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Building a tele with my dad - both long-time guitarists but first time luthiers. Our Considerations.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by PartyOnAlec, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. PartyOnAlec

    PartyOnAlec TDPRI Member

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    Hey everyone! Been reading this forum religiously for the last few weeks and I've learned a ton (I think). My dad and I have talked for ages about building a partscaster tele, and the time has finally come! I want to run through the plan we have, as well as questions I've come up with along the way. There's much more nuance than I anticipated. Please poke as many holes in this as you like - I only stand to benefit from your experience!

    I play a lot of rock, punk, and folk. I play a lot of clean tone and light-reverb fingerpicking songs (think Bob Dylan, Avett Brothers, Bright Eyes), a ton of power-chord driven punk (Gaslight Anthem, Jeff Rosenstock, Against Me) and some good old fashioned rock (Frank Turner and, this should come as no surprise, Springsteen). I've also gotten much more into riffs/fills and punky (read: much milder than face-melting) solos.

    I want to build a guitar that's versatile. I've been saving a long time, so I don't mind spending more where it's effective. I've been all over Warmoth toying with various builds, and here's about where I'm landing:

    • Body: Swamp Ash chambered body (I like the more resonant and light-weight quality of this. This video leads me to believe the difference is personal preference: I'm liking the through-body style as well - figure that will give better resonance/tone) Is there a qualitative difference between Swamp Ash and Roasted Swamp Ash, or is it just cosmetic? Is a contoured heel a good idea if I'm playing past fret 15? I'm also thinking Satin finish
    • Neck: Maple neck, maple fretboard (I have a rosewood fretboard Stratocaster, so I'm switching it up. I like the thinner tele necks more, but I'm not sure exactly which to get. It's challenging to get my hands on a lot of teles right now with covid and all) Any recommendations on neck? Vintage/Modern on Warmoth seems like a solid choice. I can't imagine actually wanting a scalloped fretboard.
    • Truss/nut/frets/inserts: Double expanding truss rod, bone nut, .095" X .045" 6105 frets I've never thought about fret size/shape before - how wrong can I get this? And some black mother of pearl inserts :)
    • Pickups: Lipstick neck, Strat bridge Need some help here (My dad has a set of strat pickups that Seymour Duncan hand-wound himself; I'd like to incorporate one of these, perhaps as a bridge pickup. I know this will affect routing, but will the fit also affect the bridge plate? I'm thinking a good lipstick pickup for the neck, like a Seymour Duncan Five-Two. Will either of these require a battery?
      Pickups from Seymour: [​IMG] https://i.imgur.com/Co78uI5.png
    • Electronics: I'm thinking top-route. Any reason to select rear-route over top-route?
    • Bridge: Ashtray, brass saddles. I don't really know the implications of what I'm doing here - totally open to suggestions
    • Jack: 3/4" (Despite 7/8s being traditional for a tele, I want the option to use a 90-degree plug)
    • Pick guard: God help me, I want plain, quality black leather.

    What am I not thinking of? What assumptions am I making Are any of these parts incompatible?


    I appreciate you taking the time to read and offer wisdom :)
     
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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well you can't go wrong with a swamp ash body and a maple neck by Warmoth. Neck shape and fret size is up to the player. C shape is pretty middle of the road.

    To me, roasted wood is a fad, kind of like brass hardware was. I think maple and finish aging on its own looks pretty nice.

    A vintage style bridge with compensated saddles, quality tuners, and hand wound pickups should fit the bill.

    I wouldn't overthink a tele.... It does a pretty good job as it was designed.
     
  3. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Even though you are not building from scratch I would still review many of the build threads here, there are a lot of folks here that really know there stuff. I would always start with the neck and get what you want. Do you have a budget? That is a key question. You can buy budget components that perform well. I would consider not using the strat pickup in the bridge unless you go with a different bridge.
    Best of luck!
     
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  4. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Holic

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    When you said versatility heres a couple ideas.

    1) a single coil bridge with multiple taps. Like 5.5, 8.0 and depending on how much hard rock you play, like a 12k.

    2) 3 single coils with a toggle switch for series and parallel. So like a strat, but with some huevos.

    3) middle coil reverse wound, reverse polarity.

    4) 22 fret neck.

    5) fender vintage with brass block.

    6) Stainless frets. Buy the 6100 stainless. You'll never go back.

    7) Clapton mid boost circuit.

    8) piezo for acoustic stuff. Skip this if you don't play that stuff.

    Should be the way to go. Chamber but no f holes.

    Just my 2 cents
     
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  5. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    versatile????
    do you want a tele sound, it does a lot.
    but you could opt for a 5 way switch and a middle pickup.
    BUT take another route
    B>B+N>N>N>N+M>M

    you also could do it the other way so you get B+M together.

    use this DIY no load tone pot
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/no-load-mod-your-guitar-bass-tone-or-blender-pot-2014.466061/
    sind i have this in my guitar i use the tone pot more.
    (you could opt to use it in some switch positions )

    but what it will be, follow your gut feeling ore you keep doubting your decicion
     
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  6. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    I would agree that the use of roasted/torrified/baked wood seems like a fad, but one aspect I’m curious about is that Warmoth says on its website that a roasted maple neck doesn’t need finishing. What do you think about that?

    I know you have a lot of experience in these matters (having lurked about the DIY threads) so your opinion would be useful. :)
     
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  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I haven't owned any roasted wood so I can't address your question with an answer. Warmoth won't warranty an oil finished neck so I guess they think the roasting does offer some type of protection in their eyes.
     
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  8. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    A Strat pickup CAN be made to fit a Tele bridgeplate but does not outta the box. You can get the same type bridge (compensated saddles) without the pickup mounting.
    As for the neck? You should have a shape preference by now lol. If I can help let me know :)

    Dave
     
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  9. PartyOnAlec

    PartyOnAlec TDPRI Member

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    Glad to know I'm on the right track, and at least as far as the wood goes I'm exploring good options. I definitely have neck preferences - like I want it to be narrower and flatter than a strat, but not like *SO THIN* that it feels like I'm scrunching my hand to get around it, ya know? I definitely got intimidated by the number of options Warmoth has on that front, especially not knowing the terminology for what's standard.

    When you say "Vintage style bridge", is this the sort that you're talking about? https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...can-vintage-telecaster-bridge-assembly-chrome.

    I know I want to include this strat pick-up for sentimental reasons, so I should figure out functionally and aesthetically if I'd like to put it in the bridge position or the next position (or add a middle pick-up!)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yes that is a vintage style bridge as opposed to 6 individual saddles.
     
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  11. PartyOnAlec

    PartyOnAlec TDPRI Member

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    Groovy, thank you! I'm learning a ton :)
     
  12. PartyOnAlec

    PartyOnAlec TDPRI Member

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    This is one of the areas I feel like I have the most to learn. For sentimental reasons, I want to include that strat pickup (and because it would be a rad signature for the guitar). Do you think it would make more sense to place it at the bridge, the neck, or add it in as a middle pickup? For aesthetic reasons, I think I'd put a chrome or black pickup cover on it either way. But I'm not sure at this point what it will do to the sound of the guitar that would be different than a tele pickup. That's hard to learn online haha
     
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  13. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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  14. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Go with the Nashville Tele configuration, and use your dad's middle Strat pickup in the middle/ That'll kill two stones with one bird.
     
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  15. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    you can do what prince did, an i did with my avatar tele.
    short bridge, and mount a strat pup in a pickguard
     
  16. PartyOnAlec

    PartyOnAlec TDPRI Member

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    This is super intriguing to me! And as far as doubting my decision, I'm not so much second guessing as just trying to make sure I have an informed understanding. I gotta do some research to understand the "no load mod". Overall, being that I'm not a professional player, I think I will find my own balance of technical functionality, aesthetics, and sentiment. I also know that once I get past a certain point I can't get it THAT wrong, ya know?
     
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  17. PartyOnAlec

    PartyOnAlec TDPRI Member

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    Love it! Right now I'm thinking this is exactly what I will do.
     
  18. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    it was more to share the thought that sometimes some options are available, with some simple tricks.
    i have a 3 pickups guitar HSH.
    wanted the mid position to be both humbucker and doing that was only switching some wires on the switch.

    as so is the no load.
    learning to open a pot can come handy in cases of cleaning them when you have a not so common pot and that is dirty.
    i sometimes leave them in a jar with some pure alcohol 90%, wiggle and turn them and let them dry.

    but learning these kind of things, tweaking your own ideas in your gear is just so much fun ;-)
     
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  19. Mark617

    Mark617 TDPRI Member

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    Strat pickup in the bridge ? Sort of kills the whole Tele vibe, no ?
     
  20. Scoops

    Scoops Tele-Meister

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    Well, there's this, which I would tend to agree with, but I think the question I would raise is why break up a set of SD hand wound Strat Pickups? I'd sell the set, and use the proceeds to buy a Tele bridge pickup, and with the money leftover, have a few beverages with my dad. :)
     
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