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

MIM Tele preparing to undergo surgery - need advice!

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Mark S., Mar 21, 2003.

  1. Mark S.

    Mark S. TDPRI Member

    10
    Mar 20, 2003
    New Orleans, LA
    OK - here's the plan. I have a MIM Tele Standard.

    What I plan to do is:
    1) install a 24 and 3/4 scale Warmoth neck with a rosewood board.

    2) Put a pair of humbuckers in.

    So, here are my questions:

    Am I going to need to change the potentiometers? And if so, to what? While I'm doing this, if I need to re-wire, what kind of wire should I use, or does that make a difference?

    Is the 24 and 3/4 scale neck going to significantly alter the playability? Make it easier to play, harder to play, what? Warmoth is my choice, but is there another company I should consider? Bear in mind I have a reasonably limited budget, but I don't want to be el cheapo either.

    I like a good bluesy sound. I'm not shooting for metal mania with these humbuckers. I want something that sounds Peter Green-esque. Any recommendations? Again, I have a restrained budget but I don't want to go the el-cheapo route, so suggestions are appreciated.

    Basically what I'm shooting for is to convert the MIM into a Tele-shaped Les Paul. I know that sounds like heresy, but my arsenal consists almost entirely of Fenders, and I figured the MIM would be a good hot-rod guitar. I like the basic no-b.s., user friendly layout of the Tele but I want humbucking sounds.

    So, will this experiment work? I welcome all thoughts and opinions.
     

  2. Martinp

    Martinp Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Westbury, N.Y.
    les paul, huh?

    I don't think a tele is ever goig to sound like a les paul, it's like slaping big ears on a sheep and calling it the easter bunny.
    but all that aside, for volume and tone pots, you should go with 500K pots, instead of the 250K pots you have in there.
    and the slightly longer neck will reduce string tension a bit and make bending a little easier.
    something else to consider is a humbucker in a single coil form factor, that way you can use the bridge you have.
    good luck
    mp
     

  3. Mark S.

    Mark S. TDPRI Member

    10
    Mar 20, 2003
    New Orleans, LA
    Re: les paul, huh?

    Good one!

    No, I had no real illusions that it would sound exactly like a Les Paul...I was just hoping for something in between a LP and a Tele, kind of a "best of both worlds" scenario. Or at least something that partakes of both worlds.

    Truth be told, there are already several models in the Tele line that come close to what I want, but my budget doesn't allow for a Tele-Sonic. Or even the new American Series Tele HH that they unveiled at NAMM this year.
     

  4. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    642
    Mar 21, 2003
    DC 'Burbs
    Unless Warmoth does some kind of adapting, you will have to move your bridge forward to compensate for the shorter scale.

    Here is what I would recommend you do...seriously.

    1) Buy some Lawrence pickups, some 'hot' but not 'on fire' models. Lawrences are a tremendous deal-for-the-dollar. NOT humbucker versions, just the normal Tele pickups.

    2) Leave the neck on there until you try this out, if you still want to go to a 24 3/4, go ahead, but I think that is not the best idea...

    3) Buy an EMG Afterburner and install it, and SHIELD YOUR COMPARTMENT properly. The EMG is a pretty easy install.

    You will have to install a mini-switch and find the right capacitor to use, as it will be on a switch instead of a pot, the EMG is a pot and will need to be mounted in the tone pot hole (that's where I'd do it anyway...)

    Wire in a 4-position switch so you can get the series connection thang going for you.

    You won't believe what it will sound like, you will have Fender-clean and Gibson-mean, all by just rolling up the A-burner pot. Believe me, I think you'll love it.

    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

    I have an Afterburner on 2 guitars and love it.
     

  5. Mark S.

    Mark S. TDPRI Member

    10
    Mar 20, 2003
    New Orleans, LA
    Very true! Fortunately Warmoth makes a 24.75 scale neck that works on Fenders without moving the bridge. That's one of the reasons I was going to go with Warmoth.

    The Bill Lawrence/Afterburner mod sounds intriguing. I am gonna have to look into the Afterburner; this is the first I've ever heard of it.
     

  6. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    642
    Mar 21, 2003
    DC 'Burbs
    I don't know why they aren't more popular, I accidentally stumbled on them by scrolling e-Bay for some EMG pickups, and they fell under my searchword (EMG).

    I would have probably never found out about it otherwise.

    It is a 25db gain device that is on an adjustable pot, (yes, you will be using a 9V battery, the clip is included in the A-burner kit) so on '0' you are at completely stock sound, and as you roll that muthu up, it just gets more and more overdriven, overdriving the front end of the amp, I like them best with Bardens, the difference in tone is astounding, from the normal Barden super-clean crystal-clear and warm sound, and rolling up the knob, you slowly arrive at full-out Satriani-land, and everything in-between the two.

    Bardens are EXTREMELY quiet pickups, but the Lawrences are quiet also, and much more affordable, so you don't have to buy 'hot' pickups, you will lose the nice clean 'vintage' tone with the knob on zero, so with some cleaner pickups, you get even more versatility out of the guitar, 'cause no matter what you put in there, the A-burner will take them to max overdrive-land reguardless.

    I think they make any guitar extremely versatile, but again, they boost everything, so if your pickups are at all noisy, when you roll the knob up, the 'white noise' comes along for the ride, and with noisy pickups, I wouldn't even bother trying it out, but if you have some nice quiet pickups, the results are AMAZING.
     

  7. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    642
    Mar 21, 2003
    DC 'Burbs
    PS, they run around $40.00, I consider that pretty affordable for what you get in return.

    PPS, since they boost any noise, that's why I recommended doing a nice shielding job also...
     

  8. Kevin Nybo

    Kevin Nybo TDPRI Member

    62
    Mar 17, 2003
    Mini-Soda
    If you would like to hear what the shorter scale-length sounds like before doing the mods, find yourself a Tele-Sonic to test out. Fender did what you are attempting. They even placed the selector switch in the Les Paul position. 24 3/4" scale length. They are listed in the 2003 catalog. Hank Jr. used to use one according to the movie of his life.

    It won't sound exactly like yours would after the mods, but it would give you an idea of how the short scale-lenth sounds, which is different than the standard 25.5" length. I have a Strat with this shorter length.
     

  9. xxicjoy

    xxicjoy TDPRI Member

    63
    Mar 21, 2003
    Ill throw this out there because its somthing I may do to
    a tele at some point. Has anyone had experience with
    Duncan 59 Jr's or Jb jr's or even having their custom
    shop wind an antiquity style mini Humbucker for your
    tele? It seems that any way to dodge the price tag of a
    new neck or routing. Additionally, at the risk of offending
    any fans of MIM Teles , although I dig the 50's tele, dont
    the standards have multi-piece (more than 3) bodies? I
    remember the few Ive played being a little dead. You
    might be bettter suited to either to either keep your
    experiment inexpensive or flip the MIM tele and get a
    telesonic which I see for 6-800 clams on ebay and
    recycler.com.
     

  10. xxicjoy

    xxicjoy TDPRI Member

    63
    Mar 21, 2003
    Ill throw this out there because its somthing I may do to
    a tele at some point. Has anyone had experience with
    Duncan 59 Jr's or Jb jr's or even having their custom
    shop wind an antiquity style mini Humbucker for your
    tele? It seems that any way to dodge the price tag of a
    new neck or routing. Additionally, at the risk of offending
    any fans of MIM Teles , although I dig the 50's tele, dont
    the standards have multi-piece (more than 3) bodies? I
    remember the few Ive played being a little dead. You
    might be bettter suited to either to either keep your
    experiment inexpensive or flip the MIM tele and get a
    telesonic which I see for 6-800 clams on ebay and
    recycler.com.
     

  11. Mark S.

    Mark S. TDPRI Member

    10
    Mar 20, 2003
    New Orleans, LA
    No offense taken. The paint job on my MIM Std Tele is such that I can't figure out whether it's three piece, two piece, one piece, or what. The one that I have seems to be pretty "live," not quite as alive as a FrankenTele I had 7 years ago (long sigh) but not at all dead sounding by any means. Whatever the body is, it's not basswood, which I had unfortunate experiences with.

    My main hassle with the MIM is that the pickups aren't quite "there" enough. There's not enough presence. They're hot enough, I guess, it's just the tone that doesn't thrill me. It's not quite as twangy or as full as I would like.

    I'm never sure about the neck, either. I can't quite get the action where I want it. I realize that the action on most Tele's is supposed to be rassled with to a certain extent, but sometimes I feel like the neck is putting up too much of a fight.

    I switched from my usual 10-52 light top/heavy bottom to a 10-46 "regular" set, but it's just not the same. I miss the bottom end that I had with the 52 low E down there, and dropping to D (which I do a lot) is a pain due to the lighter gauge string not wanting to sound true at a lower pitch.

    I appreciate the suggestions for the Tele-Sonic, but at this point I'm in grad school and we just bought a house, so that's right out. So my option is sort of doing it like Johnny Cash built his Cadillac, "one piece at a time."

    These suggestions are all good ones though, and I 'preciate each and every one.
     

  12. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    642
    Mar 21, 2003
    DC 'Burbs
    Yeah, I had that in mind.

    2 Lawrences (about $40.00/ea.) and the EMG (also about $40.00)

    Some shielding (maybe $10.00)

    4-way switch (about $15.00?)

    And forgoing the neck change for the time being...

    Comes in under $150.00.

    I figured for the bang your gonna get with that setup, it was a pretty good tradeoff for the money (and if you don't like it, I'd probably take the pkp harness off your hands!)

    Bill has the L280's that seem wildly popular, and also the L250 blade style (like a Barden) with a few choices within the camps.

    BTW, Bill Lawrence is easily accessable via phone, so you can ask him personally about a preference.

    I like lots of different pickups, the reason I'm referring to the Lawrences is the quality-for-the-price is almost unbeatable.
     

  13. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    642
    Mar 21, 2003
    DC 'Burbs
    ...and they're noiseless, which is a necessity with the A-burner...
     

  14. guitar-eric

    guitar-eric TDPRI Member

    61
    Mar 20, 2003
    dayton
    Duncan Hotrails

    I ve got my aguave blue"tequilacaster" modded w/ SD Hotrails. They are just the thing to beef up a tele. Be sure to have a push/pull pot install to split the rails so you can still ge the classic tele sounds. BTW graphtech bridge saddles & nut also improved my MIM.
     

  15. Knucklehead

    Knucklehead Tele-Meister

    Age:
    114
    237
    Mar 17, 2003
    Tarantula Trace Trail, AZ
    Sounds like you might be better off looking for a Tele that is already equipped with Humbuckers. If you are going to buy a Warmoth neck, Set of HBs, new 500K Pots, and then spring for a Luthier to route out you MIM Tele Body to accomodate the HBs, I have to think you'll be spending over $400. or more
    Might be cheaper just to buy a custom routed body from Warmoth.
     

  16. Mark S.

    Mark S. TDPRI Member

    10
    Mar 20, 2003
    New Orleans, LA
    Well, trying to avoid spending a lot of money in one go. The neck would be approximately $150. The MIM Tele is actually already routed for a humbucker at the neck position, and at the bridge I was just going to go for one of those single-coil-size HB's. I'm pretty sure I can bring it in for way under $400.

    If I bought a body from Warmoth the major danger would be finishing it. I am absolutely no good with that kind of stuff, and I'm not particularly fond of natural wood finishes.

    There are no reliable luthiers where I live, unfortunately. There are plenty of guys who work for music stores and call themselves repairmen, who will take your money and go after your guitar with power tools, but heck, I could do that.
     

  17. joe c

    joe c Tele-Meister

    124
    Mar 17, 2003
    Michigan
    Re: les paul, huh?

     

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