Warmoth vs Fender / ESP

andrius

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I am thinking of getting a current ESP Vintage Plus (virtually no used ones being sold online, so new is my only option) or maybe a Standard American Fender Stratocaster. I like the neck of the ESP, but the contest is not over yet.
But now I had a thought: would it be a good idea to build my own guitar from parts built by Warmoth (or one of the other high profile builders)? That way I might be able to get a body that's routed for no pickguard (purely because of aesthetic reasons, I am not a fan of pickguards covering the wood) and routed for a Floyd Rose (classic Stratocaster bridge is ok with me, but if I had a choice, I'd probably choose an FR just because I "like" it more).

But the question is: will I get the same quality with Warmoth (or Musikraft, USAGC and what other big builders?) as I would with:
1) ESP Standard/E-II series
2) Fender American Standard series

Will the woods used for the body and neck be as good, as well-dried?
Will the neck be as good?
 

Bountyhunter

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Building your own is always the best option. You can have everything just the way you want it.
 

SexyGibson

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Warmoth makes some great products. To my knowledge they are the only company licensed by Fender to build direct replacement parts. Most of the necks are going to be 9.5 radius but they do make some compound radius necks.
 

Steinmetzify

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If resale value is no concern, get whatever it is you want. If you've played the ESP and really dig it, grab that. Warmoth does quality stuff, and I've used a lot of their parts including necks and pick guards.

Resale value on a Warmoth isn't going to be anywhere near the ESP or the Fender, though...if you know that you're going to keep it, go that route and design your own thing.
 

JeffBlue

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I will most likely do Warmoth builds rather than ever buy a Fender. I enjoy the building and creating guitars to my preference.

Some are Warmoth and others are Edenhaus bodies and necks and Fender necks.
 

jimmer_5

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Th only real downside is that resale value is pretty bad on partscasters. So long as that doesn't concern you, Warmoth makes great parts, and it is really great to be able to build exactly what you want.
 

Mexicanbreed

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I will most likely do Warmoth builds rather than ever buy a Fender. I enjoy the building and creating guitars to my preference.
Some are Warmoth and others are Edenhaus bodies and necks and Fender necks.

Jeff, those are really nice guitars! One day, I hope to have a nice Strat, and building my own is something I´ve been considering to get better value for less money. Am I being realistic, or would I be better off biting the bullet and buying a used Standard? I´ve always been a Clapton fan, and I´ve read great things on them, so I thought maybe a wiser route would be to purchase a neck from Warmoth with Clapton specs. I think I could buy the other components from different sources (even locally), but the neck is the most important part in the feel of a guitar for me. Also, I need to mention, I have no experience setting up a guitar myself, which makes me wonder how well it might come out if I build it from parts myself. I realize it´s not easy to do so.
 

WhiskeyMike

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I was away from anything guitar for 45 years, got my start in 61 with a very used LP and a Vox RG amp, added a Jag in 63 or 64, can't remember, then quit when I went into the Army in 67. Everything was stolen while I was gone, and I was too young to appreciate the LP, it just played and sounded perfect. Played/gigged hard up to 67.

When I got git bitten again three years ago, I started with a Warmoth chambered Mahogany Strat body, Lace Hot Gold pickups (in a Lace-made pickguard), a nice compound radius Padouk neck, ebony fingerboard with gold streaking, FR bridge, and Schaller/Fender tuners. It came out beautifully, and sounds great. So that is very doable, and you might as well choose the parts you like as resale value will probably not be there.

I have made three other Warmoth based guitars; Jazzmaster with wenge neck; Z-body one-piece mahogany with old rosewood neck (still working on this one tho; reshaping and finishing body); and a wenge topped chambered maple strat body with wenge neck I gave to my brother, who tries to make a living gigging. When I don't use the Laces/single coils, I used a Gus G HH setup on the Jazz, and have since used Bare Knuckles Blackhawks in HH setup on the others. The Bare Knuckles sound awesome btw, and I rarely use that term. It was all good fun, and they all sound great.

That said, I have bought new guitars as well; Fenders (3 Strats and two Tele) and they sound good and look good. Two are the 60th Anniv strats, one is a American dlx HSS, one tele is the fsr they recently released with three pickups and pine body, and the other is/was a J5 Tele (Squier) which my brother stole. Instantly. Two ESP E-II's and two new-style LTD's; a Godin Xtsa; an 89F Variax; a Petrucci JPX. New chocolate SGJ which sounds and plays like one in a million. Others.

Bottom line: the ones I made sound as good as any of the ones I bought, and while they have no resale value per se, they perfectly fitted my style and expectations. They were fun and gratifying to make too. If you go Warmoth get a finished body first time through, it will take far less time/effort.

Next up: a multilam through body neck and hand made mahog 'wings' in LP shape with a quilted/popcorn maple top cap (maybe). I might chicken out and use a chambered Warmoth Royale body and mod it for the thru neck. I have time to decide.

And now I R premium. Might as well help support this great site. I'll get some pics up soonish.
 

WhiskeyMike

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Mexicanbreed, you can always buy just the Clapton neck, they are available, new even. Same with Johnson, Beck, etc. iirc. Use it with a Warmoth body for absolute unique look and get the playability of the neck. The rest is easy.
 

WhiskeyMike

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Mexicanbreed, here is a 3.1 pound finished body from Warmoth:

imgur: the simple image sharer

typical rear rout body with you supplying details, swamp ash body and maple cap, should sound great.
And you get to make it sound your way.
 

martin H

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I've got 2 ESP Traditionals, (One Strat one Tele) I chose them specifically for the "soft v" neck profile which I prefer to the Fender "C" shape. If you prefer that profile, I'm not sure there's much else available. However, assuming the modern ESP vintage plus has that profile (mine are both from the early 90s) , I'd play one before ordering. It's not to everyone's taste.
 

JeffBlue

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Jeff, those are really nice guitars! One day, I hope to have a nice Strat, and building my own is something I´ve been considering to get better value for less money. Am I being realistic, or would I be better off biting the bullet and buying a used Standard? I´ve always been a Clapton fan, and I´ve read great things on them, so I thought maybe a wiser route would be to purchase a neck from Warmoth with Clapton specs. I think I could buy the other components from different sources (even locally), but the neck is the most important part in the feel of a guitar for me. Also, I need to mention, I have no experience setting up a guitar myself, which makes me wonder how well it might come out if I build it from parts myself. I realize it´s not easy to do so.

To do a good quality build with great parts still costs a lot, but for me, I get what I want when the guitar is finished. If you have never built a guitar before, try a budget kit as you try your hand at it. There could be some mistakes made on the first build, but at least you haven't spent too much. You can learn much about guitar set-ups on youtube videos that are available to watch for free. The more you do it the easier it gets.
 

SexyGibson

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To do a good quality build with great parts still costs a lot, but for me, I get what I want when the guitar is finished. If you have never built a guitar before, try a budget kit as you try your hand at it. There could be some mistakes made on the first build, but at least you haven't spent too much. You can learn much about guitar set-ups on youtube videos that are available to watch for free. The more you do it the easier it gets.

+1. For $600-$800 you can have a guitar approaching Fender Custom Shop specs that would run you $1500-$1800.
 

Walt_T

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Warmoth makes a top notch product. You can select about any neck style imaginable, from a huge choice of woods, frets etc. Same with the bodies.
I've built 3 Warmoth Teles ended up being pretty costly, close to or exceeding Fender standard prices-but well worth it.
#1

Basswood body with quilted maple top, standard taper birdseye maple neck with ebony fretboard 12" radious-wide. Tobacco Sunburst finish.
SD APII pups, Fender bridge etc...
#2

Fat back birdseye/rosewood 12" radious wide neck.
Chambered alder body/quilted maple top Tobacco burst.
Joe Barden Danny Gatton pups, Fender bridge etc.
#3

Fatback birdseye/birdseye FB wide neck. Swamp Ash clearcoat body.
Dimarzio Twang King pups, Fender bridge etc...
All of these are great instruments, maybe better than any of my Fenders, because I built them to be what I wanted from a particular guitar.
I agree with the post above that if you're inexperienced with a custom build, start with a kit-Carvin also makes some good ones that are around $500.
Best of luck!
 

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