Planning a customized Tele, need opinions

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Mattdcmartell, Mar 15, 2019 at 1:57 AM.

  1. Mattdcmartell

    Mattdcmartell NEW MEMBER!

    Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
    Part of this build is resource availability, part of this build is as a first time attempt, and part of this build is because I’m curious and there’d be a lot of learning points.

    The just of it, I have two 18”x14”x1” oak slabs I’m planning on gluing together to build a cross between a Thinline and a smuggler’s tele.

    The plan, an American Standard base with a minimally but classy pick guard adjustment, F-Hole & 35mm cavity on the hump side and the smuggler’s weight relief beneath the pickguard.

    My own theory is what I would like to challenge here before I make any moves. The oak is such a heavy material and would cause a chimey sound. Solution is to get the resonance increase from the f-hole to fill the sound in a little bit more and have the smugglers cutout for added weight relief.

    Trying to get a bit of body to the sound without compromising thus the smaller smugglers cavity replacing the below-bridge and control cavity cutouts in the Thinline.

    Now, my other question, in making will already be a 2 slab guitar, so I’m trying to figure out the layering situation. The Thinline has a cap. That would be an extra layer thus extra glue for my two slab body. I’d also have to Locate more wood.

    My possible solution is to instead either have a lighter cap on the rear and have the F holes thru the front of the body. Similar would be the same but with a metal backplate or something else to cover the cavity thus making it a single two-piece slab with no cap.

    I’m terrible with explanations and I’ll try to get images up ASAP, but what does everyone think? I’m interested n both learning and making a rather. Desirable tele from oak.
  2. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 30, 2011
    "My own theory is what I would like to challenge here before I make any moves. The oak is such a heavy material and would cause a chimey sound. Solution is to get the resonance increase from the f-hole to fill the sound in a little bit more and have the smugglers cutout for added weight relief.

    "Trying to get a bit of body to the sound without compromising thus the smaller smugglers cavity replacing the below-bridge and control cavity cutouts in the Thinline."

    Nobody has any real clue about any of this as it relates to solid bodied guitars. It's all just anecdote. You can't say that heavy wood will lead to a certain sort of tone. Nobody will know what the thing will sound like until it is done.

    Phrases like "fill the sound in a bit more," "a bit of body to the sound," "such a heavy material...would cause a chimney sound" really don't have any weight, pun intended. They're just nebulous, subjective terms, with theorized/imagined but unproven causes.

    So, I would say to quit imagining, and just build and find out.

    Now, this doesn't mean that weight is not a consideration, for reasons of both comfort and balance. I certainly would not want a 9 or 10 pound Tele around my neck, or even on my lap. A great way I have discovered to "cheat" a reduced weight is to use a thinner body blank. Shave 1/4" off the back side of the blank, and you've taken off over 1/6 of the weight of the body, and made it a significantly more ergonomic thickness, without noticeably changing the look of the guitar at all. It could save you from having to bother with the smuggler's routs. You could go even thinner than 1-1/2", if you are careful with your top routing. SGs are thinner than that, IIRC, and they don't feel abnormally thin IMO.
    eallen likes this.
  3. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx TDPRI Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    My initial thought when I read chambered body from two slabs was a clamshell body, no caps. Probably using the classic metal plate for the controls, or a control cover in the back if you want a cleaner top.
    eallen likes this.
  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    You can route out both halves. Once you have your cavities template, just use it on one side of the body, then flip it over to route the other slab. You can drill index holes through both slabs together so everything lines up when you flip the template.
    eallen likes this.
  5. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 30, 2013
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    Some good advice from the others! That is especially true on Esquires thoughts on sound. Don't overthink it. Do what you want to get the weight hanging around your neck what you want and build it.

    Either route and clam shell it or plane it down and cap it with something else. More important than anything though, post pics.

  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Welcome to the forum Matt.. put the beer in the fridge and plug in..

    The number one mistake guys mane as they enter this hobby is making their first far too complex... trying to make their first their "dream" guitar..

    as you climb the learning curve, there will be inevitable "pot holes" the resulting corrections will haunt you for the life of the guitar despite how well ya correct them... so keep it simple... concentrate on learning.... your second will be getter and by time ya begin your 3rd, you will be ready for that "dream".

    and forget all the Bull you read about everything.... there is no anything that will guarantee one guitar's superiority over another, other than patience and attention to the little things... just use common sense and have fun.

    Here's some "stuff I wrote years ago... still applicable.. I hope it helps.

    eallen and Old Deaf Roadie like this.
  7. RiversQC

    RiversQC TDPRI Member

    Nov 9, 2018
    Great advice above. I have been thinking through a similar build with similar dimensions of roasted ash. Chambered clamshell construction, I guess.

    My model so far has been the rosewood guitars with a thin maple strip down the middle. Some good photos here (do not buy. Stay focused! Lol)
    Nice look with shallow contour carves, etc.

    So working with two equal sized pieces of oak, maybe you can chamber each like Jupiter suggests and put em together - possibly with a darker accent strip? Good luck.
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Make or buy yourself a thinline template set and rout both sides of the top and bottom sections. You'll want to keep a center section to mount the bridge and pickup. Most thinlines are 1/4" thick on the top and back. I usually do a 1" thick wall, but it could be thinner. I just want ample wood where the grain is short.

    Your glue line can be in the middle like the rosewood bodies. If you have woodworking tools, this is just really basic woodworking with some router work. Dowel alignment pins will be really helpful to mate the two parts. Plans for the body are in here and are called Thinlines PDF. I'd probably rout the inside first then clue it up, then rout the neck, pickups, and F hole, then cut it out.

    As an affiliation:
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 7:56 AM
    eallen likes this.
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

    Aug 22, 2018
    First Matt, welcome to the forum and to guitar building. I'll add my two cents. You will have lots of challenges on your first build so don't get too carried away by making it too complicated. Chambering a guitar is a very worthwhile thing to do and may have a very slight affect on the sound but its really hard to predict what that affect will be. If you are interested in pursuing it, here is a build thread for a chambered Les Paul style guitar - at the end of the discussion are some clips where I compare it to a similar guitar without the chambering. The important thing about the comparison is that both guitars have the same pups, electronics, amplifier, player, pick, strings, wood, shape size, yadda yadda.

    The significant thing about that guitar is that it is 1 and a half pounds lighter than the solid one. For a les paul player that is significant.

    The other thing I will put forward is a recent build of a completely chambered tele - pretty much a thin line without the f-hole

    Weighing the body blank before and after chambering shows that it has lost two pounds - again, that is significant. I can't make any comparisons with a non chambered guitar because I don't have one that meets the specs. I'll also add that I think the f-hole(s) on a thin line is mostly there for looks. You can calculate the body cavity resonance (its call the Helmholtz resonance) based on the area of the hole(s) - just let me say I don't think it matters (I mostly build true acoustic guitars and I'm very aware of how the top and air cavity couple to each other - but on a guitar like this the affect is overwhelmed by your choice of pickups.

    Not to say don't do it - just don't expect it to make a difference. Also remember that f-holes have a tendency to make a guitar more prone to feedback at high volumes, one of the reasons BB's Lucille's don't have them.

    Good luck with your build, post pictures as you go along.
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