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Been itching to get building a tele

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by jbyers, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. jbyers

    jbyers TDPRI Member

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    I’m an intermediate level woodworker, I’ve mostly focused on humidors, jewelry boxes etc up to this point. Check out beaglecitywoodworks on insta if you wanna see what I’ve been up to. I came into some beautiful bookmatched quilted maple (pic attached) and over at sawmill creek the consensus was that the only way to do it proper justice was to build a guitar. Now I don’t play guitar, and honestly barely know how they work, but I bought a book, and I think with some help I can get through it. So my plan is as follows, mahogany body with a maple cap. Rear routed tele, no pick guard, and a warmoth neck (if this goes well, I’ll make a neck for my next one, but I want to keep it pretty simple). So what I was hoping for clarity on is what exactly I should pick up for pots, 3way, pickups, bridge, tuners, and other stuff (jack?, strap buttons?). I feel like I’m already in over my head, so I’m trying to keep afloat.

    just reading though this forum the past month it’s pretty easy to see that this forum is the perfect resource for this build.
     

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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    2(250K) CTS pots are good. They come in various shaft lengths. CRL 3 way switch, Gotoh Tuners are good bang for the buck. Wilkinson vintage bridge with compensated brass saddles or a Fender one. Fender style Strap buttons vs Gibson style, and a switchcraft 1/4" phono jack. These are all things I use. Ebay has them. Philadelphia Luthiers supply is a good source. Dont forget a capacitor. You can buy this stuff prewired too.


    Pickups are subjective. Alnico pickups over ceramic are good for a vintage sound.

    Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies Guitar building tools and parts


    This could help out a bit.

    Let's make a body ! | Telecaster Guitar Forum (tdpri.com)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you bought Melvyn Hiscock's book everything you need to know is there.

    If you want to see what is involved in a typical telecaster build with a separate "drop top" you might want to buzz thru this

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chambered-tele-ish-sort-of-thing.884657/

    It has a couple of things not found on most teles - it is chambered, which means its a pound and a half lighter and it is bound which means the top wood has a contrasting edge added. But its pretty typical of the steps.

    ps - how thick is that piece of maple? It is totally outrageous and if its thick enough you might consider a carved top guitar.
     
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  4. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's what I used on a recent Tele kit build. For electronics, I used CTS 250k pots, Oak-Grigsby 4 way switch and other parts I had on hand. Art of Tone offers most of the stuff I used in a kit if you don't have it on hand. I like having the flexibility of 4 way switching but you can get a similar 3 way switch kit.

    For the pickups, I used Tone Hatch Shin Kickers.

    The bridge is a Wilkinson compensated bridge with brass saddles. I used a set of tuners I had on hand that were better than the ones in the kit but I'll probably upgrade them at some point with a set of 18:1 ratio tuners. On the strap buttons, I used some I had on hand. Warmoth recommends "mushroom" type buttons over traditional ones.

    20201114_123215.jpg
     
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  5. jbyers

    jbyers TDPRI Member

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    The maple is only 1/4” unfortunately, I’ve got 6 or 7 quilted carve top blanks sitting around, but the color in the 1/4” set is so nice
     

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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    1/4 inch is the perfect thickness for a flat top on a drop topped guitar. I just built a double neck with some outstanding quilt and had a lot of fun carving the top - it really doesn't look real. My humble advice is to be constantly thinking about the wood as you build - chose other woods and your hardware to compliment it. As you know (and it looks like you are doing it), wiping with naphtha will show you exactly what its going to look like under clear finish - keep that in mind as you build.

    I think maple caps look particularly good with mahogany bodies - almost all of the beautiful Gibson and PRS maple guitars use mahogany and mahogany does build a very nice guitar.

    Also keep any cut offs from the maple for experimenting with finish. You do not want to just start shooting at that lovely wood without some idea of what it is going to look like.
     
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  7. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    Welcome to the fold :).


    I'd suggest sticking to the type of tried and true components like Marty and the other folks suggest. They are at least the equivalent of what you'll find on a USA Fender guitar.

    The price difference between "standard" type parts and the cheapest stuff available isn't that great.

    But on the other hand, the price difference between "standard" stuff and some of the "boutique" stuff can be exponentially greater.

    The standard stuff fits the standard layout on the standard Tele drawing that you'll find in the "stickies" at the top of the main page for this particular forum - The Tele Home Depot.

    It's the one titled "D-sized drawing", the T. Downs drawing.

    Here's a link to the page; the link for downloading the drawing is in post #585 on page 30.

    D-Size Tele Body Blueprint Files HERE | Page 30 | Telecaster Guitar Forum (tdpri.com)

    You can't go wrong if you follow this drawing.

    Did I mention that it's the "standard"? :)



    Just passing along what was suggested to me.

    Making my template from that drawing, and following the dimensions and specs it calls out was the path to the first Tele I built, sort of like a rite of passage for me ;).

    Good Luck on yours!

    .
     
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  8. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    A Tele is about as simple as it gets. I did almost the same as you, made the body and bought the neck. I sourced my neck from Stratosphere https://stratosphereparts.com/ they sell Fender brand necks...and the three I've bought have been excellent (to be sure, I have a Warmoth neck too...).

    Parts is parts. I stuck with brand-name hardware (screws, etc.). You'll discover some crazy differences in otherwise mundane pieces. Switchplates vary in dimensions, tailpieces vary, etc. After buying 3 switchplates, I finally went with Fender OEM, just out of frustration.

    Pickups vary so much, it is difficult to make a choice. I got a basic Tele set from https://www.toneemporium.com/ , the TE-05 set. They've been great. Canadian too, so you'll save shipping.

    Oh, and welcome! Nice bit of quilt you have there. I have a custom-built banjo with that level of quilt (except it's sapele) on the back of the resonator.
     
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  9. jbyers

    jbyers TDPRI Member

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    Well you guys haven’t let me down. Thanks so much! Few questions...

    what’s the difference between a standard and compensated bridge?

    Keeping in mind that I’m rear routing the body, can I draw the outline of the body and cavities roughly on the mahogany and route wire channels before sticking the maple on?

    for the jack, again with the rear route, is there a preferred style that works best to keep things clean?

    is there any issue with using a 3 way toggle switch vs the slider thing? Forgive my ignorance, just thinking it would be easier to work than routing that tiny little slot for the switch, plus would give me a little more leeway as far as control cavity depth goes.

    lastly, in the guitar world, is gold hardware gaudy? Would it look better than chrome if I’m not coloring that top?
     
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  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Intonating the guitar happens when one adjusts the saddles so that the note at the 12th fret is the same at the scale length measurement. It means the saddles are moved backward a little amount away from the scale length measurement.

    A vintage tele bridge has 3 saddles. Each saddle has one screw and is the break over point for two strings. When you press down a string on a fret, the string stretches and changes the pitch. The compensation "compensates" for that.

    Compensated bridges have saddles that allow for better intonation. The typical round saddles for two strings have top dead center in the same spot. Compensated saddles can be ground differently or tilted.

    You can buy bridges with 6 individual saddles too.... they don't have the same tele mojo though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Quick answers

    - as a string is fretted it is stretched, which means its pitch goes up. Compensating the bridge is a way to, duh, compensate for this. You will want to use a bridge that can be compensated (they all are) and you will want to go thru the procedure called "intonating" your guitar. We can talk about that in detail

    - with a drop top I would suggest routing the body from the top and then making whatever access you decide you need from the back. The link I gave you in the third post shows this

    - most telecasters have the jack in the side of the lower bout. There are a couple of different kinds of plates that work best here. Again, my thread shows it

    - I did use a three way switch on mine, check the thread...

    - many people seem to hate gold hardware, I use it on guitars that I think it fits. Here it is on some pretty heavy quilt


    IMG_6268-1.jpg
     
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  12. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    You just mentioned a key phrase - "keep things clean".

    We aren't talking about the difference between "washed" and "un-washed" ;).

    Keeping that goal in mind on your build is the key to a quality build.

    Everything has a place and how you go about placing it there makes a real difference in the completed build.

    There is a pretty logical sequence to each step that makes the next step easier.

    For all of us, prior experience is always valuable, no matter what it might be.

    .
     
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  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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  14. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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  15. jbyers

    jbyers TDPRI Member

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    I actually stumbled into your resources last week! They’re perfect, not that I’m feeling any less over my head. Haha.
     
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  16. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    You have 1 up on me from when I started, I had no tool knowledge and most of my wood working had been done as a teenager. At 33 my uncle, who is a cabinet maker type woodworker, showed me how to use most of the tools I would eventually acquire. You're already in good hands with these gents the only thing I can add is have fun, don't get too lost or upset by mistakes or issues, it's a learning process.
     
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