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Working Musician Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by wadeeinkauf, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    I am really looking forward to this build. It is based on the Terry Downs Telecaster plans.

    I think it’s great when a guitar has a story. I use reclaimed lumber and old orchard lumber. This build will be wormy chestnut. This lumber was salvaged from barns build in the late 1800’s around Deep Creek Valley, Bryson City, a sleepy mountain town in Western North Carolina by Bob Marr of Marr's Antique Lumber. He calls himself the Chest”Nut”. A great gentleman. He has built a cabin he calls the “Chestnut Cabin” the cabin and all the furniture in it was built using this reclaimed lumber. It’s on Toot Hollow. Really. When I ordered this lumber I sent a picture of my first chestnut guitar I had build. After seeing it he pulled these pieces out of his private stash and they are fantastic quality..some boards were 14 inches wide. For those that did not know, at one time in the U.S. Chestnut was as common as oak. A blight hit in the early 1900 and completely killed off the entire population of American Chestnut in the U.S., an estimated 4 billion trees. To this day only a few pockets survive.

    Back to the build. This is the lumber I will be using. I am not sure if I want to use the very wormy piece or the cleaner chestnut piece for the top. The clear one would be well suited for more of sun burst finish.
    The drop top: Wormy Chestnut one piece
    The body: African Mahogany
    The neck: Quarter Sawn Honey Roasted Maple, Dot Markers Black Mother of Pearl

    1.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2017
  2. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    The Hardware

    As much as possible this guitar will be build with American made parts.
    Pickups: Seymour Duncan humbuckers. Made in Santa Barbara Ca.
    Bridge: Hipshot. Made near Finger Lakes New York
    Tuners: Sperzel. Trim-Lok with black Pearl knobs, Cleveland Ohio
    The Finish: Simtec's Polyester Sanding Sealer 28X50 and Simtec's Top Coat 57X1. Norco Ca
    Sorry, the other parts probably come from China.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
    DrASATele likes this.
  3. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    The Requirements

    As you would expect my major concerns are playability and versatility.

    Neck Stability: I have chosen the quarter sawn roasted maple for the neck. This should be rock solid. This will be a one piece neck. The neck is based on a one piece telecaster neck with a modified headstock. In addition this will be a 22 fret neck and rather than the fretboard overhang I will be extending the neck length by 1/8 of an inch and increasing the neck pocket the same. I know the overhang is normally 1/4 inch but will gain the 1/8" by reducing the distance from the first tuner to the nut by 1/8 inch. I need this 1/8 for truss rod adjustment as this will be heel adjusted. I want to be able to adjust the truss rod without taking the neck off.
    Versatility: Will try to get everything out of the humbuckers as possible with switching using push push pots for coil split to single coil. I have ordered some 3pole double throw switches to be able to put both the neck and bridge pickup in parallel mode with one switch.
    I am leaning toward a Volume, Tone, and Blend pot. I don't know how useful out of phase switching is...will ask Jake what he thinks.
    Weight: My builds come in very close to 7.5 lbs. I do some chambering. On this build I will pay close attention to this and see if I can reduce a few more ounces.
    Workmanship: We will see.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2017
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  5. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Holic

    959
    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    Couldn't you technically extend the fret board by that 1/8", and leave the neck and pocket distance the same? Or is this an all one-piece neck (which you could still probably do)?
     
  6. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Yes this is a one piece. I think the reason you see the back of neck routed down giving the overhang on replacement one piece necks is because they have to fit in the production bodies. I don't have to worry about that. Thanks for following this thread.
    Wade
     
  7. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    I modified Terry Downs Telecaster plans for humbuckers and made the neck pocket 1/8 inch longer to accommodate my 1/8 inch longer neck. As I measure it I will have enough room to accommodate the spoke nut on the truss rod that I will be using. Made two 1/4" mdf templates. Will make the working 3/4 mdf templates next. I had an old tele bridge made for a humbucker. I used this to determine where the bridge humbucker would be placed.
    1.jpg 2.jpg

    I found this on ebay and ordered two. $8 bucks each. I will inlay this into my working templates. I had made one out of an old bridge...drilled out the string through holes and it has worked well...This one is laser cut so should be very accurate. I also inlay a bridge plate into the top template and use this to drill out the string through holes......
    s-l400.jpg

    I realized I had ordered the wrong switches for my toggle to be used to switch both humbuckers into parallel mode. It requires a 4 pole double throw mini...so I ordered these.
    Parallel cuts the output a bit but give you some higher frequencies and is still noise canceling.
    3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  8. GuitarNate

    GuitarNate TDPRI Member

    Age:
    14
    18
    Sep 18, 2016
    Bay Area
    Looks like a great build and some cool wood. I love double humbucker Teles
     
  9. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Thanks Nate....Please follow the build and let me know what you think...Really like getting the younger musicians thoughts.
    Wade
     
  10. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Finished top body template. I will go over a few lessons I have learned the hard way.

    The top humbucker template is from Stewmac...I had made my own in the past....
    This is worth every penny Stewmac asks for it. Never use the master template. I made a working one large enough to be able to screw it down to make the 1/4 inch thick template. Then put super glue along the edges and screw holes. If you don't the sharp corners will round over after a few times of use. In the past I used double sided tape...That is why I am making a new template. The template doesen't have to move much to cause a problem.
    1.jpg


    The neck pocket cutout needs to be cut on the inside side of the template line or there will not be a tight fit. Even then it will not be a really tight fit....but will be after the finish is applied.
    2.jpg

    Again the only safe way is to screw the template down.
    4.jpg


    I put a bridge plate over the correct location on the Terry Downs plan. This is a hipshot bridge plate and it aligns exactly. Using this as a guide I drill the string through holes.
    3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
    DrASATele likes this.
  11. DrASATele

    DrASATele Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Nice looking wood wade! I dig the all American aspect too. I'm a huge fan of Sperezel's I've had them installed on my G&L S500 the day it arrived in store in 1995. Handsdown one of my best investments as a teenager ;)
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    I recently converted an HH guitar by splitting the neck pickup (stock two-wire unit) to give single coil with the neck pickup screws high at a Fender pole stagger and dropped the whole pickup to reduce the strength of the pole side. A push/pull tone pot 'down' defaults to the neck single coil while 'up' is both neck coils in parallel for Strat quack and acoustic guitar tones, plus it cuts noise if needed.

    Bridge humbucker is stock but hard wired to an Arlo Cocked Wah circuit as I really only use that pickup with gain and the ACW tweaks it just right. The 3-way pickup toggle switch works as normal between the two pickups.

    If the user is a gigging musician, he will want minimal and simple controls to worry about on stage. If he only does session recording work then there's that circuit on guitarnutz2 for '409' switching options ;)

    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2017
  13. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Jvin thanks for the input. I have struggled and tried most every way possible on switches and wiring. You have really hit the heart of the matter with the need for simple controls. I personally hate the push pull switches but really do like the push push pot switches. Very easy and fast. It does come down to what switching is actually useful. This is where I am leaning now.
    One volume switch
    One Tone switch
    3 way toggle

    Two mini toggle switches
    One 4 pole double throw on on switch to switch each humbucker into parallel mode
    One mini for coil splitting: single coil mode. (When I have a clear head I am going to see if I could get a mini on-off-on switch to do the following: Off (center position...no action) down position single coil with both screw coils on. Up position single coil with both rod coils on....The main 3 way toggle will continue to work.
    Since I think these modes would be the most used these modes will be handled by the mini toggle switches where it is clearly visible to what mode you are in.

    For these modes which I think will not be used very often:
    Push Push in the volume switch. Out of phase switching...Peter Green early Fleetwood Mac mod
    Push Push on tone to put the humbuckers in serial mode to themselves.

    I am leaning toward a setup like in on the PRS Paul.
    Wade
    217593.jpg
     
  14. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Just got the Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners with black pearl knobs in. They are in nickle and look great. The picture is on the roasted maple neck wood with the black MOP inlays....The smaller dots are not black. I have ordered another set of Black MOP from a source in the U.K....hope they will be darker.
    1.jpg 2.jpg

    These Sperzels are light. Here they are compared to a non locking Gotoh tuner.
    3.jpg 4.jpg
     
  15. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Just finishing up the new templates. If you take your time and get these as accurate as possible it will save a lot time and aggravation later.

    It is sometimes hard to get a sharp point on the ends of the neck pocket. This Solarez Fly Tie Fishing UV Cure Resin is great to repair and protect these sharp areas. The solarez cures in sunlight in one minute. I put on plenty and then put the 1/4 inch template back on and rout off the excess.
    1.jpg


    Screwed the bridge plate down at the proper location. I use the string thru hole locations marks on the paper plans to set the location of the bridge then using the bridge plate as a template drill out the 1/8th inch holes. Note: even in this soft MDF the drill may not drill exactly straight down.
    4.jpg

    This is the $7.50 sting ferrule template I purchased (ebay link is above). Printed the reverse image of the plans...set the proper location and temporally screwed down. Drilled down part way to make sure everything lines up with the 1/8 inch holes I drilled down from the other side of the template. Screwed on some scrap to be used as a router template in order in inset this template plate.
    3.jpg
    After the inlayed. This is inlayed because I use this body template to route the guitar body initially and it needs to be flat on the router table.
    2.jpg


    Also I sat down and concentrated for a few minutes and figured out a way to wire both humbuckers to switch to two different single coil modes with a 4 pole double throw on off on switch. One mode will have the two screws coils active and the other mode will have the two slugs active..Will be interesting to see how much difference it makes. I think one model of the PRS had this ability.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  16. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    I got my 4 pole double throw switches in from ebay. There was enough room in my existing rout from my old design so I thought I would see what it would look like in my "testing" guitar. I am really glade I tried this and I will wire it up and double check that it will work electrically as I think. But......in this configuration when you are playing the guitar you cannot see the switches very well. They are hidden by the vol and tone knob. The switches need to be above the knobs in this kind of configuration. Because these are long switches....4 pole....there is quite a distance between the toggle head when installed side by side even touching so the PRS configuration may look odd....will look more closely at this later.
    1.jpg 3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
    DrASATele and Barncaster like this.
  17. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Since I had to adjust the electronic cavity to accommodate the two switches I decided to give a little more room between the Vol/Tone/3 way switch.

    1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  18. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Working on the body. Here is the chestnut drop top and the African mahogany body with the chambered area. I rout the chestnut drop top to the profile of body template. I cut the mahogany body blank with the band say but I do not sand to the line or rout it to the template.
    2.jpg

    I use Smith's Oak and Teak Epoxy Glue for this job. It is great for filling voids. It is designed to soak into the wood and the pot life is around 2 hours. They recommend mixing it and then waiting 10 to 20 minutes. I put it on the wood and allow 10 minutes for it to soak into the wood.

    3.jpg

    I glue the top to the body. Note the body is sufficiently larger than the top so it can be easily positioned. After the glue dries I will sand the body to the line and then rout it using the top as the guide. Using this technique you only need a 1/4 inch thick template until this point.
    5.jpg

    Put the clamps on and wait overnight.

    4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
    Barncaster likes this.
  19. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    I do a 1/2 inch carve on the body. First I rout a half inch round over on the front and the back. Most places this will be carved away on the top but will be visible on the horns where is there is no carve. I draw a line a half inch down from the top of the body on the edge. I draw the profile I want on the top of the body. Then using a cheap Harbor Freight grinder with a 40 grit disc I grind between these lines the slope I want. I clean it all up and make adjustments with the orbital sander. Note: It is better to do the routs for the pickups and neck pocket before you do the carve. The carve makes it harder to set and hold down the template for the pickups.

    2.jpg 3.jpg

    In order to get the jack centered on the edge after the carve I install it temporarily as a guide.
    1.jpg 4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  20. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    570
    Sep 24, 2010
    Monterey CA
    Routed out for the pickups, used this template to locate the locations for pots and switches. At this time I screw down the bridge plate. I then drill out the string thru holes. No matter how careful I am often the 1/8 drill bit will not drill straight down through 1.75 inches of hardwood. If anyone has a cure please tell me how you do it. (In the future I will use a 5/32 bit, seems to work a bit better and the hole is close enough in size) It is not a real problem since I use my template with a metal template plate inlayed into it for the ferrule but would be a disaster if you use these holes to place where the ferrules on the back are drilled.

    3a.jpg 4.jpg

    This reclaimed chestnut is very dry and can be brittle. I now coat the bottom of this cavity with my epoxy glue for strength. i will be putting copper shielding tape in here as well and it will stick to the smooth surface of glue better.
    3.jpg

    I did the tummy cut. I use the grinder and clean it up with the orbital sander. If you do chambering you have to keep in mind how deep this cut will be...It will ruin you day if you carve into the chambering.
    5.jpg
    My target body weight is 4.3 lbs or lower at this point. This one weights in at 4.1 lbs. I am on track for a total completed weight of 7.5 lbs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
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