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

Thom Yorke's '72 Fender Telecaster Deluxe - DYI

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by ArieRin, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    Ever since I was a tiny little ponytail with a guitar strapped around my neck I got goosebumps when I saw Thom Yorke performing, and especially when I heard his '72 Tele Deluxe. I always wanted one.. but because I'm pretty geeky I thought it would be cool collecting the parts and assembling it myself to make it as close to Thom's guitar as possible. So I got the diagrams, schematics and parts list from the Fender website and took off.

    Pretty quickly I stumbled upon an ash tele deluxe body for a very good price. It's build pretty much according to fender's specs, so I took the shot and bought it. We'll find out later on how well everything will fit.

    After that on my hunt for parts I knew I wanted a genuine '72 tele deluxe neck. Fender sells these parts, but only in the US. Luckily I found one on Ebay, brand new in the box, that ships to Amsterdam for the same price as on the Fender website.

    Probably first thing that I will start doing is painting her black! I bought nitrocellulose paint (because I like the way it quickly relics, and it give a less thick layer on the guitar).

    My biggest concern so far is.. the pickups. As far as I can find out, Thom always kept the original '72 pickups. I havent found any of those for sale so far. I've seen (and heard) the '72 reissue pups, but I don't hear too many good reviews about them. Maybe anyone here has tips and tricks?

    Will update soon!

    Attached Files:

    nutt, awasson, darkforce and 13 others like this.

  2. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    And another update. As much as I like the body, the '72 deluxe bodies have a belly cut out. Since I want to get as close to the real thing as possible I decided to go for it. I havent done anything like this before, but luckily there is a lot of info on the web. I don't have any powertools lying around but I kinda liked the idea of hand filing this thing so I went for that approach. Not using powertools also gave me the feeling that I could screw up less quickly. I look the shape from the original diagrams and hand drew the curvy lines on the back.

    Me and the vile quickly became frenemies. I loved seeing the gradual progress, but my hands and arms didn't like the gradual upcoming pain. I also became frenemies with the vacuum cleaner because eventhough she cleaned everything up nicely, she also showed all the areas that still had to be done. Took me about three hours to get to where I am now. Needs lots more fine sanding but I'm actually pretty proud at the results knowing this is my first time processing wood.

    Attached Files:

    nutt, tintag27, awasson and 22 others like this.

  3. Michael A.

    Michael A. Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jan 12, 2013
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Welcome to the board! You are too be commended for pursuing your dream guitar and plunging in to tackle new skills. Looks like you're off to a great start. Will be watching your progress. Hope someone can suggest a good option for the pickups.
    ArieRin and Alamo like this.

  4. CraigB

    CraigB Tele-Holic

    Nov 6, 2009
    Central Coast of CA
    Very nice job! Welcome to the forum!
    ArieRin likes this.

  5. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Meister

    Mar 12, 2013
    Humboldt County, CA
    This is gonna be a fun project. You're also gonna learn a lot. A Tele is, IMHO, a perfect guitar to learn on. It's going to be so fulfilling when you get it completed.

    Do you have any experience using lacquer? The first guitar I lacquered was a 1977 Les Paul Standard. Taking your time is important. Layer upon layer and light sanding between layers is critical. Using a respirator is also critical.

    You can make a paint booth using a large cardboard box. Buy a box fan, cut a square in the cardboard and tape the edges of the fan and the box to create a seal. Does that make sense? You'll need a house furnace filter to put in front of the fan, inside the box. The idea is to have the fan blowing air away fro the box. That way, the paint and fumes will be drawn from the box, through the filter and away from you when you turn on the fan. It's a very crude, yet effective, paint booth.

    No one told me about that when I did the LP. I covered the walls in an interior room of a house and used that for a spray booth. I was certainly glad I had a respirator, lol. My next spray booth was a shower tent I bought from a store (Kmart). It cost $50 and I sprayed several guitar bodies in there.

    I haven't shot lacquer since 2008. I use polyurethane now. Way easier and it looks good. Tone difference? If there's anyone who says they can tell the difference between two identical guitars except one with a lacquer finish and one with a poly finish, I challenge them to a blind test.

    Anyway, have fun.

    I was in Amsterdam in March this year. I went to a coffee shop (;)), had dinner at Bord-Eau and went to the Van Gogh museum. I also saw a Banksy exhibit at the MOCO. We stayed in an AirBnB in De Pijp.

    Word of advice to anyone going to Amsterdam: Don't walk in the bicycle lanes. I didn't but if you do, you'll regret it, lol.
    Arch Stanton and ArieRin like this.

  6. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 21, 2016
    Rhode Island
    72 WRHB original are crazy priced, probably worse in Europe.

    I'd look into Creamery and Catwhisker WRHB if I was in Europe both highly regarded UK based custom wounds. Both will recommend 500K pots I believe.

    Nice sanding job, gutsy to try that for sure! Gonna be an amazing guitar. You'll need a top quality nut with that Fender neck....perhaps others can chime in with recommendations. Use top quality parts for all and enjoy the mojo!

    ps please post your final build pics!
    ArieRin likes this.

  7. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2009
    I've got a swell 72 Deluxe partscaster myself. I didn't paint it, but assembled it part by part. I even owned an original 73 Tele Deluxe, but sold it as I much preferred my MIM version. Regarding pickups, I've tried the MIM WRHBs, Lollar Regals, and Seymour Duncan Custom Shop WRHBs. To me, the Lollars seem to be lacking something. The person I bought them from (a pro) felt the same way. A lot of people like them though. But I really like the SDs! That's what's in my guitar now. Having said that, the MIM pickups aren't as bad as everyone says but I think they need 500K pots to be up to snuff.

    Regarding original WRHBs. Buyer beware: I've played a few original versions and, in my experience, there's some variation in how good they sound. I would not personally buy a set, or a full, vintage 72 Deluxe guitar without hearing them first. Those threaded CUNIFE magnets are the secret sauce and there's no telling if somebody swapped them out along the way (they are RARE) or whether you have a pickup that just doesn't sound good for whatever reason.

    The advice I would give you, unless money is no object, is to start with the MIMs with 500K pots (or play a guitar that has them) and then shop around for a boutique builder. There are more than a few to choose from, as many here will confirm.

    I'll see if I can get ahold of a pic of my MIM. I just had it refretted (I love the neck that much) with stainless steel frets and she plays better than ever. Most versatile guitar ever!

    Most of all, good luck! Here's my babe:

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
    Fiesta Red, ArieRin and Bruxist like this.

  8. Jackadder

    Jackadder Tele-Meister

    Jun 12, 2014
    Western Australia
    Welcome to TDPRI, from another 72 Deluxe fan.

    I used these WRHB's in my recent 72 Deluxe build (avatar) and they sound fantastic:

    Pots (1K), caps, mounting gear supplied. He's a fair way from Amsterdam, but excellent pickups. I'll be posting a video of them in action shortly....

    Good luck with your build!
    ArieRin and Bruxist like this.

  9. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK

    Jaime at the Creamery (in Manchester, England) does fantastic repros by all accounts. They cost, but he'll make them exactly the way you want.

    No affil. He wound some PAF '59s for my vintage Les Paul and they are the dog's b******.
    ArieRin likes this.

  10. Sleepyscholar

    Sleepyscholar Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Nagoya, Japan
    As another Radiohead fan I'm interested to see how you get on. I assume you know The King of Limbs web site, which has a bit on the guitar you're making (and a mass of invaluable stuff about Radiohead's gear)? And I trust you'll be finding a Precision bass bridge cover from somewhere...
    DrASATele and ArieRin like this.

  11. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    Jun 4, 2010
    I'd try the reissue WRHBs first. You can pick up a pair on ebay for around $100 if you're lucky. And re-sell them for the same price if you don't like them, or send them to one of the shops that does re-builds supposedly similar to original specs.

    The originals pop up on ebay regularly too, at prices ranging from about $300 to $500 each. The higher priced ones often fail to sell. I have one that I bought used for $20 around 1980 (it was the cheapest pickup I could find !), before anyone knew Fender would never make them again. I actually put in a coil split then, which makes it pretty unique. Planning to use it soon. If I keep it long enough it might fund my retirement.

    There are a few on ebay now, including something I've never seen before - a NOS set still in the original boxes for US$1,999 !! (note the original price on the box - $45 !)

    At the other end of the price spectrum I notice GFS now does one too (different to the older Vintage Split regular-sized HB they still do too) ...
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
    Torren61 and Zeonoid like this.

  12. matmosphere

    matmosphere Tele-Meister

    May 27, 2015
    District of Columbia
    I'm really surprised no one has mentioned this.

    The guy to get wrhb from is Curtis Novak. I thought he was pretty well know. His stuff is as close as it gets. He worked with a lot of well know players (lee Ranaldo who is also know for using those pups) and also, as I understand it, Fender calls him when they are doing custom shop stuff that calls for more authentic pickups.

    I have a set in a jazzmaster and they sound great. Almost identical to the originals to my ears.

    He also sells Fender stamped covers for them now if you want to get super accurate.
    DrASATele and Torren61 like this.

  13. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    Great post TimTam, thanks for your input. I'm in Houston today and I'll be going to a guitar shop to play on some guitars who have the reissue WRHB. Then I'll have a clear view on how I feel about them. Listening to YouTube videos doesn't give me the feeling I can hear it all.

    The originals are just too expensive for me I guess..
    Newbcaster likes this.

  14. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    I've been in contact with Curtis about this and I'm very interested. These are the custom made WRHB that I'm most interested in at the moment :)
    matmosphere likes this.

  15. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    Yeah there are many gear websites actually that have info on Thom's deluxe. He modded the guitar quite a bit throughout the years but I'll start off with the original way he used it.

  16. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    You are all very kind! Thanks for the info and kind words. Will update soon!

  17. ArieRin

    ArieRin TDPRI Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    Sounds like you had a good time in Amsterdam! I'm usually the one who makes people regret that they're in the bike lane, haha!

    On the lacquer subject: I wanna do this guitar with nitrocellulose lacquer. I like the thinner layers I can spray on and the way it relics a little faster. I strongly believe scratches and dents add character to a guitar ;) thanks for the tips! Will definitely take those into account.
    Torren61 likes this.

  18. MA6200

    MA6200 Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2017
    Cool. I have a tele and a vox probably mostly because of Radiohead. Interested to see how this turns out!
    ArieRin likes this.

  19. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 30, 2008
    The Golden State
    It's really great seeing someone make a Radiohead Tele other than one of Jonny's Telecaster Plus models. That being said, I bought an SX Tele in 3 tone sunburst because of Jonny.
    ArieRin likes this.

  20. Arch Stanton

    Arch Stanton Tele-Meister

    Sep 18, 2012
    Dartmouth, NS, CA
    People in Amsterdam where the nicest in the world, till i put my foot over the bike lane line.

    Also lost my wife in the redlight district after i went in the Bulldog. Best three hours of my life.
    Torren61 likes this.

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