Is Your Boutique Guitar Really Just a Partscaster?

Our friend Baxter over at Casino Guitars made a pretty controversial video several months ago about the world of boutique guitars. They addressed a question and query they receive often if boutique guitars are really just glorified Partscasters. While this seem to be an extreme assumption, there’s a lot of truth and valid points to it.

The term “partscaster” usually has a negative connotation when talked about in forums or in guitar circles. A partscaster would be defined as a guitar that has sourced parts, electronics, and pickups; assembled to resemble an all original/factory-like appearance, when in reality it’s a mixture of assembled parts. Many would argue that this allows you to shop your specific specifications of what you want your guitar to look like or play like. Some people classify boutique guitars by the size of their operation - whether or not they are able to produce guitars at the speed that a larger facility would or could. Arguably however, there are larger brands that are still pretty boutique in practice. Collings Guitars has a pretty large operation down in Austin, Texas, but are still considered by many to be boutique. PRS still hand carves all of the bodies of their American made models in the Stevensville factory. Even Fender still routes, carves, and sands many of their upper end guitars including the hand assembled Custom Shop line of guitars. So the line between name brand and boutique is very thin.

Even though some boutique manufacturers are assembling guitars from sourced parts, there are still many boutique builders that are hand-crafting all of their own guitars, and even winding their own pickups and electronics. If you’re interested in learning more about these builders and more, check out Baxter and Jonathan’s (of Casino Guitars) video below. And let us know your thoughts about partscasters, boutique guitars, and name brands.

Adrian Gonzalez