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How much would you guys pay for my partscasters?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by 63 vibroverb, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. kilroy6262

    kilroy6262 TDPRI Member

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    Despite as much as people talk about "paying for a name" as if it's a bad thing, it is a thing. If you want to sell guitars you build, you'll have to put your own name on them and build a reputation to the point that people are willing to pay for your name on the guitar because it represents a known value. One of my guitars is a '77 Les Paul I bought new in '78, and it plays as well as it did then and (gasp!) I've never had the neck adjusted or the frets worked on because it hasn't been needed. My point is, I pay good money for a guitar that says Gibson or Fender or Ibanez because it's a known product that I can predict will probably continue to be good for a very long time. Your "partscasters" are very much an unknown. So even though someone may understand the time and care you put into selecting and assembling parts and be willing to pay for that, when that person goes to resell it, where's the name? In the end, and in general, people are only willing to pay for guitars based on the value of what they can resell it for.
     
  2. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    I agree! The only reason I started to put together my own guitars is because I wasn't getting what I wanted from Fender without paying an arm and a leg. Therefore, anything I ever built was for me only. If by chance another musician liked something I built(like it has)and they offer me a decent price, I will consider it. I am in no way dumb enough to think I could compete with the likes of Fender or other top notch manufactures. That is a fools errand. When I spend money on building a guitar, I treat it as an expense. Nothing more.
     
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  3. dreamsinger

    dreamsinger TDPRI Member

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    My Partscaster was the result of my pickiness that an off the rack factory Tele couldn't satisfy. The wider Warmoth neck works for my big hands. I grew up watching Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanon so a set of Barden pickups was on the list. The body was a special PITA; a DeHavilland swamp ash that weighed over 8lbs by its lonesome. I am fortunate to have a world class tech, Mark Arnquist, among my friends. His solution was elegant and original. He took 1/4" off the back with a thickness sander, routed out chambers and added a forearm bevel and tummy cut. I found a highly figured piece of swamp ass which he bookmatched to close up the back. The guitar is extraordinary. I wouldn't take a dime less than $2000 for it. Will anybody pay that much? Only in my dreams.
     
  4. fuman

    fuman TDPRI Member

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    I have a slightly more encouraging take for you. If your work is good (those are nice looking guitars), you have a few things going in your favor: 1) You can't get ash bodies on a regular Fender anymore; 2) You get very little control on color, and many of the colors fender chooses are not to some people's taste (e.g., I don't like their choices, generally); 3) You can't get a rosewood or pau ferro fretboard on most tele finishes; 4) Fender, OMG, WHY did you bring back the hideous giant Strat headstock, which is a deal-killer for me on those models; 5) Good parts make for a nice re-sale opportunity for your buyers; 6) They can call it a "Player series" all they want. It's a Mexican-made guitar. They are good, and they may be better than they used to be. But many of us remember not long ago when you could get one new for <$300.

    So if someone wants a particular finish combo, wants better pickups than on a Player, wants an ash body, if you can compete on quality you can sell guitars to those people as "custom." You're not going to make money, you can't compete on volume, but for people who want the guitar to play, and not to have, you can make a case for your work. You would have to be Bill Nash to make money at it, but if you enjoy the process and can get a good price on your parts, you can make it work without losing your shirt as a low-volume seller who is not in it for the money. Fender doesn't even make a Squier standard guitar anymore, and a CV series guitar is $400! They're pretty good guitars, but you can persuade people that you're offering something that's worth paying more for.
     
  5. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    I echo Telekarster’s point completely. I put together 2 Tele style guitars with top shelf USA components and totally enjoy ever moment they are in my hands. One of the most satisfying achievements of my life.

    I spent months researching ideas and details on line, and I must say there are so many people willing to share what they know. Then selecting and ordering the components I thought would do for me what I wanted. Like learning to play guitar, you need to invest the time to achieve the desired outcome.

    Take a look...


    BC9039D5-B321-4AC2-B5DE-29B9FF159C55.jpeg
     
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  6. goodcheaptele

    goodcheaptele Tele-Meister

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    What you are doing is not new. Most Boomers were doing this in the 1970's. Refinishing Teles and Strats was a big deal back then. I must have done a dozen or so myself. Of course the parts industry only accommodated Fender style parts but that was to be expected thanks to bolt on necks. What you are doing may be fun and you may be very good at it but it is a widespread "occupation". Nothing new to be seen here. But rock on in your "circle" of influence you seem to have the knack for it.
     
  7. Muadzin

    Muadzin Tele-Meister

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    Unless I get to see and try it out in person I can't judge quality from a distance online. When I buy a brand however I know I also buy quality control I can quantify. And similarly, while I might know you, the builder and your qualities, the person I might sell that guitar later too probably won't, which means I could end up with some serious depreciation.

    I wish it were otherwise, because I'd love to turn guitarbuilding from a hobby into a profession, but its all about building a brand. Which is just like it is with bands. You gotta build a brand in addition to building guitars or writing songs. And you gotta spend a lot of time of marketing it. I'm always reminded of Robert Meyer Burnett's quote, it takes at least 10 years of hard work to become an overnight success in Hollywood. Well, the same applies to making original music and building guitars. Without a brand all you're making is what some random dude is willing to pay for it.

    Unless you buy the cheapest parts from Aliexpress or have free wood its next to impossible to build a Tele for that kind of money. I just came from the woodstore to get some woods for a new build and here are some prices I've noticed:
    Red Alder body €130
    Black Limba body €150
    Mahogany body €80
    Basswood body €40-50
    Maple for a neck €40
    Ebony for fretboard €60-80
    Maple for fretboard €20-40 depending on how flamed you want it
    Flame maple top €50-80
    Black Limba top €50-80

    Granted, he is not the cheapest but all the webstores I frequent don't offer finished bodies or even blanks that are any significantly cheaper. Unless you order the ****tiest of ****tiest of crap off Aliexpress or Ebay you can't compete with the Harley Benton's or Squier's in the world, you do not have the economy of scale to order at least decent enough parts at a low enough cost and the cheap labor to assemble it to offer for $200-300. Now is the guitar I built using the best parts I could get and afford as good as those cheap guitars? That is the really interesting question. Are we as good as we think we are?
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
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  8. teleman1

    teleman1 Friend of Leo's

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    In order to pay more than $600, I would have to hold and play to determine extra value. If it had all top quality parts, ie warmouth, musickraft, high end electronics & pickups, looks, maybe to the $900 range. It would have to be less than 7 lbs to go any higher.
    Here is the issue. Society has been dumbed down to think/believe that NEW is the best & only way to buy. From homes furniture cars new means no problems to most. And a high value is attached monetarily. There is no respect for used and little for refurbished or home made. Thats where the lack of value comes and why most people wouldn't give over $350 for your guitars. They don't know how to attach value and OMG, there's no warranty. You could go out of biz or die. When a craftsman is GOOD, the fees for that quality are huge, or they seem so. You buy a custom anything for $3500, say furniture. It is worth half when you get it home and you can't return it. If it were mfg'd and bought at Costco. You can return it with no cost to you. SO I say your value will always be low on partsocasters because the public has been propagandized to needing and ONLY wanting new. Me?, I stop at used underware/briefs.
     
  9. BrazHog

    BrazHog Tele-Meister

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    My opinion too. The bodies are the best part of the guitar, the part where it's most obvious that you are adding value. I would try selling these first, maybe have the partscaster as an option.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do!
     
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  10. musicmand

    musicmand TDPRI Member

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    EDIT: Just saw the comments above - YES, the bodies are the best part. Finish and sell those. You could make a ton of money, especially if you market directly to the DIY Partscaster crowd. Okay, back to my original post /EDIT

    So... If I'm paying more than $1000 for a bolt on guitar, there has to be something special about it. I'm always thinking about resale in case I grow away from a particular piece of equipment or need to pay emergency bills or something. I have one partscaster, and while I really like it and it was made to my specs (within reason on my budget), I only paid about $300 for it (traded some unused pedals for it) and likely wouldn't do it again.

    The typical partscaster that I see with Fender necks or even higher end parts aren't worth much to me because I know I can't flip them down the line.

    THAT said........ I did once buy a really nice partscaster Precision Bass for $150. I needed a P-Bass for a project and this guy's work was flawless. I ended up trading it ten years later for a 60's Gibson bass, which I then turned around and sold for $900. Of course, a year or two after that I needed a P-Bass again (after several years of not needing or using one) and I bought a Squier that just isn't in the same ballpark... so I sort of wish I had the parts bass back.

    Value is all relative. I lust over a $3000+ Novo guitar, which is really just a REALLY advanced version of a partscaster, but I also know that their guys really know what they're doing to get a comfortable guitar.

    Okay, with all of that said, OP, looking at the pictures, I'd probably be interested in the guitar for $250-300 (upper end if I'm trading). My thought would be that if I didn't end up liking it (plenty of guitars I've loved in the shop or at the trade and then realized that after 90 minutes it hurt my hand or it just wouldn't play nicely with my rig), I could still sell at that price point, and if it DIDN'T sell or trade, I could take it apart and get my money out of it again. In fact, I've been tempted by partscasters just for the neck.
     
  11. bloomz

    bloomz Tele-Holic

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    This may factor into this, and it just may be only me, but I don't think so. A side trip perhaps.

    I've stayed away from used sellers that "upgraded" their guitars, all my guitars are bone stock.

    Why? Well I've figured that someone spent money "upgrading" their guitar, new pickups or whatever, and now, if it's so much better, why are they selling it?

    If I did want to "upgrade", I'd also want to choose the exact upgrades myself, like the partscasters I made with the EMG DG-20 pickup sets, or whatever.
     
  12. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    I'm in the camp that the guitar is only worth as much as it plays well.

    If it's a mostly stock MIM Fender neck I'd have a hard time paying more than a Player series would cost me cause I assume it's not going to play much better.

    I've played a few Nashes. They're worth what they're worth IMO because they play better off the shelf than Fenders I pick up off the shelf. Not that they're even really more expensive, the Nash guitars I've seen locally (new) were priced between American Pro and American Ultra level.

    Your bodies are very nice though, if I was doing a parts caster I might pay for one of your bodies. If I was doing a partscaster the two things that would be a challenge for me would be finishing the body really nicely and finishing the neck really nicely and doing a good job on the fretwork. I don't even have all the tools to do so, so I'd happily pay for those two jobs to be done if I could demo one of your necks and it gave me the impression you were going to make me a really nice neck. The whole rest of it.. installing bridge, doing the wiring harness, installing the tuners, making a nut, doing the setup, I can do all that fine myself.
     
  13. oregomike

    oregomike Tele-Meister

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    I built my *caster because I had specific needs with the neck shape and board material that I couldn't find on actual Fender Tele Models. What I ended up with is probably the best feeling/sounding tele I've ever played. Even other tele vets I play with were like "Wow, that's one of the best playing teles I've put my hands on." It made me feel pretty stoked since it was my first build and I seemed to hit a home run. I probably put in just over 1k for everything, not including my labor. I don't worry about what anyone thinks it would be work on Reverb, since I built it for me, and it's a keeper.

    Caster.jpg

    OregonMike
     
  14. Fender-guy

    Fender-guy Tele-Holic

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    It’s funny how I’ve sold all my partscaster from $1600-$2000CAD. I’ve sold MJT bodies from $300-$500CAD. Your facts are coming from your opinions and not actual facts. You tell the guy his bodies are trash or should go in the trash, how the hell is not negative. I don’t care really what think of his bodies but you have your facts mixed up with personal feelings.
     
  15. erobillard

    erobillard TDPRI Member

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    There's a shop in town where one of the guys builds and sells his "private brand" *casters. He'll do artwork on the guitars, or leather pickguards, or some sort of vintage stressing / relic'ing, he chooses great pickups and has enough experience to get good tone from what he builds. Point is - he's adding some sort of value beyond the sum of the parts, and not simply building "partscasters." Anyone who really wants a partscaster can hit up eBay / Warmoth / StewMac and take the parts to their local guitar shop to put together properly for a couple hundred bucks, and hey, that sort of a custom offer might even be the better way to market this service without building guitars that could sit on the rack forever.

    To check out the market for yourself, look at your local Kijiji/Craigslist/Facebook classifieds for an idea of where people are pricing home builds, or better, your local used music shop where the prices on the label will be more realistic to begin with. If there aren't any hanging on the wall, have one of yours along and ask what it would typically go for. That should give you an idea of what you can charge in your area, and don't be surprised if it's underwhelming.

    The extreme is of course to build necks and bodies too, and become a proper maker. If you haven't seen it, there's a great documentary about Carmine Street Guitars where Rick and Kelly have been building great instruments for a while now. Inspiration if nothing else.
     
  16. no doz

    no doz TDPRI Member

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    Contrary to what a lot of people in here are saying, I do think there is a market for this kind of thing OP. Techs are asked to modify or upgrade instruments constantly because there are a ton of players out there who are interested in improving their instruments who don't possess the knowledge, tools, skillset, or energy to accomplish the task themselves. A custom build is the same idea but to a polar degree.

    I'd recommend embracing the power of social media, particularly Instagram. Follow a bunch of local friends, players, guitar shops, and other guitar tinkerers you appreciate. Post regular content that emphasizes the quality and attention to detail that you put into your work. Give people a sensory experience and get them emotionally involved in the process. After a few months you'll find more people reaching out to you, more people picking your brain, and more business opportunities popping up. It's easier for potential customers to take you at your word about quality if that quality is something they can witness for themselves. It's the best thing you can do for yourself aside from putting a guitar directly into their hands to experience, which unfortunately isn't always an option.

    I'd also recommend deviating from course just a bit and offering instruments that are custom tailored to your client's preferences as opposed to your own. I've built a handful of guitars for customers who wanted custom instruments but needed some guidance on parts and wanted the work done for them. There isn't a killing (and realistically not even a living) to be made here, but people WILL pay comparable prices to major manufacturers if they feel they're getting a unique bespoke experience and a high quality instrument from a reputable builder out of the deal. It just takes a bit of personal branding and is good for a couple hundred bucks here and there.

    Your guitars look beautiful, best of luck, keep it fun!!
     
  17. _dave_

    _dave_ Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Myself, I’m more of a Franken-caster kind of guy, but I would honestly probably only pay good money ($2k +) for a partscaster from a TDPRI member.
    I play a Gibson acoustic primarily now, but I always come back to this board for any reputable information or advice for anything musical.
    The immense knowledge and respect for the craft oozes from this board.
    I’ve drooled more on TDPRI over home-grown builds than anywhere else.
    There is so much love for the craft here, it is very much appreciated and I hope it continues for a long time.
    -Dave
     
  18. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Let's face it, Fender's production guitars are partscasters. Bolt-on the necks, screw-on electronics, box and ship. That said, I love that Leo chose this method. It allows for (near) factory quality customization at home. Legos for guitarists.

    As for buying someone's completed partscaster on the web...no way. Too hard to tell what's under the paint or pickguard. Plus its more fun to browse Stratosphere or 920D Custom Shop to build what I want. (The OP's guitars do look great, tho!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  19. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    BTW, some people pay a premium for partscasters. Nash doesn't cut their own bodies or necks.
     
  20. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    I whole-heartedly agree with your comments here. As a rationalist, I understand the psychology of branding/quality assurance. Unfortunately, some of the bigger manufacturers that had previously built their brand on quality now decidedly bank on their branding, rather than quality, near exclusively. That said, the quality actually available today, due to independant luthiers, smaller manufacturers, and the DIY parts fabricators, is phenomenal...and in certain areas, continues to progressively improve. The guitars I have either assembled ('cept maybe the first one) or built are as good as anything I could possibly need as a musician. Of course, i have no need for a super-crazy flamed-quilted-burled top or exotic birdseye, 11-ply, exotic-flamed space-age neck.

    And building a well designed and made electric guitar from scratch out of quality music instrument-grade woods and good quality parts and components is quite a bit more expensive that $2-300 dollars in my experience.
     
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