When is it a Partscaster?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DimEyeGuitarGuy, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. wrvond

    wrvond Tele-Meister

    Nov 7, 2014
    West Virginia
    You can take a cigar box, attach it to a 2x4, stretch some strings from one end to the other and call it a guitar.
    Partscaster is merely verbal shorthand for a guitar that wasn't assembled by (in this case) a Fender factory.
    We are, as we used to say in my youth, "ate up with it". We obsess over all things Fender or Gibson. I know when I bought my first Strat it never occurred to me to ask if it was a partscaster (it wasn't), but now every guitar has to go through a 55 point inspection before I'll even consider buying it.
    And if I find anything changed or modified, it's going to be reflected in what I'm willing to pay.
    Maybe it's just an artificiality invented by Fender and Gibson marketing as a tool to inflate keep their prices maximized. ;)
  2. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 10, 2017
    Tokyo, Japan

    I like ‘definition questions.’ Some are pointless or boring, but some of them intrigue. Don’t know why, but this one intrigues.

    For me, and I stress this is just for me, and as far as I have thought about it (in other words, since reading this thread), a partscaster must fundamentally be a Fender guitar.

    I think ethically, legally and *originally,* ~casters were and are products made by a company called Fender.

    Anything else, is a T-style or S-style, etc. I might call such a guitar a Tele, but I probably wouldn’t call it a Telecaster. And, I certainly couldn’t legally represent it as a Telecaster.

    Since we are talking parts, and not intangibles, unknowables, consumables or subjective qualities such as tone or feel, the two most important and defining parts of a guitar are the body and the neck. Other things are important of course, but take away either of these and you do not have a guitar at all. Take away anything or even everything else, and you still have a guitar. Might not be playable, might need a hunk of work, but it is fundamentally something you can call a guitar. You could say of your body and neck, ‘look at my guitar, I need to finish it’ but a box with a neck in it and a bunch of parts but no body, that’s ‘look at my guitar parts, when I get a body, I’m going to build a guitar.’

    Take away the neck or body, and you don’t really have a guitar. If neither are Fender, it’s not any kind of ~caster.

    So, for me a partscaster is a guitar that started out as a whole finished product from Fender and has had parts swapped by subsequent owners and at least one of the two major parts (body or neck) must be changed, so at the most fundamental level it’s made of parts, and one of those two major parts must be a Fender product.

    Anything else is not a ~caster or is just a modded Fender guitar. For me.

    Under my definition a whole and complete original guitar could go from stock to partscaster, to non-caster ~style and back to partscaster, for example.

    Again, just how I currently see things.

    One day I’d like to own a partscaster Telecaster or a Tele / T-style made from non Fender bits. Either way would be fine by me.

    p.s the word ‘replica’ just now popped in my head after typing all that - uh oh…
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
    ms will and Apache Snow like this.
  3. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Feb 26, 2009
    Dallas, Texas
    I'll leave to wood. If the wood is original and matches...it's still a thing
  4. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Holic

    Oct 17, 2019
    It’s still a Fender Telecaster with mods. Change neck or body it’s a partscaster.
    ms will likes this.
  5. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

    May 2, 2008
    san diego
    That's interesting. I would be more biased towards the neck being the critical part. I think the neck and the electronics make the majority of "the guitar" and the body is the most replaceable part. Maybe even to the point of having the original body, an mjt relic, a light ash body and you could regularly swap any of those bodies in and out. Its not only the same guitar but its not much more significant that if we were to change our shirt. It pretty much is the only way to change a casters shirt.
  6. mugen74

    mugen74 Tele-Meister

    Oct 6, 2019
    Either they are all partscasters or none of them are. I say there’s no such thing. It’s all random parts, being randomly joined together in a mass production assembly line.

    Jlwctn and TeleTown like this.
  7. Jlwctn

    Jlwctn Tele-Meister

    Jan 28, 2020
    Indiana, USA
    There has been an incredible amount of creativity shown over the years by individuals exploiting the interchangability of the Fender bolt-on platform by adapting and/or modifying necks, bodies and parts to fit in an unintended manner that serves the end user aesthetically or functionally in a way that a stock instrument would never do, no matter how odd, polarizing or alienating the resultant is. Look at how many of these modifications and innovations have made their way back to the factory, and became "The Design Darling of 20XX, The Next Big Thing..."

    Resistance Is Futile.
    Your ideas Will Be Assimilated.

    PS: I'm saying they're All Partscasters.
  8. TelePlank

    TelePlank TDPRI Member

    Jul 7, 2018
    I always thought of a guitar as a partscaster when the original body and neck are separated permanently. Anything else is just mods to me and if I likem or not.
  9. TeleTown

    TeleTown Friend of Leo's

    Oct 10, 2010
    Twangers Medows USA
    a couple of guys that make a good living playing partscasters. guthrie-trapp-by-david-ross-reviver-records.jpg kenny_cover.jpg
  10. pblanton

    pblanton TDPRI Member

    Dec 13, 2019
    Black Forest, Colorado
    ^^ This
  11. cigaro

    cigaro TDPRI Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    I have several "partscaster" Teles and Strats. IMHO, the ones I build are better than stock Fender. If you replace the original part with a Fender licensed replacement I'd still call it a Fender. Tuners, pickups, pots, switches, etc. Don't count.
    DHart likes this.
  12. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Feb 11, 2013
    E.C.'s "Blackie" was a partscaster. All his favorite parts from several Strats. Worked for him.
  13. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    My Teles and Strats (I have quite a few) are all made up of Fender-brand necks and Fender-brand bodies. A few have their originally assembled "other half", but most have an "other half" that was not the original other half.

    For example, I have a few Fender American Standard bodies which have Fender American Professional necks, and with pickup and pot changes to suit my taste. I consider them to be modified Fender guitars.

    I also have a some Fender MIM bodies which have Fender American Special, American Professional, or American Performer necks. I consider these to be modified Fender guitars also.

    In nearly every case, I've changed pickups and pots to be more in line with my preferences, sometimes staying with Fender pickups, other times going with custom winder pickups.

    In my view, these are all modified Fender guitars, since the necks and bodies are all Fender-branded.

    When the neck, or the body, or BOTH are not Fender-branded parts... that's where I think the guitar clearly becomes more of a "parts caster" than a modified Fender guitar. But again, some of these non-Fender parts casters are incredibly fine instruments, as good as, or better than, Fender factory-assembled guitars!

    To me, the term "parts caster" may be a very positive term, when applying to some guitars, and a not-so-positive term when applied to some other guitars. Some parts casters are amazingly great guitars and others not-so-much so. You have to evaluate the individual guitar to determine which is which.

    Do these terms really matter? No where near as much as what the completed guitars play, sound, and look like. I prefer my custom-created modified Fender guitars to almost any off-the-rack factory-assembled Fender that I've ever played. People who have put together their own high-quality Fender or "parts caster" guitars understand this well. You can create an amazing Tele or Strat from high-quality components of your own curation.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
    Si G X likes this.
  14. steve1961

    steve1961 TDPRI Member

    May 18, 2011
    Malton England UK
    For me, what you are talking about Tom is modding an existing Fender model. After Fender doesn't actually make all the parts that you are taking off. If you keep the original woodwork its modding. But then for example if everything else was stock and you changed the neck, then I'd still say that was modding.
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