Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SwampMusic

Parts caster build

Recommended Posts

I was recently given a MIM strat body loaded with SD Jimi Hendrix pups. This will be my first attempt at something like this, so I'm looking for opinions regarding vendors and general tips.

What I had in mind was buying a one piece rosewood neck. I've seen them in various places from $135 to $800. Is it worthwhile to get up into the $400 to $500 range to get one built to spec or just keep shopping until I run across something close that someone has in stock? Do any of the more obvious dealers stand out from the rest in terms of quality and reliability? I'd like to trade/sell the JH pups and install a Gen 4 or Hot noiseless set, instead.  I can do that and sand the body myself. Maybe a new set of saddles. I'll probably go to a luthier for the paint job. In the end, I'd like to have a solid, serviceable strat that plays well and sounds good with out spending a ridiculous amount of money on a MIM body. Any and all advice and tips are appreciated. 

:wave: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Out of curiosity, what's wrong with the existing saddles? Personally, I wouldn't change them unless there was a problem.

Unless you're going for a natural finish, you might want to check with an auto body shop or a shop that paints motorcycles for the paint. Best of luck with the build.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that there is a specific problem other than they look kind of light at first glance. The bridge doesn't look as heavy as the one on my '73, either, but I don't think that will be much of an issue. I tend to crank them down to the wood. It just seemed to me that perhaps a set of graph-tech saddles could alleviate some of the potential problems with a lighter bridge.

That's a good idea for the paint. I know a couple of body guys that may be willing to paint it for me. As long as I can get reasonably close to Daphne blue, I'll be happy. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to assume your Strat body has a trem since that's kinda a defining characteristic of Strats. If you're concerned about a "light bridge," unless the existing one is absolute junk I wouldn't bother. You might want to think about a nice, heavy trem block though. I know a lot of cheap Strat copies have fairly small trem blocks including older MIM models. I couldn't say what's in yours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2019 at 1:43 PM, SwampMusic said:

I was recently given a MIM strat body loaded with SD Jimi Hendrix pups. This will be my first attempt at something like this, so I'm looking for opinions regarding vendors and general tips.

What I had in mind was buying a one piece rosewood neck. I've seen them in various places from $135 to $800. Is it worthwhile to get up into the $400 to $500 range to get one built to spec or just keep shopping until I run across something close that someone has in stock? Do any of the more obvious dealers stand out from the rest in terms of quality and reliability? I'd like to trade/sell the JH pups and install a Gen 4 or Hot noiseless set, instead.  I can do that and sand the body myself. Maybe a new set of saddles. I'll probably go to a luthier for the paint job. In the end, I'd like to have a solid, serviceable strat that plays well and sounds good with out spending a ridiculous amount of money on a MIM body. Any and all advice and tips are appreciated. 

:wave: 

Lets start at the top.   There are lots of good choices for necks but you pretty much get what you pay for.   The first choice is whether you want a domestic neck or one made overseas.   I think it is kind of ironic that some manufactures source their wood in the US, ship to China to have it made, then back to the US.   Or you can just buy one made here.

There are some slightly inherent problems with both - right now rosewood has moved into a new CITES classification that makes it harder to import/export.   What I'm saying is you may not be able to get exactly what you want.

Second, when people talk about "one piece necks" they generally mean the fretboard and neck are integral (typically all maple).   These almost always have the traditional curved tension truss rod (skunk strip).   I'm actually not sure I have ever seen a one piece rosewood neck but certainly it could be custom made.

More common would be a rosewood neck with rosewood fretboard - any one of a number of sources could furnish that.  It would probably be a custom order which means you can now specify all kinds of things - fret size and material, truss rod type, finish....    Even more common, of course, are maple necks with rosewood fretboard.   

My experience with premade necks is limited to Mighty Mite (Chinese made maple necks) and Warmoth (domestic, several different configuration).   They are both adequate - the Warmoth is much nicer.   The MM necks have always need fretwork and a new nut, the Warmoth have been usable as delivered (but I always do a bit of fretwork anyway).

Whatever you buy, be sure the neck pocket it built to Fender specs (it will say it is licensed by Fender on the heel).   That assures that it will fit the pocket on your guitar.

The choice of pickups, electronics and hardware is completely up to you.  Most stuff is interechangeable and can always be changed or upgraded in the future.

Finishing seems easy but is remarkably difficult.  Most finishers will want the body sanded to 320 but they will also do the final prep themselves.  Remember that a "luthier" is someone who builds musical instruments - he/she may have certain finishes that they like and use but may not be the best choice.  For example, I consider myself a luthier but I only finish in nitrocellulose lacquer - if someone wants sold colors I send them to a friend who paints custom motorcycles.  Be warned that a good finish can cost as much as a very nice factory made guitar.

There are other options for finish that can be done by a do it yourself person - pretty much a matter of what your expectations and abilities are.

Last, and far from least, putting together a guitar that "plays well and sounds good" will involve a lot of attention to frets, geometry, action, and setup.   That does involve an investment in some tools and time.   I've done a couple of articles on setup and would be happy to send you links.   Good luck and have fun.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the Reranch link. It had not occurred to me that such a product was out there. Further links to the articles regarding setup would certainly be welcome. I have seen a couple of one piece rosewood necks, but to get what I want, it is looking like the 2 piece build is going to be the way to go. I harbor no delusions regarding my abilities to build an instrument. I do, however, want to do as much of it that patience and persistence will allow me to do. I want the neck drilled with the nut and frets installed and as ready to use as possible. I feel reasonably comfortable with the hardware. The biggest thing I'll have to guard against is messing it up so badly that it isn't worth fixing. If I get too far in over my head, I'll just stop and take it to someone with the necessary skills and experience. Thanks for all the good advice offered thus far.

:wave:

 

Oh, and Freeman, thanks again for the advice on rescuing/rehabbing my guitars after the flood of '15. Some won't ever be quite the same, but they were all salvaged and brought back to playability. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I've used ReRanch rattle cans on three different guitars (Seafoam, Fiesta Red and Shell Pink), and I was very happy with the products, and the color accuracy. I've been thinking about re-finishing my Squier Bass VI in Daphne blue - that's a great color choice!

I'm not sure if this is still true or not, but they used to take a while to ship sometimes. IIRC, they are touring musicians and they run the business as a side gig when they're not on the road. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send a message to forumite Grant Harding and ask how he likes the rosewood Warmoth neck that I put on his barncaster.  Its a year and a half old, he can tell you how it has worked out and how much he had to pay for it (it was a custom order, he had it shipped direct to me to put on his guitar).   I remember that I really liked the Gotoh truss rod adjuster in the side of the heel.  Warmoth will put the nut and frets that you choose in it - Ken Warmoth said that they don't think the frets are at their final finish and that the person installing the neck should touch them up but in my opinion they were as good as any new guitar that I see.    The other necks have definitely needed some work.

Its honestly pretty reasonable for a diy'er to finish a guitar with rattle cans of nitrocellulose lacquer.   I think its a whole lot easier than any of the automotive products.   My first couple of guitars were finished with rattle cans and they came out good and have lasted well.   Reranch has a really good FAQ about their products.   In my humble opinion you should give it a try.

Here is a setup thread that I did for the telecaster forum recently.   It hits a lot of geometry issues and covers all kinds of guitars, but there is a lot of Fender specific stuff

https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/

TPDRI would be a good place for you to look around - they have one subforum just devoted to parts casters.

And now I remember the flood saga - glad things worked out.  Kind of lost touch - hope you are well and please feel free to ping me if there is anything I can do to help.

 

 

Edited by Freeman Keller

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...