The 1954 Telecaster whiteguard replica build thread

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Marn99, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

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    Hey everyone!
    So while I haven't given up on finishing my walnut telecaster, I have learned a great deal about vintage guitars, vintage accurate materials, lacquer chemistry, historical construction techniques, etc as well as luthier skills in general since I started my journey as a guitar maker, and as such, I have opted to start my next build. Well, to be more exact, I actually already started it about two weeks ago, and didn't have the common sense to record my progress before today! The body will be made from a quite pretty two piece swamp ash body blank from the Carolinas with a weight of 2.35 pounds per board foot, which is pretty nice considering most swamp ash is in the range of 2.5 to 2.8 lbs pbf. The neck will be made out of hard maple, with a one way truss rod and a walnut plug and skunk stripe. I am also planning on machining some of the metal hardware myself, maybe even dip my toes into using a spray gun. The finish will be the mid 50s white blond using lacquer that is as close to the original stuff as possible. Here's what I have so far, and I hope you stick around and enjoy this process!
    IMG_7294.JPG IMG_7295.JPG IMG_7297.JPG
    IMG_7298.JPG
     
    brandonh, Ekko, noah330 and 3 others like this.
  2. nnieman

    nnieman Tele-Meister

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    Loving it so far!!

    Nathan
     
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  3. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

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    Okay,
    So one of the major roadblocks to making this guitar right now, or at least getting some progress on the neck, is getting the materials to make the truss rod, and making a historically accurate truss rod nut. In the very early 50s, truss rod sizes were all over the place, but after a couple years, the standard size was a 5/32 inch rod in a 3/16 inch slot. Now, I already have the 3/8 cold rolled 1018 steel rod to make the truss rod anchor and the nut, but nowhere can I find the 5/32 inch cold rolled 1018 steel rod for the main shaft. I have been asking around at several steel suppliers, and either they cannot supply it, or they charge 188 dollars due to the small size of my order. Does anyone have some 5/32 1018 steel rod sitting around or know where I can get some in small quantities (at a reasonable price!)? As for the truss rod nut, I recently got access to a South Bend lathe and a Bridgeport mill, and I think it would be a cool project of making and nickel plating a nut of my own. While I have the 3/8 inch dia. steel needed to make the truss rod nut, I have had no luck finding vintage correct dimensions for things such as the width of the X slots, depth of the X slots, thread hole depth, depth of the threads, etc. If anyone has a pre-cbs truss rod nut and are able to measure it, let me know!
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  4. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

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  5. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

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    NOTE: The following is just math and not in any way intended as offensive:
    If the Swamp Ash you have acquired is 2.35 pounds per board foot that means it is 0.0163 pounds per cubic inch. Since a Tele body is right at 264 cubic inches, that equals a body weighing about 4.3 pounds. While this is not terribly heavy it is neither terribly light. No doubt a very fine body and it looks great but it doesn't strike me as on the light side.

    Yours in science ;),
    Rex
     
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  6. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

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    Ok, so I put an order in for four 6 foot lengths of 5/32 1018, the cost being about 7 dollars for the bars and the shipping coming out to about 35 dollars, but that's far better than paying 188 dollars for 5/32 1018. Right now I have been thinking about the wiring. Originally, this guitar would have left the factory with the 53-67 "dark circuit". Despite the fact that I think the dark circuit is capable of making some beautiful sounds, I personally feel that, in the grand scheme of things, it greatly limits the tonal variation of the telecaster. Apparently, many guitarists in the 50's felt the same way, as it was frequently removed. Now, I don't want to stray too far from originality, but truth be told, this is one area that I am willing to let slide. I do not, however, want to deviate in terms of wiring materials and overall tonal profile. I drew up this wiring diagram of what a owner modified 1950s telecaster might look like. Truth be told, I am absolutely not a wiring expert, and I would like some input from the more experienced wiring/electronics people on the forum. Here it is modded 50s tele.png
     
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  7. tigger

    tigger Tele-Meister

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    I was also worried by getting 5/32" rods but then I realized it's 4mm and they have them in the local hardware store. I have no idea how to make the nut though yet.
     
  8. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    That is the standard as far as I know. The only difference is the cap value. Some diagrams show a .22 or a .5..
     
  9. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

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    good to know, thanks! Do you think the cap value staying at .05 mF instead of being .022 is a bad thing? When I drew this wiring diagram I didn't want to change any of the pot or cap values, but rather make a recreation of what a dark circuit removal done in the 1950s might look like. Presumably (based on my very limited understanding of guitar wiring) that .05 cap would stay where it is, as it is not part of the dark circuit.
     
  10. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    That all comes down to personal preference. The .05mf cap will roll off more treble than the .022.
    Have a look at this:
    https://www.seymourduncan.com/tonefiend/guitar/customize-your-caps/

    At some point you have to play the guitar and then depending on the pickups you choose and the sound you want you can decide on the values for the pots and the caps.
     
  11. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

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    good to know :). I am unsure what I am going to do for pickups yet, I'm thinking of getting the Klein 54 telecaster pickups, but I'm also seriously considering winding my own.
     
  12. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    My first couple of Teles have the Fender 50's vintage pickups and I think they are great. I started winding my own and A3 neck and A5 bridge do it for me. Love the sound.
     
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  13. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

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    Okay,
    So today I got the body template made on a CNC, and it is way better than the one I had before. I also got a neck template made, but the indexing holes came out just a tiny bit off, so what I am going to do instead is CNC another neck template, forget using the CNC to drill the indexing holes, use a v bit to engrave the centerline, and just drill the holes myself. The switch, switch tip, and jack also arrived today. Originally, I was hoping to use an NOS CRL 1452 and NOS vintage pots, but alas, they proved to be too expensive for me. The switch tip, however, is indeed a vintage dakaware knob. I've seen telecasters with both the convex and concave topped round tip, I chose the concave one, as I feel it looks better than the convex one. The pots will be mojotone 250k 30% taper solid shafts.
    IMG_7300.JPG
    IMG_7301.JPG
     
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  14. nnieman

    nnieman Tele-Meister

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    I like .05 cap, it allows a more dramatic response with less movement.
    I like to play with volume & tone on the fly and I can get a noticeable change with a 1/4 turn.

    Nathan
     
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