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Discussion Starter #1
Warning - This Tele-Lovers may find this totally blasfemus!

I have only recently started getting into Telecasters, so I am looking for a little advice on a project I am working on.

I played a pine Tele a few weeks ago, and I liked it so much I decided to make my own. Being the kind of guy I am, I am always looking to try new things though so what I end up with may not be recognizable as a Telecaster by the time I'm done.

The butchering starts here:

forearm contour (I notice that Teles are always missing paint here)


marked for the 'gut' contour


I also have contours marked to reach the upper frets, a thumb contour and I am considering contouring the neck heal and going plateless.

The neck is going to have 21 frets and will be thin and start-like. I'm not a fan of the big, chunky necks, so it will be thinner than any real tele.

I don't think I'm going to use a pickguard, I thought of leaving it pine and staining it with red wine or blueberries, as I've always wanted to try this.

Pickups will be 2 Zebra humbuckers - the bridge position will be selectable for series or paralell and the control configuration will be either:

2 knobs - 1 blend, 1 volume (I'm leaning towards this option)
3 knobs - 1 blend, 2 volumes (this would allow me to go either series/parallel or single coil with the neck pickup)

(there will be no tone control or selector switch, they are replaced by the blender)

The strings will go through the body, but I'm leaning towards a more adjustable heavy cast bridge.

My question is that with all of these changes, I think I'm going to end up with a something like a strat with a tele body. Does anyone have any opinions on what is going too far, and what components must remain to keep the thing more telecaster-ish?

I'm thinking the bridge may be going too far.

Thanks,

Andy
 

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Just for your own curiosity, here's another pine tele body that's fully contoured:

http://www.glendaleguitars.com/pcb2.jpg

I think you're right about the bridge though. I'm in the camp that thinks keeping the metal on either end that the strings connect to or come in contact with (tuners and bridge) light. Although heavy hardware seems like it would transfer the vibration better I'm not sure that's particularly true because heavy stuff can damp vibration as well. Kill resonance. Plus, the standard Tele bridge is great looking.
 

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Geez, I'm just full of suggestions tonight (as usual), but I'm not sure a no pickguard Tele will look all that great. Maybe you should design your own shape. Maybe like an SG junior, Thinline or Telesonic shape. Something cool and original. I bet it would really make the guitar stand out and even more "yours".
 

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I say swing-for-the-fences with it.

I've got a Godin Artisan TC that comes way closer to what you're describing than an actual Tele - and it's one awesome guitar. Still haven't found an actual Tele to replace it, and gave up a while ago to try to.

Dual splitable humbuckers with 5 position switch & push/pull on the tone knob, no pick guard, through-body stringing.

It does have the generally accepted Tele shape to it - all be it with a carved maple top. Fender scale neck too so it's got a bit of snap to it.

Swing away, I say. Perhaps a nice burst finish with the blueberry around the edge fading into the redder wine colour?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Guys,

This video that is in the forum that nine posted sounds pretty much like the Tele that I played:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfsa5VxJp58

Which is why I liked it. I think the light metal bridge has something to do with the 'raspy' sound that it has, but I will probably go with single saddles rather than the two string tee saddles that I see on alot of older teles.

I've got a couple of knots in the body, as this one is pretty much a trial run and I wasn't too pickey with slab of wood I started with - so I might go with a pickguard on this particular guitar.

I will post picks if the finished product turns out well, but as with all guitars I build, if I don't like them I strip them down for parts, trash them and move on.

Thanks,

Andy
 

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Hey Andy

Sounds like a great project.
Love the arm and belly contours idea. I have a little problem with your choice of pickups. If you want to get into that tele tone, you should go single coils. How about 2 well made P90's...
I dont get the NO tone control systems. Tone control is a very usefull feature that can get you to many different sounds no matter what pickups you use. Why limit yourself.
Anyways...good luck and keep us posted.
 

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nine said:
Just for your own curiosity, here's another pine tele body that's fully contoured:

http://www.glendaleguitars.com/pcb2.jpg

I think you're right about the bridge though. I'm in the camp that thinks keeping the metal on either end that the strings connect to or come in contact with (tuners and bridge) light. Although heavy hardware seems like it would transfer the vibration better I'm not sure that's particularly true because heavy stuff can damp vibration as well. Kill resonance. Plus, the standard Tele bridge is great looking.
I found the move from vintage style kluson tuners to heavier grovers added a noticeable amount of sustain.

might not be my favourite tele, but I enjoy your ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
GTmaker said:
Hey Andy

Sounds like a great project.
Love the arm and belly contours idea. I have a little problem with your choice of pickups. If you want to get into that tele tone, you should go single coils. How about 2 well made P90's...
I dont get the NO tone control systems. Tone control is a very usefull feature that can get you to many different sounds no matter what pickups you use. Why limit yourself.
Anyways...good luck and keep us posted.
Hey thanks for your input,

I've always liked the humbuckers, and the Zebras can be split into single coil, or switched series/parallel which gives me more options.

The tone control is achieved by blending between the two pickups. I've worked in the live sound and recording industry for a while, and I have always been a fan of moving the microphone over electronically altering the signal (in some cases). The blend control kind of simulates that same philosophy so I want to give it a try with this guitar.

If it doesn't work out I'll plug in my cry baby and use that as a tone control. This is my first crack at a Tele and this will be one of my personal guitars, so I don't mind a little wierdness.


Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yerffej said:
I found the move from vintage style kluson tuners to heavier grovers added a noticeable amount of sustain.

might not be my favourite tele, but I enjoy your ideas.
I've got to agree with you on the heavier tuners. Adding mass to the headstock has always improved sustain in my experience. Heavier bridges, I find, give me a cleaner, more pronounced attack.

However, I'm going for a loose, raspy, airy sound with this one so I think the light bridge is the way to go.

thanks,

Andy
 

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...REAL men play REAL telecasters!

er..sorry...just had a rush of testosterone there.

i'm over it now.

i think my aerodyne tele has both a tummy cut and a forearm contour. my tele deluxe plus has a tummy cut.

matter of fact i don't even have a "real" tele...

-dh
 

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I also have a tele on my drawing board. It's also going to be pine with a flame maple cap. I've used pine in other projects; 2 lapsteels. I think I've noticed you have knots in the pine you're using, is this part of the look? I prefer the clear pine.
As to humbuckers splitting and parallel, they still do not have the single coil sound. I did that on a previous build. This tele build I'm going for the original sound; two single coils (might be the P-90 versions).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
MCDuster said:
I also have a tele on my drawing board. It's also going to be pine with a flame maple cap. I've used pine in other projects; 2 lapsteels. I think I've noticed you have knots in the pine you're using, is this part of the look? I prefer the clear pine.
As to humbuckers splitting and parallel, they still do not have the single coil sound. I did that on a previous build. This tele build I'm going for the original sound; two single coils (might be the P-90 versions).
Yup, those are knots allright. I could have gotten around them by joining two pieces together, but I'm going for the more rustic look with the wine and blueberry finish and all.

The slab of wood came from a tree that fell in a lighting storm around my house last year that I dried out with my gas fireplace. As it turns out, I had to tack a little piece on the end by the jackplate, so it's not one piece.

If this one works out, I'll make another one with a better slab of wood - this slab is incredibly easy to mark up as the wood is quite soft which is O.K. by me as I've done everything by hand so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
jroberts said:
I think the defining element of a Tele isn't even so much the shape as it is the bridge pickup. As soon as you get away from that 'Tele single coil in the bridge, you've got something other than a Tele. I don't even really consider the 70's Tele Deluxes as real Tele's because of that humbucker in the bridge. Mess around with the neck pickup all you want, but if you don't have that grind n' twang from the bridge, it's not a Tele. YMMV.
Yeah, allot of people have been telling me to go with single coils. I have a whole bunch of cheapies on hand that I can build with, but then I have to start searching for something that sounds good. I've always been a humbucker kind of guy, so I'm out of my depth when it comes to single coils.

I'm looking for warm and raspy, and all of the single coils I have ever owned have always had a real nasty high end quality that kind of turned me off single coils. As GTmaker noted earlier, I would have to add a tone control as I always end up turning it down when I use single coils.

Single coils it is then...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Confort Cuts

I had an hour or so to work on my Tele today so I started sharing my 'comfort cuts' around the neck. It ended up be allot less work than I had anticipated as a little goes a long way here.



The thumb cut gives me the over the top grip I like and the slight cut in the bottom half gives me easy access to the higher frets without twisting my hand towards the headstock when bend.



The neck pocket still needs to be routed and then I'll finish shaping them in. This view gives you a better idea of how slight the cumfort cuts are. I've seen other Teles with much deeper cuts, so I may have to reshape things after I try it with the neck fitted. I'm trying not to make this guitar play as 'fast' as the others that I make so I think the shallower cuts will work better.

You can see the lovely knots on the back of the body, they do show in the front as well, but will be covered by a pickguard, or maybe a veneer.
 

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Hamm Guitars said:
Yeah, allot of people have been telling me to go with single coils. I have a whole bunch of cheapies on hand that I can build with, but then I have to start searching for something that sounds good. I've always been a humbucker kind of guy, so I'm out of my depth when it comes to single coils.

I'm looking for warm and raspy, and all of the single coils I have ever owned have always had a real nasty high end quality that kind of turned me off single coils. As GTmaker noted earlier, I would have to add a tone control as I always end up turning it down when I use single coils.

Single coils it is then...
That nasty high end could be the electronics choices. 250k pots and .047 caps get the most out of them. If they were 500k pots they would be a little shrill.
 

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Mike T. said:
Keef would bite the head off anyone that he saw with a tummycut tele.
If he's still got his real teef. Stones
 

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nine said:
Geez, I'm just full of suggestions tonight (as usual), but I'm not sure a no pickguard Tele will look all that great. Maybe you should design your own shape. Maybe like an SG junior, Thinline or Telesonic shape. Something cool and original. I bet it would really make the guitar stand out and even more "yours".
Here's a pic of a "No Pickguard" Tele

Your build is looking good:banana:

Mark

 
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