Fender vs Partscaster: What’s best for you?

Musicians tend to develop very deep connections with their instruments through the years.

They get to know all their quirks and features and decide what works best for them.

This natural development of preferences is often limited by the limited availability of configurations offered by the big brands on their popular lines.

And when the custom shop is unreachable, the idea of mixing and matching parts to create your own guitar becomes reasonable.

So, what are the differences between getting a factory Fender guitar or building a Partscaster? Here’s a short answer:

Building a Partscaster (a guitar with F-style specs, made by mixing and matching multiple aftermarket parts) is a great alternative for those players who love the style of Fender instruments, but can’t get their preferred specs on any models from their official lineup.

However, this Frankenstein approach will deem the resulting instruments rather hard to sell.

If you want to get a deeper dive into this topic, I recommend you stick around with me for a while.

After leaving this page you will have a clearer idea about what are the pros and cons of building a Partscaster, compared to buying a Fender guitar.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s go!

What is a Partscaster?

A Partscaster is a strat or tele guitar built by mixing and matching parts from other guitars, or from aftermarket manufacturers that fit together.

From bodies with necks to loaded pickguards, every one of the essential components can be interchanged to create the ultimate Partscaster.

The resulting instruments are usually nothing like the ones from the official Fender lineup, and in many cases, great combinations emerge from this realm.

What are the benefits of building a Partscaster?

The main benefit of building a Partscaster is creating a guitar with all the specs that the player prefers, and that are not available in a single off-the-shelf guitar.

But hey, maybe they are, and you just want the thrill of building your own instrument.

I can even think of it as a way of getting a guitar part by part when money is tight and you can’t qualify for financing.

What are the drawbacks of a Partscaster?

Partscasters are not for everyone, and this is mainly because they require some work for the assembly, and a slight knowledge for the required setup after the instrument is put together.

If you are not a very hands-on player with your instruments, a Partscaster might not really be for you.

 You will have to also have a grasp of what you are buying, and if the parts will be compatible with each other.

Finally, and as you might expect, a project like this will result in an amazing instrument and experience for you, but maybe not for anybody else.

With this, I want to say that if down the line you want to sell your Partscaster, it might take you a while, since the market for this kind of instrument is way smaller.

Why would you choose a factory Fender guitar over a Partscaster?

Fender guitars just work.

And with the years, their average quality has been getting better.

I’m not saying that the materials and the finishes are the best in the market, what I’m saying is that the quality is consistent.

You know, more or less, what you are getting when you buy from the Fender lineup.

And, at some point, these guitars are a commodity.

Take the American Professional line, for instance.

You know these instruments will work and will serve you for decades to come.

They will sound like a Fender, and they are designed to appeal to a broader audience, in which most likely you fit in.

Is there then a need for worrying about mixing and matching parts from different instruments?

If you think that the process of getting a Partscaster together would be a chore more than a journey, go for a Fender.

Can anybody build a Partscaster

The design of Fender guitars is very friendly for the tweakers like you and me.

Thankfully, there’s no glue involved in the process of assembling or disassembling a part caster.

You would require minimal tools, and find hundreds of tutorials online.

So I would say that yes, anybody can build a Partscaster.

However, for complete beginners, this whole process will take a while, and they might be prone to making mistakes.

Especially when the thing is already put together, getting a good fit for the neck pocket, and a nice setup might take a while.

I would recommend that you consult with a guitar technician through the process, and even ask for some help if you get stuck or think you are doing something wrong.

Where can you get parts for your Partscaster

If you are planning on getting parts for your Partscaster I’m obliged to point you towards the Stratosphere.

For years they have been the go-to place to get parts for specific Fender models.

Browse their listings and you will be surprised with the options they offer.

Of course, Ebay and Reverb are also great alternatives.

Finally, you could also look for Warmoth, All Parts, and Guitar Mill. They all offer high-quality aftermarket parts with a great deal of customization.

Finally, there’s always the option of cannibalizing some of your guitars or getting a completely new guitar to use its parts.

It’s up to you.

I can only wish you have fun and enjoy the journey!