The STRATosphere (also spelled as Stratosphere) is a one-stop source of electric guitar parts. They’ve been in the business since 2004. So, is The Stratosphere worth the consideration? Is it legit?
Yes—The Stratosphere is the real deal. They’re not always the cheapest option, but you can be assured that all parts they sell are authentic. It’s a good one-stop shop for people who want to upgrade (or fix) their old electric guitar or build one from scratch.
Read on to learn more about The Stratosphere, including a general overview of the company and others’ opinions about their products and services.
Stratosphere Guitar Parts- Company Overview
Caters to Customers’ Varying Needs
In case you’re wondering, the Stratosphere Guitar Parts isn’t a fly-by-night business. It’s based in Brentwood, North Hampshire, United States. It caters to different customers’ needs, including repair shops, working musicians, and even the most popular guitar players in the music industry.
Wide Selection of Guitar Parts
Since the early 2000s, it has been offering a wide selection of guitar parts of varying brands, including:
- Bodies (with or without necks),
- Control plates,
- Hardware sets,
- Loaded pickguards,
- Necks, pickups,
- Pedals (with or without effects), and many others.
However, it’s best known for its brand name guitar bodies and necks.
Click here to visit the Stratosphere website for a complete list of the brands and guitar parts they carry.
Why Should You Buy from the Stratosphere Guitar Parts
So, why buy from them? On their website, they listed the following reasons:
It’s family-owned. There’s a ton of reasons to shop from family-owned businesses, such as The Stratosphere. For one, you have more direct access to the owners. They also provide a personalized shopping experience and create a sense of community.
2. Standard 45-day Return Policy
It has a standard 45-day return policy. This is for new items. For secondhand or vintage items, they allow customers to return them within 30 days of delivery.
3. Gives Accurate Product Descriptions
Get exactly everything they described. They promise accurate descriptions and honest pictures of the guitar parts and accessories they’re selling.
4. Fast Shipping
They ship orders fast. In addition to that, they have a dedicated customer service team on standby.
5. Offers Branded Guitar Parts
They offer the best branded guitar parts on the market. Below are the brands they carry:
- Graph Tech Guitar Labs
- Kent Armstrong
- Lindy Fralin
- Mighty Mite
- Oak Grigsby
- Planet Waves
- PRS (Paul Reed Smith)
- Rio Grande Pickups
- Seymour Duncan
- Switchcraft Conxall
6. Supports Charities
They support different charities. These include the following:
- Fender Music Foundation
- Humanitarian Medical Aid
- Little Kids Rock Foundation
- National Breast Cancer Foundation
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Wild Earth Allies
- New Hampshire Food Bank
These guarantees sound good on paper, but do they honor them? What do their customers have to say about their products and services? Let’s find out in the next section of this article.
What People Think of The Stratosphere Guitar Parts
Does The Stratosphere sell damaged, fake, or stolen guitar parts? Will you save more money if you buy from them? To answer some of your questions, I browsed around forums and compiled some of their customers’ positive and negative comments.
Important: Please note that these are not direct quotes from their customers but rather my summations of their statements and questions.
Not everyone is a fan of The Stratosphere Guitar Parts shop. It’s not surprising. Every business has its fair share of customers who feel they didn’t receive a product or service as expected. In the case of this shop, it is the lack of communication and the bad service that gained them bad reviews.
On the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, I’ve found these negative reviews:
- Dwayne F: He said The Stratosphere didn’t respond to any of his emails after he placed his order.
- Jack S: He was on the process of making a return, but he didn’t receive any response from The Stratosphere despite leaving them multiple messages. After leaving a negative review, Christine G, the contact person of the company, made up excuses and terrible accusations about his review. The company later blocked him from making further purchases. (A staff from the company followed up on this issue.)
- Kieran C: He bought a common guitar part from this company through Reverb. He wanted to get a refund because the item wasn’t as described. However, they refused to issue a refund. (A staff from the company followed up on this issue.)
- Robert F: The company shipped his order (guitar tuner buttons) through USPS, but they never arrived. They “refused” to give him a refund and a replacement, so he had to dispute the charge through his credit card company. Like what others complained about, it was difficult to get in touch with them. (A staff from the company followed up on this issue.)
It’s not a good idea to ignore negative reviews about the company. However, they shouldn’t also stop you from trying them out. Based on the feedback I’ve read so far, most people have a positive experience with the company.
Here are a few of the positive reviews from different forums, such as Strat-Talk.com, The Gear Page, and SevenString.org:
- Jen H: She was happy that the replacement neck she ordered, a Fender Standard Telecaster Neck- Tinted Maple – Modern “C” Shape- 9.5″ Radius, arrived fast and without any damage.
- Ashtray: He recommended buying a secondhand electric guitar and taking apart the components you don’t need instead of building from scratch. But that takes work and initial investment, so it’s better to pay for the services of this company.
- Vlxerdon: He swears that this is a legit company. While the price of some of their items aren’t that good, you can be sure that they’ll ship whatever you buy as stated.
- Yellowdawg: For him, the company was dependable and fast.
- Johnnymg: He believes the company provides good deals on sets or more complete parts (e.g., loaded necks and loaded bodies). It’s not the cheapest option if you’re looking for individual guitar parts.
- Tealsixtysix: Like what most customers have said, the company is honest with their product description and ships them as described. While their prices aren’t that low compared to buying new ones, they have guitar parts that you can’t easily buy new—for example a Fender Custom Shop Artist series or other artist-signature guitars.
- Mark Denson: He was able to find all the parts he needed to build one of the best 2016 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars from The Stratosphere Guitar Parts.
- H. Mac: Unlike those who gave negative reviews on their customer service, H. Mac claims The Stratosphere had excellent service.
These are just some of the positive things people have to say about The Stratosphere Guitar Parts. If there’s one thing most people like about this company, it’s their accurate product description. Therefore, you get exactly what you ordered. Plus, the shipping time is generally fast.
Again, what does The Stratosphere Guitar Parts offer? The Stratosphere Guitar Parts is a one-stop shop for authentic, high-quality, and branded guitar parts. Musicians who want to upgrade or build their guitars from scratch will find this shop a real gem.
Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Guitar
The Stratosphere Guitar Parts can help you build a guitar the way you want it. But before embarking on this type of project, it’s important to carefully think about its pros and cons to avoid wasting time, money, and effort.
Here are some of the good reasons for building or upgrading a guitar:
1. A Fulfilling Hobby
Building your guitar is a fun and extremely fulfilling experience, even if it’s not your first time doing it. What’s even better is you don’t need to make a big financial outlay.
You could buy a kit. It’s faster, but it doesn’t offer you many options and is typically expensive and low quality (when finished). Also, it feels less satisfying than building a nice guitar from scratch.
At first, it can be challenging and confusing to upgrade or build guitars. You’ll make mistakes and encounter issues (e.g., buying the wrong parts). But once you get the hang of it, it gets easier and faster to do.
2. Get to Know Your Instrument
Another benefit of taking the DIY route is you’ll have a deeper understanding of guitars in general, making you a better player. It’ll teach you the design and parts that work best for the final sound and playability that you want.
Remember: It takes time to become proficient in putting together a beautiful and great-sounding guitar. You might even have to sacrifice two guitar bodies and three necks before you can finish your first guitar. Allow yourself to experiment and make mistakes, so you’ll commit less in your next DIY guitar projects.
3. Build Your Dream Guitar
What’s your dream electric guitar? A 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, an Ibanez RG Limited Edition 2008, or ’80s Kramers?
Whatever it is, The Stratosphere Guitar Parts (or other similar shops) allows you to piece together an electric guitar with everything you’ve always wanted. One of their customers bought nearly everything he needed to build a 2016 Gibson Les Paul Standard HP with AAA flame top sunburst finish. And the result was amazing!
The Stratosphere Guitar Parts has all the brand-name parts that you need to upgrade your guitar’s hardware or replicate your favorite guitar. This is why they appeal to many musicians. Anything goes with them!
4. Personalized Based on Your Budget
The amount you spend customizing a guitar will completely vary. It can be done for $400 to $550. For others who have the budget, spending $1,000 or more isn’t uncommon.
Don’t let the price scare you. For more than a thousand dollars, you’ll already have a one-of-a-kind guitar with high-quality parts that could easily rival that of Gibson’s expensive guitars.
The total cost depends on what you want to build, the quality of the parts, and where you buy them. Don’t shell out the full amount all at once. Buy the parts as your budget allows. If you’re new to the DIY approach, I highly suggest you go for a solid-body guitar with a simple design.
Important: You can’t go cheap on certain guitar parts, such as the frets, pickup, and prefab neck. Don’t also try to build one yourself from scratch. These parts need specialized tools and expert knowledge to be playable. But you could save money on other parts, such as the bridge, electronics, finish, and tuners, among others.
Now, let’s talk about the downsides of upgrading or scratch building a guitar.
Depending on what you’re aiming for, you’ll most likely not save a lot of money going the DIY route. Individual guitar parts cost more than buying a new or used guitar.
Aside from the price, you also have to consider the import tax (if you live outside the United States), delivery fees, and service fee of a professional tech (if you choose to hire one).
The Stratosphere Guitar Parts isn’t exactly known for selling dirt cheap guitar parts and other accessories. Some of their prices are good, while others are too expensive for most people. But others feel that the company’s fast shipping and getting exactly what they ordered make the high price a negligible factor.
2. Not an Overnight Project
There’s nothing more exciting than upgrading your old electric guitar’s components or building one yourself. But let’s be honest here. This requires multiple skills, as well as good knowledge of how electric guitars work.
Most of these builds could take around a month to half a year to finish—that is, if you don’t work on it full time or have to save up to buy the parts you need. Other times you only need a couple of days to three weeks to put together your dream electric guitar and tighten up the tuning.
Conclusion – The Stratosphere Guitar Parts
As you can see, the reviews about The Stratosphere Guitar Parts are mixed. They might be pricey and have a few communication issues, but most customers are delighted with their products and services.
I hope this review was helpful. Feel free to do more research about this company to ensure that you only get the best out of your money.