A new "Firecaster" build...

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by LGOberean, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have never been any good at carpentry, so woodworking as a hobby was never my thing. I have neither the tools nor the skill set necessary to build a tele, or any other kind of guitar. But Bob Logan of Logan Custom Guitars is in the process of building one for me, and he’s sent me some pics of where it is in the process. So, I am posting a build thread in this “Other T-types” sub-forum.

    The finished product will be called “Firecaster II.” Obviously, then, there is a Firecaster I, so there is a backstory here. Some on TDPRI already know it, but if you don’t, well, the story makes sense of the build. And besides, it’s a good story.

    Okay, “Firecaster” definition: Fire, from lumber salvaged from a house fire; and caster…well, that should need no explanation here on TDPRI.

    Our home is a cottage style house, built in 1936 by a family member. So it’s made out of old growth construction grade lumber, Douglas Fir (roofing joists) and Long Leaf Pine (shiplap construction exterior & interior walls). We bought it in the early ‘90s (we're just the second owners), and have lived in it since.
    Our house 1988.jpg Our house 05-05-2010 before the fire.jpg

    We had a fire at our house on May 6, 2010. I’ll resist the temptation to tell the story of how the fire started. (Suffice it to say I’m no longer allowed to BBQ, unless my wife wants to remodel.) This next pic is a bit deceptive. The roof looks like it's okay, but in fact it was a total loss and had to come down, as the pic following shows.
    Our house 05-06-2010 after the fire.jpg 06-23-2010 - Roof coming down 2.jpg

    After the fire, the house was a little less than 40% damaged. During the demolition process of rebuilding, I salvaged as much of that lumber as possible, to re-purpose it into the house. (The attic floor is a lot of that Long Leaf Pine, or LLP.)
    07-28-2010 - Kitchen side of bathroom wall.jpg

    Here's a pic of the house after it was restored, 7+ years after. I deliberately chose a pic of our house in December, covered with snow, because it is a steamy, hot day here in South Texas. Looking at literal "cool" makes me somehow feel a little cooler. :cool::twisted:
    [​IMG]
    12-08-2017 - Even prettier by the light of day -1.jpg

    But back to that salvaged lumber: I also saved a lot of it with the idea of guitars and amp cabinets. I'll take up the story there in a following post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  2. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Okay, to continue the story, taking up at the point when 83-year-old salvaged construction grade lumber first became a guitar…

    In 2012, I sent a lot of the Long Leaf Pine (LLP) and some Douglas Fir planks to Bob Logan, and he made my “Firecaster.” Here is some of it…
    Lumber for Logan Custom Firecasters - 1.jpg Lumber for Logan Custom Firecasters - 2.jpg

    The body was made from the Doug Fir, and is chambered. (The assembled guitar weighs just a fraction more than 6 lbs. 3 oz.) The top is made of those LLP planks. Other specs on this first Firecaster (I guess now I’ll call it “Firecaster I”) include: Bill Lawrence Keystone tele pickups and his 5-way switching scheme; Bob Logan’s stainless-steel bridge plate; 1-piece maple neck.
    My Logan Custom Firecaster 01.jpg My Logan Custom Firecaster 02.jpg My Logan Custom Firecaster 03.jpg My Logan Custom Firecaster 07.jpg
     
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  3. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Now to bring things up to date…

    Last September, my wife and I vacationed in Wisconsin and the Michigan UP. While in Wisconsin, we spent time with Bob Logan and his wife. I played a bunch of guitars he had assembled (even came home with one, but that’s another story), and toured his workshop. While in there, Bob showed me a stack of the LLP planks that were left over. So the idea started there for Firecaster II.

    But shortly after coming home from vacation, I tore two tendons in my left shoulder. So I was out of commission for a while. I started booking paying gigs in February, and saved my gig money for this Firecaster II. I sent that to him a few days ago. I talked with Bob about what I would want in this build. Then about a week ago he sent me pics of planks chosen for the top and back.

    Here is a pic of the planks, rough side showing...
    06-05-2019 - LLP planks for Firecaster II - 2.jpg

    Here it is cleaned and sanded...
    06-05-2019 - LLP planks for Firecaster II - 1.jpg

    Top…
    06-05-2019 - LLP planks for Firecaster II, close up of top (2).jpg

    Back…
    06-05-2019 - LLP planks for Firecaster II, close up of back.jpg

    Then, yesterday evening, Bob sent me pics of the body…
    06-11-2019 - Firecaster II body glued up - 1.jpeg 06-11-2019 - Firecaster II body glued up - 2.jpeg 06-11-2019 - Firecaster II body glued up - 3.jpeg 06-11-2019 - Firecaster II body glued up - 4.jpeg

    Those LLP veneers top and back look great in the pics. And in my experience, pics fail to capture the full beauty of a Logan Custom guitar. They always look better in person. And I speak from experience: I presently own six Logan Customs, my son has one, and a son-in-law has one. They all look better than their pictures.

    So, the LLP top and back veneers are glued on to a basswood body that is chambered, and the neck pocket is routed. Bob stained the edges of the basswood body core a dark walnut, as we discussed, and he applied a sealer coat. As of last night, he had not yet routed the bridge or neck pickup on the body, or the back route for the controls. (There will be no pickguard or metal control plate on the top of the guitar. I want as much of that wood grain as possible to show.)

    More specs and pics to come…
     
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  4. horax

    horax Tele-Holic

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    that is amazing!
    I love it to no end! That top looks like some monster staring back at me! Holy smokes....dangit...dangit...
     
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  5. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    This is a perfect thing
     
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  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Kewl!
     
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  7. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    Subbed. I want to see the finished product. You have a great story and a piece of your family's life preserved as an instrument. And those are some really beautiful pieces of wood. Props to Bob Logan!
     
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  8. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just the coolest teles ever!!!
     
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  9. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    That's going to be a beauty, Larry. Wear it out!
     
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  10. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I’m trying to be patient as I wait for more pics/updates or news that the guitar is ready. In the meantime, I guess I’ll post here and give some of the specs.

    By way of review, the body consists of a chambered basswood core, with the 83-year-old planks of Long Leaf Pine for the top and back veneers. The edge of the basswood core is stained dark walnut, and the LLP veneers will have a natural satin finish, thus creating the contrasting albeit complementary dark/light appearance to the body. As is always the case with Bob’s guitars, the finish is nitrocellulose lacquer, with no grain filler. Just for grins, let's look at the body again...
    06-11-2019 - Firecaster II body glued up - 3.jpeg

    Now, moving on to the hardware. For starters, I want as little as possible covering up those beautiful woodgrains, so there will be no pickguard, and no metal control plate. The switch, V and T knobs will be rear mounted. I consider the woodgrains on the back veneer to be beautiful as well...
    06-11-2019 - Firecaster II body glued up - 2.jpeg

    ...but, hey, the controls have to be routed from one direction or the other, so…

    The bridge plate will be Bob Logan’s stainless steel bridge plate with brass saddles, with the cutout in the plate for the bridge pickup being straight, not slanted as on a traditional tele plate. I made this choice because of what hardware I have in a previous Logan Custom guitar, my Butterscotch Blonde. And since I don’t have new pics yet of the current Firecaster build, I’ll include pics here of my BSB…
    06-30-2011 - Logan Custom BSB - 1.jpg Logan Custom BSB, close-up of the body.jpg

    The body on this BSB is solid swamp ash. It’s very light; the guitar weighs about 6 lbs. 15 oz. But more to the point, the bridge plate on this is what I’m duplicating on my Firecaster II, Bob’s stainless steel “straight plate.” The pickups in my BSB are DiMarzio Twang Kings, and it has a 4-way switch, giving me the three usual tele pickup selections: position #1, bridge; #2, both pickups in parallel; #3, neck; #4, both pickups wired in series. This latter selection gives me a wiring configuration of the pickups that I only marginally understand, but the net result is a setting of both pickups with a little less highs and more pronounced lows and mids, and noticeably more "oomph." I typically kick it on up to "fourth gear" for instrumental breaks.

    I find this to be my favorite combination: Twang Kings are my favorite pickups of all that I’ve got in my guitars, and the 4-way switch I find to be the most useful in performance. So I decided to duplicate the same hardware and wiring scheme and pickups in my Firecaster II.

    Because there will be no pickguard, the neck Twang King pickup will be a flush mount with no trim ring.

    My wife wants me to put her to bed, some I’ll post more specs/updates/pics later…
     
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  11. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    So.... the Firecaster has that smokey vibe like its been played in dives across the south, without ever having been! Very cool. How to turn lemons into lemonade. Great job, kudos!
     
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  12. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just got a couple of more pictures from Bob Logan. He routed for the pickups and controls.
    06-17-2019 - Routed, front.jpeg 06-17-2019 - Routed, back.jpeg
     
  13. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Last night one of the venues I play regularly (every couple of months or so) contacted me, offering me a gig for this Saturday night. They apologized for the short notice, but it was no problem. I didn't have a booking, so I took it.

    I was and am excited about the prospect of this upcoming gig, but it also triggered in me a bit of impatience. Not with the venue for the short notice, but for the arrival of my much anticipated Firecaster II. I'd love to debut it this Saturday night at the gig.

    And that's not to say that I'm impatient with Bob Logan. The timing of this build is based on when I contacted Bob about it and started discussing the specs. I actually think the build is moving along at a good pace, but I would be really surprised if it were ready to ship right now. Last I knew, it wasn't. Even then, I don't think it would arrive in Corpus Christi, Texas from Delafield, Wisconsin in time for this gig.

    What it comes down to is I'm just being impatient. You know what they say..."wait" is a four-letter word!:twisted:
     
  14. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    This evening as I was walking out to our chicken coop, I got my cell phone out of the holster on my belt to use it as a flashlight. We made a trap door to coop our chickens in for the night, to protect them from varmits. So I close the hens and chicks in at night, and let them out in the morning. As I turned on my phone to look for the flashlight app, I noticed I had a text message that I somehow missed about 30 minutes earlier. It was from Bob Logan...

    ...My Firecaster II is finished! (Picture Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip doing his happy dance here!) :):p:D

    I've already talked about the specs, at least, I think I have. I'll double-check in a minute to make sure. For now, I'm just too excited not to share the pics Bob just sent me!
     

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  15. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    That's a beauty, Larry. Wear it out!
     
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  16. horax

    horax Tele-Holic

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    So that’s chambered? What does that do to the sound?

    Also, what is the middle wood?
     
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  17. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The middle is basswood.

    I love that the top & back veneers make it look double bound. I also dig the bridge.

    With a name like Firecaster I was hoping for a Firebird pickup in the neck. ;)

    That's some nice work.
     
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  18. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz TDPRI Member

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    This is such a cool looking T !

    Congrats !
     
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  19. djh22

    djh22 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Congrats Larry! She's a beauty!
     
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  20. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    As already observed, the middle/body core is basswood, stained dark walnut, thus providing a complementary contrast to the lighter, amber-ish color of the Long Leaf Pine veneers.

    And yes, the body is chambered. As for what that will do to the sound, well, that question touches on a bit of debate, doesn't it? Does a 335 have an airier, more open sound than an LP? Or Thinline Teles compared to solid bodies? Or is tonewood a myth, body format construction a negligible factor, and it's really all about pickups?

    In my collection of Logan Custom tele styles, I have two that are solid body construction, one thinline with the "Logo" cutout, and one chambered. (Incidentally, the one that's chambered is my first Firecaster.) They each involve different species of wood, and different construction formats, but the pickups are all tele style single coils, albeit different brands. In my experience, they each have subtle differences of tonality and responsiveness, but they all sound like teles.

    So while I don't expect radical differences in tone and/or responsiveness owing to the chambered construction format, I do expect to find that this guitar will have its own nuances that may not be observed by an audience but will be apparent to me. And to me that's part of the fun of a custom build by Bob Logan. This chambered Firecaster won't be exactly the same as my previous chambered Firecaster. And the sum total of differences--species of body core wood, pickups, bridge pickup alignment, lack of pickguard--will make for its own sound. In every way, this guitar will be unique.
     
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