COMPLETED Spa-Caster - TDPRI $100 Telecaster Challenge

Discussion in '2009 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge' started by IrishMail, Feb 13, 2009.

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  1. nars1l

    nars1l TDPRI Member

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  2. Maricopa

    Maricopa Friend of Leo's

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  3. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    The base of the neck was a square (not rectangular) 4-screw layout, with room on the heel for a fifth screw. I smoothed the neck pocket with an old emery board and marked the four existing holes. The fifth (in the style of several mid-60's imports) was measured, marked, and all are drilled. I rounded the heel in the style of Fender's new EVH Wolfgang model.

    The little holes inside the pickup cavity are from the tip of the speedbore bit that I used to start the cavity; they do not exit at the back (whew).

    [​IMG]
     
  4. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Digging through the parts box, I found 'part' of the original tremolo tailpiece and 'part' of the adjustable flat mount bridge. To me, these were significant discoveries because the narrower neck needs string spacing of only two-inches.

    I purchased a replacement bridge today from Damage Inc Guitar Modification, a locally-owned mod and repair shop. Thanks, Dougie!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Wow, I'm totally knocked out by the quality of the builds in this challenge. And by the mechanization/gear in some instances. So far I've used every one of my power tools (except the weed eater), each of them hand-held. I might have a hudred bucks just tied up in plug-in tools, but no tables, presses, jigs, precision templates, or CNCs. To date, in order of 'first use' for this challenge:

    Sears-Craftsman 2HP circular saw
    Black & Decker third-sheet sander
    Rockwell jigsaw
    Black & Decker one-speed drill
    Sears-Craftsman router

    While working on the pickup cavity and the neck pocket, I came to the realization that my 1975 router bits (I have 4) are potentially hazardous. They're all burnt, no bearings, and I seriously need a run to the toolman. Specifically for the round-over, but the control cavity might benefit as well.

    For 50-pct more than the single Sears qtr-inch bit, (don't tell my wife, unless I win), Harbor Freight had a 12-piece carbide set, and six of them even had bearings. When the local store price was even higher, I asked the manager to match their online price - woo-hoo! So today, by hand I rounded the front and back of the body with my new router bit, and look forward to (instead of dreading) the control cavity. Instantly it was time for more wood filler, touch sanding, and coats of primer.

    No photos, but considerably more peace of mind, for this humble first-time builder.... Gonna see Modest Mouse tomorrow night. :)
     
  6. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Monday....
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  7. martino

    martino Tele-Holic

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    I know that feeling . . .
     
  8. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Mardi Gras

    Happy Mardi Gras, y'all in the second line!

    Got some extra pickguard screws and a replacement tuner bushing at Damage Inc. Traced the Squier-51 pickguard onto the primer and made some semi-final decisions about the electronics, which in turn decided a few things about the non-traditional control cavity.

    Builders with CNC machines and router templates simply cannot feel the joy, freedom, and recklessness that one derives from 'freehand routing'. It's kinda like going though a bobsled course on a snow-saucer, but I digress. After a few shots with the hand-drill, I 'plunged' in and began the control cavity. Progress is slow-paced, and I like it like that (I just hope I finish in time).

    Play some Mardi Gras music or Dixieland Jazz, turn it up, and celebrate.
    It's Carnival Time! :D

    [​IMG]
     
  9. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Mardi Gras was fantastic, but I don't exactly remember why the blue.

    I really should get more methodical, because I forgot those pesky connections. "You're watching the Wiring Channel. Please don't adjust your set, we are experiencing technical difficulties".

    I haven't decided whether a switch goes on the lower bout, but I already had the bit in the router, so...

    Yeah, I know, the paint wasn't really hard enough to do this with excellence.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    It's A Turn Down Day

    Turn Down Day, by the Cyrkle.

    Not the best day for me. I manage a low-power community radio station (100 watts FM on-air for 4 years) with donated office/studio space. Today I was told in person and in writing that the owner now has a paying customer on tap, and I must vacate the office as soon as possible.

    Bummer! Much must now go 'on hold', as the furnishing go into storage, and I reconfigure things at home to produce good local radio programming.

    I managed to convince myself that I needed a mini-toggle hole on the intended Squier'51 control plate. I started small, for some reason, but managed to drill into the wood then, and again with the 1/4" bit. Poor little sawhorses....

    [​IMG]
     
  11. TelecasterBlooz

    TelecasterBlooz Tele-Afflicted

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    Like I said, "Bow chika Bow Wow!"....
     
  12. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Raco - the DIY tailpiece

    [​IMG]

    Now, I can't drive near a hardware store without stopping. Where others might have seen a Raco 4" square electrical box cover for a 'decor' switch or GFCI, I fantasized that it was almost :idea: a Tele bridge or two.

    Because the MIJ neck was so narrow, I could benefit from a 2" tailpiece to match the retro bridge. Besides, I really didn't want to adapt and fit that piece of a crummy old tremolo. I walked the box cover over to the steel measuring tapes and confirmed that it was in fact wide enough for this build. The box cover would easily accomodate 2-1/2" string width.

    I used the following tools:
    4" vise with 3-layers of folded duct tape for pads
    Craftsman hacksaw (I'm not an artist, and I broke 2 blades)
    metal file
    B&D drill, 3/32" bit for string holes, larger bit for chamfer

    (no bench tools)

    Here are a couple of looks before the mounting holes are drilled:

    [​IMG]

    and, from the tail-end:

    [​IMG]

    Maybe it's worth an ingenuity point or two, eh?
     
  13. martino

    martino Tele-Holic

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    I went to home center to get a floor tile for a pickguard I
    walked ever isle and thought the same thing when I got to
    the electric isle . . . but I have a bridge that I got off ebay
    for $8.oo so maybe next time?
    I think its time to move on to junk yard's
     
  14. fauxhican

    fauxhican TDPRI Member

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    That came from a box about 4 places to the left of where I got mine.
     
  15. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    fauxhican: Mt. Pleasant, right about there on the mitten of Michigan. Actually, I stayed at Soaring Eagle Casino in early November before it snowed. My grandparents were from Clare, and my sister lives in Harrison now. I'm from suburban Detroit and moved to California in '68 with a blonde barrel-rider groupie from Gaylord. Hadn't looked at your build-thread until your post here - I'm impressed!

    The stamped corners on box cover looked strong and resistant to any short or long term movement. The cover is actually 1/2" high, and with its width, could easily make a 3-saddle top-loader. The hole reminded me of a humbucker, but is too small for that.

    On the other hand, a mini-hummer actually fits quite well. For a hundred bucks (or even a * chance of it), I'm not putting one of my original Silvertone 1446 (Chris Isaak) mini-pups in the bridge. Well, maybe if I don't win the challenge, I'll rethink that decision.

    fwiw, here is a look at the (potential) great fit - the HB ring sits just right, imho. [now i'm thinking that if I lose this challenge, and likely will, how will I hotrod my creation?]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. BAW4742

    BAW4742 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ingenuity points on the Raco hardware!

    I've used Raco flat covers to make pickup trim rings before but the raised cover for a bridge - priceless!
     
  17. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    I used the S'51 parts in the first mockup because I had purchased a 'deluxe' GFS pg before I knew about this challenge, and since the 'deluxe' version is pre-drilled and doesn't need a control plate, they (plate and orig pg) had been relegated to the boneyard.

    Don't know how the 'value rule' will apply for these parts. Lopping off the original top horn would make this look more like a tele. I made my second beer-box template by tracing a tel pg, taped it onto the back of the S'51 pg, and rough-cut outside the line with my handheld jigsaw.

    [​IMG]

    The control plate needed to move inward, because this body is 1-3/4" shorter than standard. I traced the plate's new location directly onto the pg, drilled a starter hole, and again rough-cut, being careful to leave some selvage. Here are the newly shaped pickguard and the two excisions. The shiny squiggle is a crease in the clear vinyl protective layer.

    [​IMG]

    I'll drill one more pickguard screw hole and trim up the edges (in my spare time - right!). Then I'll add something flashy....
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  18. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    Something flashy? This is the only way I'm gonna be able to flash a hundred-dollar bill.

    A significant element in the design process is to envision the outcome. So, in my mind's eye, I saw "Ben in the pocket" as a goal. Perhaps someone else, but for the time being it is I who have the vision.

    Then, it is on to the mock-up stage. Does Ben fit properly in my pocket? And, does Ben look and feel good in my pocket? It's simple form and function. Here is my early mock-up:
    [​IMG]

    Hee-hee, ha-ha, ho-ho.... Oh, I have a story that's almost relevant. In the "California History and Social Science Content Standards", US History is taught in the fifth grade. One of my daughter's assignments was to write a paper about a former President. Believing (well, in her mind, knowing) that only former Presidents are pictured on US Currency, she prepared a four-page report about Ben Franklin all by herself and submitted it. Alas, her work was not accepted, since Ben was never our President.

    I repeat this tale because I am slightly apprehensive that my variance from the blueprint and the copycat guitars might get me shunned in the challenge. But, fear not, I will submit my work. I conclude this post by saying that my kid learned from a master to go her own way.
     
  19. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I repeat this tale because I am slightly apprehensive that my variance from the blueprint and the copycat guitars might get me shunned in the challenge.
    Have you seen my " telecaster"? That freedom of expression is what makes this so fun... think custom shop calendar.
     
  20. IrishMail

    IrishMail Tele-Meister

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    As another challenger stated earlier, maybe something's amiss when nobody reads or comments on your thread. This truly is an intense four weeks for me.

    Back on Feb 16th, I showed the first mock-up of this shortened body, short-scale neck, and Squier’51 pickguard. Though I still believe that it’s possible to add a bridge pup later, I’ve decided that neck-only is the right way for this build. You might have guessed this when my posts of Feb 24 and 26 showed a neck cavity, but nothing at the bridge.

    The S’51 pickguard puts a strat-size pup slot at a slant, which totally works in terms of pole spacing for this smaller mahogany neck. I’ll be wiring the GFS Lil Killer (rail-type) that ‘Jolly’ found into a switch, so that I can select either humbucker or single-coil.

    This next part might sound whiny, but really it’s not. Before I found out about the Challenge, my credit union called to say that many accts had been compromised, blah-blah-blah, and asked permission to cancel my credit card, promising to send a new one in 7 to 10 (ha!) days. Ok, I said, but when I wanted to order some signal-processing stuff (pots, caps, switches, jacks, you know...), I had to snail-mail a paper check and offer up a prayer that they'll arrive in time for assembly and testing.

    Oh, my new card arrived today, but I’ll be staring at the driveway each day as I await delivery. I believe that I have designed an innovative signal path, and I only hope that the electronics order is delivered well before the next ‘Friday The Thirteenth’.

    In itemizing the value, I'm working with the following groups of items (the lists of suggested subgroups is subject to revision):
    NECK (tuners, bushings, trees, nuts, frets)
    BRIDGE (screws, saddles, tailpiece, ferrules)
    TRIM (pg, screws, knobs, plate, strap-buttons, binding, decal, other)
    SIGNAL (strings, pups, electrical)
    SUPPLIES (glue, filler, primer, finish)
    TOOLS (those purchased for this build, not the mega-shop stuff)

    Good luck to all fourteen around the world!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
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