Completed my Bigsby-fied, rosewood-topped Thinline Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by RomanS, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    OK, I finally finished the work on my new Partscaster:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The body is from Warmoth - a rosewood top on a swamp-ash thinline body, finished in TruOil; pickups are Fender CS Nocaster, 5-way-superswitch wired according to Deaf Eddie's diagram, Bigsby B16, Wilkinson roller bridge; borrowed the neck off another Partscaster for the moment - it's also from Warmoth, a pau ferro board on a maple neck, SS med. jumbo frets, Graphtec nut, 1-3/4" wide, 10-16" compound radius, Kluson-styled locking tuners.

    This was the most difficult, problem-ridden build I ever did...

    -) First I had the wrong body - a very nice thinline from USACG, which, unfortunately, was a couple of mm too long for the B16 to mount correctly (the B16 is VERY finicky when it comes to body dimensions...); so I ordered this one from Warmoth (after making sure it had the correct dimensions - GREAT help from the Warmoth sales people with that, gotta point that out, esp. with all the negativity about Warmoth sales staff on this board here...)

    -) Everybody always goes on about how easy finishing with TruOil is - well, it is NOT!!! Had to order that stuff from the UK, since I could not find it locally; takes about 5 (and I'm only slightly exaggerating) coats, using the wet-sanding-while-oiling method recommended everywhere, to kind of slightly fill the grain; after that, you can start applying it: with fingers (as recommended), it gets uneven and streaky; with cloth you see even the slightest bit of lint (lint-free-cloth turned out to be an oxymoron); use too much TruOil at a time, and you will get lots of runs; use too little, an it will be soaked up more in some places than in others (so you have shiny patches next to matte ones); and better make sure your environment is completely dust-free, as every little speck of dust WILL magically be attracted by your wet & sticky finish, and stay there for good.
    Well, after about 20 to 25 very light coats (again: I'm not exaggerating), applied with a sponge (or rather, 5 sponges, as the get unusable after two or three coats), and sanded with 600 grit after every 4 or 5 coats, the finish looks kind of OK - quite nice from a distance, far from perfect close up.

    -) The B16 and the Wilkinson roller bridge did not fit perfectly together - the holes for the mounting studs sit really close to the back edge of the oval bridge cut-out of the B16 - too close, once the cups for the studs were mounted: the B16 was sitting on top of the rims of those cups; had to dremel the back of the B16 in those places to make it fit...

    -) I had Warmoth route the neck pocket at an angle (eg. like for a TOM bridge); unfortunately, that angle was still way too small - had to shim (with the thickness of two credit cards) to get a break angle that works; had to screw the bridge post really far out from the cups, so now the whole bridge assembly makes a rocking action when using the Bigsby (will try to correct that, either by making a wooden shim to sit underneath the bridge, or by using some additional nuts on the mounting posts).
    Here's a pic of what the break angle is like (Looks kinda like the bridge assembly on a jazz box, huh?):

    [​IMG]


    WHEW, had to get all of that off my chest....

    Now, after I made it all work, here's what the guitar sounds like:

    Nothing at all like my other Partscaster (see my gallery - solid alder body, Bigsby B5, vintage ashtray bridge).
    I don't know whether it is the Bigsby/bridge combo, the thinline body, or the Pickups (as I said: CS Nocasters in this one, my other one has slightly overwound LeoSound MudCats - alnico 5 magnets vs. the Nocaster's Alnico 3), but the difference is really huge:
    This Thinline does have some twang (a little bit of it), but not a traditional Tele twang - more like a Gretsch or Danelectro, or maybe Jazzmaster twang - less in-your-face, less aggressive, less bright, with less attack; it's more of a full, round, sweet sound, lots of harmonic overtones; kind of inbetween twang and chime; a more refined, sweet, sophisticated sound compared to a "real" Teles, raw, punchy attack. Oh, and it does have some characteristics of a semi-acoustic tone (esp. on the neck pickup I can get a woodyness - sorry, can't find a better word - similar to that of my Epi Sheraton). Oh, and it sounds SWEET, in case I didn't mention it!

    Oh, and about the B16 & Wilkinson roller bridge vs. the B5 & vintage ashtray: as expected (and this was one of the main reasons why I wanted to build this), the action of the B16 is much softer, "wobblier" & less stiff than the B5 - it really feels like Bigsbys on archtop guitars feel - love it; oh, and it stays in tune very well.

    So, in final conclusion:
    Do I like how this guitar came out? Yes, I LOVE it!
    Was it worth all the trouble? Hmmm....
    Would I build something like that again (or recommend someone else to try it): No way!!! If you want a Bigsby, and don't want to have to deal with tons of small issues and fixing, by all means use a B5, not a B16!!!
     
  2. ddhr

    ddhr Tele-Holic

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    That is beautiful! All that pain = more mojo, right?
     
  3. Birdsnest

    Birdsnest Tele-Meister

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    It looks incredible in the pics! Top view, side view.... exceptional. If it sounds as good as it looks you have a winner for sure. Good job.
     
  4. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    beautiful man! beautiful!

    i love the look of a rosewood tele, but with that light colored ash back? man, that's something special!
     
  5. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Wunderbar!

    But I'm gonna get picky. :twisted: I wish you'd have glued a rosewood veneer to the headstock. I love guitars that are all one wood/colour one side and all another on the other.
     
  6. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looks wonderful, love the Indian Rosewood, a classic.
     
  7. Cassidy

    Cassidy Tele-Holic

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    Very nice. Actually beyond nice.

    I've used Tru-Oil a lot over the years for gunstocks, re-finishes and builds. The best applicator I've found by far is a cut up old T-shirt. I could have warned you about the number of coats... I average 12-15.

    Cassidy :cool:
     
  8. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks - but I beg to differ... Painted or dark headstocks never look right to me on Fender-style guitars, for my taste those need the maple-faced look.
     
  9. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Banned

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    Beautiful oh Rosewood

    Very pretty to begin with you made it prettier
     
  10. shades

    shades Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, she's mighty fine.
    Congrats, nice work!

    :cool:
     
  11. dougk

    dougk Tele-Holic

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    Man that is gorgeous with rosewood!

    If you have a plunge router its not to hard to recut that neck pocket with more of an angle. Just use a neck pocket template and shim one end of it up to get the angle you want then route it out.

    -doug
     
  12. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow, that old thread popped up again...?

    Unfortunately, that guitar is currently "out of order" - I tried a couple of different neck pickups, but couldn't find one I was completely happy with, so I "borrowed" the neck of that one for another Tele project; in the meantime I have routed that body for a CC-style neck pickup from VVG; still need to make a pickguad for that, and I will also have to order another Warmoth neck (I'm waiting with ordering because supposedly after Dec. 1 the EU raises the limit for customs-exempt imports...).
    Oh, and I'm going to replace that Wilkinso roller bridge with a regular TuneOMatic - that Wilkinson is not bad, but I do a bit of Travis picking, and tended to pop the high E string out of the roller when doing that...
     
  13. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The guitar looks great, Roman!

    I like the looks of the rosewood over ash enough, that I will leave this clear lacewood (silky oak) over ash Thinline au naturel with just the clear finish. I'm liking it!
     
  14. OutlawSteph1975

    OutlawSteph1975 Friend of Leo's

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    She's beautiful! Good luck getting the bugs out.
     
  15. IPLAYLOUD

    IPLAYLOUD Friend of Leo's

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    That aluminum B16 does change the sound.
    Mine has a Gretsch sound. Not much Tele in there.
    It's a guitar that Tom Petty would LOVE.
     
  16. Kingsnakes

    Kingsnakes TDPRI Member

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    That's a thing of beauty
     
  17. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    SWEET!
     
  18. axmaker

    axmaker Tele-Holic

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    ...looks spiffier than three kittens in a red wagon.....[​IMG]
     
  19. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

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    Very beautiful. I WANT ONE.
     
  20. HOBBSTER01

    HOBBSTER01 Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice work.Beautiful git.
     
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