Self-build guitars

October 7, 2010 2:34 PM

I've been toying with the idea of building myself a "custom" Strat or Tele using necks, bodies and bits bought from stores (usually with an eBay presence) purporting to retail genuine Fender parts. Anyone got any experience of this? Is it really possible to obtain genuine Fender parts in this way - or are most of these things fakes?
posted by MajorDundee (17 comments total)

Yes, absolutely. There are many places where you can get genuine parts like THIS...I linked to that as joke because I know you hate those.

Personally I would purchase parts online from reputable dealers, but e-bay is OK too. I'm going to research just a bit about serial numbers and whatnot and be back.
posted by snsranch at 6:38 PM on October 7, 2010

No kidding! I got exactly that Bigsby in the mail today! I bought it on eBay for $50 less than the price listed in that ad. I always go by feedback and my gut. You should just post up the listings in this thread and we can help with due diligence if you want. I've never had a problem spotting the frauds on eBay.

(I bought my 335 on eBay, and several other four-figure items).
posted by unSane at 6:59 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

(Sorry, Major, it's going on my Mex Tele. Couldn't resist.)
posted by unSane at 7:00 PM on October 7, 2010

If you're purchasing a used Fender neck or body on e-bay, here is a link you can use to verify the serial numbers.

Here is a little more info in case you're also trying to find pre-CBS pickups or something.

There are some really great deals on various guitar parts on e-bay, just know what you're looking for.

Also, this sounds like FUN!
posted by snsranch at 7:19 PM on October 7, 2010

Hey, that's great unSane! My first electric guitar was an old Silvertone with a Bigsby tremolo. Personally I think playing with a Bigsby is kinda like riding a Panheaded Harley. Sure there is better technology, but it's still bitchen to have in the arsenal! (quiver...bevy...stable)
posted by snsranch at 7:47 PM on October 7, 2010

It depends what you mean by 'better'... if you want to whale on the trem then the bigsby or the Jazzmaster setup is not for you, but if you want a gentle shimmer, there is absolutely nothing better. I love a very slight detune, which is actually hard to do with a Strat or Kahler trem. Playing a guitar without a trem for me is like eating an egg without salt.
posted by unSane at 7:59 PM on October 7, 2010

Oh, you don't have to convince me! I should revise that statement as saying "newer". That's exactly what I meant about the Harley. You can't replicate that sound.
posted by snsranch at 8:39 PM on October 7, 2010

And @MajorDundee, this sounds like an awesome plan. I'm always surprised that more guitarists don't build their own axes, especially when they are modular like the Fenders. In my other lives I'm a huge mountainbike nut and I build my own bikes, including the wheels. It's hugely satisfying because you end up with the exact bike you want, and you also know how to fix every tiny bit of it. I have a couple of friends who built their own acoustics but that's way over my pay level. But a solidbody bolt-on Fender? Like I say, sounds like a plan.
posted by unSane at 8:46 PM on October 7, 2010

I don't know anything about your specific question, Major, but a German fellow named Hans Reichel that I've played with on occasion over the years has made some absolutely amazing electric guitars, and I just thought I'd link to them here, cause they're so incredible.

You'll need time to check out his crazy (but fun!) flash website... here's the top page, cause this guy does a lot of stuff: invented the daxophone, designs fonts, etc... check it out.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:22 PM on October 7, 2010

Many thanks to all - some very helpful and/or interesting stuff. My Bigsby Aversion Syndrome Treatment And Repulsion Desensitisation course still isn't working though. The merest mention of these horrid ugly devices makes me shake uncontrollably and ask rude questions about some old bollocks called You and San Francisco......
posted by MajorDundee at 11:36 AM on October 8, 2010

Still waiting for my voice to get back to normal, Major!
posted by unSane at 12:45 PM on October 8, 2010

Still waiting for my voice to get back to normal, Major!
Yeah, yeah, yeah....yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwnnnnn. I posted "Blue Eyes" last week - sank without trace as usual, BUT the vocal was recorded with a heavy cold (I was off work sick, so sick that I recorded that track from my sickbed....honestly...). My vocals are so crappy that no-one noticed. Which made me smile (through my bitter, painful tears, of course).
posted by MajorDundee at 2:38 PM on October 8, 2010

I put the Bigsby on the tele this morning... was pretty straightforward. Didn't really change the sound except quite a bit more sustain (and it was already quite sustainy). Had to shim the neck a bit and tighten the truss rod but the action ended up really nice. The biggest issue was that it moved the bridge slightly which made perfect intonation impossible. Of course you only discover this after you've put the whole thing back together. I'm gonna have to move it, which is a bit of a pain, but on the flipside the bigsby + tele shimmer is great and (pace Major D) it looks AWESOME.

I'm glad I didn't do it to the 335 though as it definitely has a whiff of the butcher's shop about it.
posted by unSane at 5:08 PM on October 8, 2010

Returning to the good Major's original Q, I've read on Gearslutz (can't remember the exact thread) that you can put together an American Standard Partscaster from bits and pieces for about half the price of buying the 'real' thing. I'm with The World Famous in that I would probably go for new or parted-out new stuff rather than trying to cobble together vintage bits -- even if they are vintage they often turn out to have been refinished or need dressing or whatever -- it's a lot of hassle.
posted by unSane at 8:30 PM on October 8, 2010

Quite right - there's probably a lot more dodgy gear masquerading as "vintage" in any case. Personally I think all that stuff about '57 Strats (or whatever the "it" years are) is a load of old balls anyway (see a previous nasty rant of mine about guitar anoraks). I have no problem with Mexican or Korean Fender bits.

By the way, and for the assurance of our American viewers, my continued digs at unS about his track is in the grand tradition of English piss-taking, leg-pulling or "'avin a laff, innit" - which I'm sure (gulp...) he will appreciate as a Brit, but which may be misconstrued by non-Anglos as Dundee being a bit of an old c*nt.
posted by MajorDundee at 7:57 AM on October 9, 2010

Brits you say? What FCs do you support?

(Just innocently starting shit ;)
posted by snsranch at 3:21 PM on October 9, 2010

Ha! You won't draw me on that sns (you old devil you) - apart from cycling I have zip interest in sport.
posted by MajorDundee at 3:45 PM on October 9, 2010

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