Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

build a VB Classic 50's tele... can I do this?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Uke4Jerry, May 15, 2018.

  1. Uke4Jerry

    Uke4Jerry TDPRI Member

    May 9, 2018
    Lemon Grove
    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and to guitars, except for about 1 year of lessons as a kid. I loved it, but had to quit as my other grades suffered. Plus I was learning right-handed and I'm a true lefty. I sucked at strumming. I just couldn't get it. Now trying lefty I don't have the issue.

    I've read through about 2 years worth of threads in this group and am considering "building" my own 50's telecaster from pre-made parts. I still have some hesitation though so I'm hoping the experience of others here will be of help. I also read this article which was very helpful:

    I just turned 50yo and have been noodling around with a tenor ukulele for about 18 months. I like Ka'au Crater Boys, Ernie Cruz, Troy Fernandez style Hawaiian surf tunes. I also like jazz, but not sure I could ever get good at it. So I like a clean sound, maybe a little reverb, but no crunch or gain.

    I'm pretty good at strumming patterns and playing chords on the Uke. I am also starting to learn some finger style.... very slowly. I need a more structured way to learn so am planning on using the guitar to study at, with the initial goal of making some simple strumming and chord progression backing tracks to then play my Uke with while learning to play lead/ finger style, etc.

    My first choice of guitar in my budget is the Squire Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster BSB Left Hand at $400 US. However, it is not easy to find a Left-Hand model, even online, from a reputable dealer. So if I could build one in the same basic style for about the same amount I think that would be fun. The only part that concerns me a bit on the actual construction is the finishing.

    So I've started piecing together something from Warmoth — but quickly got lost and realized I needed input from others. I hope to create a guitar that would be good for a complete newbie, as well as be enjoyable as I progress. This is where I need the expertise of others. So here goes…

    Left Hand Vintage White 50's style telecaster

    Neck: Vintage Construction
    Scale: 25 1/2 in
    Neck wood: Maple with Rosewood fretboard
    Nut width: 1 11/16"
    Neck profile: Standard Thin
    Radius: 10-16" compound
    # of Frets: 21
    Fet Size: 6150
    Tuner Ream: Vintage style (11/32")
    NOTE: Not sure which tuners to get. See below in "Hardware"
    Inlays: Black face and side dots
    Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTech White TUSX XL - Standard Nut
    Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bold
    Finish: No Finish (I'd like a unfinished neck if possible as I don't like the sticky lacquer feel)

    Model: Telecaster
    Scale: 25 1/2 in
    Orientation: Left Handed
    Wood: Alder
    NOTES: I don't see Pine as an option, Alder seems like a good choice. I don't want a 9lb guitar if I can avoid it. I've read about chambered, but couldn't find that option. Would be nice from weight standpoint if that isn't a complete sin when going for the 50's look/sound.

    Control Cavity: Top Rout
    Pickup Rout: Tele -- Tele
    Control Routing: None
    Bridge Type: Hardtail
    Bridge Route: Tele Bridge
    Jack Rout: 7/8" (22mm) Side Jack Hole
    NOTE: I had no idea which option to choose here.
    Neck Pocket: Tele Shape
    Mounting Holes; Standard 4 Bolt

    Shape: Telecaster
    Material Color: .09" White/Black/White
    Bridge Cut: Vintage Tele Bridge
    Mounting Holes: Vintage 5-Hole
    Neck Pickup: Tele (Holes)
    Middle Pickup: None

    Vintage White Color
    Idea for the process:
    1. Oil based grain filler
    2. nitrocellulose "brush on" sand and sealer
    3. some type of natural stain or dye to get the Vintage White color
    4. True Oil finish
    5. If there is a way to get a satin look I would prefer that over super glossy.

    Ideally I would like an unfinished neck. If that is not advisable, then a satin oiled finish would be my second choice.

    This is where I start to get really lost. I've made my best guesses here. I have seen all of these items on YouTube videos, but no real idea where to purchase from. Warmoth offers some of these, but I would assume the price is higher than other vendors.

    Tuners: Fender Vintage Nickel Tele
    Neck Pickup: Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Tele Neck (APTR-1)
    Bridge Pickup: Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Tele Bridge (APTL-1)
    Bridge: LEFTY Brass Saddle Tele Bridge Chrome
    Control Knobs: Burled Knob, Cupcake (Wide top, narrow bottom)
    Control Switch: Vintage White if possible
    Input Jack: Chrome (Need actual part number, Fender? Another brand?)
    Neck Plate: Chrome ( Custom would be cool as I'm a graphic designer)
    Neck Screws: Stainless Steel Chrome
    Strap Holders: No idea here, locking would be good
    Control Plate: Traditional Tele Chrome
    String Ferrules: Chrome, Stainless Steel

    Ideally I would like a kit with everything included, something of good quality, but no extravagant. Too many options online for me know which one. I don't see a "kit" from Fender.

    I'm sure I've missed several things that I would need....

    The attached image is the rough aesthetic look I'm going for.

    I know this was a long first post. So my apologies.

    I like to give back and help in areas where I am strong. I'm a 30 year professional in advertising marketing field as a creative director/photographer. So I'm great at helping others take great images, videos, editing, etc. So if there is a section of the forums here where I can help I'm happy to do that.

    Thanks to any/all who read this point and offer input and advice.


    Vintage White Tele Maple-Rosewood.jpg

  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Did you see this? It is probably cheaper than rolling your own.

    This guy can probably cut you a lefty body for less so you can spend more on a nice neck.

    Not white but it's a Fender and already painted. I spent more than this on duplicolor aerosol cans for a body I'm painting now.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
    Uke4Jerry likes this.
  3. Uke4Jerry

    Uke4Jerry TDPRI Member

    May 9, 2018
    Lemon Grove
    Thanks for the links. The challenge I have with used is I don’t know what I’m getting. I’ve been trying to learn by visiting local shops, but even they don’t always know details like the model year, construction materials, pickups etc. One private shop in particular Spins a different yarn about a specific guitar I ask about on each visit.

    I’m sure the more I learn, the less apprehensive I’ll be.

    The other links are interesting as well. I’m going to look into them more

    Thanks again!
  4. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    First off, welcome to the TDPRI. As you said - it's a wealth of information in here. Great looking project you're looking to undertake here.

    I may have missed something, but what are your actual intentions? Do you want to buy a ready routed body, pre made neck, hardware etc and (obviously) do the finishing? Or are you wanting to do some of the work yourself?

    Bodies are not that hard if you've got some basic wood working skills and certain tools, but necks are a whole other equation. To date I've not done a neck myself, but hopefully my first attempts are not too far away.

    Anyway, good luck with this, I will be watching to see how you go. :)
  5. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Holic

    Aug 12, 2016
    Its pretty easy to put a partscaster together. The thing is, you don't know what you want yet. Yes, you're a lefty, which makes finding a guitar a little harder. But the beauty of building your own partscaster is that you can make it exactly how you want it.

    To my thinking, your should find yourself an inexpensive Squier Telecaster to learn on. Play it for a year and you'll have a better idea of what you want personalized on the one you build next. It doesn't make sense to put together a partscaster at this point because you are kind of throwing darts in the dark.

    The bottom line is, there are a lot of good manufacturers out there. We are in a golden age. As long as you are spending the cash to get name brand parts such as pickups, sets of tuners, pots and jacks, you're going to get decent stuff. Its more a question of which flavor you like than getting the subjective "best."
  6. Uke4Jerry

    Uke4Jerry TDPRI Member

    May 9, 2018
    Lemon Grove
    Thanks for the welcome!

    Initially I just want a guitar that I can afford and grow with. I’m not the buy and sell type of guy. In my profession I use my tools until they die. I’m not big on always getting something better or newer, but I choose wisely before investing.

    I didn’t know about the ability to buy ready made pieces and assemble them until recently. If I could have an entire luthiers wood shop I would as it has always been something I would love to do. Currently I wouldn’t be able to do much more than apply a finish and assemble. I’m really only interested in it if I can stay close to my $400 budget. I’ve already established I couldn’t hit that amount by buying everything from Warmoth.

    Left hand-hand guitars are just so limited I thought I would at least entertain the idea of putting together a parts-caster.
  7. Uke4Jerry

    Uke4Jerry TDPRI Member

    May 9, 2018
    Lemon Grove
    Great observations. That’s why I’ve been looking at the Classic Vibe. I’ve just been waiting several months for them to come back in stock at my dealer of choice. I thought maybe with a parts-caster I could get a warmer set of pickups or maybe an Alder body over the Pine — without breaking my budget too much — and have a bit of fun at the same time.
  8. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Holic

    Aug 12, 2016
    The Classic Vibe is a great choice. They hold their value really well should it not work out. I scored a used one a few weeks ago for an incredible price. It is a great platform for what you want to do. Play it stock until you figure out what you like and what you'd want changed. You might enjoy it stock too, so let your ears decide.

    You can always swap out the pickups later, but only after you decide what you are looking for in a pickup.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.