiers. The only thing I'm not crazy about is that they have "vintage" frets.
 

Jared Purdy

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It is pretty straightforward. You could always get a loaded pickguard, so you would only have to solder the jack and ground wire.

A budget option is to buy a used Squier SE (aka. Strat pack) or a Starcaster for dirt cheap and mod away. The bodies on both are solid wood (not plywood) and full thickness, so they make good bases for modding. The necks are pretty nice as well.
I thought of the loaded pickgaurd option. That's a real possibility. I like the idea of doing it from scratch, that way I'd have a choice over the body colour, which I'm leaning towards natural, with just a light stain on it. The one piece, swamp ash bodies and flame maple necks at Warmoth are gorgeous! I'd have to get it sprayed with nitro. There are a few luthiers in Toronto who could do it. Also, I have my own compressor, so I could give that a go. Probably not though. Don't want to chance screwing that up.
 

LowCaster

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You are right, building from aftermarket parts is interesting if you have very specific requests. For example I built a « 62 » strat with an allparts vintage style neck (rosewood veneer, not slab board), and one piece swamp ash body, finished myself with gold leaf and nitro. Same if you want ebony fingerboard, stainless steel frets, mahogany body, nitro finish, and so on… That’s not happening with Squier parts and otherwise would reach custom shop prices.

12130981-3114-488C-A84B-8B8BF88F1FB7.jpeg


Be aware that the cost of such a build will probably reach between 500 and 1000$ , and is not easy to resell. So, moneywise you’d better buy a used USA Strat.

Building from Squier or used MIM parts is great if you want to swap electronics, refinish the body or do some other silly mods or experiments.

When planning the build pay extra attention to the parts dimensions:
Usa made neck heel and neck pocket are usually quite consistent, Allparts too, but some Asian/squier necks may be thinner sometimes.
Pickguard screw holes (USA vs others, again)
Tremolo/bridge width, string spacing and screws position are critical.
Tuner hole diameter too.

Sourcing those parts for the right fit is the real challenge here.
 

FuncleManson

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Greetings,

I've been toying with the idea of building a Strat from parts that are available at the main sellers such as Allparts and/or Warmoth. My soldering skills pretty well suck, so I'd have to practice first. I'd get a neck that is fretted to do away with that chore. Anything I need to be aware of? Cheers.
My first partscaster was as simple as bolting a Warmoth neck onto a loaded Classic Vibe Strat body and swapping the trem for a Fender big block. No soldering (I didn't remove the original trem claw w/ground). The only tools I needed were a drill and screwdriver. When I was done, I had a Strat with stainless steel frets, which was my main goal.

Since then, I've expanded my skill set to do pretty much everything needed for a parts project. None of my skills are exceptional, but I'd say adequate at this point. I'm still learning, it's a lot of fun and I've ended up with (IMO) some cool guitars out of it.
 

Jared Purdy

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You are right, building from aftermarket parts is interesting if you have very specific requests. For example I built a « 62 » strat with an allparts vintage style neck (rosewood veneer, not slab board), and one piece swamp ash body, finished myself with gold leaf and nitro. Same if you want ebony fingerboard, stainless steel frets, mahogany body, nitro finish, and so on… That’s not happening with Squier parts and otherwise would reach custom shop prices.

View attachment 1040256

Be aware that the cost of such a build will probably reach between 500 and 1000$ , and is not easy to resell. So, moneywise you’d better buy a used USA Strat.

Building from Squier or used MIM parts is great if you want to swap electronics, refinish the body or do some other silly mods or experiments.

When planning the build pay extra attention to the parts dimensions:
Usa made neck heel and neck pocket are usually quite consistent, Allparts too, but some Asian/squier necks may be thinner sometimes.
Pickguard screw holes (USA vs others, again)
Tremolo/bridge width, string spacing and screws position are critical.
Tuner hole diameter too.

Sourcing those parts for the right fit is the real challenge here.
If I was to go with Warmoth, the one piece, swamp ash body alone is over $315 and the flame maple neck is over $700, so I'm already up there. Allparts charges over $500 for what appears to be the same body.
 

cousinpaul

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Is there certain neck profile or body weight that you can't get on an off-the-rack guitar? I suffer from trigger finger and am fussy about necks. My strat is a Warmoth hardtail with rosewood slab board, 1" boat neck profile, etc. My tele is a road worn player with a chunky Allparts neck. I put them together back before Fender was offering anything affordable a thick neck. That may still be the case depending on your budget. My bodies and necks were purchased used, and I got very good deals.

I should probably mention that good parts don't always add up to a great guitar. One advantage to shopping for a complete guitar would be playing as many as you can and picking the one that suits you. With a partscaster, there's no guarantee.
 
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LowCaster

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Premium flamed maple is expensive, if that’s what you want go for it. I find that it may be over the top, and does not really suit the relative simplicity of the strat. Plus what appears to be very lightly flamed/figured in pics (unfinished) will be enhanced by the finish (and can be enhanced even more with oil, etc...). I’d be happy with their <300$ flamed maple necks.
 

bgmacaw

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There's a tendency to spend too much, especially on one's first partscaster. The other downside is that sometimes these expensive parts don't form a cohesive guitar.

If you want to get into assembling parts guitars you might want to consider starting relatively inexpensively to gain experience in what works. If you don't want to do that, modding an existing guitar might be a better path.
 

Jared Purdy

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Is there certain neck profile or body weight that you can't get on an off-the-rack guitar? I suffer from trigger finger and am fussy about necks. My strat is a Warmoth hardtail with rosewood slab board, 1" boat neck profile, etc. My tele is a road worn player with a chunky Allparts neck. I put them together back before Fender was offering anything affordable a thick neck. That may still be the case depending on your budget. My bodies and necks were purchased used, and I got very good deals.

I should probably mention that good parts don't always add up to a great guitar. One advantage to shopping for a complete guitar would be playing as many as you can and picking the one that suits you. With a partscaster, there's no guarantee.
No, just seemed like an interesting and fun project. I like big, 50's C profile necks, which is consistent with what I have on my CS Strat.
 

Jared Purdy

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There's a tendency to spend too much, especially on one's first partscaster. The other downside is that sometimes these expensive parts don't form a cohesive guitar.

If you want to get into assembling parts guitars you might want to consider starting relatively inexpensively to gain experience in what works. If you don't want to do that, modding an existing guitar might be a better path.
I was wondering about fitting disparate parts together. Which probably suggests that getting the body and the neck from the same place is a good idea. I prefer the offerings from Warmoth anyways. They're also less expensive than the same from Allparts.
 

Jared Purdy

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Premium flamed maple is expensive, if that’s what you want go for it. I find that it may be over the top, and does not really suit the relative simplicity of the strat. Plus what appears to be very lightly flamed/figured in pics (unfinished) will be enhanced by the finish (and can be enhanced even more with oil, etc...). I’d be happy with their <300$ flamed maple necks.
My 2011 CS Strat has a birds eye maple neck and it's gorgeous.
 

Blackmore Fan

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Don't forget that you can order a Fender MIM or Player body from a variety of sources for a decent price, and the same goes for the Fender Player neck.
 

justusberlin

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Don't forget that you can order a Fender MIM or Player body from a variety of sources for a decent price, and the same goes for the Fender Player neck.
that!

It will be cheaper this way - find a neck that feels great and Pickups you like.

Building partscasters is fun but if you are not sure about it why bother?
 

Raising Arizona

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Tone bomb. There bodies and necks are
superior fitment and quality.
I don’t think I’d get ash again (heavy) but this machine is a work horse.

837FAEA4-DFA3-41C7-B431-A4CFF1FDC5E7.jpeg
 

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Freeman Keller

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The whole idea of assembling a parts guitar is pretty straight forward but it helps to understand how the geometry relates to setup and playability. Ken Warmoth stated that they expect end users to have to do a little fret work but he knows most don't. Understanding and setting up a trem adds a bit of work. Buying a loaded pick guard certainly makes the soldering easier but limits your choices.
 

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thunderbyrd

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I built an all warmoth strat hardtail. It came together very well. I paid less than 200 for the body new. It was ash -not swamp ash. The grains didn't match very well, therefore cheaper. So look carefully at their site.

I highly recommend warmoth.
 




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