Building a Partscaster – Guitar Upgrades for Lefties (Part 1)

Left handed guitar being played, closeup of neck pickup
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Last Updated on September 16, 2020 by Chris

I have decided that I wanna upgrade my first guitar.

As you may or may not know, my first electric guitar was the Hohner Professional ST59, a Stratocaster type guitar that I got back in the day when I was about thirteen years old. I will be building a partscaster using this guitar as a base, and I’m looking to replace pretty much everything in the guitar.

It’s a guitar that’s had its fair share of wear and tear. Over the years, I had often neglected to maintain it, rarely wiping it down or storing it away from dust and dirt.

So right now, it’s not a particularly great-sounding guitar, and it’s not really in very good condition; when I plug it into an amplifier, it buzzes pretty loudly, the selector switch and pots crackle and sound pretty horrible. The frets are really quite worn down, so there is quite a bit of fret buzz too.

I don’t think I’ll need to buy a new left handed guitar body, as the ST-59’s body still looks pretty decent; the body is in a not too bad condition, and it has a nice tobacco burst finish, which looks pretty good, but there are the odd dings and a few scratches though.

I have never upgraded anything before in any of my guitars so far, so this should be a good learning opportunity. Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few new skills on the way, and it’ll hold me in good stead to do this again in the future.

What left handed guitar parts do I need?

Seeing that I’m pretty much gonna replace everything in the guitar, I’m gonna have to do some research on the following:

  • Left handed guitar necks
  • Left handed guitar pickups
  • Left handed guitar tuners
  • Left handed volume and tone knobs
  • Guitar output jacks
  • Left handed tremolos
  • Guitar strap buttons
  • Left handed guitar scratchplate
  • String trees

What else do I need to do?

I’m not sure yet if I need to look into things like the different types of wood used in a guitar neck, the neck radius, fret size, etc. as even though there are left handed parts available, there doesn’t seem to be a massive choice for me here in the UK.

I will also need to do a ton of research into preparing the different parts I end up buying. Who knows? I may need to learn several things, like how to level frets, what size holes to drill for the tuners, or even learn how to do the pickup wiring. I’ll also need to know what order I’m gonna need to assemble everything.

Is it easy to get left handed guitar parts?

After a very quick search, so far it seems that there are a fair few places online that sell left handed guitar parts. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find some good quality parts for my build, without having to spend too much money.

Budget?

I don’t really have a fixed budget in mind. I just don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount on the project. Seeing as this is a Strat copy guitar, I’ll be getting some single coil pickups to replace those rusty corroded ones that are in the guitar currently.

The most expensive parts, I guess, would be the pickups, assuming I go for something half decent. A new neck and a new bridge could also be a little pricey too. I probably won’t be going for something too expensive. Anyway, time will tell…

Building a partscaster – Part 2 to come!

Once I have chosen all my left handed guitar parts and have got them ordered, I’ll write up another post detailing all of those parts I’m gonna get. I’ll also try and describe step-by-step how I’m gonna assemble everything, and hopefully by the end of it, you will be able to build your own partscaster too, if you haven’t already.

If I’ve missed anything or you’ve already made your own partscaster, and have any tips or advice, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Building a Partscaster – Guitar Upgrades for Lefties (Part 1)

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