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Watch a Noob build a Tele body from scratch

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by kleydejong, May 31, 2017.

  1. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Are you using brad point bits, fostner bits?
    I would mark and drill the holes on the body(use the plate as a template). Then put the neck on and using a brad point bit that fits snuggly in the hole on the body mark the neck. It will be a perfectly centered mark for the slightly smaller bit you'll use to make those smaller screw holes.
    Also something you don't read much about is that a depth stop in the drill bit helps a ton. Good luck!
     
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  2. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

    591
    Aug 30, 2010
    Orange City, IA
    Made some progress. However I'm getting a little busy at work, I have 3 kids at home under the age of 3, and my band just landed a gig in July that will require my limited free time - so I think I need to wrap this baby up. I'm motivated to make this into a functioning guitar. But in my haste I made some mistakes and I think I'm going to just live with it for the time being.

    Mounting the neck proved to be trickier than I thought. The main problem is that the depth of the pocket relative to the position of the bridge is not standard telecaster. It is 25.5", but I think the pocket goes quite far into the body. I think I can get a working guitar, but I may have problems if I want to use a proper Fender spec neck in the future.

    [​IMG]

    I also didn't get the rounded corners quite right.

    [​IMG]

    I clamped the neck on and checked the alignment with string. Then flipped her over and did the holes. Not 100% sure if my drill bit drifted from my spot or if my free hand drilling is just not a good idea, but it the neck plate is crooked. The neck itself is straight relative to the pickups and bridge, but if I were to really do this part right I would want to fill these holes and try again.

    [​IMG]

    Then my last screw up is the tail piece. Bleh.

    [​IMG]

    All that said, I believe I'm pretty close to a functional guitar.

    I ordered a Mojotone P90 on Reverb.com for pretty cheap. Then I had a Fralin Vintage Hot strat bridge pickup with bass plate sitting in a parts drawer from converting an SSS strat to HSS. I'm trying a 330k pot from GFS and a Les Paul style 3 way switch. I believe this guitar may end up sounding quite excellent.

    A last thought on the neck. It came from an SX Furrian tele clone. It is too thin for my tastes. The radius is like 14 which is obscene to me. I used this neck to practice fret leveling, so it is a little rough there. But it is just sitting around, so I want to use it.

    So far my expenses are as follows:

    Body Wood - Free
    Various Router Bits - Maybe $60
    Tru Oil - Had from a previous project
    Neck - Free
    Neck pickup - Parts Bin
    Bridge pickup - $50 shipped
    Bridge - Parts Bin
    Tail Piece - $10
    Switch + Pot - $15
    Output jack - Parts Bin

    So thus far I'm out maybe $75 in parts. More for the bits and having bought stuff previously. But I'm pretty happy with where I'm at.
     

  3. Mat UK

    Mat UK Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Feb 17, 2009
    London, UK
    Try this:

    1. Plug the neck holes in the body and neck.

    2. Using you neck plate in the back of the body and in your suited position mark and drill the body holes

    3. Position your neck in the pocket and clamp it in the straightest/snuggest orientation

    4. Using a drill bit twisted in reverse or a long centre punch mark the neck holes through the body holes from the back

    5. Drill the neck holes using those marks

    You should also drill the body holes slightly bigger than the screws so there is a little room for lateral adjustment

    Good luck!
     
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  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I've had good success with printing out a drawing of the neck cavity full size and laying it in the neck pocket. Then with a small phillips screw driver, I press down where the hole centers are. The holes are supposed to be is 2 apart in the length and x 1.5" in the width, so it is easy to check.
     
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  5. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Hey KDJ. You and I must be from the same school of guitar building foul ups. I have a very similar sort of body/neck misalignment on a Strat/Tele hybrid I am doing. She's sweet in the front, but crooked in the back. Will try and upload a pic when I get a chance.
     

  6. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

    591
    Aug 30, 2010
    Orange City, IA
    I think I am going to fix my boo boos. How do you guys go about plugging a hole? I think my hardware store sells pre cut dowels. What size relative to the hole do you recommend?
     

  7. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

    591
    Aug 30, 2010
    Orange City, IA
    Got some good information on plugging holes here:



    For kicks I strung her up real quick just to see how we're doing. First impressions were very good! Acoustically it was nice and loud. Quite stable. I got some nice low action pretty quickly, so the counter sink on the bridge screws really did the trick.

    Getting to that point of first stringing up a guitar is always a very tumultuous moment for me. Usually there is a lot of work left to be done, and sometimes the first impressions are not good. But it is also a big breakthrough to actually play it as a guitar, not just a piece of wood. And this build was especially rewarding in that moment. Lastly, I always feel that a brand new guitar taking its first breath feels really weird. Like the tension of the strings is really foreign and jarring to the wood. It usually needs a week or so to settle into the tensions. Weird process.
     

  8. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Everything you said there about the first string up and giving it time makes perfect sense. I've looked at some of mine after first string up and try out, and thought "what a waste of time that all was!"

    But I've learned to "play them in" as I call it, to work out a few kinks, dismantle, correct, and try again. Been pleasantly surprised overall. :)

    Glad your bridge post counter sink worked out all good.
     

  9. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    And with that I hit a hundred posts and became a Tele-Meister!

    Woo hoo! :D
     
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  10. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Well I gotta say you're a builder after my own heart. I like the build and see no reason you won't be able to get a good player out of it.
     
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  11. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

    591
    Aug 30, 2010
    Orange City, IA
    Did a quick overview and tone test. I plugged into a Fractal AX8 and recorded direct.



    It isn't perfect. I need to flip the polarity of the neck pickup. The middle position is out of phase, and I personally hate that sound. I forgot to drill a hole for the ground wire from the bridge posts - so I just ran it over top and looped it around the bridge adjustment screw. I need to get proper pickup covers. The neck pocket could use some work in a few areas both in getting a more snug fit with the neck itself, and in where my hand positions when playing higher frets. I kind of dislike the SX neck a fair bit. The 14" radius doesn't really work with the radius of the bridge, and the middle G and D strings are prone to buzzing. I don't like how orange the color tint of the finish is. I would wish for a much fatter profile. I'll probably just get a proper neck some time. I kinda want to try a Roasted Maple from Warmoth.

    All that said, I am quite thrilled with how the guitar feels and plays. The 2x4 aesthetic means I can really beat on it with no fear. I like the knots. The pickups are EXCELLENT. I grabbed a Mojotone neck position P90 from reverb.com used and then have a Fralin Vintage Hot stratocaster bridge pickup with base plate - they absolutely smoke. I had a huge grin on my face when I first plugged her in and let it rip. I knew that I love Fralin strat pickups, but the Mojotone P90 has been extremely rewarding. Almost reminds me of all the things I like about a great Tele bridge pickup. Ballsy enough to drive a Marshall, but has tons of articulation and detail for clean stuff.

    I don't think this is any valid information about tone woods or whatnot, but I am amazed at how good the guitar sounds with nice pickups and electronics combined with extremely cheap wood.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  12. papaschtroumpf

    papaschtroumpf Tele-Holic

    530
    Nov 24, 2015
    Colorado

  13. trancedental

    trancedental Tele-Meister

    147
    Aug 15, 2010
    London
    Sounds great, well done
     

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