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$100 Okoume Tele Kit Build/Review

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by bgmacaw, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,931
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Location:
    Near Athens GA USA
    I recently finished building the $100 Okoume Tele Kit you may have seen on Amazon or EBay.
    Here's what the parts looked like just out of the box.

    okoume kit 1.png

    The okoume wood body seems good and the holes and routs are cut good. The stock electronics are "plug and play", no soldering required. The pickups are cheap generic ceramics like you'll find on the cheapest guitars. The pots are mini. The fretwork on the neck is decent although the radius is very flat, measuring about 16 inches. The nut is low quality and the slots are high. The bridge feels rather lightweight.

    As you can see, the body rout looks like it would take dual humbuckers but it doesn't really. The rout is quite deep and slightly too small for a humbucker to fit, even a Gretsch style one that screwed into the body. Additional routing and filling in would be required to get a humbucker or P90 in there. So, although I had originally thought of going dual HB or P90, I went the traditional Tele path instead.

    I also drilled the string thru body holes. Since my drill press is too small to fit a Tele body, I had to wing it as best I could, using a hand drill and a template. It came out OK although one hole was slightly off.

    I bought a set of Tone Hatch Shin Kickers to go in the guitar. Other upgrades included a Wilkinson compensated bridge, a 4 way switch and a better set of pots, jack and a cap. To get the larger electronics to fit, I had to slightly enlarge the control cavity. I replaced the nut with a brass nut from ToneMasters. The extra flat neck radius caused a slight issue, requiring me to slightly shim the treble side of the nut.

    The other big replacement part issue was that the stock pickguard isn't standard size due to the odd body routing. This meant regular Tele pickguards I had on hand wouldn't fit right since it left a big gap between the bridge and control plate. So, to get my desired black pickguard, I cut my own using 1/8" birch plywood.

    pickguardsize.png

    For the finish, I wanted to try a distressed white pickled finish. I had done this on some small furniture pieces a while ago so I wanted to try it here. I did a coat of whitewash, then a coat of sunbleached, then antiquing glaze and, finally, a thin coat of polyurethane.

    Here's the final result.

    final1.jpg

    final2.jpg
     
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