Want to make a partscaster as a complete newbie. Where should I source my parts?

IggyT

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Hey all! as the title says, I've been interested in putting together a partscaster and was wondering the best place to go to get parts. I know many swear by Warmoth and others say that their experiences haven't been that great. I know the same is true for GFS. So I'd like to ask, as a broke college student, what's a good idea in regards to tackling my first partscaster? thanks.
If they haven’t been mentioned yet : USACG in Washington. I put together ten or more teles/strats with their necks and bodies.
 

Scoutbag

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There is some GREAT advise from other folks in this thread, just wanted to say I too have had very good luck with allparts and mightymite necks. If you don't know which end of the wrench to use you can buy fender parts from stratosphere, more money but less hassle. The more adventurous you are with a file, or paint etc, you can wing it more. I'm half way handy fixing most stuff & I learned that partscasters are pretty straightforward because Leo valued simplicity. Once you understand some basic stuff, neck angles, scale length, how to cut a nut you'll be a master builder ! good luck electric guitars are not Stradivarius
If you want to really cheat check out IYV guitars from vietnam.....the question isn't why is my $200 prs copy so good, it's why wasn't the PRS or Dueseberg I sold 25 times better?
 

David Menke

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Hey all! as the title says, I've been interested in putting together a partscaster and was wondering the best place to go to get parts. I know many swear by Warmoth and others say that their experiences haven't been that great. I know the same is true for GFS. So I'd like to ask, as a broke college student, what's a good idea in regards to tackling my first partscaster? thanks.
I have been doing parts guitars, mainly Warmoth for about 20+years. Unless you have plenty of $$, do yourself a favor, just buy a Fender Squire. Being a College Student and working, parts guitars, even buying the least expensive pieces, maybe staining or painting the body and neck, time spent and $$ maybe the least expensive and including a setup is at least $500. My typical build is $1200+. The middle and right pictures in my icon are Warmoth builds. There are also many other guitar brands even Epiphone, if you like Gibson style guitars, would be a good choice. I would say if you were out of college, had your own home, time on your hands and extra $$, it is a fun and rewarding project.

When you discover that you need a good soldering iron $70+ small drill, sandpaper, multiple sizes, Paint, (nitro or poly) or maybe stain. Then add the items you need to put it together, you are up in $$. Go to Stew Mac site and check out items. Look at Amazon, Angela Electronics, Musicians Friend and Sweetwater for parts, maybe even Fender site, price them out on a spread sheet. Check with a local guitar tech for price of a setup, unless you have purchased all the tools to do it yourself, and then think, why am I doing this myself? Many guitar players also made their first guitar in a work shop setting in school or college or had assistance from a relative.
With a parts guitar, if you get in from China or any company without a warranty, the guitar may become fire wood. Ebay, mostly no returns on guitar products. If you put a finish on the body or neck, most companies will not even accept the warranty.
Get a decent guitar and spend the time it would take to build the guitar, playing and practicing.
 
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David Menke

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There is some GREAT advise from other folks in this thread, just wanted to say I too have had very good luck with allparts and mightymite necks. If you don't know which end of the wrench to use you can buy fender parts from stratosphere, more money but less hassle. The more adventurous you are with a file, or paint etc, you can wing it more. I'm half way handy fixing most stuff & I learned that partscasters are pretty straightforward because Leo valued simplicity. Once you understand some basic stuff, neck angles, scale length, how to cut a nut you'll be a master builder ! good luck electric guitars are not Stradivarius
If you want to really cheat check out IYV guitars from vietnam.....the question isn't why is my $200 prs copy so good, it's why wasn't the PRS or Dueseberg I sold 25 times better?
Building your own guitar, is getting exactly what you want in a guitar. Ordering from a company like Warmoth, you can pick the neck width, frets, scale length, type of wood, nut type. You know this when you have been playing guitar for quite awhile, and played multiple guitars, Gibson, Fender, Paul Reed Smith and other Brands. Building the parts guitar, you get what you pay for, pickups (cheap) that is what you get, cheap pots, less expensive bridge and cheapest tuners. Oh Bother, you get a cheap guitar. Parts Guitar, your building a custom instrument that you know exactly what you want. There are inexpensive Electric Guitars and cheap Electric Guitars, Stradivarius, yes there are some very good Electrics in that class. That is why some of Gibson, Fender, Heritage PRS are in their Custom Class Category costs a lot of $$ and rightfully so, the master craftsman put time and energy, along with the best parts available and setup to commend the Stradivarius pricing, (maybe a bit less than the millions). Cheers and hopefully this new builder will seeing the writing on the spread sheet.
 

David Menke

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OK, so the operative word in your post was "broke."
Stay the heck away from Warmouth. They have nice stuff, but you pay extra for the name.
StewMac has lots of goodies too, but their shipping is glacially slow and prices are way high.

I do this on the cheap and here's what I have found:

Since our friends the Chinese have acquired CNC machines, they are cranking out some great bodies at a fraction of the cost of US makers. eBay is a good place to find the body of your dreams (bound, thinline, routed for various pickups, color, etc.) for well under $150 including shipping. I've used several.

Necks all depend on what you like and how much you want to spend.
eBay and Amazon actually have a variety, from Asian models around $50 to Fender CS for $400.
I have used Mighty Mite with success, and they run around $150.

All the "daddy parts" (hardware from tuners to bridgeplate and even pickups) can be found on Amazon.
One of the joys of Amazon is their free returns - if a part doesn't work out, you can send it back for a refund. Try doing that with StewMac and you'll at the very least be slapped with a hefty "restocking fee."
If you know what you need, there are lots of choices on Amazon.
Pots (CTS and Bournes are the best). Switches (want a 3 or 4-way? They got 'em). Tone caps too.
Pickguards in every color and design on earth for a "custom" look. And knobs ditto.
They carry Tusq nuts for Fenders. Fender tuners and other brands (I like Sperzels).
And pickups by everyone from obscure cheapo Asian brands to Seymour Duncan.

Pickups is one place you have to make serious choices. The guys on here are a great resource.
Since you're "broke," you need to try Bootstraps. You can get a neck and bridge Telecaster pickup set in a variety of flavors for around $50 - a fraction of what other "boutique" builders charge.
Their customer support is first-rate and their product is wonderful - handwound in a garage in Ohio.
I have used their "Pretzel" set with success - and they make several different sets.
If you want to spend a little more, Tonerider gets good reviews.
And if you REALLY want to get some quality pickups, Seymour or Lollars and lots of others are out there.

The best advice I can give you is take your time and realize that the first one may or may not be a keeper. It's a learning process. Have fun!
I like your advise, but this first time builder has 0+ bucks, according to him, going to college, no time on his hands, and the lack of tools and experience to test drive making his own guitar. Plus your parts list is great, but he needs to price out all the parts first to see if maybe, it could be over his college budget. Just buy a Squire!!! Then tinker with changing out parts first.
 

Happy Enchilada

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I like your advise, but this first time builder has 0+ bucks, according to him, going to college, no time on his hands, and the lack of tools and experience to test drive making his own guitar. Plus your parts list is great, but he needs to price out all the parts first to see if maybe, it could be over his college budget. Just buy a Squire!!! Then tinker with changing out parts first.
Yeah, just saying "broke" is not specific enough - a budget figure would be easier to help point him in the right direction. And the Squier is a good place top start, regardless.
 

strats62

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Hey all! as the title says, I've been interested in putting together a partscaster and was wondering the best place to go to get parts. I know many swear by Warmoth and others say that their experiences haven't been that great. I know the same is true for GFS. So I'd like to ask, as a broke college student, what's a good idea in regards to tackling my first partscaster? thanks.
I've put together many. They all looked good but it wasn't until the 3rd or 4th one that had any mojo worth keeping. I'd suggest an inexpensive kit to start on and learn/hone your building chops and once you figure out the nuances go for the good stuff. I still have 3 that I gigged with regularly (retired now) and ultimately parted out and sold the others.

I liked using fender bodies, fender or usacg necks. Pickups, paint, etc etc options are endless.

Lots of info here....


Good Luck
 

David Menke

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Yeah, just saying "broke" is not specific enough - a budget figure would be easier to help point him in the right direction. And the Squier is a good place top start, regardless.
Oh yeah, his budget would be nice to know. After fixing and building 5 parts guitars, I find the bottom end of my spending seems to creep up very fast from the original amount I wanted to spend. When I worked on my Blues Junior Amp, I had his son install the mods, a few years back, (cost of shipping and work) then I had a better cabinet built, pine with tongue and grove corners. Then the C-Rex speaker and new reverb tank. I could have purchased a new amp!!! Got what I wanted, but doing it yourself or with any modifications seems to get the $$ flowing out of your wallet very quickly.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Sourcing parts from manufactures with an effective QA program is all the advice I can offer. Oftentimes, saving a few bucks on a critical piece can be all it takes to create a situation that will make you hate guitar building forever, and that would be tragic.
 

tjnugent

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I always use Warmoth….I’ve always had positive transactions with them….good bodies and necks….never had an issue.

But hey….that’s just me….when something works for me I stick with it. :lol:
My first partscaster was pieced together with body, neck and all the hardware from Warmoth. If you aren't sure what you are doing you can call and they have people who can help make sure you get parts that are compatible and would be a good choice. My Brother just did his first build by calling Warmoth and they walked him through the process and made the order. Very easy on his part. You will find Warmoth expensive, but they produce great bodies and necks. The rest of just a pile of hardware. Good luck!
 

Full-Tilt-Tele

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Well, for me, I had a great hobby experience building Partscasters for friends and local musicians. I've purchased several bodies, necks and hardware and you can sure find some fabulous deals on e-Bay. There are some suppliers in Michigan, New Jersy, New York, Dallas, SoCal, Mississippi, etc. that have some very nice products available on-Well, for me, I had a great hobby experience building Partscasters for friends and local musicians. I've purchased several bodies, necks and hardware and you can sure find some fabulous deals on e-Bay. There are some suppliers in Michigan, New Jersy, New York, Dallas, SoCal, Mississippi, etc. that have some very nice products available on-line.
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I shop for moderate prices, something like $85 for an imported neck, $65 for a body, and they have great quality. Remember, even 2/3 of the 'Brand' stuff I buy, still comes from Asia.
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line. I shop for moderate prices, something like $85 for an imported neck, $65 for a body, and they have great quality. Remember, even 2/3 of the 'Brand' stuff I buy, still comes from Asia.
 

Freeman Keller

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I'll see if there are any places in which I can ask around. In regards to finding a complete guitar for less, I'm completely aware that this costs more than it'd probably be worth, but for some reason, I really just wanna put one together. Haven't had a project where I've been able to build something with practical value in a while.
That is the best and correct reason for wanting to do it. You can build exactly what you want ( within reason). However its also addicting - I have scratch built 30 guitars to date and assembled a couple of parts guitars
 

David Menke

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If they haven’t been mentioned yet : USACG in Washington. I put together ten or more teles/strats with their necks and bodies.
USA guitars moved and is owned by another company. They started out with employees from Warmoth and in the early 2000's were very interested in making a better guitar and neck than massed produced by other companies. They were a bit more $$ than Warmoth, and very willing to go the extra mile with customer service. The site usually seems to be closed lately. But their products are good.
USA Custom Guitars Web Shop
 
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Happy Enchilada

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Oh yeah, his budget would be nice to know. After fixing and building 5 parts guitars, I find the bottom end of my spending seems to creep up very fast from the original amount I wanted to spend. When I worked on my Blues Junior Amp, I had his son install the mods, a few years back, (cost of shipping and work) then I had a better cabinet built, pine with tongue and grove corners. Then the C-Rex speaker and new reverb tank. I could have purchased a new amp!!! Got what I wanted, but doing it yourself or with any modifications seems to get the $$ flowing out of your wallet very quickly.
^^^^Totally agree! That's why my most recent projects (threads to come soon) are "rehabs" of factory guitars. First is an Agile LP style with P90s I got new online for $415. It comes from the factory with GraphTech nut and saddles and impeccable fit and finish, including fretwork. Ebony fingerboard in 12>16 compound radius. Grover tuners. And full-size pots. Flamey real maple (not veneer) 3/4 inch cap over mahogany. Some models have total neck-through-body construction. After playing it for a couple weeks, the only thing I'm doing is swapping out the "stacked P90s" for Lollar REAL P90s. It should be a snarling beast when it's done.
Other project is a $200 (plus $63 shipping) dead-on copy of a Hamer Studio I found online.
It has 2 kinda not so wonderful P90s, which I'm planning to replace with SD minihumbuckers (Lollar makes adapter rings for $10 each that work great). Lots more little stuff to do on this one (pots, nut, switch, tuners, and fret polish), but for $200 starting price? Yikes!
Plus it's my favorite flavor, cherry red.
The trick with these kinds of builds is to not end up spending more than if you bought a used McCoy ...
 

trapdoor2

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Alll I can say is that I bought a Fender starter kit for my brother. Basically the cheapest Squier Strat and their cheapest amp. I did the setup and it played as well as any other.

So, I decided to buy all the parts (from Stratosphere) and assemble a non-Squier Strat. Ended up costing more than the whole starter kit...and then I had to buy an amp. The difference in sound and/or playability is tiny. IOW, partscasting can easily be a deep rabbit hole.

Best thing: no issues with Stratosphere.

Better yet: I had a ball doing it.

In building a DIY Tele, I had a lot of problems with aftermarket parts not fitting. I learned the hard way to buy Fender OEM parts...don't mix metric and imperial!o_O
 

David Menke

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^^^^Totally agree! That's why my most recent projects (threads to come soon) are "rehabs" of factory guitars. First is an Agile LP style with P90s I got new online for $415. It comes from the factory with GraphTech nut and saddles and impeccable fit and finish, including fretwork. Ebony fingerboard in 12>16 compound radius. Grover tuners. And full-size pots. Flamey real maple (not veneer) 3/4 inch cap over mahogany. Some models have total neck-through-body construction. After playing it for a couple weeks, the only thing I'm doing is swapping out the "stacked P90s" for Lollar REAL P90s. It should be a snarling beast when it's done.
Other project is a $200 (plus $63 shipping) dead-on copy of a Hamer Studio I found online.
It has 2 kinda not so wonderful P90s, which I'm planning to replace with SD minihumbuckers (Lollar makes adapter rings for $10 each that work great). Lots more little stuff to do on this one (pots, nut, switch, tuners, and fret polish), but for $200 starting price? Yikes!
Plus it's my favorite flavor, cherry red.
The trick with these kinds of builds is to not end up spending more than if you bought a used McCoy ...
PXL_20210805_140604963.MP.jpg

Yes, this one was a bundle of $$ with Fralin Pickups and I finished the body, but Warmoth did the neck finish which adds extra money to the project. Nice birdseye neck though. Eye Candy but fancy wood does not play any better than standard finish. Even a New Real McCoy would have been less, but not the same. This and all my builds, IMO play better than most Fenders off the rack. By the way the light weight body is so much easier on your back than some of the Alder bodies being distributed by the Major players producing the real McCoy.
 
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LJGood

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Hey all! as the title says, I've been interested in putting together a partscaster and was wondering the best place to go to get parts. I know many swear by Warmoth and others say that their experiences haven't been that great. I know the same is true for GFS. So I'd like to ask, as a broke college student, what's a good idea in regards to tackling my first partscaster? thanks.
I haven’t seen anyone mention the body’s, necks, or complete kits from Duncan Africa. Having visited the shop in Mupigi, myself… and acquiring one of his guitars…. I would highly recommend anything that he has to offer…. When I saw Jay sent a CNC over to his Ugandan facility, and then saw the solid bodies they were carving…. And then… he was offering those beautiful pieces of wood for around $170.00… made me think I wanted to launch my own brand using these great bodies. Www.duncanafrica.com
 

David Menke

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Alll I can say is that I bought a Fender starter kit for my brother. Basically the cheapest Squier Strat and their cheapest amp. I did the setup and it played as well as any other.

So, I decided to buy all the parts (from Stratosphere) and assemble a non-Squier Strat. Ended up costing more than the whole starter kit...and then I had to buy an amp. The difference in sound and/or playability is tiny. IOW, partscasting can easily be a deep rabbit hole.

Best thing: no issues with Stratosphere.

Better yet: I had a ball doing it.

In building a DIY Tele, I had a lot of problems with aftermarket parts not fitting. I learned the hard way to buy Fender OEM parts...don't mix metric and imperial!o_O
Getting the Neck and Body is the first part, making sure all the parts are correct, tuner holes, pick guard and even the bridge fitting correctly into place are the important considerations in the build. Making sure the pots are the right shaft size and type for the knobs etc. Many options to take into account in the process. I would not trade my experience and never regretted doing it, but gratefully I had the monetary, resources available to complete each project, or I could shelf it until they were there to use. Once you reach over 8 guitars, there is no hurry in the build. Once I reached 20, I want to do it faster and not let it sit around.
 
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