1971 Rosewood Tele: Any recs for routing repairs? (ideally SoCal/AZ)

Alcohen

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Not at all helpful, but I just want to echo the consensus that this is one gorgeous, interesting guitar. Restored (at great cost, no doubt, and likely at the cost of individual historical value) it will still be gorgeous but will no longer be as interesting.
 

knavel

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I have a bad idea.

Plane the top off the guitar (or cut it off), glue on a new rosewood top on top of that maple, using yhe bottom piece as a temple, route the top to match. Cut new pickup and control cavities, refinish. If you Cut the top off you could have a ship of theseus situation. Where you have repaired the bottom of the body, so it's still the same guitar, then you can rebuild a new guitar out of the top, giving you another same guitar. Two 1971 rosewood teles for the price of one!

Now go back and read the first sentence.

I would love to have a Rosewood Tele and I'm happy with the top as is since a new pickguard and reissue period correct bridge unit fixes everything. Points for your creativity.
 

knavel

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I hope this doesn't pull the thread too off-topic, but chancing across it made me nostalgic.

I was playing a trasher Ibanez ES-335 imitation as a freshman in high school in the mid-1980s and practicing my blues scales, when I chanced across a 1969 all-rosewood Telecaster. It was in virtually unplayed condition, and the thing was so gorgeous that I couldn't decide if I wanted to play it or to eat it.

My parents helped me out with half of the $450 price and I was in heaven. As I got more proficient and I'd experimented playing both types of guitars--Telecasters and non-Telecasters--I began to cool on the rosewood. That thick, sticky polyurethane that encased the guitar was just so un-organic feeling with no sense of real wood. The pickups were super thin and wimpy-sounding, with the CBS bean counters solidly entrenched by then. Finally, the guitar was as heavy as a boat anchor. After the honeymoon period wore off, I almost never played it.

But the guitar looked cool as hell.

Pragmatism finally won out @2010, and I listed it with a guitar dealer I knew in the upper midwest for what was a high price at the time.I get sentimental about the rosewood Tele every now and again, but the bottom line is that it wasn't a player.

My advice to the OP: the premium vintage value in this guitar is gone and it's never coming back no matter what you do. Rip that perverted polyurethane off of it--except for the front of the headstock--and have it sprayed with lacquer. Throw some Seymour Duncan pickups in there and slap a b/w/b guard over that big ugly route (if I remember correctly, the original was black/white/tortoise). Swap in a 3-saddle Tele bridge.

Play the hell out it and have fun.

Oh, and if anyone sees Kirk Hammett playing or talking about his all-original late 60s rosewood Telecaster, I was the steward of that guitar for 25 years.

Great story. I think a good thread topic would be what people who actually own/have owned Rosewood Telecasters think of them. With this one like I said, I liked it save for the weight, but it was the most un-Fender sounding Fender I've ever played. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

For my own part I don't really mind poly on the body, but I don't normally like it so much on the neck. But to take the poly off the neck would actually decrease from the decreased value since the neck is the most intact part - just the frets look changed and that extra near the normal bolt holes.
 

Matthias

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If he’s keeping the neck pick-up, just leave it I think. If he decides to put a single coil in the neck, just go with that and leave the routes be as you can’t see them… I think the rule of thumb is leave it as original as possible and don’t remove extra material.

But as it is it, the Gibson neck pick-up is a rare ‘classic’ among mods and the guitar has quite a history. When you consider that Billy Fender recorded with Albert King, it seems a great shame to change a thing.
 

Antoon

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And don't forget that an old Gibson HB instead of a regular Tele neck pickup is a great mod to have. I feel that it is in fact for the better (no I won't rout my '56 for a neck HB ;-) )
 

knavel

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And don't forget that an old Gibson HB instead of a regular Tele neck pickup is a great mod to have. I feel that it is in fact for the better (no I won't rout my '56 for a neck HB ;-) )

100%. My brother and I both agree with you on this point and this is why I mentioned in the OP he wanted to keep that pick up in it. We are big fans of neck humbucker pickups and I think the Tele Custom and getting Seth Lover on board was one of CBS's better management moments at Fender.
 

Telekarster

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Great post.

We are all so used to dumba$$ mods from the 70s on guitars, drums and amps and we presumptively look to restore to what came from the factory. But what you hear on the record shows that not every mod was poorly done or distasteful. Billy Fender was a pro player. The guitar is how he thought best to express himself and that's really what it's all about.

Exactly man. He clearly knew what he wanted in a sound and modded that guitar, no doubt tweeking it over the years, to zero in on the sound he wanted. Just like an artist using a certain brush for a stroke of a certain type of paint, to create thier art etc. Of all the crappy modded Tele's and Strat's I've seen, this is one I would keep all original as the artist intended it to be. Nice guitar man, and LOVE that rosewood! Neato.
 

fenderchamp

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Even modified, that guitar is worth north of $10K, I don't know that restoring it professionally, cleanly and using vintage parts wouldn't make it a bit more valuable, but it would certainly make it a lot less interesting.

I don't think it or Bobby Fender or that record are exactly landmarks of music history or anything, but they are somewhat compelling as a group together.

I think the more information you could find out about it and him would make it even more compelling.

Restoring it, so that the onboard effects worked and putting it all back together is how I would approach it, if it were mine.

If the wiring made it all too, noisy and distasteful and unusable, I'd save all that stuff and keep it with the guitar, and I wouldn't touch the routes, and I wouldn't put any new holes in it either, or fill any old ones.
 

Knave101

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It was a long time ago....but here is the story as I recall. I met the widow of Billy 25 years ago. She stated her husband had been in the Navy Band, and was good enough to be in the White House band. Being in the military myself...this is confirmed....only the best play the white house. This is also confirmed by the fact that as I was talking to her there was a signed photograph, with a few notations, above her fireplace to Billy....from President JF Kennedy! She stated that after getting out of the Navy, they moved to LA and eventually, to right in the heart of where the "Studios were"....because, as she explained, they would often get a call for a session guitarist anytime of day or night, and being located there meant...work! She stated that Billy actually liked Gibsons, and showed me a "downbeat" magazine ad, showing "Fender plays Gibson". She told me how excited a Japanese man was to purchase Billy's two "DeAngelicos". Now here is where the story got interesting. She told me that Billy obtained this guitar in trade from George Harrison, while playing on a Ringo session in LA...and that somewhere there was a case with Georges name stencilled on it. I have no idea of the validity of this, as it is surely not the original guitar of Georges, and I can't find any reference to it anywhere....so I am more than skeptical. The guitar did not have a case other than a soft acoustic case that said "Billy Fender". So that's the story. It's possible that her husband told her had a guitar "like George's"... and the story got embellished over time....until it became "his" guitar. ?

Why I want the repair. (and I understand those that say that the guitar should be left as is). The guitar was butchered, the pickup place crudely with a drill bit performing the route. The top opened like a sardine can to put in a circuit that as I recall was a boost circuit only. The battery would go dead shortly after using it, because to remove the battery you have to remove the chrome knob panel...every time you play.

So to those who disagree....I accept your argument...especially the one from the collector who says it decreases the value. But my argument is...I am not concerned about the value. I am a dermatologist and perform numerous skin surgeries. I worked for years in the Navy in wounded warrier clinic....trying to improve the cosmetic and functional outcome of horrendous injury. I would never ever open a wound and leave it open like this guitar....I would close it, after a nice cosmetic repair. I accept the scars that show 'it's not original'. But the work done right, would be a part of it's history again, in another 25 years. I would do whatever necessary to make it look clean, organized, and whole. That's how I see this guitar. It is wounded.....and it needs repair! Sorry to those who disagree....but that is how I feel. Additionally, the circuit added was horrible, and sounded bad. You could bypass the circuit and simply play the Gibson humbucker, and that is how the Billy Fender album sounds. So my desire would be to put it back together, WITH the Gibson Humbucker....just cleaner and without the circuit. and let the chips fall where they may.

On a a final note....the repair at JWRestoration is phenomenal....and exactly where I would send it if possible....except they are not accepting more work! If anyone can put in a word I'd be appreciative!

Also, the hole in the body where the neck attaches is confirmed in the JWRestoration photos to be some sort of hole used during construction. But why would someone drill through this hole and through the neckplate??? Why!!!?

On a side note...a few Navy stories: one of my Navy friends is a Periodontist. He's older like me. He grew up a neighbor to Leo Fender and recalls seeing Leo cutting his lawn, and selling candy bars to Mr. Fender as child at his doorstep. I let him know he had met a guitar hero. Another patient owned a G&L guitar. The pickup wasn't working properly so he drove it to G&L (in the 70's) on the way to a gig. An old guy came out with his reading loops, and told him to wait for 1/2 hour. It was Leo...and he personally fixed his guitar!
 
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kLyon

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It was a long time ago....but here is the story as I recall. I met the widow of Billy 25 years ago. She stated her husband had been in the Navy Band, and was good enough to be in the White House band. Being in the military myself...this is confirmed....only the best play the white house. This is also confirmed by the fact that as I was talking to her there was a signed photograph, with a few notations, above her fireplace to Billy....from President JF Kennedy! She stated that after getting out of the Navy, they moved to LA and eventually, to right in the heart of where the "Studios were"....because, as she explained, they would often get a call for a session guitarist anytime of day or night, and being located there meant...work! She stated that Billy actually liked Gibsons, and showed me a "downbeat" magazine ad, showing "Fender plays Gibson". She told me how excited a Japanese man was to purchase Billy's two "DeAngelicos". Now here is where the story got interesting. She told me that Billy obtained this guitar in trade from George Harrison, while playing on a Ringo session in LA...and that somewhere there was a case with Georges name stencilled on it. I have no idea of the validity of this, as it is surely not the original guitar of Georges, and I can't find any reference to it anywhere....so I am more than skeptical. The guitar did not have a case other than a soft acoustic case that said "Billy Fender". So that's the story. It's possible that her husband told her had a guitar "like George's"... and the story got embellished over time....until it became "his" guitar. ?

Why I want the repair. (and I understand those that say that the guitar should be left as is). The guitar was butchered, the pickup place crudely with a drill bit performing the route. The top opened like a sardine can to put in a circuit that as I recall was a boost circuit only. The battery would go dead shortly after using it, because to remove the battery you have to remove the chrome knob panel...every time you play.

So to those who disagree....I accept your argument...especially the one from the collector who says it decreases the value. But my argument is...I am not concerned about the value. I am a dermatologist and perform numerous skin surgeries. I worked for years in the Navy in wounded warrier clinic....trying to improve the cosmetic and functional outcome of horrendous injury. I would never ever open a wound and leave it open like this guitar....I would close it, after a nice cosmetic repair. I accept the scars that show 'it's not original'. But the work done right, would be a part of it's history again, in another 25 years. I would do whatever necessary to make it look clean, organized, and whole. That's how I see this guitar. It is wounded.....and it needs repair! Sorry to those who disagree....but that is how I feel. Additionally, the circuit added was horrible, and sounded bad. You could bypass the circuit and simply play the Gibson humbucker, and that is how the Billy Fender album sounds. So my desire would be to put it back together, WITH the Gibson Humbucker....just cleaner and without the circuit. and let the chips fall where they may.

On a a final note....the repair at JWRestoration is phenomenal....and exactly where I would send it if possible....except they are not accepting more work! If anyone can put in a word I'd be appreciative!

Also, the hole in the body where the neck attaches is confirmed in the JWRestoration photos to be some sort of hole used during construction. But why would someone drill through this hole and through the neckplate??? Why!!!?

On a side note...a few Navy stories: one of my Navy friends is a Periodontist. He's older like me. He grew up a neighbor to Leo Fender and recalls seeing Leo cutting his lawn, and selling candy bars to Mr. Fender as child at his doorstep. I let him know he had met a guitar hero. Another patient owned a G&L guitar. The pickup wasn't working properly so he drove it to G&L (in the 70's) on the way to a gig. An old guy came out with his reading loops, and told him to wait for 1/2 hour. It was Leo...and he personally fixed his guitar!

Even though I tend to the "leave it alone" camp, I understand - and respect - your feelings/intention.

I recommend Fren Asken in Los Angeles: that's who I would trust with something that important to me.
He's an ace (and a great guitar player).
 

Sea Devil

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I fully understand why you'd like to neaten things up, but the unfortunate fact is that you'd have to remove more material to do so "properly." Fixing the hole for the effects would only require truing up the edges, so that's no big deal, but that ragged pickup hole is another matter. The "right" way to fix that would be to enlarge and deepen the rout, making the edges clean and square, and patch it with similar wood. To me, the "right" way seems wrong. I think I'd just use wood putty.

Closing up the hollow part of the body might affect the sound a teeny bit; I find that enclosed volumes of air in chambered bodies can add a nice background "thunk."

I wouldn't even bother with the control cavity.
 
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Knave101

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Here is a closeup of the breadboarded circuit inside. It uses three transistors: AA 5087, and 2n5210 (x2). So it would seem that whatever the perpetrator didn't know about woodcraft, he was pretty good at circuits!

CE4FD096-7782-409A-A51D-E3A85152E110.jpeg
FA84278C-CD4A-4E83-B80A-24B15064FE41.jpeg
 

Knave101

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I fully understand why you'd like to neaten things up, but the unfortunate fact is that you'd have to remove more material to do so "properly." Fixing the hole for the effects would only require truing up the edges, so that's no big deal, but that ragged pickup hole is another matter. The "right" way to fix that would be to enlarge and deepen the rout, making the edges clean and square, and patch it with similar wood. To me, the "right" way seems wrong. I think I'd just use wood putty.

Closing up the hollow part of the body might affect the sound a teeny bit; I find that enclosed volumes of air in chambered bodies can add a nice background "thunk."

Yes, I would like to do it exactly as you have explained....clean the route, even slightly expanding it to clean it up, and fill it similarly to the way Dan Erlewine does in his 53 tele repair video. Then clean the edges of the 'tuna can' hole and fill it...with rosewood and match as closely as possible the grain...and if it loses half it's value....I won't lose sleep....I'll actually sleep better knowing it's whole!
 

Sea Devil

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I don't think it will lose or gain any value if it's done well. It's not on anything like the scale of Erlewine's Tele repair, which is extreme.

It may be crazy to consider this, but would CITES treaties affect the legal status of the guitar if the new wood falls under its purview?
 

Knave101

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That's a question to which I don't have an answer. I recently tried shipping some guitars from Spain to England. They got stopped in Madrid and and rejected and sent back for CITES issues. The problem was....one of the boxes was an amplifier, and the other a guitar which had no rosewood at all. So the CITES stuff is crazy.....all the while China is chopping down every Rosewood tree they can get....net fishing all of Africa. Just search "china" and Madagascar Rosewood. A patient of mine was an attache there....said China is clearcutting the place....while Madrid is worried about my endangered plywood amplifier case.

A buddy of mine ran into Bob Taylor in a bar in Jerez Spain....he said he was recently in Africa trying to find sustainable wood. Translation....finding wood not on the endangered species list yet.

And yes....closing the top hole will effect the chambered sound, and restore it's enclosed resonance somewhat....but you could only know this with acoustic test equipment I'll bet. The Rosewood Tele is a unique telecaster, as it is built like the ES335, Rick 330/360 and maybe the Tele Thinline. It seems to have a solid center strip and chambered wings. So this is not going to sound like a 'tele'. Roger Rossmeisl is responsible for Rick Capri design as well as the rosewood Tele and Thinline if I'm correct. So I've got to close up that chamber! So don't think of this as destroying Billy Fenders work, but restoration of Roger's!
 
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Wound_Up

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It was a long time ago....but here is the story as I recall. I met the widow of Billy 25 years ago. She stated her husband had been in the Navy Band, and was good enough to be in the White House band. Being in the military myself...this is confirmed....only the best play the white house. This is also confirmed by the fact that as I was talking to her there was a signed photograph, with a few notations, above her fireplace to Billy....from President JF Kennedy! She stated that after getting out of the Navy, they moved to LA and eventually, to right in the heart of where the "Studios were"....because, as she explained, they would often get a call for a session guitarist anytime of day or night, and being located there meant...work! She stated that Billy actually liked Gibsons, and showed me a "downbeat" magazine ad, showing "Fender plays Gibson". She told me how excited a Japanese man was to purchase Billy's two "DeAngelicos". Now here is where the story got interesting. She told me that Billy obtained this guitar in trade from George Harrison, while playing on a Ringo session in LA...and that somewhere there was a case with Georges name stencilled on it. I have no idea of the validity of this, as it is surely not the original guitar of Georges, and I can't find any reference to it anywhere....so I am more than skeptical. The guitar did not have a case other than a soft acoustic case that said "Billy Fender". So that's the story. It's possible that her husband told her had a guitar "like George's"... and the story got embellished over time....until it became "his" guitar. ?

Why I want the repair. (and I understand those that say that the guitar should be left as is). The guitar was butchered, the pickup place crudely with a drill bit performing the route. The top opened like a sardine can to put in a circuit that as I recall was a boost circuit only. The battery would go dead shortly after using it, because to remove the battery you have to remove the chrome knob panel...every time you play.

So to those who disagree....I accept your argument...especially the one from the collector who says it decreases the value. But my argument is...I am not concerned about the value. I am a dermatologist and perform numerous skin surgeries. I worked for years in the Navy in wounded warrier clinic....trying to improve the cosmetic and functional outcome of horrendous injury. I would never ever open a wound and leave it open like this guitar....I would close it, after a nice cosmetic repair. I accept the scars that show 'it's not original'. But the work done right, would be a part of it's history again, in another 25 years. I would do whatever necessary to make it look clean, organized, and whole. That's how I see this guitar. It is wounded.....and it needs repair! Sorry to those who disagree....but that is how I feel. Additionally, the circuit added was horrible, and sounded bad. You could bypass the circuit and simply play the Gibson humbucker, and that is how the Billy Fender album sounds. So my desire would be to put it back together, WITH the Gibson Humbucker....just cleaner and without the circuit. and let the chips fall where they may.

On a a final note....the repair at JWRestoration is phenomenal....and exactly where I would send it if possible....except they are not accepting more work! If anyone can put in a word I'd be appreciative!

Also, the hole in the body where the neck attaches is confirmed in the JWRestoration photos to be some sort of hole used during construction. But why would someone drill through this hole and through the neckplate??? Why!!!?

On a side note...a few Navy stories: one of my Navy friends is a Periodontist. He's older like me. He grew up a neighbor to Leo Fender and recalls seeing Leo cutting his lawn, and selling candy bars to Mr. Fender as child at his doorstep. I let him know he had met a guitar hero. Another patient owned a G&L guitar. The pickup wasn't working properly so he drove it to G&L (in the 70's) on the way to a gig. An old guy came out with his reading loops, and told him to wait for 1/2 hour. It was Leo...and he personally fixed his guitar!

You might try contacting Ted Woodford of Woodford Instruments in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Don't know if it'd be financially feasible to send it to him but it's an option. If the guitar is worth North of $10k like one poster says, then the cost to send it to him is a drop in the bucket, I'd guess. Ted does phenomenal work, also. You can see it at his youtube channel, twoodfrd.

 




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