How much would you guys pay for my partscasters?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by 63 vibroverb, Oct 17, 2020 at 6:32 PM.

  1. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Exactly what I said. I would pay $500 if it was truly good quality, as decided in person. Based only on a list of parts, I wouldn't venture beyond $400 for anyone else's assembly of Mexican Fender and non-Fender parts. Then again, I can do stuff myself, and I also have very high standards for fret work and nuts. Your average shmoe might pay one or two hundred more than I would, and judge MIM nuts and frets to be fine.

    You seem to be following an odd line from what I said. I said nothing about price being linearly related to the cost of the parts, out to infinity. I stated a minimum below which it's nearly impossible to put together a guitar out of well built parts. You can't put quality pickups (at least $100, more like $150 to $200), hardware ($80 minimum if it's decent), neck ($200 or more), and body ($50 to $100 minimum plus milling time) together without spending at least $500 on parts – bare minimum. Then you have hours of labor, which you'd better be valuing at at least $50 an hour if you actually want to make any money. That has nothing to do with the "whole curve" of money invested versus "quality." It has to do with whether or not you can make any profit at all. Point being, you need to sell your guitars for $1,000 to even bother with putting any of your valuable time in...and people aren't gone pay that. Like I said, you're better off introduding your own brand.
     
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  2. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Meister

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    There's a lot of work involved in making a doll house out of popsicle sticks also---no reason to think anyone will pay you for it. With a BOM, any kid in HS shop class can make a Strat. As far as your work being the same as that done by the Fender factory workers, I guess you should settle for the wage they get in Baja.
     
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  3. JRtele

    JRtele Tele-Meister

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  4. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Afflicted

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    Maybe I misunderstood you, but it sounded like "$500 in parts was insufficient for a good guitar", but I get what you mean now.

    Not sure if you're comparing my builds to popsicle doll houses, but I'm sure I'd have more luck selling a guitar. I'm saying my work would be more thoughtful and cleaner than the Baja workers. Have you seen the soldering underneath one of their control plates lately?

    I get what you mean, but I personally wouldn't buy any of those I saw on the first few pages either. I'm seeing some pretty cobbled together ones in the 300-500 range. Ugly ones from mishmash spare parts. However some nicer ones sold higher in the 900-1200 range.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020 at 10:24 PM
  5. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    There are a lot of different things that can contribute to an instrument's value.

    Some players have an attachment to a specific brand. Some want to play the same guitar their inspiration player plays. Many of them are interested in one of the "classic" combinations - a black Les Paul custom with 3 pickups and gold hardware; a tobacco burst Strat, a butterscotch tele with a black pickguard. That represents a huge chunk of the potential buyers out there who have absolutely zero interest in your or my unusual creations.

    To us tinkerers, there is value in something that is unusual and hand made and made to exactly fit our tastes and preferences.
    But to most players, whatever we made is not an exact match for their tastes and preferences.

    Resale value matters to buyers of just about anything. If a player picks up a used tele of any kind on Reverb, they know what the market price range is and have an expectation they could sell it for close to the same price they're paying. If it's your or my oddball creation, they have no such assurance.

    Some folks do want to pay premium prices for high levels of luthiery skill - but those folks usually want the name of a well-known luthier on the headstock... or they want an instrument that was obviously handmade with great skill.
    Partscasters don't fit this bill. Leo Fender built his company around the use of mass production and assembly techniques for guitars. This is exactly why they're attractive for "weekend luthiers" to work with: they're really easy to take apart and put together. When someone wants to purchase a work of master craftsmanship, this usually isn't what they're looking for.

    All of these things mitigate against being able to build partscasters and sell them for a price commensurate to the time and materials we put into them.

    Sometimes a player will pay to have a partscaster made to his/her exact specs, and the builder might be able to do OK on that service. But you have to find that customer and find out what they want before you build it.

    I personally am not a fan of putting Fender branded necks on guitars not made by Fender. Not saying it's illegal or unethical; just not my preference.
    If I'm making my own oddball thing I'll put my own oddball name on it.
    20201017_222616 (1).jpg
     
  6. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    This is the Dakota Red Partscaster, $350 ish in raw parts. I know my paint work, fretwork, bone nuts, setup and solder work are exceptional, but get 50 miles from my circle of friends and who would know or care to know?

    20200815_185326.jpg

    This one I've got at least $650 in to it plus my time.. If anyone here gave me $550 I'd sell in a heartbeat.

    20200701_161941_HDR~2.jpg
     
  7. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Assuming I didn’t build my own guitars and was in the market and I f they sounded as good as they looked, $600/$700.
    If one was an absolute sleeper/beast, sounded even better than they look (they look great btw) and I just had to have ‘that tone’. $800/$900.
     
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  8. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I think that it is going to be difficult to make money on straight comparisons to models already offered by Fender. If there is any chance at making money they have to offer a lot more than a comparable Fender model whether that be body features, hardware upgrades, creative electronics, etc.
     
  9. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    around here... less than you'd think.
     
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  10. TIM5150

    TIM5150 TDPRI Member

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    Every time that I see a partscaster listed for sale, I just keep on scrolling. I don’t even look.
    I can’t help but think that I’d be inheriting someone else’s headache or hack job , but that’s just me. I don’t mean any offense to anyone one here.

    Even if most were offered for free, I don’t think I’d take it... I know, my loss.
     
  11. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Holic

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    To me, the value of a partscaster is the way the neck has been worked. If the roll is right, frets are finished well, etc then it's more valuable than the sum of its parts.
     
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  12. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Holic

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    deploy the G-D parachute because thou shalt be receiving fewer shillings than thou thinkest thou should

    selling a partscaster is like putting an ugly baby up for adoption. i would not recommend it.
     
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  13. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    A neck/body maker can be setup for making and selling parts while a local guitar shop can be setup for restoring say vintage acoustics.
    The local guitar shop isn’t setup for making parts as a business plan, they most likely won’t make money making a part, while the parts shop has everything including machines and labor revolving around making parts. But they aren’t setup to make money doing repairs, although say they know how.
    Making money is a whole separate thing.

    I would pay full price if it is exactly what I want. I want master luthier quality, custom neck, 2 1/16 string spacing. Custom pickgaurd with control knobs in specific locations.
    If I was putting together a partscaster the only help I would need is painting and finishing, I’d do everything else myself for fun and to save money, so I might not buy someone’s partscaster. I’m also satisfied with my work.
    I am always interested in particular services, like someone who is setup for painting and finishing, great work at a reasonable price.
    So for example, I’d be interested in you making me a custom pickguard because I know first hand the trouble and mess that goes into making one, and I appreciate custom knob locations and quality work.
    But I wouldn’t have use for a partscaster.
    I’d just keep it fun for the most part and not worry about the money. Sometimes you’ll meet someone who will pay you to help them out one together and get lucky. I’d put the money towards for tools.
     
  14. Squier by Squier

    Squier by Squier Tele-Meister

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    Few issues to overcome in Partscaster business as discussed.

    1) Parts are more expensive for us than they're for the big companies. There are even businesses dismantling guitars and selling them as parts.

    2) Then if you want to value your work accordingly, final price is considerably higher than in streamlined factory. And as above, some companies actually use labor for dismantling guitars.. to generate profit.

    3) Fans of Patscasters are hobbyists themselves and like to assemble things. It's part of the fun. Or at least hand select everything byself.

    4) Branding helps when selling outside Partscaster community -> takes time, marketing and work.

    But of course, it's just that you find your niche of customers. In the end value is something that one's willing to pay. So maybe start with selling one first? But be prepared to make changes if needed and lose some money at the start before it gets better.

    I think most of us are willing to see you do well in the end. People are just being honest it might not come easy.

    E: And me? I probably wouldn't buy a Partscaster, other than because of parts. If can get it cheap.

    When bying a branded instrument, we're like buying a story and history too. Whatever it is.. big company, long history, small but highly regarded luthier with exceptional ideas.. or craftmanship.

    When assembling my own partscaster, I'm creating the story, history and bond myself. Or a pile of non-functional and expensive parts screwed together :lol:
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 3:08 AM
  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't think you can take our pricing as in any way related to your build quality.

    I'd bet most of us don't even buy new $800 guitars because the prices are so much better after the first owner loses a few hundred and passes the savings on to us.

    Read through threads, and CV Squiers seem to get more love than CS Fenders, suggesting that we are as a group a little on the cheap side.
    Also most of us probably assemble and mod, so we can't really say what we would pay if we were those other guys, because we aren't those other guys.

    And as far as those guys who prefer new $800 MIM guitars and cannot mod anything, a player that knows that little about the simple Telecaster, may not know enough to choose your builds, because they only understand that Squier is cheapest, MIM is middle grade, and USA is best but not CS, which is another tier.
    How can those buyers know what your guitars amount to?
    We read over and over that partscasters are worth very little.
    That's the info most under educated player/ buyers have.
    A player who can't swap a neck or a pickup is under educated.
    That's not an insult, I used to work on my cars but after they all got computerized I became an under educated motorist.
    If a guy in the next town built cars from parts he got for good prices, I'm not sure why I would choose one over my Volvo wagon.
    I know what to expect from the marque, it has a history and it's priced in the middle but lasts longer than average and doesn't rust.
    I don't know how the cars the guy in the next town builds hold up, how they perform, how much they sell for after five years, or maybe even what parts will fit.

    I don't agree with a lot of mass assumption but that's what we have for a gear market.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 11:42 AM
  16. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    Selling Partscasters is hard unless you have some sort of reputation as a builder...even if your area of notoriety is a five mile radius. Otherwise, you're offering used parts (even if you took them out of the plastic yourself).

    Your guitars look fantastic and if they were some limited line of MIJ Fenders (for example), they would sell well.

    Good luck!
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Some players would apply your descriptions to $450 CV Squiers.

    Is there any specific method you use to set those prices?
    Comparing to MIM pricing which is based on standard parts pricing based on labor costs in country of origin?

    Guitar prices are very very subjective!
    And plugged in sound, or "that tone" can usually be had for $100 worth of pickups and a good player.
     
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  18. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Like almost everyone else on here - I would not pay you enough to make it worth your while as a business.
    I've built and sold a bunch of partscasters over the years including some really good ones. I realized a while back that I would get more money by disassembling them and reselling as parts.
    The value of a partscaster is not about overall quality - I can go on Craigslist and find a good used USA G&L for around $900. There is a MIA tele in nice shape I could get for $700 in Danbury. High quality guitars are a dime a dozen my friend.
    The value of a partscaster is that it is custom for you. BUt custom for ME is a different thing.
    I would hate your 51 U neck shape, and I'm not so much a fan of the kinds of finishes you chose. That's not a criticism, it's just my personal preference. Any partscaster I made, I would expect to have little resale value. It's not "right" but it's a fact. Building partscasters for a business seems like a sure way to go broke in a hurry.
     
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  19. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    frettech.com use to sell custom partscasters for less then $700.

    You can't limit yourself to a local market.

    Keep in mind that the turtle won the race.

    I always wanted one of Rob's Tele's, never had the money.

    Test the waters in the classifieds here, give it at least a year.
     
  20. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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