Do people really pay $1-2K for partscasters?

Happy Enchilada

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I think the sticking point is resale value.

a custom guitar to your favourite specs has much value to oneself.

$1000 -$2000 is not a lot of money to some. It is to me though. So I was forced to build my own guitar from scratch.

it was a micawber with a baseball bat neck. Seth lover in the neck, cheap pickup in bridge (donlis or gfs, can’t remember, sounds great to me). Maple neck, yellow cedar body (no yellow tint required!).

I am a pig in sh*t.


Like the Bible says (actually, it was Blood, Sweat, & Tears), "God bless the child who has his own." So sayeth the sign that hangs over my reloading bench. And God bless you, Greenmachine!

Speaking of religion, I always get a kick out of the church musicians who spend thousands on CS Strats and Taylor acoustics. Jesus, after all, rode around on a DONKEY (or he walked) - not in a fancy carriage attended by servants. Or an Audi. Just sayin' ...
 

Vermoulian

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Bolting a guitar together out of parts does not make it a partscaster, guys. That's been a legitimate guitar construction technique since at least 1951. What makes something a partscaster is that it does not have a brand behind it, i.e., somebody who is not a guitar company cobbled it together from parts he got from God knows where. A Nash guitar is not a partscaster because the whole thing is a product from Nash, and that product from Nash is a guitar assembled from parts that Nash sources (I guess; I don't know but that's what people say). There are posts in this thread suggesting that Fenders are partscasters. I mean, listen to yourselves. Is it a partscaster because it's bolted together instead of glued? Why would that make a difference? Gibson makes a bunch of parts and then glues them together, so I guess every Les Paul is a partscaster too?

What pretty much everybody means when they talk about partscasters is guitars that are NOT in their completed state the product of one company. They have no provenance, no name backing them up. Coincidentally they are often made from parts of someone else's actual guitar, but many are also built from the ground up with Warmoth or whatever components. But the common thread is that they are built by Some Guy. And to the OP's actual question: No, I would bet nobody is paying the delusional asking prices for some partscasters. People get this idea that the value of their guitar is the price of all the components, but the market just doesn't work that way. Yes, you paid extra for the new pickups or whatever that you put in your guitar, but the market value of the guitar is NOT the cost of the guitar plus the cost of the pickups. It's less because nobody trusts Some Guy to do a competent job.

If you want to build guitars, put your name on them and try to sell them, I would say that those are not partscasters, but they will probably sell for the same money until you establish your brand and build trust and reputation.
 

Telekarster

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Let me put it this way. I was playing a show several years ago. The other guitarist had a nice old USA Strat thru a 67 Vibrolux. I was playing a parts Tele thru a miced up modded Princeton. Nobody coveted the other guys Strat, but a player came up between sets and offered me $2K for my guitar after handling it. I said no way. Had many many offers after that. Finally ‘gifted’ it years later to a recording studio for a few thou worth of gear. Same thing with the amp. Great gear is great gear. The label matters not.

Only an investor, no player, would pass on a dream playing guitar. It’s all in what you want the guitar for, to play or for an investment...

And I dunno how you can make a great guitar for $300... no way. Parts will cost $800+

Cool story man, kudos, and agree. I've not had someone walk up to me and offer my $$$ for my own personal build, but I have had them come up and inspect and ask me if it's an original 51 Nocaster etc. When I tell them "No... I built it myself". Their eyes get big and then their faces change in prep for their next question, which I've had many times "Oh! Wow man... that is awesome. Can you build me one?" This is where the real fun begins because then I tell them what I have in it in parts alone + the time it will take me to build it = no less than 1000 to even make it worth my while (and even at that, not really). Their faces then change yet again (cause they thought they were gonna get a great guitar on the cheap), and I never hear from em again ;) Which is fine by me :cool:
 

goodguy

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Own some pretty nice Fender Custom Shops, PRS, Gibs, etc. My Nash T-52 & S-63 are as good as any of them (maybe better considering the price). Ironically, I don’t have the desire to own an amateur build partscaster (or build one myself) - maybe someday I will build one for fun but I always want something I can resell if need be.
 

bluetele54

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This is a “partscaster”...
It has an original ‘51 No-caster neck and the body has a neck pocket date 5/20/52 (hey, yesterday was it’s signing date anny.!)
The guard is original, the bridge pup is og but rewound, and the neck pup is a Kuwabara...
The bridge plate when I got it was from a later year Fender, so I swapped it out for a respected after market parts maker.
It had a very thick poly finish that required stripping before I could have a proper butterscotch finish applied.
The tuners are new.
Control plate and knobs are original, as are the strap plugs, but the neck plate is from a later Fender.
Upshot: whilst it may not be a “stock as a rock” Telecaster, thus it’s value wouldn’t be commensurate with a totally original Blackguard of the era, after 50 years of playing Telecasters, it would be very difficult to find a better instrument to my taste.

I didn’t do any of the work myself, but given I was given this project guitar, I was patient enough to have the process completed over a 12 year period as I had instruments that were sufficient for my gigging needs.

So “Roberta” (yes, I named it), once completed, EXPLODED in my hands.
Just a perfect “partscaster”, and a worthy companion to my other well used instruments.
74BA3F0F-5DFB-4D49-8233-667F06998ED1.jpeg
 

bluetele54

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Well, “God Bless the Child” was written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr. in 1939.
...but why quibble?

...for accuracies sake.


Like the Bible says (actually, it was Blood, Sweat, & Tears), "God bless the child who has his own." So sayeth the sign that hangs over my reloading bench. And God bless you, Greenmachine!

Speaking of religion, I always get a kick out of the church musicians who spend thousands on CS Strats and Taylor acoustics. Jesus, after all, rode around on a DONKEY (or he walked) - not in a fancy carriage attended by servants. Or an Audi. Just sayin' ...
 

Telekarster

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So “Roberta” (yes, I named it), once completed, EXPLODED in my hands.

Righteous man! A beauty. The Nocaster I built did the same thing when I completed her. And the more I played her, the better she got! "Irene" is her name ;) I have a family problem though because "Charmaine", the 54 spec Strat partscaster I built, and Irene get jealous of each other if I don't give em equal play time LOL!!! They are both naughty girls indeed... :cool:
 

GAS Giant

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Yeah. Think about it. A custom body painted from a vendor goes for 3 to 400 or more easily. Add a custom neck for another 3 to 400. You're at 600 to 800 and that's before adding any pickups that can range from 50 bucks to 250 or tuners that can range from 30 bucks to 100 or more. Pickguard, screws, electronics, strap posts, bridge, etc. All that stuff adds up, and when you buy it piecemeal on the internet you don't get the price breaks the big guys do when they import an entire container of one part from China.

Does it make good financial sense to pay that much for a partcaster when you can buy a fender for 700 to 1200 bucks? Probably not. But not everyone cares about that. It's about building or putting together exactly what you want that may not be available to buy.

I've invested a lot of money into tools to build my guitars from the ground up, but those builds still cost me 400 to 600 dollars depending on what I'm doing. But I do it because it's fun. At the end I have a guitar that plays way better than any Fender MIM that cost more than my build and the satisfaction that I built it.

This entire forum exists to analyze every single facet of playing/building/owning guitars down to the finest detail. So yeah I'm never surprised when I see people drop a ton of money on a guitar that then becomes essentially worthless. But if it plays well then it plays well. Now the people selling them... They have to understand that it'll be hard to get what they think it's worth.
I had a Nash dealer near me years ago and was always very interested in the look of the guitars...no matter which tele or strat copy I played I was never excited about the instrument. They were well constructed, but never had the magic beans for me or I would have purchased one. They were always much less than Fender Custom shop stuff, but the FCS guitars that I played (also near Wildwood) were too expensive for my budget, but quite often did have the magic beans.

I started doing MJT parts guitars as a fun lab to test out pickups and necks while indulging my aesthetics. I have had very good luck with MJT stuff. The vast majority of the bodies have been extremely resonant and live. I have used MJT custom neck builds, Fender necks, and Warmoth necks - this is its own chapter - all good in their own right. Warmoth necks have exceptional quality control (my 12 string tele neck is the superb and was worth the large expense), but Warmoth doesn't do the the slight aging that I like. Sending a Warmoth custom order neck to be finished puts them squarely in the same price range as a FCS neck. I have had excellent luck with the MJT necks, amazing playability and feel.

That said...some MJT project guitars feel and sound so good that they are certainly worth $$ as a tool to make music. Value, however, gets weird...people want to trade baseball cards all day. I think that the level of execution for FCS guitars is still just amazing, with amazing craftmanship. Not every FCS guitar is right for me, nor should they be. Craftmanship is necessary to have a decent instrument, but the mojo of randomized component matching to suit the player's idiosyncratic tastes cannot be computed. So...some MJTs feel and play just as well as a very expensive FCS, and certainly better than a Nash. I would like some from all of these builders, please.

Is the MJT, therefore, worth more than $1000? It can be, but most often not quite. I look at it more in terms of "see how many cool guitars I can build for the price of one Fender"...I was always the kid who wanted the buffet rather than one dish. You can build a pretty good MJT guitar on your own for somewhere around $1000, sometimes parts are just lying around. You can also go beyond...some MJT bodies get pretty expensive (custom orders in the neighborhood of $500 and up for bound teles); a good neck being $400-500. Add some good aged tuners, a bone nut, have proper fret set up (or plek) and that cost shoots right up. A good bridge can be expensive (but I have had great luck with some cheap bridges-GFS strat bridge with a brass block, e.g.) and pickups can obviously get out of hand quickly if you are doing Duncan antiquity or some of the crazy $500 boutique sets that are out there. Then you may need a good luthier to build it...if you are doing a Bigsby bridge tele on a body that isn't pre-drilled, the potential for error is real. You might spend $100 for setup or you might spend $300. At that point, you can be way over a grand in cost. It is the assembled guitar, however, that must be priced if you re-sell it. I have had parts guitars exceed $1200 in parts and when assembled only rate a "meh". I have had some that were north of $1600 come together and be amazing. What is "amazing" worth? Can they be sold as an FCS rival? Not really, there is no inherent quality control. You have to know what's going into the guitar, down to the pots. And then...even with the good stuff, is the guitar meh, pretty good, or amazing? For me, some MJTs are just that good and I, as a customer, would happily spend $1200, $1600 or more to have an instrument that I get that excited about. It becomes a matter of individual stories. I admit that they must be a headache for a store to buy/consign...who knows what the ingredients are. As a store manager, I would buy/consign only the good ones and hope that a buyer who doesn't necessarily need the Fender logo will get excited about the instrument on its own merits...a Fender is a sure thing...at any price point, I see Fenders just move because of the name. Parts guitars don't enjoy that luxury.

Some of them are worth plenty to me. As a seller, however, I do not expect them to hold or accrue value. Every MJT project I approach is supposed to be a money loser, but was value building my goal in the first place? They are reliably fun for me, but are generally money losers unless you part them out.
 

AKBluesDude

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I don't understand paying for the "labor" of putting together a partscaster either. About a third of my thirty or so guitars are ones I put together. I've sold ones I've made generally for less than the price of the parts and have a pretty good local reputation for building a nice guitar, so they don't hang on the wall too long. I've also bought partscasters. Actually my last guitar purchase was a Mary Kaye colored strat, with some pretty decent relic work for $400 off Craigslist. And I've bought partscasters for the parts sometimes . . . to get some Evans or Florance pickups for instance. But paying $1000 to $2000 for for a hobby guitar, no way.
 

bluetele54

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Righteous man! A beauty. The Nocaster I built did the same thing when I completed her. And the more I played her, the better she got! "Irene" is her name ;) I have a family problem though because "Charmaine", the 54 spec Strat partscaster I built, and Irene get jealous of each other if I don't give em equal play time LOL!!! They are both naughty girls indeed... :cool:

I’ve “Blue”, the ‘54 in my avatar, “Renee”, a ‘63, and “Roberta”...
“Blue” rules the roost, and is tolerant of the others.
They all know they have a place in the heart of the one that appreciates them dearly.
 

slumpy

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My half-dozen partscasters are not just randon parts thrown together, the parts all match the body and neck for that era or year, so my much-loved 1995 Mexican Strat has a late 90s body, a Mexican standard pickup set from 1998, the only thing that fails is a gold anodized scratchplate from 2001, otherwise it's all the same. In fact, my partscasters are probably more genuine than some overmodded models seen online.
 

ping-ping-clicka

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People do the darnedest things , things you wouldn't believe if I paid you to watch.
When are a species that has a brain capable of imagining all sorts of the things the Green Mojave Rattle snake or the Arctic Wolf or Fred's dog Fido would never think of.
Keep a Weather eye, you'll see , just wait.
 

Telekarster

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People do the darnedest things , things you wouldn't believe if I paid you to watch.
When are a species that has a brain capable of imagining all sorts of the things the Green Mojave Rattle snake or the Arctic Wolf or Fred's dog Fido would never think of.
Keep a Weather eye, you'll see , just wait.

Wooooosh! Right over my head! LOL!! WTH?:eek::confused:o_O:lol:
 




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