Why do you do it?

pyrate85

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2010
Posts
9
Location
LeRoy,IL
I'm [retired], what a joke, I'm busier than ever... But, during the last 'COVID Lockdown', I turned to a hobby I've been enjoying for over twenty five years, that I call; 'Light Luthier'. I started out by finding a few damaged guitars and repaired them and flipped them for a little extra cash.

Now, I've been focusing and creating 'Parts-Casters'... Leo Fender was/is my inspiring, his history, learning about his 'Genius' and his creativity. I wake up most mornings with another 'Brain-Storm' with a new 'Theme', or 'Twist' in the design, or different 'Pick-up' stack.

Below, is a small sample of my 'Teles'... And, lately I've settled on my 'Rock-a-Billy Roughneck' Roasted Southern Yellow Pine Tele Model...

View attachment 892945



View attachment 892946

Those are all soooo cool.
 

dazzaman

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Posts
1,405
Location
Gent, Belgium
I made my first instrument - a Renaissance lute - when I was still at school. I played classical guitar and decided I really liked lute music, but the only way I could afford one was to make my own. Which, with the help of the school metalwork teacher, I did. I have made instruments professionally for about the last 35 years (early keyboard instruments). But I don’t play those.

I guess I make guitars because I have an idea of something I want to make, usually related to using particular wood or veneer, and build up the concept around it, and I guess the making part is the fun bit of realising the concept I have. It also has the bonus that I can then make things to see the effect of slight variations (usually to the controls rather than anything else), and there is no way I could afford to buy guitars with a slight variation.

Most of the guitars I make I could never afford to buy, but making them myself is fairly cheap, certainly cheaper than many hobbies people have. And it is a nice relaxing break from making the instruments that I do as a job. It is a totally different mindset doing something for yourself than commercially with a customer waiting at the end.
 

M_Agerlin

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Posts
14
Age
61
Location
Denmark
Ideally I would chop a tree and build a guitar. I must just realize I do neither have the skills nor the tools to do that (yet ?).

So I have started out with kits (from Thomann.de) but making tweaks, not just assembling them. My first was actually a T-style but I added a belly cut (and arm cut) in S-style and I used it to test if P90 pickup was my thing (it was ).

Am now working on a J bass. Not that much woodworking on that, but I upgrade with active 3 way tone controls. I also considered to build in a Line 6 wireless transmitter but realized it was to big without splitting it in pieces.

To do a body from scratch I see as a quite simple task whereas I do not think I have the skills for doing a neck.
 

Recalcitrant

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Posts
196
Age
71
Location
Philadelphia
There seems to be a huge, or at least hugish, industry that's grown up around homemade telecasters, and a lot of people turning them out at a considerable rate. I made a sort of telecaster myself- I had quite a bit of woodworking experience and equipment, and I had a piece of wood that just seemed to say "one piece neck" to me. For me it was a step toward a longtime desire to make a classical guitar (preferably better than I could afford),and I moved on from it. I'm curious as to what motivates others- some seem quite content to buy manufactured templates, and even whole necks, so I gather they're not primarily after the learning experience. Do people do this simply as a way to get more guitars, or guitars that meet particular specifications? Do they have ambitions to copy other types of guitars, or to create their own designs? Is it simply something to do that they enjoy doing, or a desire to get out from under their spouses' feet? Something to do with pieces of wood that came their way (the woodworker's curse- there's only so many little boxes or pens that you can make)?

I made my first one because I thought I couldn't afford a real one. Lol.
 

Tele Plucker

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Posts
365
Location
Alternate Universe
There seems to be a huge, or at least hugish, industry that's grown up around homemade telecasters, and a lot of people turning them out at a considerable rate. I made a sort of telecaster myself- I had quite a bit of woodworking experience and equipment, and I had a piece of wood that just seemed to say "one piece neck" to me. For me it was a step toward a longtime desire to make a classical guitar (preferably better than I could afford),and I moved on from it. I'm curious as to what motivates others- some seem quite content to buy manufactured templates, and even whole necks, so I gather they're not primarily after the learning experience. Do people do this simply as a way to get more guitars, or guitars that meet particular specifications? Do they have ambitions to copy other types of guitars, or to create their own designs? Is it simply something to do that they enjoy doing, or a desire to get out from under their spouses' feet? Something to do with pieces of wood that came their way (the woodworker's curse- there's only so many little boxes or pens that you can make)?[/QUOTE

My first guitar as a kid in the mid 60s was a late 50’s Telecaster I got for $50. Like an idiot I sold it a couple of years later.
Then in the early 80’s I owned an early 70’s Tele for awhile and traded it away.
Fast forward to 2014 and newly retired, I longed for a Tele once again, so I purchased a new AVRI 64 Telelcaster reissue direct from Fender.
I don’t play out much, but as I like new guitars to look new, it was clear that this new guitar would not be played out…so the idea to do a partscaster was born. My avi was the first build and I did a second one as well.
All that said, I have owned and played an original 1964 Fender Telecaster since the late 70’s, but now it is resting in it’s case. The avi partscaster gets the most attention these days.
I couldn’t recommend building a partscaster any more enthusiastically.
If you think you can do it, why not?
 

lazyeight

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Posts
13
Age
68
Location
Central NH, USA
I have an old Stew Mac Tele body, and the original rosewood f/b neck from my '78 (for years I thought it was an '82! I got it brand new from Guit Ctr in Hollywood. The Ser.# says it's a '77-78!) that I got a 1 pc maple neck replacement for from Fender.
For a few $$ more, I'm gonna build an Esquire type.('Squire-caster?)
 

One-Eyed Jack

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Posts
25
Location
Minden, NV
I love Teles and wanted to play one that I built, since I also build pedals, amps and cables (and I'm the guy holding the pick). The end product is one of the best playing and sounding guitars I own, but I did use a $1.1k Fender Custom Shop relic'd neck. It's not an inexpensive guitar, but I didn't have to do anything over to get it right - I was lucky!
 

Whitebeard

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Posts
183
Location
Port Richey, FL
I built a parts Tele because I could get what I wanted. For instance, forearm and tummy contours. A one piece quarter sawn maple neck with compound fingerboard radius 10-16 and asymmetrical back profile 84 to 97. I wanted Lindy Fralin pups and Callaham hardware and electronics and Sperzel locking tuners. I also had the body painted in Butterscotch gloss nitro and the neck back in satin nitro.
 

Mojotron

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 21, 2008
Posts
5,386
Location
Seattle
For me, starting to play in the 1970's, there was a huge difference between Gibson and Fender... guitars and all the ones that I could afford. When I finally got a Gibson LP (I think it was likely a early 1970's model) I found that the scale length was not long enough to play further up on the neck and I really loved more of a single coil tone - but P90s were not that easy to find for a kid that was as poor as I was back then... So, I started making parts casters in high school out of strat copies - but those played really bad... So, then I learned how to do my own fret work... fast forward to 2000s I started making my own necks and here I am - full on addiction, but extremely happy with my guitars.
 

crazydave911

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Posts
13,518
Age
62
Location
East Tennessee
It will be a hard tail. The Fender tuners seemed like good value for the money, like 50 USD for the set... So not quite a "splurge" but by all accounts pretty decent. I think the Spetzels are about double that... Worth the extra?
I got my Spertzels from their ebay store for a bit over $64. They even gave me the $13 pin drilling jig for free. Then again I paid extra for ebony buttons so hey lol
I haven't built one from scratch but I do have a lot of partscasters. My wife says I should have kept a spreadsheet on what bits came from where as they've been changed around and replaced so many times. I recently swapped a strat neck onto a tele and vice versa just 'cos.

I think it's a the challenge of seeing how much you can improve a guitar and your own skills.

I have nearly enough bits now to do a scratch build but I will buy a neck. Just waiting to be allowed out to buy some wood!! Lockdown would have been the perfect time for such a project.
Building a neck isn't rocket surgery if I can do it lmao
I'm [retired], what a joke, I'm busier than ever... But, during the last 'COVID Lockdown', I turned to a hobby I've been enjoying for over twenty five years, that I call; 'Light Luthier'. I started out by finding a few damaged guitars and repaired them and flipped them for a little extra cash.

Now, I've been focusing and creating 'Parts-Casters'... Leo Fender was/is my inspiring, his history, learning about his 'Genius' and his creativity. I wake up most mornings with another 'Brain-Storm' with a new 'Theme', or 'Twist' in the design, or different 'Pick-up' stack.

Below, is a small sample of my 'Teles'... And, lately I've settled on my 'Rock-a-Billy Roughneck' Roasted Southern Yellow Pine Tele Model...

View attachment 892945



View attachment 892946
Nice to see another user of SYP here :), most here can't stand it and as you've shown takes a little to be attractive, nice roast job :D
I usually veneer it except for the necks which I've painted lol
 

Maguchi

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Posts
2,187
Location
Lalaland
For me it was "how many partscasters can I make?" After 3 I was bored, decided it wasn't much fun and wanted to make sawdust. One of those been there, done that moments. After reading a lot of build threads here on TDPRI I priced out what basic tools I'd need and being thrifty I found some new for a steal and some used. Of course it's a rabbit hole but after a few years what I need isn't necessary but would be handy.

Some can't afford the tools or don't have the space so that I can understand. But for those who've thought about doing a scratch build all I can say is you'll never know unless you try. It's a blast...:)

I’m a firm believer in leaving well enough alone. But sometimes we’ll enough isn’t good enough. That’s where mods come in. I’m pretty good at recognizing what’s not quite right and can usually make the change, mostly with the intended result. Sometimes there’s something new caused by the change that needs changing.

It’s funny that now that I’m retired I thought I’d try a build. Two things happened. I’m very happy with what I have now and I don’t need or even want anything else. The other thing is that arthritis and loss of stereoscopic vision limit me to setup level work. I don’t have the dexterity for precision work.

A soldering iron in my hands is risky, power tool nearly criminal and results of my efforts, wood chips and saw dust.
They kept telling me "try it you'll like it." So I tried it, thought I was gonna die!

 

Greenmachine

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Posts
1,161
Location
New Jersey
I started because I was going to purchase a fat neck. Then I thought why not make it myself since they're so pricey?

Then I thought, why not make the body too?

Then I thought, gee I love Keith's micawber. Why not copy it?

Sooooo there you go.
 

SonicMustang

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Posts
488
Age
31
Location
United States
I love personalized stuff. I want the tool I use to make music to do exactly what I need it to do in order to express myself fully.

I started by modding my existing guitars and then I moved on to building partscasters. I knew though that without spending a bunch of money I wasn’t going to get EXACTLY what I wanted. So I decided to learn how to build from scratch. Funny enough, I still can’t get exactly what I want because it takes time to build the skill set, and little did I know I was still going to have to shell out money for the tools I needed.

With that said, it’s been fun so far and I know that in time, and with plenty of patience and practice, one day I’ll be able to build the guitar of my dreams and it will be all the more special because of it. Then I can start actually playing guitar again :D
 

ghostchord

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Posts
882
Age
53
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
I love personalized stuff. I want the tool I use to make music to do exactly what I need it to do in order to express myself fully.

I started by modding my existing guitars and then I moved on to building partscasters. I knew though that without spending a bunch of money I wasn’t going to get EXACTLY what I wanted. So I decided to learn how to build from scratch. Funny enough, I still can’t get exactly what I want because it takes time to build the skill set, and little did I know I was still going to have to shell out money for the tools I needed.

With that said, it’s been fun so far and I know that in time, and with plenty of patience and practice, one day I’ll be able to build the guitar of my dreams and it will be all the more special because of it. Then I can start actually playing guitar again :D

Right. If you're thinking of building your own guitars to save money think again. Unless your time is valued at $0 an hour your first guitars are probably going be some of the most expensive guitars in the world ;)

For me it's fun and it takes my mind off my day to day worries. There is a lot of satisfaction in building stuff and with a guitar you get to play it after you build it!

upload_2021-8-27_13-54-54.png
 

Moldy Oldy

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Posts
487
Location
Mission Viejo, CA
I’ve always been a DIYer and a guitar player. One day while YouTubing to learn about powder coating I ran across a guy who was powder coating a chassis for the tube amp he was scratch building. I said “you can do that?!?!” and my amp building hobby was launched. Well some of the amp builders also build guitars that they like to show off. Originally I was thinking “too much work plus I don’t have woodworking tools or skills”. But somewhere along the line I ended up on TDPRI and I was hooked. I’m on my 8th build now and I try to do/learn something new on each one. I’ve done 4 teles, a bass, LP, and scratch built a 335. I’ve enjoyed them all (it’s the journey for me) but oddly my original tele is still my #1.
 

fenderchamp

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2008
Posts
2,931
Location
omaha
There seems to be a huge, or at least hugish, industry that's grown up around homemade telecasters, and a lot of people turning them out at a considerable rate. I made a sort of telecaster myself- I had quite a bit of woodworking experience and equipment, and I had a piece of wood that just seemed to say "one piece neck" to me. For me it was a step toward a longtime desire to make a classical guitar (preferably better than I could afford),and I moved on from it. I'm curious as to what motivates others- some seem quite content to buy manufactured templates, and even whole necks, so I gather they're not primarily after the learning experience. Do people do this simply as a way to get more guitars, or guitars that meet particular specifications? Do they have ambitions to copy other types of guitars, or to create their own designs? Is it simply something to do that they enjoy doing, or a desire to get out from under their spouses' feet? Something to do with pieces of wood that came their way (the woodworker's curse- there's only so many little boxes or pens that you can make)?

I wanted to try some different telecasters and like to work with my hands, besides you can build a tele that's generally cooler than one you can buy. Before I built one, I believe I bought a warmoth tele that somebody else put together and I like it. It's just fun and rewarding, for a guitar player to make a guitar that one can play. my first electric guitar was a tele, and think I took it apart and put it back together within 30 days of owning it. I think the Home Depot is probably the worldwide hub of the "hugish" homeade tele industry, and after being on this website for many many years and reading some build threads, it seemed like a natural thing to do. I've never tried to make little boxes or pens or any of that.
 

Daddy Dom

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Posts
59
Location
NZ
Because Fender only made the guitar I wanted so long ago I could never afford it. Almost the same with the reissues. And I'm also a tinkerer :)

Mine's a '63 Partsquire, Olympic white and rosewood fingerboard, Cavalier pickup.
 




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