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First partscaster - Where to invest my budget?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by LostTheTone, Dec 19, 2020.

  1. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Spend on quality, proven neck, tuners, bridge and setup/ fret levels etc. Don't spend on exotic woods, boutique pickups or over the top finishes.

    The established wood combinations etc are such for a reason. You can play with pickups later if still inclined
     
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  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'd say a neck that's comfortable for you and you like. Doesn't have to be expensive.
     
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  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Years ago I didn't like Mighty Mite. Early when they came on the scene like 15 years ago I bought a cheap neck and it was terrible. But , a year ago I bought one listed on Ebay, it just happened to have the features I wanted. Wasn't dirt cheap but wasn't expensive either. It's actually a great neck I like. I ended up liking it better than another Musikraft I custom ordered. In the end that partscaster build idea went away. So it's just sitting here, never mounted.
     
  4. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Tele-Meister

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    They do not sell commercial guitars that are what I want.

    At a minimum, I would have to strip any second hand body down to the wood and completely refinish it. I would have to put in completely new pickups and electronics. I would likely have to rout out a battery compartment. I would definitely have to fill extra pickup holes that I don't want. I would have to find something to replace a pickguard that I don't want.

    Whatever I buy second hand, I'm getting so much stuff I don't want, and making compromises on what I do want.

    The goal here isn't to get the best guitar for the money. The goal is to get the guitar that I actually want, not just whatever guitar I can get.

    Also, I did a second hand refurb project earlier this year and stripping the finish only to find that the wood under it was absolutely awful really couldn't be naturally finished was a really really miserable experience.
     
  5. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    I know you've probably already done so, but I did some searching around, and it looks like your spot on the globe has places like Guitar Anatomy and Northwest Guitars and the UK wing of WD Music that have decent-looking un-fancy necks for right around £120 - £200, so a solid neck at an average price doesn't look uncommon. Hosco seems to be the budget brand over there, have you seen any opinions of those?

    Here's another idea: troll eBay for used necks. Plenty of decent Squier necks around for cheap that will do just fine, just make sure they are the width and thickness and fretwire you want. Also, I knew a guy whose secret was snapping up Peavey necks, which used to be plentiful and cheap used on the 'Bay, and a damn solid foundation to build a guitar around. Plenty of other solid brand necks can be had for cheap used as well, just know what you're looking for.
     
  6. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Tele-Meister

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    What frustrates me is that the Axecaster prices are £145 for a neck, but a made to measure 1 piece custom job from GuitarBuild (who will likely be supplying the body) comes to about £240, and includes those extra services, as well as a much better choice of scale length, profile, headstock design, and even little touches like fret markers.

    Now, £100 is still £100, and that's not nothing. But the consensus seems to be "seriously dude, make sure you get the neck you want". And, if the minimum for any good neck is £140, and the right neck costs the kind of price that GuitarBuild (or Warmoth or whoever) charge then, well... £100 is ok.
     
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  7. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Holic

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    I completely agree.

    I've used junkie old bridges off of First Acts, and bodies that were salvaged out of abandoned houses (literally) and have never had an issue.

    But I've always had problems with cheap tuners. That doesnt mean you need to spend $100+ on them, but the $20 made-in-China sets (which I've used before) just dont work well.

    Pickups are fairly subjective, but I would say I've noticed a big difference between cheap/normal volume pots. I've used a ton of GFS pickups/pots, but for me even their "premium" pots have almost no taper whatsoever. And that really can make all the difference. The pots that came with my EMGs provide a gradual, noticeable roll-off, which really makes my single pickup guitars versatile.

    Here's something to think about as well:
    Depending on what your vision is for this guitar, you may be able to get the most for your money by buying a decent used guitar (Squier/Epiphone) just for the neck & hardware. That stuff adds up quick, even if you're buying it cheap.
    - Neck
    - Tuners
    - Volume/Tone pots
    - Pickups
    - Volume/Tone knobs
    - Selector switch
    - Control plate
    - Bridge
    - Strap buttons
    - Neck Plate
    Etc.....

    Even if you bought each of those items at a low average of $10, you're already in for $100 before shipping. But if you buy a used Squier from GC for $80, then you have that much more to spend on the body/pickups you really want.
     
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  8. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    In the past I've built 3 Partscasters and ended up with some pretty nice guitars for relatively small money but the cost of quality bodies and necks has gone up considerably since then so more recently when I began planning my next one I came to realize that for the bucks I was just as well off to find a good deal on an complete guitar and upgrade it. I went with a new one that was priced right but if I had it to do again I'd go used and save even more.

    G&L Tribute Blues Boy - Duncan Seth Lover/Jerry Donahue pick ups - upgraded wiring harness - Gotoh bridge - Graphtech nut.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Tele-Meister

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    I suppose I meant "compared to the prices in the US".

    As I said above, off the shelf necks here are already within touching distance of bespoke ones anyway, which makes a bespoke one vastly more attractive.
     
  10. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    In my experience the body is about the least important part of the guitar. It's there to look nice and to hold all the other bits together.

    An electric guitar is made mainly of wood because . . . well, because it's a handy, pliable, and fairly light material. No other reason. You could make it out of other things and plenty of people do.
     
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  11. mtglick

    mtglick TDPRI Member

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    I've done about twenty or so over the years, first because I fell in love with something I couldn't afford, then because I had extra parts from the prior projects to use up, and then because it's kind of addicting. My first parts build was about 20 years back, when Ebay didn't have halfway decent, cheap import parts by the shipload. I put a used Charvel neck onto a used Ibanez RG770 body and a vintage Floyd bridge, total outlay was about $200 or so. I've talked a couple of people through their first projects, and from long experience, some general points:

    1) For a first project, you're best off piecing together a known quantity, rather than trying to heavily modify parts that weren't meant to fit together from the factory. In other words, don't listen to that little voice telling you that yes, it would be cool to use that Strat copy neck on an Ibanez AANJ body. Pick a model you're trying to recreate and follow the template. Saves a ton of frustration, and unless you're as bullet-headed as I am, that frustration is what you're trying to avoid as you figure this out. In reality, partscastering is kind of like building with Lego--things should fit together. If you have to use force, you're probably doing it wrong.

    2) Start with a straight neck. For a beginner, unless you've done a ton of setup work, dealing with a marginal neck will just frustrate you to no end. Doesn't have to be high end, doesn't have to be new, just straight, with clean frets, and a reasonably clean heel joint--if the plane where the neck meets the body is chewed to bits, or altered, not worth your time. Trust me on that one.

    3) Once you have the neck in hand, hunt down the best-finished matching body you can find. If you have experience as a refinisher, ignore this, but if your plan involves a full strip and refinish, and the words "rattle can" appear anywhere in your plan, on a first project, spend the extra money to buy a body that's done.

    4) Invest in a good bridge. Again, doesn't have to be the best, don't make yourself crazy, but for a first build, find a Schaller that can be adjusted for string spacing, or something along those lines. Cheap tuners are fine, cheap strap buttons, cheap knobs--all of that can be upgraded later if needed, but if the bridge isn't functional, you'll never get comfortable enough with the guitar to want to upgrade it.

    5) Finally, understand that pickup wiring is its own skill, and plan accordingly. I bought an iron and learned how, it's not that difficult, but especially if you're not building a pickguard-based electronics setup where you can move the work around to make it easier to access your solder joints, consider buying no-solder harnesses, etc. to get you going, and upgrade later.
     
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  12. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    This is a good observation. What are you thinking as far as neck specs go?

    25.5 scale and 9.5 radius, or something more in line with the Gibson with 24.75 and 12” radius? I think at the very least a 12” radius would be more suited to a “metal” guitar, but then again, you might want something a little different from your Gibson.
     
  13. Fender-guy

    Fender-guy Tele-Holic

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    I’ve put together about 10 or so quality partscasters now. I’ll get a Allparts neck, MJT body and find a vendor that has all the hardware to save on shipping.

    I don’t know what you’re looking for in a neck but this Strat neck from these guys for reference is awesome. I’ve got three necks from these guys and the frets were perfect, I just had to polish the nitro clear coat and bolt it on.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/333816227472
     
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  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Buy Melvin Hiscock's book.

    After that good measuring tools -24 and 36 inch straight edges, a machinist's rule, a set of feeler gauges. You will need them over and over as you assemble your guitar.\

    A spirit of fun and adventure.
     
  15. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Tele-Meister

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    I won't say these are final decisions, but yes 25.5" scale and 12" radius are more where I would want to be. I am open to being convinced this guitar should be my first 28" scale guitar; I tune down lots and I do want this build to be my primary guitar for something.

    I am reasonably easy going when it comes to neck profiles, and I'm not so ambitious of a guitarist that the differences make much difference to my playing. A Tele neck would be fine. But if I'm spending a chunk of cash on a neck anyway, then I may as well find something that's in line with my preferences.
     
  16. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    It might be best just to have the neck built. From what I’ve seen, 12” radius is common on cheap import necks, but the nicer in-stock stuff tends to be standard fender. I like 12”, so I’ve gone directly from cheap imports to custom built strictly because I was sick of getting firewood.
     
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  17. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for those tips.

    Hopefully I'm not trying anything too ambitious!

    Finishing shouldn't be a big problem. Do not worry, no rattle cans involved. I have made that mistake before! The plan is for just linseed oil over walnut or mahogany, then wipe on poly. Nothing outlandish.

    Pickup wiring I'm alright with. I've rewired three guitars this year, and I'm confident I can get it done. Also, if I do use EMGs, they make solder-free kits.

    You know what is crazy? That after 50 years we are still swearing as we try to solder wires to pot cases. What are we, cavemen? Is it literally beyond out abilities to make a pot with a proper terminal for the case connection?
     
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  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    May I respectfully suggest investing in wood? Build something simple to begin and see if you like it. There literally hundreds of people here that have "been there done that" that would help if you just ask, including me :D

    Dave
     
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  19. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Tele-Meister

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    I would love to do it all the way from bare wood, but I lack both tools and workspace unfortunately.

    One day though...
     
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  20. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I made my first 3 on the kitchen table babysitting 3 sons soooo
     
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