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

Some advice on refinishing a 66 Tele.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by BAW4742, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. BAW4742

    BAW4742 Tele-Afflicted

    Hi guys. I would like some advice. And I know this is the place to get it.

    I have a 66 Tele that I want to refinish. Before you have a stroke take a look at the pictures. It’s far from vintage but it’s real. The body edges have been rounded like a Strat and the pickup cavities have been severely modified.

    I’ve had the guitar since 1972. At the time that I got this guitar it wasn’t vintage – it was just a nice (not too) old Fender. This was only the third guitar that I had gotten and finally I had a real guitar. Never mind that it had a black Plexiglas control plate with a Gibson style toggle in it. Oh yeah and I can’t forge that off brand P-90 style pickup in the neck position.

    I really wanted a Strat at the time instead of a Tele so I rounded it up to look sort of like one and there you have it. My Mom and Dad bought this for me for Christmas that year and since the finish had already been stripped Mom helped me sand it down, Minwax it and brush on a couple of coats of varnish it.

    But I’m rambling.

    Any thoughts on refinishing, refurbishing, or resurrecting this thing?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

  2. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    that one's pretty well trashed, it'll need some structural restoration, then paint 'er with an opaque color of choice. It you have a pro do it, it's gonna be a bit pricy.

    Ron Kirn
     

  3. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Well .......... on seeing only your first picture my immediate thought was to strip it to bare wood but I see you're well on your way. Really too bad about the rounded edges. I don't a simple way to correct that. It could be done but would be a pretty involved process.

    I have an all original '66 if you need information or pictures.
     

  4. ajgus

    ajgus Friend of Leo's

    Jan 8, 2008
    chicago
    I can't think of a way to correct those edges with out removing more of the body. Terrible thing when bad things happen to great guitars.

    Salvage the neck & find yourself a '66 body.
     

  5. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Missoula, Montana
    if that was mine, I think I'd strip the body all the way down & ship it off to Mark Jenny for an as-is refinish, relic'd to match the neck. then put on a vintage 3-saddle bridge & a lollar neck pickup with a chrome cover & try to forget about what's under the pickguard. is that the original bridge pickup? You'd end up with a nice-playing, nice sounding instrument and a tale of youthful folly.

    trying to undo that youthful folly might cost you an awful lot of money. Or you could just have a bondo-and-spray-paint party and see what you ended up with. But I think a nice, old-looking finish on that body as it sits would look pretty natural.
     

  6. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

    I'd just put it back the way it was...not everything has to be 100% Vintage, to be a Cool Ole Player...That's just my opinion.
     

  7. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 7, 2007
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Hey, that is YOUR guitar. Go to reranch.com and select a color. Good info there whether you buy from them or not. I have a '66 strat bought the same year as yours and several times I came close to a refinish and a route for a rear HB when that was all the rage. That would have been a $10k mistake but you know, we were kids and these are OUR guitars. Who cares if it's 100%original. You don't plan on selling yours any more than I would mine.
     

  8. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    I think I would take it to restoration pro - those guys have the table sanding equipment. I might ask about taking the top and back down a few thousandths to try to restore more of the stock edge radius.
    That is, if you don't have that kind of gear. Then I would have him take a few thou off your fretboard. Restoration guys can put those older rosewood boards back to new pretty well. Then, pick you color
    and fret wire, and you're off to the races. I had some pretty extensive work done on my '70. And $1200 later, I'm very pleased to have a nice example of a vintage Tele. Yours is pretty valuable, so
    the restoration is a good investment. Even though my neck's been refinished and fretted, the instrument was valued at $5K, so $1200 wasn't a terrible hit.

    Go to www.superiorguitar.com and read the pictorial on the '65 Strat restoration this fellow did. He did an amazing job. This guy, Tim, does some nice restoration work on old Fender guitars.
     

  9. BAW4742

    BAW4742 Tele-Afflicted

    I’m not planning on having a pro do it. I’ve refinished the thing 3 times already and it was pretty beat up when I got it. But hey, I was 14 and it was a real Fender. What can I say?

    I’m not going for 100% stock, vintage dead mint look either. I think that boat’s sailed. I’ve refinished it 3 times already but never really well. I’ve built a few guitars over the last 18 months and doing pretty good with the spray gun and nitro. This time I want to do her right.

    That’s not the original bridge pickup. I think it’s a Dimarzio, may have been called a PreBS. I’ve had several pickups in it over the years. So I’m not real sure. The neck one is a Strat pickup. Funny, she still sounds like a Tele (That’s the good news) I do still have the original 3 saddle bridge and am cleaning that up to go back in her.

    The finishes I’ve considered if I bondo the sides are a sunburst so the black would hind the bondo. Or how would a blonde look if the edges where solid color and faded to a slight opaque finish in the center. I’d love to se some of that old ash grain when I’m done.

    It’s a great player. A few years after I got this I got that Strat that I wanted so badly. Rewired it, messed with the setup, cussed the trem unit and played the heck out of it but never stripped it. After a few years I swapped it for an SG and now that’s long gone too. But the old Tele is still here. She ain’t going nowhere.
     

  10. jhundt

    jhundt Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    63
    Mar 23, 2003
    Netherlands
    I'm with Old Cane and others - that guitar is what you made it. Nothing wrong with that - maybe it's not vintage correct, but it's a real nice old Fender.

    Strip it, refinish it, and if you ever want to sell it just tell the truth! It may have lost the collector's value, but it is still a fine guitar and you can document and explain all the "deficiencies".

    My only suggestion is that you clean up the non-standard routing before you refinish. It might look a little more "pro" that way.
     

  11. BAW4742

    BAW4742 Tele-Afflicted

    Oh yeah - thanks for your input guys. I appreciate the help and advice.
     

  12. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

    May 19, 2004
    Tennessee
    Wow, so you're thinking of putting bondo on the edges to make them more square again? That's beyond me, but I've seen people do many things to guitars on the TDPRI that are beyond my imagination and capabilities.

    I like what jhundt said...the guitar's what you made it, I'd go with that. A little cosmetic tune up is ok, but I wouldn't change it too much. Heck, before I read the bondo post, I was gonna suggest just pick a nice color from Reranch and paint it. Done.
     

  13. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by Bondo on the sides. What is the radius you have on the edges now?
     

  14. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    You might want to check the value of it, even in restored shape, '66s can have some staggering value. I think if it were mine, I'd put a couple thousand into it and keep it. I'm not a collector and only have 1 vintage Fender, but based on what I've learned about 60s Fenders, they are infinitely more valuable in restored shape than as beaters.
    As an example, that red Strat was purchased as a beater on eBay for
    $500. I'm sure the guy let it go too cheaply. A NOS "under the bed for 45 years" example would be worth in excess of $20K. And its not so much what its worth today, but the collectors will tell you that old, vintage Fenders aren't showing any sign of slowing down in appreciation. So, I think I would make a decision on that particular Tele a little differently than say, a late 80s or 90s beater.
     

  15. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    Don't put Bondo on a '66 Tele, no matter what people might tell you.
    There are better ways to address that part of your project. At least do yourself a favor of letting a pro restoration guy look at it and give you the options before you tackle it yourself. I do plenty of body and neck refin work, but I wouldn't touch a '66 myself. The restoration pros work on everything from 1800s Martins to 50s Teles, Strats and LesPauls - all among the most highly valued collectible guitars in the world!
     

  16. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    My first thought on fixing the edges was to use a rabbiting bit to cut a square channel around the guitar front and back............ sort of like a binding channel but bigger. Then cut wooden strips that could be steam bent to glue into the routed channel. Another option might be glue in solid pieces of wood which are cut the match the shape of the channel. They could be planed or sanded flat to match the front and back and a flush trim bit could be used to match the sides.

    Then put on a proper 1/8 in. radius and finish it in a vintage blonde with opaque sides fading to translucent front and back.
     

  17. jhundt

    jhundt Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    63
    Mar 23, 2003
    Netherlands
    yeah - I like that idea! If there is enough wood left you could do a binding...

    otherwise, just refinish it nice and let it be what it is.
     

  18. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    My hands would be shaking too much to get the bit into the router, if I were working on a piece of history like that. What you suggest might be the best approach, but there might be better solutions to that part of the project.

    Do this first, (and I have no commercial interest in this restoration guy's business) it won't cost you a nickel. E-mail a few pics to this
    guy and ask him for a brief phone consultation on your project, before you get into anything that might impact your instrument or its value. Send him the pics and follow-up by phone. He'll give you his thoughts, no-charge. Guys send him old Fender from all over the world, with similar challenges to yours. tim@superiorguitar.com <tim@superiorguitar.com>
     

  19. shoretyus

    shoretyus Tele-Holic

    557
    Jan 15, 2008
    canada
    My first thought would be to just get another body .....
    BUT I have not done anything. I am in the same boat as you. What to do.

    What I did here was an improvement.But if the routes where filled and it was refinished would it be worth more?

    [​IMG]
     

  20. Jellecaster

    Jellecaster Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2006
    New Hampshire, USA
    If we put aside the potential vintage value for one second and just think about making it look better, I can tell you that I've been able to do some fairly amazing things with the body filler from Stew Mac. Given the time and patients, you could definitely build those edges back up. That is, if you are definitely going to fore go the professional restoration idea.
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.