Here at Righteous we get a lot of partscasters in for repair.  They seem like a great way to get a good guitar for less than one produced by one of the many guitar builders out there.  Does it really save money?  Do they have any resale value?  Is it ultimately worth it?  These are questions we get a lot.  Today we will be answering!

What is a partscaster?

A partscaster is slang for a guitar that has been put together from parts.  This could be parts from different guitars, but more commonly it refers to a guitar that is bought as individual pieces and then assembled.  There are several companies that sell necks, bodies, hardware, and more. We are mainly focused on the latter example.  

Does it really save money to build your own partscaster?

The answer to this is a bit difficult and probably lies in a grey area depending on how you look at it.  To make it easy, we are looking at prices from one of the most popular parts suppliers.  Here is a breakdown of a Stratocaster style build with all components:

  1. Tobacco Sunburst Finished Ash S-style Body: $465
  2. S-style Style Neck: $339
  3. Pickguard: $30
  4. Set of Fralin Pickups SSS: $99 X 3
  5. Gotoh 510 Trem: $140
  6. Schaller Locking Tuners: $140
  7. CRL 5-way Switch and Tip:  $19.50
  8. 3 Knobs:  $4.50
  9. Neck Plate:  $5
  10. Switchcraft Jack and Plate:  $8.50  
  11. Strap Buttons and Felts:  $8
  12. 3 CTS Potentiometers:  $15
  13. String Tree: $2
  14. Neck Screws:  $3
  15. Pickguard/jack Screws:  $2.25

TOTAL:  $1,478.75 plus shipping and tax

As you can see, it adds up pretty quick and this is on the lower side of price for the neck and body.  It gets particularly pricier if you try to factor in time of assembly.  If you were to pay someone to assemble it, you are looking at a big bill.  Especially for the leveling/crowning of the frets (these partscaster almost always need it).

Things to keep in mind are that assembly, setup, wiring, leveling and crowning frets, correcting nut slot height, and more a needed to make this play its best.

Do they have any resale value?

In short, no.  They really do not.  As they are not a branded guitar, they are often well under the sum of their parts in regards to resale value.  This has to be a labor of love or it is simply a huge loss.

Is it even worth it?

Putting together your own guitar can be very rewarding.  While there are several challenges, it does allow you to make a guitar how you would like it to be in regards to choosing everything individually.  In the end, you have to decide whether it is worth it.  Just keep a bit of budget for the extra work needed if you are not comfortable with some more advanced guitar work.  Will you get a better guitar than a similarly priced guitar from a major brand?  Almost never is this the case.  But then again, you can't say you built it if you just buy one!

August 17, 2022 — Ben Calhoun