New old guitar day (Tele content)

KelvinS1965

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I bought a used 50s Classic Tele last year with a plan to do some mods and make it into a hot rod Tele. As I'm having a clear out of excess gear and hadn't got round to doing the mods it nearly got sold, but I figured I could put it back to standard and sell it on if it didn't work out.

This was how it started out, pretty standard two tone sunburst white guard Tele. You can't tell from the photo, but this model has my prefered 7.25" radius fingerboard and low 'vintage' frets. I've owned my Strat for 36 years and I'm so used to this type that any other Fender feels odd to me (though I'm perfectly happy with my Les Pauls and their 12" (or whatever) radius, so go figure):
Classic 50s white pickguard.jpg


This is what I want it to end up like, the Road Worn Hot Rod Tele (which comes with a 9.5" radius and taller frets, so I didn't like it when I played one, but loved the sound):
Road worn hot rod.jpg


Got my router out on Sunday:
Routed for humbucker.jpg


This is a temporary set up as I'm waiting for a single ply 5 hole bakelite guard. I've also ordered some 500K CTS pots and a 0.22uF tone capacitor as it currently has the standard single coil 250K/0.47uF which robs it of the highs a little. The neck pickup is from my Epiphone Les Paul (which now has Bareknuckle Mules in it). I may pinch one of the Mules to try instead (and then buy a Riff Raff to put into the Epiphone). The bridge pick up is a Seymour Duncan 'Lil '59 single coil sized humbucker, which has a decent output and closely matches the Epiphone neck humbucker currently fitted.
Finished.jpg


I've spent the last few evenings fine tuning the set up as I had never changed the strings on it since I got it last year (I think they were 10s on it) and I wanted to put 9.5 gauge on it like my other standard Tele has. I get a great classic rock tone out it through my Marshall Mini Jubilee...almost Les Paul like, but with a different feel.

I'm glad I held on to it and stuck with my original plan. Now I have two great Teles (the other is a White Blonde 50s Classic with the lacquer finish and upgraded Fender Original Vintage pick ups).
 

KelvinS1965

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I fitted the 500K CTS pots and a 0.22uF capacitor on the tone circuit. Definitely brightened up the overall tone; I really like the 'Lil '59 in the bridge, the neck humbucker is nice and warm, but a bit duller than I'd like and very microphonic, so will still need to be changed out.

The new pots have split shafts, so the original knobs didn't fit properly and were crooked, so I bought some flat top ones with the right hole size for the split shaft pots. It's a small change, but I think they look good.

Flat top knobs close up.jpg


I think I want to get a plain black leather strap similar to one I have on my Les Paul as I'm not keen on the Fender branded one that came with my other Strat. I still think it'll look better with the single ply 'guard on too, but no point doing that until I get the neck humbucker sorted out and do both jobs at the same time:

Flat top knobs full view.jpg
 

KelvinS1965

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Had a blast with the Tele at the rehearsal studio tonight. My first chance to give my new Fender '64 Deluxe reverb amp a good try out at decent levels. The two worked very well together (my GT P90 sounded pretty good through it too). I like that I can roll back the volume with really good control on the 500K pots and the bridge pickup then sounds more single coil like.

Powered up.jpg
 

KelvinS1965

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Received a Dimarzio DP103 36th Anniversary neck pick up today, so I got on with swapping it over and changing the pick guard for a single ply Bakelite one I bought. I had to cut the hole for the pickup, so I used the 3 ply guard I already had as a template.

The Dimarzio is much better than the temporary Epiphone humbucker I had in there: Clear, but warm and no microphonics (it's wax potted). It also blends very well with the 'Lil '59 single coiled sized humbucker in the bridge. I was able to adjust it quite low to the 'guard to help match levels.

I want to do some light ageing to the guitar metal parts and also to dull the poly finish down, but I'm really happy with how it's turned out.

Close up:
IMG_0435.JPG


Full view:
IMG_0433.JPG
 

KelvinS1965

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Did some further mods to it today; I got a spare bridge and cut down the sides to make it more flat so I don't catch my pick on the edge on up-strokes (don't know why, but I never catch the top on down-strokes...).

I also wet sanded the body with P2500 grade wet and dry paper, then buffed using a DA polisher to put back a softer sheen. Also did some light ageing on the control plate and knobs.

A fresh set of (9.5 gauge) strings and a set up later it's all playing great and the cut away bridge works perfectly. I changed the mounts for the bridge pick up while I was swapping parts so it can now be lowered further than before. I've been able to set both pick ups for a good tone and they are well matched in output terms now. The middle position sounds really good, especially with a bit of Marshall overdrive via my Mini Jubilee.

Modified bridge:
Bridge mod 4.jpg


In place on the guitar:
Bridge mod 5.jpg


This one shows the softer finish on the body after wet sanding a bit better:
Bridge mod 6.jpg


Control plate and knobs:, might have overdone the knobs as the finish has broken through on the volume, but they are cheap repros, so I can try again:
Bridge mod 8.jpg
 

KelvinS1965

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Had another go at the knobs and control plate using different grades of 3M pads instead and using a circular motion. I think it came out better this time.

Not sure if it's sacrilege but I used some Gibson polish I got as a Christmas present to shine up the plate and to seal the body. :D

IMG_0492.jpg


IMG_0495.JPG


IMG_0500.JPG
 
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Bend'n'Slide

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Looks good to me! Makes for a kinda down-n-dirty lookin' hotrod Tele -- in a good way!

The white edge of the three-ply pickguard adds a bit of shape and definition but the single-ply black Bakelite just kinda suits its overall look so I think that's the right call.

I did think (albeit briefly...!) about putting at least one humbucker in my Tele when I acquired it but I specifically wanted the bite and growl of a classic Tele (and it turns out that I love the pups that are in it) so it stayed as it was!
 

KelvinS1965

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Thanks, I know what you mean...the three ply looks a bit more 'upmarket', but the single ply fits with the more workman like style I was after (and blatantly copying the Hot Road road worn model too of course).

I do like a good single coil Telecaster though (especially the neck pickup), so I have a White Blonde 50s Classic in the lacquer finish as well. It is almost standard, bar a set of Fender OV pick ups (I preferred the neck sound to the originals and already had the pickups).

It's nice to have two very similar feeling guitars, that sound completely different, so it seemed to makes sense to have two quite different looks as well.
 
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KelvinS1965

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This guitar has really turned into my number 1 lately (ssshh, I know this is a Les Paul forum ;)). I've now played a few open mic style gigs with it and cover a wide range of styles which it works well with. The bridge is bright enough with the volume rolled back a bit to give a good clean tone, but the two together or just the neck alone works superbly with gain. :cool:
 

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