Black Cherry Telecaster - She Is A Sweet Sixteen

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by jvin248, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Two weekends ago I acquired an abused 2000 MIM Telecaster that was locked away and abandoned in a basement for most of its sixteen years. No strings, scratched up, rusty, and grubby with missing saddles and string ferrules; I took it home after paying a fair not fantastic price ... but I knew it could be much more again.

    It looks like the color of Michigan sweet cherries; Fender's color chart shows it must be Candy Cola, of which they offer no current models. Edit: a commenter suspects this is Midnight Wine.

    Similar project guitars

    I have resurrected a couple of guitars on prior threads, a Squier Affinity Telecaster that had been all around the country and rescued in so many ways before it came to me in a grocery bag of parts and a Franken-Strat-like model that was barely played for many functional reasons from the factory.

    Let's see what we find here ... As received pictures :eek:

    IMG_4555b.JPG IMG_4556b.JPG
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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Detailed pictures! :D
    Green lines added to highlight typical fret wear (it's not the worst I've dealt with but this guitar has been played quite a bit).

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    Acquisition story

    I was the second caller within twenty minutes of the listing being on Craigslist, but the first willing to show up with cash.

    For those lamenting they never find anything but way over priced gear on CL, so many people watch the site for deals that anything reasonable to a good deal get snatched up within minutes. While I watch the ads, if I come across something like this it is usually by accident that I happen to hit the browser refresh when first sitting down at the pc.

    There were about ten calls by the time we arranged a meeting time and place with a couple of texts back and forth. Soon after the seller texted me not to be alarmed that he was taking the posting down because he was continuing to get too many calls. I have actually bought a couple of guitars from this seller so I knew he was more than likely straight on this. I took my ohm meter with the leads soldered to a 1/4 audio jack so I can plug in to a guitar without needing an amp.

    Got there and the guitar was as he described: a real rough player's guitar. He said he always liked the tone but the guitar was heavier than the others he had so it didn't get out much. The wear on the guitar's body showed it got played a lot including areas of fret wear, heavy pick scratches, and general knock-around gig and poor storage gouges. My meter told me the pickups and wiring were ok so I exchanged the cash.

    Probably an hour transaction from seeing the listing, transactions back and forth to getting back home with the guitar taking out the dwell times in between.

    On with the picture show ;)...

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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  3. ccotton

    ccotton Tele-Meister

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    i love the color. i'm personally pretty jelly.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    More detailed pictures :D

    Rusty pickguard screws had me concerned with several of them that the shank was going to break off the heads.

    The date codes on the pots reveal their build date matches the headstock for a 2000 model MIM. The wiring and solder joints all show factory original. Pots cleaned up electrically with some spray and turn nice.

    Neck pickup cover shows heavy work all over the face. The pickup is functional.

    A lot of dust and grime to clean off. I use 50/50 mix of ammonia and water since it cuts through most everything I find on guitars. Spray it into a cotton cloth then wipe the guitar.
     

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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    During cleaning that transformed it from "dusty burgundy" to it's original color I hung it with the other guitars I have. It goes from looking red to black depending on the angle of light.

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  6. tecelaster

    tecelaster Tele-Meister

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    Cool project - and I'm sure you'll bring it back to life. How's the neck/truss rod?
     
  7. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    A real Relic right there. Can't wait to see it after you fix it.
     
  8. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Lots of potential there, looks like a good project.
     
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jack cup was very loose as it came from the prior owner. The nut was turned down tight with a mechanic's torque but it still wobbled around like a kid's rattle due to the design. I'll drill and screw it as if installing an Electrosocket.

    Heavy pick scratches at the upper body waistline.

    Crumbly looking control pocket that hasn't been aired out since it left the factory. Is that mold in there or buffing compound?
    After some poking around in there it's buffing compound....

    Here is where the comment of the prior owner came back to me "I always liked the tone of this guitar, it was just heavier than my other one". The guy is about my age, maybe he's got a year or two ahead of me or slightly younger and had it harder, but not much different. ... Guitar as received weighs nine pounds so it is on the heavier end of the Tele range....

    More mysteries with the pickguard pulled off the guitar. (The crop circles show the body is definitely a MIM build).

    Same appearance with the polishing in the neck pocket, and some router or file marks around the perimeter of the pockets done to make something fit. The paint in the pockets seems ... odd. The factory stickers are present so this is not an owner repaint. This was done at the factory and the pickups plus wiring are original so no component swaps have been going on.

    Let's look under the bridge pickup.... :eek:

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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Actually the truss rod is ok. It was rusty in the socket. I made sure to clean get a wire in there to knock the debris and rust down, shook all that out upside down, before I put the allen wrench in there. Whew!
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The rusty bridge comes off and there is a similar pocket treatment....

    I better take the neck off and have a look there.

    There is more of that incomplete router scraping plus wood filler in many extra non-neck-bolt holes.

    Date code stamped on the pocket shows June and likely that is 2000 but difficult to tell.

    Weird paint details to inspect further :eek:

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  12. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    Congrats @jvin248 ! I had an American standard that was similar to that color in the 90s, midnight wine was the name I was told it was. I found I never really liked the color much (it's just red guitars in general for me) but I love a good rescue story. Are the pictures ceramic or alnico? How's the front of the headstock look?
     
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  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Warning: These pictures may be too graphic for those that love 'thin skinned' Teles, or guitars with just a hint of Nitro spritzed on it like a pretty girl, or a proclivity to 'just let the wood breathe' -- so best to shield your eyes and move along.

    Those with more of a gawker bent that 'just have to look' at an accident scene then click click click on the horror o_O

    This Tele has a secret hidden for sixteen years!
    (Now ... can you avoid the click on those images? :D)


    The last image shows where I dropped a standard pickguard screw upside down in the back of the body string holes for scale. Compare the screw threads with the thickness of paint next to it! With a very close look there plus the trimmed areas around the body I find a bottom layer of clear Fenderplast to level the wood out plus twelve (12) layers of other paint sprayed on. There could be multiple layers of any single coat that are difficult to separate without a microscope chip analysis. By naked eye I could count that dozen painting cycles. That is where the weight factor comes from! The body itself weighs 6 lbs. The neck, pickups, and hardware add another three pounds for a total nine pound instrument.

    The body was black, navy blue sometimes, and then alternating with several layers of silver and the red used as the final coat. Like looking back at a geological record. All the pocket trimming was to break off the paint build up that hung over the cavity edges like January snow drifts.

    My career background is automotive engineering which has also involved Quality and manufacturing process troubleshooting. This guitar body looks like it was the paint change-over test body or possibly the training body for an employee new to the paint department or for 'the new guy' to learn how to polish properly given how much buffing compound was painted into the cavities. The layers could be indicative of a too-hot June that year in Mexico and the paint didn't cooperate and had to be painted, leveled, and repainted until it looked ok to pass the final inspections.

    All the marks on the neck pocket would be from changing the holding stick used to support the bodies in the paint process. There are probably as many screw hole sets there as there are paint colors on that body. Most factories would tag such a setup pieces so they don't get out, or cut the body so that it would be too obvious that it couldn't get out of the department and certainly not out the factory. This one moved out of the paint department's control and into the assembly areas where they did what they do to chip paint to make things fit and ship product. Perhaps they were short bodies for a dealer demand and someone scrounged the facility for anything guitar shaped.

    In the end the body performed as intended. The guitar was bought, got played, was sold, repaired, and plays again.
    It's just a wacky finding to uncover on a regular used guitar buy.


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  14. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

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    Hay ! That's an unusual color ! I've never seen one of those, the thikness of the finish ? ... well WOW !

    what is all this "paint clugging up" in the pockets, I've never seen something like this before , Do you plan to strip it down and restore it ?

    I'm pretty curious how this will end up cleaned and finished.

    Cheers
     
  15. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Midnight Wine, thanks! I think it might be that the white pickguard is a bad color match, why I want to look for a pearloid one to try on this. Some projects I've worked on in the past have been with the Automotive studio color specialists. Before that I would look at something and say 'black, red, etc' but after all the work with them I have more nonsense about the slight variations and how they can interplay when three or four different materials and gloss levels and you can't believe all that goes into choosing colors, verifying post-production made parts match, and quality assurance that the match stays from month to month and batch to batch. The guitar industry borrows automotive colors but often don't seem to get at that detail level but they could be the same as automotive in not publicizing it.

    The pickups are Alnico. The headstock is coming up too. I should have labeled the thread 'heavy with pictures'.
     
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  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm restoring... However, all the paint is original as it left the factory. I've polished many of the natural player marks out or at least so they are not so obvious. The original top finish would have looked fine in the showroom.

    Only looking under the covers could the madness be observed, the over-sprayed debris from repeated painting and polishing. Just layer and layer of it. Then they hand scraped or maybe they free hand ran a trim-router or a rotary rasp around it to ensure their go/no-go pickup check tools fit. All factory work. Functionally it's fine. On the heavy side, but the parts fit where they need to go.

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  17. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

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    I really have never seen something messy like that before, I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished :)

    Cheers !
     
  18. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    That's crazy that a paint test body made it out. If you wanted to be crafty about it, you could slowly sand through the finish to expose the different colors in some really interesting ways!
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some pickup pictures! Pickups measure:

    Neck: 7.19 kohms
    Bridge: 7.23 kohms
    Alnico 5 rod magnets

    Part numbers on the bobbins indicate these are TEX MEX and should be: Neck 6k and Bridge 8k
    Perhaps the bobbins are generically used on many pickups regardless of winding or the plant just wound everything in the middle of the range that day.

    250k Volume and Tone pots that both measured on target with a 0.05uF marked capacitor that reads 0.043uF.
     

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  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's a spot inside the control cavity that is cut in a way that it looks like "Micarta" used on knife handles (not the famous Keith Richard's Micawber Tele). I've put cavity shielding over it and didn't get a picture of it like I thought. These will have to do .... The knife handles are made up of layers of cotton or other materials that are covered in epoxy and clamped into a brick. Cutting and sawing reveals the 'grain' of the materials. Using dye on each layer transforms the look. Gibson had a "Zoot Suit" SG a few years back that sold poorly, but used the same concept of dyed layers of wood glued up and then carved out to reveal the patterns.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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