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RECENT PROJECT 3PICK UP TELE WITH P 90 IN NECK

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Spanker, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Spanker

    Spanker TDPRI Member

    78
    Sep 27, 2011
    London
    Back in March 2015 I posted details of a budget 3 pick up SX Tele type I had bought and outlined the various mods I was planning. For various reasons the project got boxed up in storage and I never got around to getting my act together and getting the job finished until a few months back.. Thought I would now post some pics and details . Hopefully somebody .will find it of interest.

    I bought this guitar whilst on vacation in the US visiting the GF's relatives. Back then the UK pound was a quite a bit stronger against the dollar and at $99 on special offer from Rondo (including gig bag) it was a real steal for a 3 pick up Tele type guitar .. SX guitars have had some mixed reviews but I had been very impressed with the build quality and fret finish of the Ash bodied Tele type I had purchased. a couple of years earlier. With a set of DM Twang Kings and new pots that guitar plays, .sounds and looks well above its budget price. As it happens the new addition did not disappoint.

    The SX comes with (understandably) pretty mediocre pups and pots which most people upgrade. As this was going to be our 4th Tele in the family I was looking for something a bit different with this project so decided on the 3 pick ups with a P90 in the neck with a fairly hot bridge. I also planned a fairly complex wiring that would give me series and out of phase options..

    While in the US I emailed , .on good advice, Ken Currie of Rose pick ups in California.. This guy gives amazing before and after sales service as well as making hand wound Custom shop quality pick ups for very affordable prices. I suspect he is already well known to many other forum members.

    Anyway after exchanging emails with Ken I went with an Eden P90 with Alnico V in the neck ,a Buckaroo Bridge with Alnico 8 and a Buff Beauty Alnico V in the middle. The pick ups were wound so that neck and middle were both hum cancelling with the bridge pup. Cost was $135 shipped which was more than I paid for the guitar. But these were really excellent pups.....more later. IMG_8481.JPG
    IMG_9830.JPG IMG_9834.JPG

    The guitar itself was very well made.. Construction and finish were excellent and everything seemed to line up nicely. I had expected to have to do some fret work but they were surprisingly level with quite smooth ends. The 16th and 17th frets may have been a tad high but a couple of taps of a hammer to a piece of wood laid over the frets improved this. Before restringing I gave the frets a good polish with wire wool followed by metal polish and then gave a good coating of fret oil as the rosewood was a bit dry.
     
  2. Spanker

    Spanker TDPRI Member

    78
    Sep 27, 2011
    London
    IMG_9838.JPG The first mod job was to carefully cut ,using a stanley knife, files and some sandpaper .a larger hole in the scratch plate to accommodate the P90. The neck pick up cavity then had to be chiselled out and a section of plywood glued in to give something for the P90 mounting screws to screw into. The cavities and the back of the pick guard were then shielded.... see pics.



    I was installing a Fender 250k “no load on 10” tone control which was a very tight fit in the stock SX cavity. Before shielding I sanded this out slightly to give more room...I think you can see this in the pic.



    There is a mini on-on-on DTDP positioned between the pots . When in the middle position the 5 way switch acts as normal. When forward the neck pup is always on irrespective; This means you can get bridge and neck and all three pups together.. When in the back position, the pick ups are combined in series in positions 3,4 and 5 giving bridge and middle . Bridge in series with middle and neck in parallel and bridge and neck in series respectively.



    The volume control is a push pull which can put the bridge pup out of phase when it is combined with other pups. To do this mod it was necessary to snip the ground wire connecting the circuit ground to the base plate and ground the base plate independently using a separate wire.



    Other mods to the guitar were a set of GFS stainless steel saddles and some nut work cleaning the slots with 900 gauge paper wrapped around the respective string plus some pencil lead to make sure the strings were not jamming it any way creating tuning issues. For some reason it was necessary to remove the spring from the low E saddle to get it far enough back to intonate.


    IMG_0178.JPG IMG_9830.JPG IMG_9841.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  3. Spanker

    Spanker TDPRI Member

    78
    Sep 27, 2011
    London
    s IMG_1585.JPG IMG_1590.JPG so was the project a success? The answer is definitely yes.



    To my eyes the guitar looks very cool with its blue body and black scratch plate and pups. As the frets were pretty good, ,I managed to set the guitar up with a fairly low action and it feels good under the fingers and plays excellently. The slightly slim half round neck with less radius than some suits me fine but it may not be for everyone. . There is a lot of natural tone and sustain unplugged and Ken Currie's pick ups are very much the icing on the cake. . The P90 in the neck has tons of Mojo and is very versatile. It also seems a good match for my Vox VT50 valvetronic amp . The bridge pup is has a great vintage Tele sound and the middle pup has some great bell like tones of a vintage strat. I have spent many enjoyable hours over the past weeks playing with all the various pick up and amp combinations finding different sounds .This is a very versatile guitar .which is great to play and which punches way way above its weight foe a low cost guitar. Of course Telecaster fans are fortunate that it was designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and after several decades of practice , the Far East have been producing some excellent clones.



    Total cost of the project was around $285 (approx £ 185 at the then rate of exchange) including new strings but excluding the pots which I already had.. Direct comparisons with other more expensive guitars is not that easy as there is not much around with the same pick up configuration but I doubt whether a high end custom shop guitar could improve much on Ken Currie's pick ups which are probably the main factor contributing to this guitar's success.



    All is not absolutely perfect. The main gripe I have is with the volume control which seems to be either on or off in 25% of its initial travel which makes rolling off the volume to alter tone difficult. Since this is .in theory ,an identical 250k DiMarzio push pull to the one which I have on my ash Tele which works fine , I am puzzled. Will probably get around to changing it sometime but the wiring up of this guitar was a bit tricky and I will definitely need to be in a good soldering mood before doing so..



    Also the tuners are only just about adequate to maintain acceptable tuning stability. Its necessary to keep lots of tension on the strings when restringing. For some reason these tuners seem to be inferior to what appears to be identical tuners on my SX Ash Tele which I have had no issues with. A set of 18 to 1 Grovers or a .budget set of lockers may well be on my shopping list in the near future.
     
    GearHund likes this.
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  5. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Tele-Meister

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