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Old April 13th, 2012, 09:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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'72 Tele Custom (not RI) Project, Advice Needed, Please

Hi,

I have a '72 Tele Custom, not a RI, that I have owned for about 30 years.

I've recently dusted it off, looked it over carefully, and I am thinking about turning it into a decent twangin' tele.

It is black, has Shaller tuners, brass nut, maple neck and fingerboard, decent frets, and the original Fender bridge pickup. The neck humbucker is an aftermarket unknown pickup, and the bridge is a large heavy brass plate with 6 compensated saddles of an unknown brand. Pots and knobs look like original, and the pickguard was kinda butchered when the previous owner years ago put in the neck pickup.

The bottom line is that I'm going to replace:

Bridge and saddles
Neck pickup
Pickguard

My goal is to make a twangy country tele on somewhat of a budget. The advice I'm seeking is:

Twangy-est bridge and saddle recommendations (budget around $50 or so). I've been looking at the Stew Mac Fender replacements, Gotoh, Wilkinson, etc. and I'd kinda like to use the 6 barrel compensated style. Any thoughts on these or others for a good twang-axe? Or should I look at offerings from AllParts or elsewhere? From reading posts on this forum it appears that brass saddles are the best? Steel bridge pan vs brass best?

Keep the brass nut which appears to be cut correctly or swap for bone?

Also, does anyone know a good source for a replacement black/white/black pickguard for this guitar?

Eventually when bucks are available, I'll probably put a Lollar pickup in the neck position since my research has found that is a good option. Does anyone have any other thoughts?

I normally pick Bluegrass flatpickin' leads with my Martin D-18GE, but recently I've been thinking that it would be fun to do some twangy tele stuff, and it sounds like a fun project.

Thanks very much in advance for any help.

BluegrassPicker

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Old April 14th, 2012, 08:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome aboard. I'll bump this for you. Guitar Fetish has budget stuff. I've bought pickguards and bridges from them and haven't had any problems. They sell uncut sheets of pickguard material if you have some way of cutting it. I believe Stew Mac does also. Good luck on your project.

Ha! I just saw another thread about pickguards and these folks have what you're looking for.

http://www.greasygroove.com/proddeta...03-PG-P-S-C-TC

Last edited by diffeecult; April 14th, 2012 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Found additional information.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 09:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Why not pony up the bucks and restore that guitar to it's former glory? Considering the going rate of 72 Customs these days, conventional wisdom dictates that you might want to think twice before you mod it into a ”twangy tele”.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 10:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluegrassPicker View Post
Hi,

I have a '72 Tele Custom, not a RI, that I have owned for about 30 years.

I've recently dusted it off, looked it over carefully, and I am thinking about turning it into a decent twangin' tele.

It is black, has Shaller tuners, brass nut, maple neck and fingerboard, decent frets, and the original Fender bridge pickup. The neck humbucker is an aftermarket unknown pickup, and the bridge is a large heavy brass plate with 6 compensated saddles of an unknown brand. Pots and knobs look like original, and the pickguard was kinda butchered when the previous owner years ago put in the neck pickup.

The bottom line is that I'm going to replace:

Bridge and saddles
Neck pickup
Pickguard

My goal is to make a twangy country tele on somewhat of a budget. The advice I'm seeking is:

Twangy-est bridge and saddle recommendations (budget around $50 or so). I've been looking at the Stew Mac Fender replacements, Gotoh, Wilkinson, etc. and I'd kinda like to use the 6 barrel compensated style. Any thoughts on these or others for a good twang-axe? Or should I look at offerings from AllParts or elsewhere? From reading posts on this forum it appears that brass saddles are the best? Steel bridge pan vs brass best?

Keep the brass nut which appears to be cut correctly or swap for bone?

Also, does anyone know a good source for a replacement black/white/black pickguard for this guitar?

Eventually when bucks are available, I'll probably put a Lollar pickup in the neck position since my research has found that is a good option. Does anyone have any other thoughts?

I normally pick Bluegrass flatpickin' leads with my Martin D-18GE, but recently I've been thinking that it would be fun to do some twangy tele stuff, and it sounds like a fun project.

Thanks very much in advance for any help.

BluegrassPicker

I have era correct Tele bridge on a build I did 15 years ago. Your bridge sounds like something that would be correct for a Micawber build. I would consider an even trade it you decide to restore your tele. PM a pix of the bridge if your interested in trade. If not I would be willing to buy that bridge.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 09:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Restore the guitar! They are valuable and worth the time, money and effort

The original bridge humbucker is worth $500+ by itself
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Old April 15th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Restore the guitar! They are valuable and worth the time, money and effort

The original bridge humbucker is worth $500+ by itself
Bridge humbucker? You don't have a 72 Tele Custom then. You have 72 Telecaster Deluxe.

The Deluxe is on top the Custom is the one on the bottom.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by diffeecult View Post
Welcome aboard. I'll bump this for you. Guitar Fetish has budget stuff. I've bought pickguards and bridges from them and haven't had any problems. They sell uncut sheets of pickguard material if you have some way of cutting it. I believe Stew Mac does also. Good luck on your project.

Ha! I just saw another thread about pickguards and these folks have what you're looking for.

http://www.greasygroove.com/proddeta...03-PG-P-S-C-TC
Thanks for the bump and for the pickguard info.

All of the pickguards I've seen online are for the reissue MIM '72 custom. From research in this forum and elsewhere it appears that the reissue pickguard doesn't fit exactly on the original '72.

Does anyone have any experience with that issue? I'm concerned about buying one online and then having to jump through the hoops of sending it back, etc.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Why not pony up the bucks and restore that guitar to it's former glory? Considering the going rate of 72 Customs these days, conventional wisdom dictates that you might want to think twice before you mod it into a ”twangy tele”.
I'd love to do that. What is the going rate for a vintage '72 Custom?

The biggest problem is that the neck humbucker is an unknown japanese aftermarket Gibson size PU and the original WRH is long gone. I'm told those originals go for big bux if they can even be found, and I'm considering either installing a Lollar WRH or just getting a MIM reissue humbucker, since most of my playing will be twangy bridge pu stuff anyway. Although it would be nice to have a smooth jazzy sound coming off the neck.......

Also, this guitar has had a brass nut installed which appears to have been cut correctly, but when that was installed 30 or so years ago (not by me), some of the wood around the nut chipped away so it doesn't look so great.

Additionally, upon closer examination, the pots are all stamped 500k, which means they are probably not original, unless I'm misunderstanding.

The tuners are non-original Schaller's.

My conscience is clean - all of the above "mods" were done before I bought the guitar and I have no idea who did it.

I'd love to do a vintage restore, but the budget will probably dictate that I make a "player" out of it. Either way, it probably could be totally restored at some point in time even after I'm done.

I'm certainly open to any suggestions and ideas, however.

Thanks
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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have era correct Tele bridge on a build I did 15 years ago. Your bridge sounds like something that would be correct for a Micawber build. I would consider an even trade it you decide to restore your tele. PM a pix of the bridge if your interested in trade. If not I would be willing to buy that bridge.
I can intelligently discuss acoustic guitars and banjos all day an night, but I'm relatively Tele-ignorant in many ways (forgive me for my sin), so I had to google Micawber to see what that was. The bridges I saw in the results didn't look like the one on my Tele. There are no markings on the bridge anywhere, so I'll try to shoot some pix and post them.

The brass bridge on my '72 is a really beefy sonofagun especially where the six saddles attach. It was very comfortable resting my palm on that beefy portion while pickin' and it actually caused me to develop my bad habit of anchoring my palm which I do now when flatpickin' my Martin, since that was the way I learned more than 30 years ago.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 09:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Restore the guitar! They are valuable and worth the time, money and effort

The original bridge humbucker is worth $500+ by itself
My '72 only has a neck humbucker and the bridge is a Fender single coil.

I really wish I had the original $500 PU, but the one in mine is a japanese unknown brand Gibson sized humbucker. It's been there for all of the 30 something years that I've had the guitar, and I found a price tag still stuck underneath the PU that says $50.

I really would like to know what motivated the dude who swapped out the original PU 30 something years ago to make the switch....
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Old April 16th, 2012, 12:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BluegrassPicker View Post
I can intelligently discuss acoustic guitars and banjos all day an night, but I'm relatively Tele-ignorant in many ways (forgive me for my sin), so I had to google Micawber to see what that was. The bridges I saw in the results didn't look like the one on my Tele. There are no markings on the bridge anywhere, so I'll try to shoot some pix and post them.

The brass bridge on my '72 is a really beefy sonofagun especially where the six saddles attach. It was very comfortable resting my palm on that beefy portion while pickin' and it actually caused me to develop my bad habit of anchoring my palm which I do now when flatpickin' my Martin, since that was the way I learned more than 30 years ago.


AW SHUCKS! btw no sin committed I'm just disappointed about the bridge!
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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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AW SHUCKS! btw no sin committed I'm just disappointed about the bridge!
No problemo...

Here's some pix of the bridge:





Does anyone here have any idea what kind / brand of bridge this is, and is it generally considered to be any good? It's pretty heavy, so would it be a "twang killer" or would it be beneficial for a "twanger"?

Thanks
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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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In addition to the bridge pix above, here are some pix of my '72 Custom:













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Old April 16th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If it were me I'd get a stock Fender 3 saddle bridge, get the wiring back to stock, some sort of Wide Range repro (the Lollar will likely be as good as any), bone nut and new pickguard.

Regarding the pickguard, some places will make an outline tracing and produce an exact copy if you send them the original guard.

I may have missed this but what is the mini switch for? Coil split?

Good luck anyway, this looks like it's going to be a very rewarding project.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I just noticed that switch by the vol. knobs, too. What's that one do?
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:42 AM   #16 (permalink)
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In addition to the bridge pix above, here are some pix of my '72 Custom:














Wow! Ok it is a custom then! When you said Humbucker in the bridge it threw me. Well your bridge is not what I need for a micawber but if you decide to restore your tele and want to use a three barrel original type pm me and I'll sell you the original that I have on my build. I'll send pix if you want.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:45 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If it were me I'd get a stock Fender 3 saddle bridge, get the wiring back to stock, some sort of Wide Range repro (the Lollar will likely be as good as any), bone nut and new pickguard.

Regarding the pickguard, some places will make an outline tracing and produce an exact copy if you send them the original guard.
Thanks for your reply. I'm leaning toward the stock bridge. The brass one that was on it is really heavy and I'm thinking that has to dampen the twang?

I am also leaning toward a MIM stock WRH that comes on the RI's. At around $60 it's a lot less than the Lollar at $200, and I will be doing most of my playing from the bridge PU.

I've narrowed down my search for the pickguard to either Terrapin or WD since I'm told that the pickguard for the MIM RI won't fit the oldie but goodie original correctly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suttykins View Post
I may have missed this but what is the mini switch for? Coil split?

Good luck anyway, this looks like it's going to be a very rewarding project.
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I just noticed that switch by the vol. knobs, too. What's that one do?
The mini toggle switch reverses the polarity of the neck humbucker which when playing with both PU's active puts them out of phase. It makes a neat sound, although with less bass and a little quieter than normal. I'm thinking seriously about putting a push-pull pot on the neck humbucker volume control for the phase switch and ditching the mini-toggle. Or perhaps I might just revert back to the stock wiring setup and eliminate it. I haven't yet decided on that one.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 09:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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It sounds like you know what you're doing.

The MIM Wide Range should be fine if you're mainly going to be on the bridge pickup.

The general consensus is that the new WRH are not entirely faithful to the original design so you may want to keep that in mind.

If in the future you find that you're not getting along with it then it might be worth sending it to this guy who mods the current production WRH to original specs.

http://www.telenator.com/

I can't wait to see this one restored, make sure you post some pics when it's done.
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