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

Nylon Telecaster

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Kenner Bartos, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. Kenner Bartos

    Kenner Bartos TDPRI Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    Hi All,
    I recently started school here at Michigan Tech (go Huskies), but I still have that unquenchable thirst to build guitars. The problem here is that I am in a dorm room, and the only makers space on campus is not really tailored to guitar building. therefore, I plan on doing a partscaster project of some kind. While planning all of this out, I realized it would be a great opportunity to test out an idea that has been forming in the back of my mind for a while: a nylon telecaster.
    The idea is simple: buy a body blank (like this one from, buy a neck, buy a classical bridge, and use an old kremona-type pickup I have from my days as a classical artist (before I moved to the rock n roll world).
    During a caffeine-fueled all-nighter, I found two problems with my plan:
    1. I can't use polyurethane in a dorm room because of the harsh chemical smells
    2. I know next to nothing about tonewood in terms of nylon guitars.
    The solution for problem 1 came to me quickly. I have used pure tung oil on previous projects with great success. It still has a smell (one that I actually enjoy), but more of a tree nut smell than a peel-your-skin-off polyurethane smell. Problem 2 is the reason I am posting this thread. Not only is tonewood the issue, I also need a wood that is going to be durable since I won't have the protective seal of polyurethane. If you click on the link above, you will notice there are several wood options for this body: alder, baseball bat ash, mahogany, poplar, swamp ash, and walnut. Since I am a college student and have the exact opposite of a disposable income, I would like to stick with this specific body since it is under 100 dollars. I plan on staining/dyeing this guitar a cobalt blue color as well, so I need a wood that is relatively light in color.

    That's as much information as I can think to provide. I need suggestions/advice on which type of wood to use for this body. even if none of these woods are ideal, I would at least appreciate you guys letting me know which one is my best bet. or, if anyone knows of another cheap place to buy body blanks like this, please send those my way as well. I'll make sure to post pictures of the finished project once this all comes together.

    Thanks for the help, Tele enthusiasts!
    -Kenner Bartos

  2. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    Oh, this is so easy. And not so easy.

    You want a Paulownia or Basswood body, the lightest there are, the most resonant, and the CHEAPEST there are, but I doubt you're going to find any that aren't already routed for neck and bridge pups. Chambering would be nice, but that ain't happening.

    Next, your pup is passive, right? So how do you wire it to your control cavity with vol and tone? Yes, you can wire your piezo direct to jack, but then no vol and tone. I can live with that, because I have an Esquire wired direct to jack that I run through a cheap mini Donner EQ, so problem solved.

    Finally, nylon strings on a Tele neck, with that nut? And intonation?

  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    Keith once used a nylon string Tele on Ruby Tuesday. I haven't been able to find any info on it but i always admired it.
    I'll be watching to see what you come up with.

  4. Cheap Trills

    Cheap Trills Tele-Meister

    May 11, 2016
    Brooklyn, NY
    With resonance in mind, since chambering isn't an option, I'd select the swamp ash with the premium lightweight option for the extra $35. But, I don't know how well it would take the tung oil blue tint finish you are talking about. I expect someone else in this forum can chime in there.

    My first thought about the neck and nut was whether you'll find a neck with a wide nut width, but it sounds like you started as a classical guitarist so you know this. The issue isn't preserving a classical feel- not even sure you want that- but that nylon strings are so thick the normal tele spacing would feel very, very cramped. Also, I didn't see the bridge or transducer system, but wider spacing might be preferrable there as well.

    Cool project, would love to see how it turns out!

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