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How much did your partscaster cost? Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Telephonist, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Impossible to say what mine actually cost me.....it has evolved bit by bit over 15+ years. Some parts I already had, some I changed I sold (so some cost recovered) BUT...if you count sweat-equity value, it was pretty expensive. I consider the knowledge learned to be priceless, but I can't imagine the time I have invested. The bottom line is, I have the guitar I want to play, it never broke the bank, and I can only believe I will have it until the day I die.
    Slowisfast and emcee_m_prime like this.
  2. emcee_m_prime

    emcee_m_prime TDPRI Member

    Dec 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    Mine was about $900 all told I think, give or take a bit. I've only had it together for a day, but so far I would say yes, it was worth it. It sounds better than my American Standard Strat (though of course not directly comparable, and a lot of it is probably the pickups).

    It was also a really helpful learning experience, which is valuable in itself. I feel more comfortable working on my other guitars now that I know I could put them back together if I had to.

    The finish did take a long time, though, especially since I have no experience in that area.

  3. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 19, 2017
    I love it, how many coats of min wax?
  4. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Mine waza bout $650 all in, now I already had many leftover bits that contributed, thou, pots and stuff.
    Cabronita type. Deffinetly worth it. I expect when I get it pinstriped I'll have another $200 in it.
    But, jooknow, if I had a custom guitar made for me, which this essentially is, it would be what, $2000.?
    drlucky likes this.
  5. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Jan 23, 2007
    It sort of gets easier with boxes filled with leftovers from other builds , and its hard to actually put a figure on the actual cost....
    One will rarely get the money back when selling a partscaster , but if you like what you created , who cares ?
    I did quite a few years ago , mostly to learn , and its a cool hobby
    zippofan and nojazzhere like this.
  6. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Aug 29, 2007
    MV, CA
    Let's see. I bought a 1974 Telecaster Custom in 1974......

    - Hated the original WRHB pickup. Swapped it out for a DMarzio super distortion in 75. $75 in 1975.
    - Went back to the WRHB just to make sure I didn't like it. Ruined the pickup. Bought another in 1976. $100.
    - Hated having a distortion pedal on the floor because I wanted to tweak the knobs in real time. Gutted a $50 Boss D1 and put it inside the guitar. Used it for like 6 months. I had routed the body and modified the pickguard.. The guitar was dropped, cracked the body severely. This was prior to being able to buy replacement bodies so I commissioned a woodshop to build me a new body. $125.
    New pickguard to replace the modified one. $75 in 78.
    Tried a bunch of different bridges, brass and the like. Probably $100 over time.
    Replaced the original tuners with Schaller, $75, then a few years back with locking tuners $100.
    Replaced the original bridge pickup with and OV. $75.
    Rebuilt all the pots several times with various cap values and pot values. $100 over 15 years.
    Nut replacement and fret level $200.
    Hated the replacement Alder body I had built and bought an Ash body a few years back. $200.
    Designed my own humbucker made out of two tele neck pickups and had Seymour Duncan build it. $275.

    That brings us up to today across 43 years of playing. It's a great guitar, but I have several that are much better. Total in the guitar adding the original cost of $275 in 1974 is $1850.

    This has been my science project guitar since early on. It's in my avatar on the left. Still hanging on my wall and used on occasion for the Avant-garde guitar project. Was it worth it? From a learning experience yes, but I think taking $1850 and getting a really good guitar which sounds fantastic is a better use of funds. I didn't have that kind of money originally. It really depends on your budget, goals and desires.
    Chester Burnett likes this.
  7. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    A lot cheaper since Musikraft failed me twice. Waiting on a Warmoth neck. Total cost of build is somewhere around $650 give or take. Is it worth it? It might be. Worth the experience I guess. Huge pain in the butt.
    nojazzhere likes this.
  8. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    My daughter bought Squier Strats and parted them out when she was 14 - 17, she would buy for £50 to £80 and sell the parts for £120 to £150 on eBay. A guitar a month would bring in a similar amout to what she would have earned working Saturdays in a local supermarket, two gave her riches beyond her dreams. So I had lots of experience of dismantling guitars but none of putting one together and setting it up.

    I do now have five partscasters, though there is only one I have built from scratch. The Strat has a Fender MIM neck and tuners, Lace Alumitone loaded pickguard, blemished natural body and black hardware bought from a USA based eBay seller. All in it cost me less than £300 about 12 years ago, though it took two or three years to pluck up the courage to put it together.

    I bought the engraved body as a loaded body on eBay, then went looking for a suitably different neck to which I fitted a set of Wilkinson tuners. Total cost six years ago just over £300.

    The Fender Deluxe body came loaded with a set of Tonerider Hot Classics and standard control plate. I fitted a Mighty Mite V profile neck and Wilkinson tuners, five years ago it cost me £280.

    Before fender brought out the Wilko Johnson signature I bought the 80's MIJ Telecaster, the bridge pickup did not work so I fitted a set of the Toneriders, and I bought a red pickguard. The neck has a fender decal, but this model should have a maple neck but no serial number so I doubt Fender had anything to do with the manufacture. To date it has cost me £250. I do have further plans for it detailed below.


    My final partscaster is currently my No.1, it was bought as it currently stands a couple of years ago. Originally a MIM Classic 60's, the black body was refinished, hardware reliced, neck removed and replaced with a MIM standard maple with modern tuners, the pickups replaced with a set of Bare Knuckle Brown Sugars. For a grand total of £300 it came in a Fender Tolex case, along with the original pickups and neck. The neck will replace the non-original one on the "Wilko" telecaster, I may try the MIM pickups there too.


    I will never sell any of them. Not as complete guitars, we have parted out too many to stop now.
  9. atk1

    atk1 Tele-Meister

    Jun 16, 2016
    Dayton, Ohio
    MJT Body, Allparts Super Fat neck. I didn't build it. But I paid $900 for it.
  10. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 27, 2010
    south carolina
    All in my partscaster cost me ~$950 over the years, including the case. That includes parts that didnt work out.

    It still amazes me at how perfectly it came together.

    As stated here, as often as possible, it is my best guitar - probably ever - certainly the most fun.:D

    I had a '56 ES 175 once that I might consider trading it for (relative value notwithstanding).
  11. faasie85

    faasie85 Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2016
    I bought a partscaster for 600 euro. Best 600 euros spent on a guitar to this date.
  12. seanmarshall9

    seanmarshall9 TDPRI Member

    May 13, 2015
    LOL, My fault- I see the fun in your post now.

    Earlier I was at work. I'm a schoolteacher, and I read most comments said to me during the hours of 8-3pm as cynical.
    drf64 likes this.
  13. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Here is the principal reason I dislike the term "Partscaster" and won't ever use it.

    Why should a selection of top grade components assembled by a skilled owner automatically require a significant reduction in price before one has even seen or played the guitar? Please correct me if that's not the attitude you intended to convey here.

    I can agree that some builds or upgrades are over done as far as how others may value them. But when popular components are used in a build or an upgrade and the guitar easily compares in all ways with a similar used factory built model why should it be worth far less?

    "Partscaster" seems to be a term often used to demean a guitar in order to negotiate a lower price yet many top guitarists are playing them in concerts and the studio. There's no logic to any well built great sounding and playing guitar or bass automatically being worth less just because it was assembled or modified by it's owner. None. JMHO
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  14. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Both of my main guitars cost around 700 euros a few years back (when the dollar was ridiculously low almost 1,50 for 1 euro).

    They are the best teles I have ever played or owned (out of hundreds)

    1.Warmoth boatneck,brz rw,6150 frets,Jim Le Claire pickups,MJT ash body/finish


    2.Musikraft q/s fatback neck,6105 fets,MJT super light ash body/finish,SD Antiguities

  15. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Wish I could post photos- soon I will.
    I spend about $650 AUD and cannot recoup costs on Gumtree/ebay ( particularly Gumtree where everyone wants Fenders for $5!!).
    I have been doing repairs and built my first "scratchy" Martin style acoustic in 2004. I've had professional musicians laud it.
    Given up building now as it was not viable financially.

    Let's be positive, I have a 2004 ( modified) Hwy.1 in concert pitch, an expensive Sienna sunburst in G tuning and a White/ blackguard in D tuning. A "Blackie" and a Taylor for gigs.
    I will only do custom builds now and negotiate with the buyer about ALL parts, woods, tuners etc. on request. Prefer playing to building also. Cheers from Downunder.
  16. Zeonoid

    Zeonoid Tele-Holic

    Dec 17, 2008
    Slovakia, EU
    thats great theme that you opened.. thinking about it I paid for my partscaster Musicraft one piece ash body, lovely C shaped neck, good tuners, fender bridge, duncan pickups, guitar tech fee, postage -and I was on 1000 dollars
    Now considerate SQUIER THINLINE 72 for 300 bucks plays like a dream for 300 bucks - its not deffinatelly smell of nitro and switch and pots are cheap, but it tunes well and sounds killer
  17. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

    Jun 15, 2017

    They don't have a highwaycat signature electric twangbanger series guitar so I put one together myself.
    Ya I got a lot of money into it but my ex paid for the $550 neck so I can't complain.
    It's the best electric guitar I've ever played and I learned a lot from creating it.
    Whenever a friend insists on buying it I say "it's not for sale" while making a handgun gesture with my index finger and thumb, ta let em know I'm serious, it's not for sale, so ya, my friends love it.
    But next time around I'm ganna have ron build me one.
    At the time a tech filed the nut slots but now it has a nut I made, but I had to apprentice and learn how to do pro setups.
    I got another partycaster I refretted with gold frets.
    Putting together a partycaster is like making your own sandwich, buying the ingredients you like that may be from different sources, and making it just the way you like, extra mustard and everything. You can't buy that already made.
    It helps to make sure the neck and body are a good fit.
    The neck and body are both fender usa, but from different models, Hardware is gotoh callaham and fender.
    Pups are fender scn's.
    Volume knob is outta the way, and the wiggle stick stays in tune. I'm happy.
    Oh I just had callaham make me a custom wiggle stick that sits higher.
    I like the "nitro" paint job too.
  18. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Are you satisfied with the quality of your partscasters?
    Yes, they are, generally, nicer than anything I see in a store.
    Did you bring it to a guitar tech after completing it, to get the precision work done?
    Absolutely and this is really important to getting them to play right. You should budget a couple of hundred dollars for a tech to make your nut, final level of the frets, and roll the fretboard edges in addition to a standard setup.
    Do other people like your guitar, too? Or is it just a great guitar to you, because you built it?
    I guess, but I don't really care. I don't think other people really care about my guitars at all, except the wife who is sure I have too many.
    Can it compete with original Fender guitars?
    Sure, of course. Probably better to compare them to Nash and other boutique builders.

    If you have a really firm idea of what you want from a guitar, specifically, and you don't intend to sell it in six months (who does, though), parts guitars make a ton of sense. It helps to have the tools, the time, and the mindset to do fairly precise work in setting it up.

    I have seen some really terrible "parts guitars" - mostly they A) didn't pay for a setup or do the work themselves, so they have basic problems like too-high nut, the pickups are the wrong height, etc. or B) they made some terrible design choices that seemed cool at first but are just bad in real life. Gold hardware rarely works, and over-complex controls never do.
  19. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 30, 2008
    The Golden State
    1513857764118.jpg This one cost me around $800. Warmoth finished body, Warmoth neck, AVRI 65 pickups, budget hardware, and decent electronics. On par with a MIM. I did all the setup myself.
  20. '56Teleman

    '56Teleman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 25, 2006
    Lindenhurst, IL
    That's almost funny. What do you do for an encore?

    My experience:

    Partscaster Strat - got my costs back and played it for 2 years
    Partscaster Tele - lost $25 at resale after playing it for 3 years
    Partscaster Tele - invested $650 sold for $900 and there were 6 buyers. I kicked myself for not posting it for $1,400.00. The buyer sold it a few years later for $1,800.00

    This one cost me about $1k in early 2008. It isn't going anywhere.

    IIRC, this one ran about $450. It also isn't going anywhere any time soon.

    This one also ran about $1k and I've tried to sell it a couple times. No go. I learned that in the future any build has to be more main stream. Again, about $1k, maybe a bit more.

    EDIT: Yes, I think they were all worth it.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
    Kebmel likes this.
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