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Carved Tele with pickguard

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by wadeeinkauf, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    This is the first guitar I have built with a pickguard. I had this body ready to be routed when it was damaged. The damaged area could be covered by a pickguard. I thought I would try a lighter carve than I normally use and see if it would work. I had an unused Bill and Becky Lawrence bridge pickup and I ordered a Duncan neck pickup and will be using those with normal wiring. I will be doing a tobacco burst finish using Simtec 2k top coat. I just finished the sealer/grain filler. 2 coats of Solarez grain filler. It took one hour total for the sealer/filler.

    This is my normal carve.
    20201108_144333.jpg

    This is a light carve to be used with the pickguard.

    20201108_144118.jpg

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  2. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    While I have said most of this in other threads over the years I would like to use this little thread to share some things that I spent a LOT of time testing and coming to conclusion to “for me”. In the end that is the best thing about building yourself. If you stick with it you will learn what you like. My conclusions are for a guitar with two humbucker pickups.

    PICKUPS and Switching

    After a lot of testing and trying different things like combining two single coil pickups into a humbucker cover and having switching to put these two pickups in series or parallel as in the picture below…. If you have some old good quality single coils in your junk box if you try this you will LOVE it. Your humbucker cover must have an open top or the pickups will sound like they are in a tin can. The one below has a tele neck and strat neck pickup. The tele pickup is under a strat single coil pickup cover.
    620409-ba7559ff3322a4e65c2aa317299fb3b3.jpg 620406-5fafe834d798e7b1db42e0086d1460b0.jpg


    After doing testing with the SD pickups I saw I could get the same results by simply choosing the right SD pickup and have similar switching. So the below are now my preferred design both for aesthetics and sound. Originally I had switching for series/parallel and true single coil. I have found that there is not enough difference in tone between parallel and single coil mode in the pickups I use to warrant the single coil mode. So I have removed the single coil mode/switch. The cherry guitar below only has one micro switch for switching. I will note that that switch throws BOTH pickups into either parallel or series at the same time. It has the equivalent of two double pole double throw switches in one.

    Reclaimed chestnut drop top on Sapele and figured maple drop top on alder. Both necks are roasted maple.
    3.jpg 601140-16ba01667fdc4938a6838c30839e2678.jpg

    The Finish
    I use Simtec 2k urethane. Fender and Taylor use this...I have been told by Simtec and have read elsewhere. Below is my testing and use of Simtec top coat and dyes I have used with it. You can use truetone dyes and Kandy Kolor Koncentrates mixed into the top coat.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/my-test-of-simtec-2k-urethane-fender’s-top-coat.704659/
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  3. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Seymour Duncan has a small builder discount (OEM sales). It goes back to when Mr. Duncan got his start modifying and then making pickups for some of the now iconic players of the 60’s in the U.K. Anyway the company supports us little guys as his roots are with players and builders at the user level. In order to qualify you simply say you are a builder…no paperwork work required just your word…and your first purchase in this program you must buy 6 sets (12) pickups. After that you can buy even one at a time.

    Since I had to buy 6 sets I chose all different pickups that had similar specs to what I thought I was looking for. I have had these 12 pickups in guitars and run tests…my goal was to find the sound of the music I love from the 60’s and 70’s R&B and Southern Rock.. To my ear what I liked best was a PEARLY GATES™ - NECK SH-PG1N and TREMBUCKER TB-59 in the bridge. I had 5 guitars setup in my testing and when I tuned up volume on my twin reverb with that 59 in the bridge there was no doubt that was the one I was after…The pearly gates trembucker was the 2nd best in the bridge position and truthfully after a couple of margaritas at that volume I couldn’t tell the difference anymore! I build switching to put them in series and parallel mode. I have had a switch for pure single coil as well but the difference between parallel and single coil does not seem that great. I will add that the neck pickup was the most important to me. I wanted to get as close as possible to the tele neck sound when in parallel mode but wanted to be able to get back to that fat humbucker mode. There is enough range in in both the Pearly Gates and ’59 neck PU to do it. In the full shreds I tested there is not. Going into single coil mode on these is not usable as they are then too shrill. I will point out that if you are using SD pickups in a Tele/Strat 25.5 scale setup you NEED to get the TREMBUCKER pickups. These pickups have a wider pole spacing and will line up under the strings at the normal bridge pickup location.
     
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  4. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Nice top on that one. You may want to radius that little tab alongside the control panel that hangs out beyond the edge radius. You could also heat the edge of the pickuard and curl it down around the radius.
     
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  5. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Thank you for the comment. It actually does not hang over. It is not in the exact position in the picture. If I ever do on again I will not use my normal 1/2 inch round over bit where the pickguard is installed. 1/2 would have worked better.
     
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  6. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    These are the products I use most of the time on my builds. I especially like the Solarez Fly-Tie Thick-Hard Formula. I work with reclaimed wormy chestnut and this maple has some worm holes as well. This Fly-Tie product is great for filling the worm holes or nail holes or even small chip outs. It is crystal clear. There are some pictures of the few worm holes I filled. I use a toothpick dipped into the bottle and then fill the holes. 3 minutes in sun then sand it down. That’s it. I am using the Solarez sealer/grain filler because it is very similar to sealer that the 2K Simtec top coat requires. I have used the Simtec sealer, must be sprayed on. It was a much longer process. Solarez takes 3 minutes to cure. Often you will sand through the sealer in a few spots. All you have to do is put a few drops of the Solarez filler on the area and rub it on the wood with you gloved finger. Once cured hit it lightly with sandpaper and you’re ready for the topcoat.

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    For this finish I just used black true tone die and tobacco brown. I mix the die with the top coat and spray black on the edges. Then mix up tobacco brown and blend it out a bit. I spray on coat of clear before I do this. I then add a little tobacco brown to the next coat of top coat. In the picture below that what has been done. Now I am finished with any coloring I am doing. Tomorrow I will add several coats of clear. Simtec requires 45 minutes between coats for gas off. If you don’t depending on the weather conditions you will get little pits caused by the bubbles popping through the next coat.
    20201111_163500.jpg

    I finally broke down and made a template to route the neck pocket. I had a problem with the pocket not being dead level when I used the template with just the shape of the guitar. I think it was caused by my home-made router base. I am just a slow learner. It only took 30 minutes to make this template and the problem is solved. Also If you have to make the pocket a little deeper due to a higher bridge or a littler thicker neck or something else you make have screwed up it’s a lot easer with this.

    20201111_115758.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
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  7. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Everyone has their favorite glue. For the most part I use original Titebond. I use a lot of reclaimed lumber that has had a hard life. The lumber sometimes has deep grains and sometimes I am unable to get all bows and warps out it with planning. In my style of building this body lumber is used as a ¾ inch drop top placed on top of good quality alder or sapele. I often glue the drop top on and then run it through the planner which will “level” out the top. The maple in this build is highly figured. I had a 2.5 in thick 7 foot long piece cut down the middle and planned to make two ¾ inch boards. There is some twisting as you would expect. Because there will be some voids or gaps no matter how many clamps you use I need a glue that can be used as a void filler. Smiths Oak & Teak Epoxy Glue works for me. It has a pot life between 3 hours and 45 minutes depending on the temperature. You put it on the wood and let it set for 30 minutes or so to soak into the wood then clamp it up. Note it works fine if you don’t wait 30 minutes but it is designed for oily woods where this would work best. You can see the thicker glue line where the top was cupped a bit below.


    glue line.jpg glue.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  8. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Good stuff.
     
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  9. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Excellent work Wade!! Beautiful outcomes.


    DC
     
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  10. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    I don't see the damage that is to be covered by the pickguard..certainly not as evident as those worm-holes. And will that pickguard lie flat when screwed down..it looks like the body is of slightly smaller dimensions than a standard Tele..the lower portion of the pickguard looks closer to the edge than normal. That top is beautiful, nice work.
     
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  11. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the reply. The body is from the Tdowns blueprint. It looks smaller because of the 1/2 inch round over probably. I cutout the damaged area between the two pickup and inlayed the last bit of wood I had leftover from the lumber. But the inlay was too obvious. There is enough room for the pickguard to set flat and not overhang the roundover. If it looks odd I will make my own pickguard a little smaller. I have the material which I would like better...it is one ply black so would not have the white on it which I really don't like but I could not find a real "Fender" replacement all black pickguard. There are small differences between the pickguards that sold from other sources. I have one that I bought in my junk box where the cutout for the bridge is too small for a "Fender" bridge. I guess there are differences between the US Tele and MIM models on the pickguards. I don't know what's going on with that. If I make my own I will have to check our knowledge base here and see what bit I will need to get to do the edge bevel.
     
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  12. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    The standard Fender "vintage" one-ply pickguards did not have beveled edges. There are thicker single-ply pickguards, some as thick as 3-ply, that do have beveled edges that could be trimmed and re-beveled by someone with the right tool and a steady hand.
     
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  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool to be adding a pair of single coils like that.

    I've found with humbuckers ... I can get good separation between bobbin tones, plus series and parallel, by lowering the pickup to the trim ring and raising screw poles -- that way one bobbin is weaker, one stronger, the two in parallel give Quack, and both in series give regular humbucker with a slight edge of P90 tones. I did this pickup adjustment on my Tele Esquire-H that I control with a 4-way switch as if it were a two single coil guitar with a 4-way. Easily fakes a Tele/Strat 'neck' (with a little tone knob adjustment), gives me Strat #2 Quack (when picking closer to the neck), Tele twang, and LP humbucker.

    So try changing the height of one of your single coils in that humbucker package and you'll be able to get different tones in single coil mode (but looks like you get the tones you want or need as is).

    I should get some Simtek as I keep seeing references and great results.
    .
     
  14. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    This is great information! I have not worked with very much with adjusting the screw poles....I am eager to try your suggestions. When I was building/experimenting with multiscale guitars I had to adjust the single coils with the larger string side much lower because of the increased signal received from the tighter strings.

    As far as using Simtec. I have seen many videos of people successfully using automotive 2K products on guitars. I would imagine it might be cheaper than Simtec...but....the Simtec I use has been formulated for the guitar makers. Fender and Taylor use this is at least on some of their guitars. The have thicker and thinner formulas. I use the 57X1. I chose this one when I first bought it after talking to the sales/tech support staff. They are not really setup for the little guy or even guitar builders. Their products are for several industries. Because they are not experts in what guitar builders need beware of what product they might suggest if you talk to them. ALSO this 57x1 (X1 is the top coat 57x2 is the catalysts) is not even listed on the website ...http://simteccoatings.com/. You can pay by PalPal even though the website does not state this. You call them tell them what you want and Paypal will send you a money request. This was one of my last orders. 2 Quarts 57x1 $47. 1 Quart 57x2 $30. Packing Charge $6. Sales Tax $6. 43 UPS $22. 33 Total $111. 76. Gloves and a good paint respirator with WORKING filters is a MUST. My automotive paint store owner (an old hand at auto painting) told me these good quality 3m filters that are in the respirator were only good for around 25 hours exposed to the air...not use time. He told me to keep the mask sealed airtight when not in use....and change the filters after 25 hours of use...which will last for a long time since a guitar only takes about two hours including mixing and cleaning time which you should wear the make while doing. I did not find anything about the 25 hours in any info in the 3m instructions so not sure what that is all about but filters are cheap so I'll go by it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  15. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for pointing this out. As I have never been interested in "reproducing" vintage or a particular model I am not a student of all the history of these. So thank you very much for reminding me of this. We get use to what we see all the time...much like we get use to the shape of a tele or a strat and for me I am comfortable with that look and most other shapes are not pleasing to me. So thanks for the reminder. I will use this pickguard as a template with adjustments and make an all black one "without" the bevels and be happy with it!
    broadcaster.jpg
     
  16. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    After the hand wringing I took the body out of the paint booth and did a check. It will work fine as is. I will have to do a little sanding on neck pocket of the pickguard. I used a new neck pocket route template may have to look at that again. My neck pockets are a bit different on my normal builds from those on a standard tele so I had to make one for this build. This body only has one very thin "sealer coat" of the top coat and one thin color coat with a little brown mixed with the top coat. This darkens the very light alter on the back as needed. I will do a light sand with green scotch brite and then spray about 4 coats of clear topcoat...45 minutes apart. I normally do not need to do any leveling sanding at all. I just go directly to my bench buffer. Because the buffer goes too fast for this type of work I have a foot switch that I control the speed be simply turning the buffer on and off. Sounds like a pain but it actually is no problem. The pictures are in early morning sun.
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  17. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I use Garolite from McMaster & Carr for single ply pickguards (black). A sheet can do two Strats, much less a Tele. It is much stronger than ABS and thinner. I either leave the edge square or bevel with a razor utility knife. It's pretty easy after a little practice ;)

    Dave
     
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  18. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    I decided to go with a 4 way pickup switch and S1 switching. I had an American telecaster deluxe circa 2004 with this switching before I started building my own. There is only so much you can do with single or stacked coils. I did REALLY love the Samarium Cobalt Noiseless (SCN) pickups designed by Bill Lawrence for Fender in these American deluxe guitars....They were in both the tele and strat. I know many players just hated them. For a long time after I bought my pickups from Wilde (Bill and Becky Lawrence) (Hand made now in LA) They did not sound the same to me though....I think Becky has come away from the Samarium magnets, I know Fender has. Maybe due to the cost... At any rate for this guitar I have gone with Seymour Duncan stacked (noiseless) neck pickup and a stacked Wilde bridge pickup that I had on hand. My circa 2004 deluxe only had 3 way switching so I thought I would go ahead with the 4 way. On reason was I found a wiring diagram for the S1 with a 4 way switch. Ran out of patience looking for a 3 way with the S1. I will be keeping this guitar for myself.
    s-l140 (1).jpg s-l140.jpg
     
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  19. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    As I stated this pickguard build was one of 4 that I just started. I got tired of building for a few months..but thanks to crazydave911 enthusiasm and his encouragement to all on this forum I became re-motivated. Thanks Dave!

    I will add the other 3 builds to this thread and just show the highlights. One will be given to the helicopter division of Cal Fire. We had wild fires all around us this year and were even evacuated for 2 days. Those pilots were just amazing. I may open a separate thread for that one later. I just finished the rough carve on the other 3. I did all 3 in one hour...really. I use a $10 metal angle grinder from Harbor Freight with a 4 1/2 inch 60 grit Type 27 Flap Disc. It says for metal but works fine with wood. You can see the guide lines I have drawn on the body. It's the same technique I use for shaping my necks. Draw a line on the side as deep as you intend to carve and one on the body to where you want the carve to end. It is very fast and very easy. You may notice I have removed the guard on the grinder..I only use this grinder for work on my guitar building. The guard gets in the way. Since I do not use this on metal there are no sparks or metal bits flying around...Still have to be very careful.

    20201129_145453.jpg 20201129_145505.jpg

    The second line on the edge is for the tummy cut on the other side. The weight of the guitar is very important to me. I want my guitars to come in under 7.5 lbs. In order to get that the body must be under 4.3 lbs. The body with 2.93 lbs is 1.6 inches thick and the alder bottom lumber was lighter than the batch from the other ones. Wood!
    20201129_145521.jpg 20201129_154954.jpg

    The bottom on this side does not have a carve other than the round over. I install the jack plate as close to the bottom as possible. Then I install it and carve down as low as possible to it with out screwing up the mounting area. I do a half inch round over on top and bottom. On most of the top this round over gets carved down. I do not carve after top (round) of horns. After the carve I will hand sand a round over to match the remaining round over. Same for the bottom area that was carved for the tummy cut.
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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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  20. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Your work, like so many others on this board, is so far out of my league I just watch in amazement!
     
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