Jump to content
aberdeen-music

Guitar buying advice? (esp. "parts" customs)


scottyboy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I’m looking for some opinions on buying a guitar; I think a few people here may be able to help... :D

First, an important caveat: without getting all Cloud, I’m living overseas- developing country, very limited selection of guitars. Although I’m not 100% sure, let’s assume shipping something here (Vietnam) is a bad idea. So I’m probably looking to pick something up on a trip back home in late January. This means I would likely be buying sight unseen (shipped to friends/relatives) and that there’s a time limit of a couple of months. There’s also the possibly deal-breaking problem of combining guitars and aeroplanes, but forget that for now.

Now on to specifics: I’m most interested in going the “parts-guitar” route. Except that I definitely wouldn’t be putting it together myself. If I ordered everything (with the body finished etc.) bar the pickups from say Warmoth, I’m hoping a guitar tech would be able to put it together? It would be a pick-up install, maybe a fret-dressing, nut, and the rest should be a matter of a screwdriver and soldering iron, then a set-up? Am I missing anything (not sure about all the wiring...)? Totally wrong? If not, any idea what a tech would charge for this and what the turnaround time would likely be?

Second, does anyone have any experience with or opinions on this kind of thing? I had a look at this thread (http://www.aberdeen-music.com/threads/anyone-considered-a-group-purchase-of-guitars-basses-direct-from-the-manufacturers.50294/) and see that at least one or two people have. In particular I’m interested in how a guitar made from a higher-end, bespoke or “hand-crafted” parts company like Warmoth or Rutters (also in that thread; any others?), with pick-ups of similar provenance (e.g. Bare Knuckle, Lundgren etc.) might compare both to higher-end factory guitars and full custom shop guitars. This may be one for HateEvent... IIRC Bigsby also owns a literal pile of guitars including both high-end LPs and a cheap parts tele. Anyone else? :)

Based on my limited research, this seems like a good way to dip into bespoke/custom stuff without placing a whole custom shop order with a big name. And more exciting than buying a factory guitar and just changing the pups. I could actually afford a custom shop job, but aside from the time constraint making it impossible atm, I’m not sure enough about what my dream instrument is, or who I’d want to make it (The time constraint is also an issue with a parts guitar but if need be I can probably get close enough with one of Warmoth’s ready-to-go bodies and necks). Playing around with the body builder I’m probably looking at $500ish for the body (up to about $800 if I go wild with options I don’t understand) and the showcase has usable ones for under $300. After the neck, pick-ups, other hardware, shipping, tax, set-up, I’d still guess it could well come in under a couple of grand $ (No?). Versus, say, over $3000 for a Suhr and more like 4 for a Fender, before any options or shipping. And on the other hand, comparable give or take to many regular production guitars.

If this isn’t feasible or not worth it and it comes to everyday guitars I’ll probably just grab my Strat (presently lying in an attic), but other suggestions welcome. I’m desperate to get my hands on a humbucker-equipped axe again (been playing Strats exclusively for a few years) but I also want to retain a neck single-coil sound at least reminiscent of a Strat. Very preferably on the one guitar. I’d go into more detail about my warped visions but I should probably cut this massive post short... Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you coming to the UK? I can think of plenty of UK luthiers that would do a custom to your requirements (ie humbucker and neck single coil) for £1500 or less. http://www.jadenroseguitars.com/guitars have been one that always interested me. The question is turnaround time and whether it would be done by the time you get here.

In my experience the difference between 'low end' korean/indonesian and higher end usa/japan built guitars is more to do with the finishing touches, fret jobs, set ups etc. Couldn't tell you about a very expensive custom job but again I would imagine the major difference is the finishing touches as well as choosing your own specs. Heard nothing but good things about Warmoth myself but the shipping and VAT is really prohibitive for importing anything to the eu

EDIT: I see you are coming back in January. Don't know if that would be enough time for a custom but you could definitely fire off some emails. No harm in asking!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've read a bit about the old fakes. The electrics made in factories here are firewood quality IME. For an actually playable guitar, about the best thing available is probably a lower-end Ibanez. I'm playing a budget Japanese Strat copy which was the best I could find a couple of years ago.

On the other hand, if one is after an acoustic guitar, it's another matter. If you hunt about google, there are a couple of luthiers here who make seriously good bespoke guitars for ludicrously low prices (based on Internet anecdotes). The luthiers themselves have no web presence (possible no English...) and I think there's a small market in exporting them. Anyway...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, late Jan is the plan. I think it's within the realms of possibility but unlikely. Fender seem to take 2 months minimum, generally 3-4 months, perhaps much longer. How much of that is due to demand and how an independent might compare I don't know. I'd considered the idea of a small-UK based luthier but apart from Moon, I'm clueless. So any recommendations in that area would also be welcome, at least for future reference.

I'm yet to email Warmoth, but it seems they tend to quote 10 weeks for from-scratch body and neck, with it generally taking 6-8, in fact. And of course, if I settled for ready-made stuff I could get it shipped whenever.

Edit: Any idea of what shipping and tax might actually be? Something like 20% for the tax?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, late Jan is the plan. I think it's within the realms of possibility but unlikely. Fender seem to take 2 months minimum, generally 3-4 months, perhaps much longer. How much of that is due to demand and how an independent might compare I don't know. I'd considered the idea of a small-UK based luthier but apart from Moon, I'm clueless. So any recommendations in that area would also be welcome, at least for future reference.

I'm yet to email Warmoth, but it seems they tend to quote 10 weeks for from-scratch body and neck, with it generally taking 6-8, in fact. And of course, if I settled for ready-made stuff I could get it shipped whenever.

Edit: Any idea of what shipping and tax might actually be? Something like 20% for the tax?

Shipping is usually $100 for a full guitar so depends if they assemble it or not. Unassembled a body could be more due to additional packaging. VAT @ 20% then a 3% duty if I remember correctly (these are charged on the total cost of the goods INCLUDING shipping). The courier also gives a handling charge. I'll see what luthiers I can remember but most of the ones I know make 'metal' guitars like Daemoness, Invictus, Siggery. I think Siggery are just about the cheapest around for customs.

http://www.siggeryguitars.co.uk/

www.daemonessguitars.co.uk/

http://invictusguitars.moonfruit.com/

For high end ready built instruments and possibly custom jobs I'll throw in Vigier and Mayones. Both European companies but have fantastic reputations.

http://www.vigierguitars.com/

Guitar Guitar distribute Vigiers and have a shop in Edinburgh so you can maybe try one there.http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars.asp?brandname=Vigier

http://www.mayones.com/en/dokumenty/guitars

Mayones have Guitar Guitar listed under the dealer section but I see no evidence of that on the Guitar Guitar website"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This review is from June when hardly anyone knew about them but a six week turn around for Siggery apparently and they do have strat designs on the website should you wish to stick to that style. I'd imagine they are quite a bit busier now though!

The usual suspects like Ibanez/ESP/Jackson/Music all do high end USA/Japanese built strat style intruments that would be suitable and fairly readily available in comparison to Vigier and Mayones!

terrorizer-sicksounds-siggery-review-cover.jpg

terrorizer-siggery-review.jpg

terrorizer-siggery-review-text.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, the duty/shipping matches up with what I thought. It is a lot but not a total deal breaker, depending on the overall value/quality of the finished product. Not sure, but I'd assume these import taxes are reflected in the price for regular retail instruments/amps?

Also thanks for the luthiers, I'll dig a bit deeper into the Polish company especially. Not looking for a metal guitar though... leaning towards a hot-rodded, beefed-up strat, but also amenable or a toned-down, mellowed out superstrat (the first obstacle in deciding my dream guitar... or maybe I'll always end up wanting a strat, superstrat and frankenstrat :down: )

I'm aware of Vigier: they're one of the companies I would look at for a top-end custom. Probably very pricey though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You did mention Suhr's for custom but ever considered one of the stock models?

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=11093016002268

You may not love natural finish guitars as much as me but that is stunning. Guitar Guitar actually have loads of Suhr's on the website so between the Glasgow and Edinburgh stores must have a few in stock!

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/search.asp?search=suhr&order=0 with loads of the strat w/ scratch plate on the 2nd page.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You did mention Suhr's for custom but ever considered one of the stock models?

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=11093016002268

You may not love natural finish guitars as much as me but that is stunning. Guitar Guitar actually have loads of Suhr's on the website so between the Glasgow and Edinburgh stores must have a few in stock!

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/search.asp?search=suhr&order=0 with loads of the strat w/ scratch plate on the 2nd page.

Could be a very good shout... when I first got interested in Suhr guitars several years ago they didn't have the Rasmus stuff, nor I don't think, the Pro Series. The options for buying one here seemed very limited and the price high and since then I've always thought custom-to-order or nothing...

I shall investigate further :) I'd seen the names Rasmus and Pro Series but hadn't realised what they were. I am more familiar with the parent model of particular SE you linked though... :up:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could be a very good shout... when I first got interested in Suhr guitars several years ago they didn't have the Rasmus stuff, nor I don't think, the Pro Series. The options for buying one here seemed very limited and the price high and since then I've always thought custom-to-order or nothing...

I shall investigate further :) I'd seen the names Rasmus and Pro Series but hadn't realised what they were. I am more familiar with the parent model of particular SE you linked though... :up:

http://www.musicradar.com/gear/all/guitars/electric/6-string-solid-body/rasmus-standard-s100-470917/review

The Rasmus series are Chinese built. £900-£1200 is a LOT of money but with the setup and fret dressing in the USA (plus using the same components) it will probably be on par with other USA instruments around that price tbh. It is still a massive markup though! I a fair bit of research into buying from factories as was noted in that thread and the prices were very small indeed. Pro series are just standard spec but still USA built,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.musicradar.com/gear/all/guitars/electric/6-string-solid-body/rasmus-standard-s100-470917/review

The Rasmus series are Chinese built. £900-£1200 is a LOT of money but with the setup and fret dressing in the USA (plus using the same components) it will probably be on par with other USA instruments around that price tbh. It is still a massive markup though! I a fair bit of research into buying from factories as was noted in that thread and the prices were very small indeed. Pro series are just standard spec but still USA built,

I'd go for a Pro Series rather than Rasmus, and one of the generic models rather than the Govan signature edition (which seems to be pricier). Initial Google toe-dipping suggests the Pro Series is on a par with other Suhr's; just that you obviously have to go with whatever the standard specs are. This is looking like becoming my preferred option, depending on what wood combos are available. Still might be tempted by a bespoke frankenstrat if it could be pulled off in time and for a comparable price. Bed time for me now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Small response for a GAS-related thread. :D For the record, pretty much decided on a Suhr Pro Series as the best and least headache-inducing option. I did look into sourcing one of these regionally (and then getting something else in the UK...) but only the Hong Kong dealer seems to actually stock guitars (rather than just pick-ups and pedals) and the availability is too hit and miss.

Also think I’m restricted to an S1 as I’m not keen on the basswood on the others. Just based on youtube demos I’m loving the S1's single-coil sound, but not so sure about the humbucker, and might want something hotter... The older runs had the hotter “plus” version which might be ideal. I’m also considering trying something more irreverant... Any suggestions for a borderline vintage-modern pick-up welcome. I’m looking at Lundgren’s Smooth Operater (vintage-style, but seems to be able to handle high-gain stuff well enough) or The One (much hotter, but still pretty “classic” for a metal pup). I digress...

Why not look for something over in Nam ? they used to do a great trade in old fender rip off's when the was was going on , maybe they've developed their own stuff by now , or you might get a half decent fake vintage strat :cool:

http://www.jimshine.com/phillipino/vietnam_serviceman_copies.htm

Quickly revisit this- looks like a Western start-up brand has based a custom shop (for acoustics) in Vietnam. http://www.nctimes.com/business/article_d74f86d2-6245-5313-9492-1aef40d46669.html

Here’s a magazine version of the kind of blog and forum posts you see on this topic: http://www.guitarplayer.com/Default.aspx?tabid=259&EntryId=577 notice he doesn’t mention electrics or say that he bought anything... Still, I think there’s at least a handful of luthiers can make quality acoustics (dig deeper into Google). Something to bear in mind...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...