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DIY Nashville Power Tele

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by eddym, May 11, 2020.

  1. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    Hi,

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but thought I’d share some pictures and comments regarding the build I am currently working on.

    First, a little background, feel free to skip to post 2 if this is of no interest to you.

    I’m not overly experienced at making guitars, but a long time ago I did work in furniture making, so have a decent general knowledge of woodwork using hand and power tools but have never really had many specific tools myself at home.

    I’ve done a few projects now and to be fair, this one being a ‘partscaster’ has been the easiest so far.

    Last year, I finally made a guitar out of an nos vintage 1950s Hofner neck that I’ve had sat on top of my bookshelf since the mid 90’s and also did the second half of a Les Paul replica which I made from scratch (Started in 2007-8 and have not touched for over 10 years). I’ve also now done a couple of refrets, so I have picked up a few specific tools. But, all told probably was less than £200 worth of tools, including a router and bits.

    If it’s of any interest; here is the Hofner and LP:

    5947958C-7EB2-4ADC-9B7D-39917DFA9611.jpeg 6BEF42A1-2761-4594-884C-A2E490F91D3E.jpeg 49D86C57-1058-49F0-9E41-DFACC5812C06.jpeg D86B9D2A-FF95-46D7-AE35-D5BF6E9B67E0.jpeg 6B5086DC-D062-4D2B-BB13-0422370B1574.jpeg D516A6B0-0048-4549-AA0E-B15879B9372B.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  2. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    This is a bit more ‘Tele specific’ background, please skip to my next post if you want to cut to the chase of the new build!

    A few years back, I made my own version of an Eric Clapton ‘Blind faith tele’ and actually posted a thread on here! I love that guitar and have used it for lots of gigs. Aesthetically it was never spot on. I used a (CIJ) Jerry Donahue Tele as a donor for the body. The JD neck was replaced with a 1983 JV Strat neck. The JD guitar had a strat pickup in the neck position as original which sounded great, so good in fact that I left it in, hence not quite the correct look. That guitar served me very well and always drew compliments, but the frets were getting very low in several areas, so having practiced on a couple of others I did a refret. Thankfully it came out really well. The reason I mention this guitar will be shared shorty!

    As a complete aside, ever since the Nashville Power Tele was released however many years ago, I always really fancied one. I liked the idea of the piezo bridge and all of the versatile combos. At the time of their release there was no way I could afford one, and I’ve never seen many of them up for grabs used.

    So. Having been signed off work sick, I started to look again but nothing. I then thought about the partscaster route. I thought that I could potentially build one to a higher spec than a Mexican fender using good quality parts and applying plenty of attention during the process. My decision was to only go ahead if I thought I could make something at least as good but for less money; also of course giving me something quite light to do.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
  3. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    Firstly, after researching available necks, I picked up a nice maple neck with rosewood board and a nitro base coat. This was around £80, which was rather cheap I though, but this was due to the frets not being completely finished. I wasn’t worried about this because I had even considered buying an entire cheap kit, so the prospect of some fret work wasn’t an issue.

    So I levelled, crowned and polished the frets and topped up the lacquer with a few more coats and prepared the holes for the vintage style tuners which I still had sat in my old JD neck.

    C8235A20-E3C0-4BEE-B38F-F4BA79BF3AE2.jpeg D75CE82D-8A7F-4E29-A7B2-25A00E8F7A76.jpeg 52050D3A-A1CD-476D-BCB8-7E249106530F.jpeg
     
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  4. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    I ordered a body which was just over £100 which was a 2 piece Alder body weighing a shade over 2kg (old style with router hump etc). My ‘Clapton Tele is about 7.2-3lb, so I did not want it to be substantially heavier than this. Aiming for around 7.5-7.75lb.

    I ordered a control plate, ashtray bridge, old style plug type jack socket and a bunch of other little parts. The biggest expense was a Graphtech Ghost saddle kit and the basic board. I wanted the extra switching options that are in the ‘full’ kit, so purchased additional wiring looms for a few £ rather than the quite pricey pre made switch looms.

    Also ordered were 3 ‘Q pickups’. I ordered 2 twisted tele type, strat voiced neck pickups so that I could finally complete the Clapton tele properly, and use that neck pickup in the middle position of the Nashville (hope you are still with me). I ordered a P90 type bridge pickup with a tap at around 7k to give a bit more of a fender type sound.

    I must say that I was very impressed with Q pickups, they were friendly to deal with, accommodating with technical queries and made them exactly to my specs including polarity and winding direction etc.

    I was now able to finish the blind faith tele! Obviously a new pickguard was required..

    Before:
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    After:
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    915E1F00-47AC-4756-9AEC-423755AA8A63.jpeg 4CE554A8-6EFF-444A-982C-9B7FF568FFF6.jpeg F9C580B9-82D2-425B-86E1-C7EFC8DA11DE.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  5. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    09CC938A-50F1-44F6-8A4A-FD2FEB34D735.jpeg 6B329F61-0455-48DC-B729-75AE44F341F1.jpeg 70CC934E-9016-46C1-BA62-F29502F0826A.jpeg
     
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  6. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    Having decided on the format, I marked it all out and started routing. I made the pickup cavities slightly deeper, and carefully routed an overhang so that the control cavity was larger inside to accommodate the fairly extensive wiring that the Ghost system has. I also made cavities for the battery and board under the pickguard. The middle pickup cavity was done to accommodate a P90/Mini Humbucker, these being the likely candidates if I am not a fan of the strat pickup in the middle..

    5B837BD2-43AC-4070-B850-1D5F91228BC6.jpeg CF65932D-FE8A-47B4-A0DD-A1897325087B.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  7. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    Having sorted the neck pocket to be a nice snug fit with a sliver of veneer left over from my LP headstock face, I finished the body with nitro primer, followed by nitro Olympic white then a clear coat. The finish is fairly thin and I have not been particularly careful with it because I am not overly fond of brand new looking guitars.

    FF40251A-8931-42A7-82F7-FFB6FFFF8744.jpeg 74AF4BF2-C009-4B4C-B5F4-83B8D8AB511B.jpeg 9883AC46-0DC1-450B-899A-EE2A4DF908E5.jpeg 3F9E539D-A923-4F44-80A7-DA8DB42E2888.jpeg
     
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  8. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    I contacted Graphtech with some technical questions, and I must say I was absolutely amazed by the personal level of service. I received detailed emails as well as the volunteering to call me to discuss my enquiry. I received a call from Gray, across the Atlantic and he was extremely helpful. Having listened to Gray’s advice, I decided to shield the cavities.
     
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  9. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    3 holes were drilled in the ashtray bridge plate in the estimated position of the saddles.

    I then marked the shortest rout from each hole to the bridge pickup cavity and created a channel for each pair of wires to sit in as well as a small indentation under each hole in the bridge so that the wires have a smooth bend and also have a little slack for intonation adjustments.

    28E7B139-8C54-427C-BC61-7318343095B1.jpeg 43F3414F-38FA-4FC8-A9AA-BA6EB0143D19.jpeg
     
  10. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    Having had a test run, I cracked on with the copper tape:

    1CE7776E-9417-46AD-9800-186D7406EB7B.jpeg

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  11. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    The bridge was put into position making sure that the wires sat in their respective channels.

    2E278480-9503-46DD-84BC-39EE708FF71E.jpeg FA486244-08A7-4A96-BB04-E11C7061550E.jpeg
     
  12. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    I then removed the intonation screws to check that the wires had sufficient slack and were not pinched anywhere.

    17D26BC4-F2B5-43E3-8E2A-FFCDAAC25C2E.jpeg

    The wires were then stuck to the base of the cavity using a little more copper shielding tape and through the tunnel into the middle pickup rout.

    3BF754D1-1946-446A-82B2-D85CF806E525.jpeg

    The wires were then placed in a loose coil at the bottom of the pickup cavity and taped in place

    9B8966EE-6AF4-4BF2-BBA1-E5A0D88B694D.jpeg

    I put some soft sponge on top of the summing board where the 6 saddle wires connect so that it is held securely under the pickup but not squashed. The middle and neck pickups will both be mounted to the body rather than the pickguard so that it is easily removed for battery changes without needing to loosen the strings or pull on and strain the pickup wiring.

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  13. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    I then insulated the battery, preamp and control cavities so none of the components could accidentally be grounded or short out.

    DEF4CC1F-AE71-4E01-BFDD-FA807A256764.jpeg

    Using some PC tower sound proofing ‘sticky sponge’, I made the battery and preamp cavities into snug little beds so that after feeding all of the wires into position, the components are all held in place gently but do not rattle or move.

    ACD9B2E4-589A-407D-AD6D-6F63A0E84AEA.jpeg 8007D580-6D10-413C-83FC-799729DEC00D.jpeg 0FCCF206-33D0-40CA-8212-4A5F89E95222.jpeg
     
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  14. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    A short section of heat shrink to prevent the socket from shorting out in the shielded tunnel.

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  15. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    By this point and having spoken to Gray, I had a really good handle on the wiring I drilled out a temporary control plate to accommodate some switches for the short term, and pieced it together with a tortoise shell coloured pickguard which I had cut a middle pickup hole out of.

    9EFC5205-1B24-4556-A435-8A19F7AE62A6.jpeg 5572850F-C863-4FE1-B470-350EDB567237.jpeg 8CF3EAE7-C34F-4756-A551-AF2FB872DC03.jpeg

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  16. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    I was really impressed that I had the piezo wires almost completely hidden. Now that the bridge pickup is fitted, it is even harder to see them!

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  17. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    All three pickups are now installed. I have experimented with various switching including mini toggles, mini slide switches, and dual concentric pots. However, I now know how it will be set having tested out the sounds a little!

    D4F52ECC-5CB8-4BC2-AFDB-AD0266A59852.jpeg B9D03A14-E0D9-4103-A260-74047BE8EEBC.jpeg
     
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  18. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    Under the control plate is a complete rat’s nest. It looks a real mess, but is all where I want it to be, and once the final switches are in place it will fit inside the cavity without being forced. I should state though, that without the additional 12mm width I created, you would struggle for room for the wires to live.


    5CFBCBED-2EF1-4A05-B7BA-660CFE5ADD35.jpeg
     
  19. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Wow...that's going to have tonez.... :) Nice work!
     
  20. eddym

    eddym TDPRI Member

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    I have gone for a ‘freeway’ selector switch which arrived earlier today. I’ve installed it and it works a dream!

    I have a coil tap on a push push switch on the volume pot, a true bypass so the battery is disconnected and the standard guitar signal does not go through the preamp on a push push tone pot, this one obviously uses both poles of the switch.

    I’m hoping that my last electrical components will arrive tomorrow so I can cut out the new control plate to fit and finish the wiring job.

    I’ve got 2 x duosonic type 2P3T switches on their way. One will be the Magnetic/Both/Piezo switch, the other will be a Dark/Mid/Bright switch for the piezo eq. The piezo volume will be on a different pot which I will show once it’s done (in case it’s a disaster).

    As it stands, it is 7.55lb, plays great, the action can go lower than where I like it (which is always nice). Also, the neck angle has worked out well so that the saddles sit quite high, this is great because it means the piezo wires have a nice smooth curve under the bridge rather than an abrupt kink.

    If all goes according to plan with the wiring, I’m optimistic that I can achieve my objective in making a higher spec guitar, with more traditional look that will not have the very modern looking fishman bridge and saddles as well as the concentric knob which I will not need. Fingers crossed!

    I’ll update as soon as I have done more. Sorry for the massive data dump in one go with a bunch of consecutive posts, I didn’t think of making a build thread until it crossed my mind that someone may find the graphtech installation of some use in the future, I know I’d have appreciated finding something before I tried it!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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