50's Tele

JTindle

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Posts
55
I can't necessarily afford a vintage Tele but I love Keef's and the Boss's telecaster. I'm thinking of making me a partscaster that is identical to a 50's butterscotch telecaster. Where do I start? What would you guys do if you wanted a relic'ed 50's tele like Keef?

Thanks
 

johmica

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Posts
1,087
Location
Berea, KY
I second the recommendation for MJT. I've built a few guitars with those guys, and they'll make exactly what you want.

I've always ordered my necks unfinished from Musikraft, and had them shipped to MJT for finishing. Musikraft can provide you with a neck that matches the specs of an original 50s perfectly.

Here's a few photos of my '64 clone:

IMG_20170724_122816523.jpg


IMG_20170724_122711570.jpg


IMG_20170724_122546949.jpg


IMG_20170724_122631435.jpg
 

brookdalebill

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
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Nov 15, 2009
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117,299
Age
65
Location
Austin, Tx
Making it unanimous, so far anyways.
MJT, for the body.
Necks, MJT, Warmoth, Guitar Mill.
If you consider pre-built, K-Line.
K-Line makes makes my favorite relic style guitars.
I’ve owned one, and played many.
All great!
They look, feel and sound right.
I’m an old guy, and I’ve played the old “vintage” stuff.
Anyways, buena suerte!
 

JTindle

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Posts
55
What can you afford? Have you set a budget? There are pricey options, reasonable options and cheapskate options available.
What kind of price are you putting on these 3 options?

I'd like to keep it under $1000
 

galaxiex

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
Posts
1,356
Location
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
I built this some time ago...

I was going for a tribute to Keef's Micawber, rather than an all out copy or replica.

Built with a GF body and an ebay neck, plus various other bits...

5 string open G of course....

Since the pics it has acquired a cigarette burn on the head stock...

100_2525.jpg


100_2527.jpg


I use it on Honky Tonk Woman and other Stones songs...

.
 

bgmacaw

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
9,523
Location
Near Athens GA USA
What kind of price are you putting on these 3 options?

I'd like to keep it under $1000

These prices used to be lower, but inflation, etc. However, you might still be able to find good deals on the used market from someone still selling gear at 2016 prices. Here's how I'd break them down...

Cheapskate: Under $700
Reasonable: $700 to $2000
Expensive: $2000+

When you get into some of the fancier relic bodies like you see in this thread, add in a US Fender neck or equivalent, boutique pickups and hardware you'll be hitting the top of the reasonable range. With some luck and wise and patient purchases you can trim this price down some. If you're less picky, for example, willing to start with a Squier Classic Vibe, you can drop the price even lower.

Another cost factor is your guitar tech skills. Can you do the finishing and assembly yourself or will you need to pay someone? Being able to DIY and get a good result can save you some money but if you can't DIY, then it will be better to pay someone skilled to avoid being left with a pile of parts that you dislike.

Here are my super cheapskate Tele projects, a 2003 SX STL-50 and a 2020 "Okoume" kit. The base guitars were between $100 and $150 and mods/upgrades were about $75-$125. The most expensive part was the Tone Hatch pickups on the whitewash one. The electronics were upgraded, including a 4-way switch and no-load tone, and the bridge assemblies are Wilkinson. Tuners and nut on the kit were upgraded. The P90 on the SX is a GFS Vintage rehoused in a nickel-silver case.

cheapskateteles.png
 

JTindle

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Posts
55
I built this some time ago...

I was going for a tribute to Keef's Micawber, rather than an all out copy or replica.

Built with a GF body and an ebay neck, plus various other bits...

5 string open G of course....

Since the pics it has acquired a cigarette burn on the head stock...

View attachment 970422

View attachment 970423

I use it on Honky Tonk Woman and other Stones songs...

.
I assume GF is Guitar Fetish, were there any issues with the body like neck pocket sizing or anything else?

Is that neck an actual Fender neck? MIA or MIM?

Nice Tele, that is about what I want but not sure whether I want a humbucker or single coil in the neck. Do you use the humbucker much? How much does Keef use the humbucker?

Thanks
 

galaxiex

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
Posts
1,356
Location
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
I assume GF is Guitar Fetish, were there any issues with the body like neck pocket sizing or anything else?

Is that neck an actual Fender neck? MIA or MIM?

Nice Tele, that is about what I want but not sure whether I want a humbucker or single coil in the neck. Do you use the humbucker much? How much does Keef use the humbucker?

Thanks

Yes Guitar Fetish, the body was great! No complaints, the neck fit great.
Very light swamp ash.

I don't remember about the neck, I think it's an Allparts.

I use the humbucker with the bridge pickup.
It has a blend circuit.
Blending in the HB with the bridge works great.
Adds some growl and takes the edge off the bridge pickup bite.

No one seems to know for sure what Keef does, or what the guitar has.
There is speculation his Micawber has a blend circuit,
but you most often see him with the selector in the bridge position.
Whether or not he blends the HB in, is anyone's guess.

I think there is one concert photo of him with Micawber, with the selector in the neck position.
 

howardlo

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 16, 2011
Posts
1,689
Location
Hobart, IN
These prices used to be lower, but inflation, etc. However, you might still be able to find good deals on the used market from someone still selling gear at 2016 prices. Here's how I'd break them down...

Cheapskate: Under $700
Reasonable: $700 to $2000
Expensive: $2000+

When you get into some of the fancier relic bodies like you see in this thread, add in a US Fender neck or equivalent, boutique pickups and hardware you'll be hitting the top of the reasonable range. With some luck and wise and patient purchases you can trim this price down some. If you're less picky, for example, willing to start with a Squier Classic Vibe, you can drop the price even lower.

Another cost factor is your guitar tech skills. Can you do the finishing and assembly yourself or will you need to pay someone? Being able to DIY and get a good result can save you some money but if you can't DIY, then it will be better to pay someone skilled to avoid being left with a pile of parts that you dislike.

Here are my super cheapskate Tele projects, a 2003 SX STL-50 and a 2020 "Okoume" kit. The base guitars were between $100 and $150 and mods/upgrades were about $75-$125. The most expensive part was the Tone Hatch pickups on the whitewash one. The electronics were upgraded, including a 4-way switch and no-load tone, and the bridge assemblies are Wilkinson. Tuners and nut on the kit were upgraded. The P90 on the SX is a GFS Vintage rehoused in a nickel-silver case.

View attachment 970477
I have one of those STL-50s same finish but a black pickguard. Also got it in the very early 2000’s. Really good guitars for the low price they were. I’m thinking it was just $109 when I bought it.
Swamp ash body and great feeling neck. The neck was really orange but I stripped that off with some Citri-Strip. I found that there was just enough wood on the headstock to cut it to a normal Tele shape. Took about 5 minutes with a scroll saw. Only mods I did other than that was a set of Fender Original Vintage pickups, new pots, switch, jack and stainless steel saddles. Still have it and play it a lot. Hard to believe I had played since 1957 and that was my first Tele.
 




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