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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

THE perfect Tele: buy it or build it?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Ydwen Jones, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Ydwen Jones

    Ydwen Jones Tele-Meister

    Jan 2, 2019
    If you wanted THE perfect Tele, what model would you buy and would you do any mods? Or would you build one yourself and what would be the specs?
  2. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 26, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Hmm, let me see. Baja spec neck but 22 frets, red or blue stain or tru oil light body plus standard Baja pups. Maybe a built in variable volume/gain boost.

    No-one is gonna produce that and I'm not skilled enough to build it myself. I guess the next best thing would be to buy a black Baja and pay someone to fit the boost circuit.
    hemingway and Ydwen Jones like this.
  3. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Sep 21, 2012
    It depends on ones skill level and the tools that you have in your shop ?
    I look for a Tele that I want and buy it .
    No modifications - there is a 50% chance that it will be better or worse , and you can destroy its value .
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  4. Shuster

    Shuster Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Oct 31, 2018
    South Texas
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Never seen a perfect Tele!

    Lots of pretty darn good parts out there though, and when taste or needs change, the parts can change to keep up.

    I'll say that these days I toss lots of parts in the bin, and only need a bridge pickup and volume knob with no extra caps or resistors, where these days it seems like everybody adds as many parts as they can fit on/ in their Tele.
  6. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    I'd build my own:

    Pine or Ash body
    Allparts TMO or TRO-FAT neck
    Hand-rubbed Tru-Oil finish
    Vintage tuners
    Cavalier or Sunday Handwound Pickups
    Wilkinson or Gotoh bridge
    Brass saddles
    4-way switching and reversed control plate
  7. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Admin Post
    if you have perfectly clear what you want you need to build or have it built no way out.

    most of the time however it's more economically sound to close an eye on some details and buy
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  8. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    I've built partscasters, but I could never make anything that would feel as effortlessly perfect as my Baja.
    Peregrino69 and Ydwen Jones like this.
  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    @Shuster and @telemnemonics may very well be right in saying that there is no "perfect," but I'm not willing to give up on that dream just yet. :twisted:

    As for the either/or options of buying stock or building it yourself, I'd go another way. I'd pay Bob Logan to build it for me. Some TDPRIers already know (probably like @tery ) that I currently own six Logan Custom guitars built by Bob, four of them teles. (The pic below doesn't include my Logan Custom Challenger, the non-tele style solid body electric I own. This pic was taken before I acquired that, but for the purposes of this discussion, this pic is more apropos.)
    06-04-2018 - My Logan Custom Family Portrait - 2.jpg

    The Logan Custom in the middle is an acoustic/electric with an under-saddle piezo/Fishman electronics system. The electrics/teles have four different pickup configurations using three different brands of pickups, and different switches. So each one sounds like a tele and yet also sounds a bit different. Subtle nuances of difference, perhaps, but still.

    And I am contemplating buying a fifth tele from Bob. I'm not ready to commit to all the specs just yet, I'm still sorting that out. I am most certain about it being another "Firecaster" (83-year-old wood salvaged from a house fire in 2010 made into a tele-style). The tele on the far left is the "Firecaster" I have now. There's enough of that wood remaining for at least one more build.
  10. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

    Jan 30, 2018
    I'd say buy it. I made my 'perfect' Strat last year. Selected all the parts I wanted, agonized over small spec details. I built it, had it finished and set up by a luthier - aaaaaaaaand I didn't like playing it. At all - I just didn't bond with it.

    To add insult to injury, it proved to be next to impossible to sell as everyone didn't even look at the details in the adverts - only 'partscaster' and that was enough. I finally sold it (today of all times!) when someone who bought a Tele I was selling saw it, played it and found it fantastic... but he said he'd not have come just to see that guitar. I lost a *ton* of money on it too, sold it for 50% the price of the parts.

    I know you wouldn't want to plan on selling your perfect, ideal guitar, but I'd say buy one ready made.
  11. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

    Aug 12, 2008
    Although I build some here and there if I wanted "perfect" I would reach out to Ron Kirn, Bob Logan, or maybe Kelton Swade for the build. My guitars turn out fine but I cannot reach that level at this time. I presently play live an Anderson and that is as close to perfect as I have played, crazy money though :)
    nojazzhere and Ydwen Jones like this.
  12. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 11, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    My 93 MIA and 2010 Road Worn are fine by me, especially the RW. Both have Zhangbucker singles. Bell Tones in the 93 MIA, Bell Tone neck and A3 Tar Paper in the bridge of the RW.

    The RW is what I'd put up as perfect for me. Feels great, I've grown accustomed to its "wear", and that A3 Tar Paper slays.
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  13. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 23, 2014
    I wanted a lightweight, nitro shell pink, tele with a neck that had a 7.25"-9.5" radius neck. The body was $400. The electronics all went fine, but I am on my second neck and headed to a third. USA Custom guitar necks are not necessarily real close to the specs. The one I have now is supposed to be .85" at the first fret and .92 at the 12th. Instead it is .86" at the first and 1.01" at the 12th. So there are all sorts of pitfalls trying to put together the perfect partscaster. ANd if I ever want to sell it, I'll have to part it out, which will be a pain.
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  14. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    Being a big fan of Bill Kitchen, I kinda wanted a Tele like the one he had built to take the place of the Coalburner. So, a few years ago a friend cut me a body out of 150 year old knotty pine. I put a 1 " thick fat Tele All parts neck on it, Fender Broadcaster pickups, Qparts relic hardware, and it came out great. A few months later I was run over by a hit and run driver, and haven't been able to play it, but maybe one day.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  15. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I would cherry-pick a Fender body in just the color that I desired. And cherry-pick just the Fender neck that I would want. Same with selecting the pickups, electronics, bridge, and tuners. Then put it all together myself. I've done this numerous times, with very pleasing results.

    Doing so, I'll arrive at a Telecaster finely tuned to my personal preferences. It would be extremely difficult for me to find a ready-made, factory-produced Tele, off the rack in a store, that would suit me to a "T". This is why I put my own Fender guitars together.

    I like having both rosewood and maple fretboards, so just 1 guitar doesn't cover my desired bases.

    If I had to go with just one Tele, aside from the neck and body specs, it would have a Cavalier Lion King or Lioness neck pickup, a Cavalier 51/52 bridge pickup, 300k volume pot, 250k No-Load tone pot, .015 K40Y-9 PIO capacitor, a Fender modern bridge, and a Les Paul-style toggle selector switch.

    Interesting note... of my 10 Teles, eight of which I put together, the one which I am presently most enamored with is this one... Fender Special Edition ASH, Tele with Aged Cherry Burst finish. I have customized it with a Cavalier Lion King neck pickup, 460k volume pot, 250k No-Load tone pot, .022 Orange drop cap, '50s wiring, Les Paul-style toggle switch.

    There is just something about this one that really resonates with me - even more-so than my MIA Teles. Go figure? Plays so very well... and has tone like no other! Goes to show that a nice MIM Tele, with some pickup/electronics mods, can please right up there with the best of them!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  16. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2016
    Jeff City, Mo.

    I would do mostly the same.

    AllParts necks feel like the real deal.
    I prefer Ash, but have pine and alder bodies as well.
    I use nitro spray, so I would do whatever Fender color I wanted in nitro.
    PUP's are subjective.
    Wilkinson bridges are great IMO.
    ^^Same with saddles ^^^
    Also subjective is 4 way and reverse. I say both, because I can. :p
    Ydwen Jones and El Tele Lobo like this.
  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    What I really wanted was a 52RI, but that was out of reach. So I built a partscaster. All in it would have been about $600 in parts if I stayed with OEM hardware. Actually, I got sucked into some used Glendale and Don Mare stuff, probably have an honest $800 in it. Great guitar.
    Ydwen Jones likes this.
  18. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    lots of kinds of tele’s

    perfect would have to include straight compensated saddles, an electrosocket jack cup, and a control plate with the vol pot 3/8” further away from the switch

    everything else is to taste
  19. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2016
    I'm right now drooling after a reeeal pretty Tele ... not going to tell which one and where, one of you buggers will buy it right in front of my nose :p :D

    I've been looking for the perfect one. And I think the only way to get there is to build it myself. I'm only starting with partscastering, the first one is still missing a few screws and the next build will start next week when I get my pickguard. I simply don't have enough experience that I could do like @El Tele Lobo above and build a list of my dream parts. But who cares - they are interchangeable anyway :)
    Ydwen Jones and El Tele Lobo like this.
  20. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Midwest, USA
    If there was a perfect tele, or a perfect guitar, we would have been content in having one tele, or one guitar!
    Ydwen Jones, DHart and Milspec like this.
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