Sample Budget

The numbers presented above are representative of an USA (mostly) Strat that was built with carefully selected parts and thrifty buying via eBay. This ends up being about the same price as a used American Strat on eBay (see below). However, instead of a used guitar that looks, sounds and feels just like thousands of others you can have something that is one of a kind, and take the pride and satisfaction in bring that guitar to life all by yourself.

Typical Prices eBay Web MRSP
Mexican Strat $325 $399 $599
American Std. $699 $999 $1359
American Dlx. $1099 $1250 $1725

In this example, I went for an Allparts neck that combined vintage styling (no visible truss rod adjustment) with modern features like jumbo frets and a 12” radius. Also, this example provides a budget for a very cool pickup configuration using 2008 American pickups and an aftermarket 7-way switch (similar to the S-1 switch on the Strat Deluxe). Since this guitar was to be the primary illustration project throughout this site (Fiesta Red Strat), I specifically chose options that required the most work so that I could discuss and demonstrate more techniques.

Going down this road (non Fender USA parts), may render a guitar that will have a little less marketability should I decide to sell it later. This is because most buyers are a little skeptical of the quality and value which others, such as myself, can be relied upon to deliver. If you are not planning on selling the guitar any time soon, this route offers you more control and lower cost, though more effort and more risk (clearly, the more control you have, the more opportunity to have it come it just the way you want, or to have challenges that manifest as flaws in the look, feel or even function of the guitar).

I use a spreadsheet to track my parts, mostly because I tend to be buying and selling a number of items simultaneously, and it can be easy to loose track of where I am in a project like this (e.g., ordered, shipped, received along with overall costs). This sort of rigor is even more important if you are attempting to complete your project in a short time frame, as you will have not room for error, such as realizing that you never made your final order for the tuning machines.

The sample spreadsheet shown above serves multiple functions. Although this may seem like overkill, it really helps in a number of ways:

  • A complete and thorough shopping list is built, down to the last screw
  • The cost of the project, including supplies, taxes (where applicable) and shipping is accounted for.
  • This spreadsheet, with an initial budget, can help you stay on track with your intended overall cost, otherwise, you might get anxious and be tempted to pay a little more just to get the purchasing over with.
  • It will take a while to find and purchase all of the parts and supplies. This sort of spreadsheet can help you keep track of what you have already ordered and when/how it is being delivered.

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