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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Which parts can you "go cheap" on and not diminish overall quality?

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
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San Diego, CA USA

Jan 13th, 2019 10:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

I am curious about your thoughts on which parts that go into an electric guitar can you afford to go cheap on? As an example, on my recent builds I have been using hardtail, top loading bridges that I get on Amazon for less than $10. I throw the mounting screws out, and replace with sheet metal screws that I know won't shear off. I nail polish the height adjustment screws so they don't loosen up, and with those two mods, they seem to work and sound really good. The plating on the saddles seems fine. Am I fooling myself though, and compromising tone?

Other examples I've tried and continue to use are Sperzel style graduated height locking tuners from GFS that are half the price of Sperzels and seem to work great; Strat style jack plates that I get online for less than $5. Imported pots. Most of the GFS pickups I have tried have sounded really good to my ears.

In your experiences, where/how do you economize on parts, and for which parts do you really "get what you pay for"?

Inexpensive bridge

vomer
Contributing Member
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Two layers bar tape

And a triple chainset
Jan 13th, 2019 12:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

Strat pickguards from Charles Guitars (.co.uk) are great quality for £20-24.50 for mint, parchment, or tortoiseshell. I bought a mint green one for my current strat build and would be happy to use it, subtle colour and nice feel. (but someone gave me a Fatboy.) No point paying twice as much or more for Fender etc.

Tinkerer, I'm one of 'those' guys when it comes to metal parts, so I wouldn't do cheap bridges. But I've had cold rolled steel strat trem blocks from kevinh3324 on ebay (don't think he's active at the moment) for half the price of Callaham's and felt they were as good.

I was kind of happy with the GFS pickups I've tried in my Sheraton, but when I finally got the Bare Knuckle and TV Jones in, it was definite. There's no room in listening to those to think, maybe they could be just a bit better/clearer/tighter or whatever. They are just all there in a way I've never found cheap pickups can be. Same with Fender CS or Bare Knuckle or Amalfitano in strats. (Just my faves.)

And I don't think I've ever spent more than 65p on a capacitor :)

Stratokatsu
Contributing Member
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Miami, Florida

Playing wrong notes for over 50 years
Mar 16th, 2019 11:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

Pickguards, most of which I wind up carving and sanding into shape.

Other than that, bone nuts, saddles and bridge pins for acoustics, available on Amazon for 1/4th the price of them from the usual suppliers.

Things like tuners, I get from GFS, as I've also done with some occasional pickup sets.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 16th, 2019 05:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

After few years of building now, I've found some suppliers that I can get good "unbranded" bits & pieces from. Mostly pickguards and some hardware like neck plates, string trees and small stuff.

I also have a parts seller here in AUS (Realparts - no affiliation) that sell their own range of parts (Realtone) that are very good quality. Some of their items are made in the same factories as some big brand stuff. Their bridges have been very good.

As another "cost-saving measure" (sounds better than cheaping out) sometimes I'll use Alpha pots - the higher quality ones, not the electronics store rubbish ones. They're half the price of CTS and I've never had an issue with any of them.


Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Toxic Humility
Mar 16th, 2019 05:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like the tuners from GFS. Some of their pickups too. Their hardware is fine, too.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 18th, 2019 09:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

The stamped steel tuners from GFS (the chrome, nickel, and white-button Kluson copies) are better than the stuff many big names install on their guitars--including Gibson. At ~$30 per set, you cannot get better quality at twice the price.

They are identical to Ping-branded stuff, and better than the original Kluson design because they incorporate Nylon bushings at each end of the knob shaft.

Gibson, are you listening? Dump those crappy cast tuners and go with the stamped steel stuff. It's closer to your original stuff anyway.

My guess is Gibson gets their junky cast-body tuners for about $8 per set. That's why they use 'em.

Even the Grover-branded cast tuners are crappy. They're imports too.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Which parts can you "go cheap" on and not diminish overall quality?




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