Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reiland Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Join TDPRI Today

12-string tele kitcaster

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Awake, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    The double-neck build is on ice while the lacquer cures. (And, frankly, while I wait for a thickness planer to come up on Craigslist at a price that doesn't make me choke.) While I'm waiting, I thought that a kitcaster would be a fun project, and because I'm sick to death of the spray gun, it's definitely a stain-and-oil project.

    I love me some twelve-string, and a few weeks back, I found an eBay seller who had a seemingly-endless stream of twelve-string telecaster kits ending every few days at luck-of-the-draw prices, so, with a little patience, was able to pick one up for under fifty bucks plus shipping. At that price, you can't really go wrong. I don't know if it's the same seller but it it sure seems like the same kit that became the subject of threads in 2012 by Zuzax and in 2010 by DesmoDog, so that tells me what to expect. Those kits claimed to be basswood; this one claims to be "empress wood" ("paulownia tomentosa", says Dr Google.) Never heard of it, but some googling says that it's rated at 300 lbf, lower than even basswood's 410 lbf. That seems really low—ominously, one woodworking site calls it "the other balsa"—but for the price, it's worth a shot, especially since it comes with at least a partial TDPRI endorsement.

    The kit arrived today, and given DesmoDog's comprehensive coverage, I won't waste your time with extensive unboxing pictures or comments—just a few general observations and a couple of pics. From reading the (very helpful) earlier threads, there's a lot of unknowns to check off, some of which I can answer immediately, having unboxed it:

    • Body issues - Binding could be flaky, hole alignments might be off. Answered: Everything seems fine at first glance, although the alignments will need to be checked. A couple of minor cosmetic issues. Two pieces, quite visibly-so, although not so much so that I have to abandon the plan to stain-and-oil. This sucker is liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight—2.4lbs. (even Warmoth's chambered tele bodies are 4lbs.)
    • Neck—scale length? Measurements? Fits in the neck pocket? Answered: 25.5" scale; .954" thick at the first fret (cf. the Warmoth '59 Roundback), 1.906" wide at the nut (almost exactly what my 12 acoustic is, and fractionally narrower than my 7); and no, the neck's 2.311" wide at the 21st fret; the pocket is milled to 2.28", so some light router work there.
    • Pick guard may be no good. If so, I have a white one sitting on the shelf, and if that doesn't work, I could live with ordering a tortoisehell one. (I'm appreciative to DesmoDog for many laughs from this line: "One of my golden retrievers saw that and opined that if I gave her a sheet of plastic she could probably chew one out that'd look about the same. Trace the outline in peanut butter and let her have at it....") Answered: Not bad, actually. Its edge could use, like the body and neck, a final sanding pass. It could use reshaping on the horn to match the curve.
    • Missing, defective, or substandard parts - I assume that, for the price, I should count myself lucky if they're not el cheapo plastic. Partial answer: At first blush, not bad. Bargain, certainly, but not bargain-basement. First-floor.
    • May need a string retainer and replacement screws / strap buttons.
    • Pickup positioning may be off, and pickups themselves may be duff.
    • Neck may need a shim.

    Unlike DesmoDog, I do like teles and maple fingerboards, and I'm ambivalent on binding, so I'm quids-in no matter what. The plan is to stain it blue (Minwax's "island water blue") and tung-oil it; probably to take a belly-scoop out of the back, too, given how easily-workable the wood is. My biggest anxiety having unboxed it is that the balsa comparison doesn't seem far off; it's so very light and one fears fragile. When people here have built pinecasters, there has been talk of a hardening agent—necessary here, do you think?
     
  2. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    The body, unboxed.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. natesnyder

    natesnyder TDPRI Member

    91
    Jan 7, 2015
    Summersville, WV
    Yep that's the exact same kit I ordered, but when mine came in it was a "thinline" (only hollowed out around the f hole) instead of the solid body I ordered. I didn't complain and just put it together lol

    The wood takes stain really well. I just used rustoleum stain and didn't seal it.

    But be warned...this wood, while light and resonant, dents insanely easy and I'm talking big dents.

    I decided not to seal mine because I wanted it to chip and get beat up pretty quick. If you want a relic guitar it's easy enough to do it. If not...good luck.
     
  4. Forum Sponsor Sponsored posting

  5. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    Nate, I'm getting that it's a total dent-risk. I'm almost afraid to put dings in it with a thumbnail! The balsa comparison's not far off.

    Sanded the body and neck to 400 grit. Looks to me that only a few holes are off—I filled the top control plate hole, the jack plate holes, and topmost horn hole on the pickguard.

    -Simon
     
  6. natesnyder

    natesnyder TDPRI Member

    91
    Jan 7, 2015
    Summersville, WV
    Yeah but it is very resonant and they are fun to play. Have fun with it!
     
  7. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    Hit it with stain twice. There are a few spots that, weirdly, seem less porous.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. natesnyder

    natesnyder TDPRI Member

    91
    Jan 7, 2015
    Summersville, WV
  9. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
  10. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    The sides haven't taken the stain nearly as well as the top and back: There's a kind of furring, almost. Pretty much got to sand that out.
     
  11. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
  12. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    Last few weeks have been "oil oil oil"; tonight, I wet-sanded the neck and installed the tuners; no missing parts, no misaligned holes, couldn't have gone smoother. ImageUploadedByTDPRI1439945828.166111.jpg
     
  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
  14. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
  15. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1440976457.360270.jpg Nearly there!
     
  16. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1441153755.601351.jpg

    This is the one thing about this kit that I've found proper annoying; just because it's so needlessly silly. They've obviously picked out the strings from boxes of various gauges, so would it kill them to label them while they have them separate? I have a nice pair of digital calipers, but anyone without is screwed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  17. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    A couple of observations, having tentatively stuck it all together (ran out of time to plug it in).
    1. There are a couple of holes that are mis-drilled, but none of the really critical ones are out of place. That's a huge plus.
    2. The action is set so high that one has to assume that it's deliberate—a way to cue first-timers (at which the kit is plainly aimed) "oh, no, you silly person, you can't just play this as it is. You thought you were done? No, no, you have set-up to do!"
    3. The nut is cut for Riccy-style reverse-octaves. Interesting.
    4. Some of the nut slots are just not cut deep enough; the strings slip out.
    5. The strings themselves are, like the parts generally, clearly on the cheaper end of the scale, but they're not at all tacky. This was something mentioned in the earlier threads that, if it's the same OEM, have been fixed.
     
  18. Scrapperz

    Scrapperz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    227
    May 30, 2012
    Florida
    Nice thread ya got going here. Thanks! I'm interested in doing one of these someday so it's a nice introduction for me.

    As always the nut needs some work, lol.
     
  19. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
    Thanks—yeah, the nut will need attention, although not as much as I would have expected. The neck's going to need a shim, too—even with the saddles on the hard deck, the action's really high. And there's no audio output, so some rewiring may be necessary.

    With those things in mind, my overall impression so far is that this kit is a swing and a miss given what I take as its intended audience. For me, it's fine. I've built a handful of guitars, I have every confidence that I have the tools and minimum competence necessary to resolve the issues, it's a good project and I think that I will (like anyone else on this forum would) get a good guitar out of it. But my impression is that this kit was aimed at beginners, and I find it hard to believe that the average beginner has access to a set of nut files. I'd recommend it to someone who has some basic experience and access to tools, and I may buy another one myself, but I wouldn't buy it for my kid, for example.

    I can link to the specific eBay seller if it's useful and allowed—I wasn't trying to be coy, I just didn't want to violate some written or unwritten rule against such links.
     
  20. Awake

    Awake Tele-Meister

    165
    Jan 18, 2011
    Indiana, US
  21. bender66

    bender66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Ooooh, nice work. I have the exact kit sitting in a box.

    How's she run?
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.