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Douglas rebuild (with Hipshot)

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Mojohand40, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. Mojohand40

    Mojohand40 Tele-Afflicted

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    About seven or so years ago, I bought a "Douglas" branded tele from Rondo for around 160.00.
    It caught my eye because of the nice binding on the body, and tobacco sunburst, also it was a top loader.
    Seemed like a real pretty guitar (to me) at a really cheap price..

    Well, I played it a bit, thought it was okay, the pups were "ehh..", needed a setup, the knobs and switch felt cheap... and then I stuck it in a back closet and forgot about it..until about a month ago.

    I was digging around looking for stuff to put for sale on Reverb (to pay for stuff bought from Reverb) when I stumbled across it, and a hip shot bender I had bought years ago and never really tried..

    Figured since I'm pretty much in lockdown with the rest of the country, may as well make a project of it.

    I gutted the whole thing and started by fitting in some Fender '64 tele pups.

    guit3.jpg

    This took a little bit of carving with a dremel, as the cavities where slightly too small.

    For the pots and cap and switch, I got a preassembled harness off Reverb (Lightnin Magic)
    that has nice 250 k pots with brass bushings, cloth covered wiring, orange drop cap, etc. Really nicely done. The larger pots and switch required a little more dremel work to get the cavities big enough, as well as a little drilling to enlarge the holes on the control plate. Also put some brass barrel saddles and Wilkinson bridge on it. Perfect for attaching the hipshot system, as it's a top loader style bridge it requires no mods to use a hipshot.

    guit2.jpg

    Next I drilled some holes and attached the Hipshot. Then I carefully fitted and filed a bone nut (plastic one had to go), put in a Graphtec string tree, polished the frets a bit, strung her up, then broke out the calipers and feeler gauges..

    After a really thorough setup and truss rod adjustment, she plays pretty good. The tuners are good enough for now, an while the fretboard is a little flatter then I like (14" radius?), the neck is shaped well and the frets seem well dressed.

    The tone is simply amazing. The '64 pups and the upgraded electronics are shockingly good. I'm really considering doing this same upgrade to my main tele.


    guit1.jpg
    The hipshot system is working well, and actually stays in tune pretty well. I got the B bender, G bender, Drop D version.
    Just got to learn some bender stuff on it now! Mainly I end up using the G bender, as it's a palm lever and just easier to sit around and mess with, but the B bender with these pups definitely has "the sound".
    Anyway, it was a fun project and I'm pretty happy with the results.

    I don't know if they still make Douglas guitars. I haven't seen any on Rondo in a long time.

    Anyone else got a Douglas?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  2. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger Tele-Meister

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    Like to see a better shot of that hipshot system. I have the same bridge or half version on both my teles. How do you keep it from binding when using the bender?
     
  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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  4. Mojohand40

    Mojohand40 Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, basically; the strings run through the holes in the back of the bridge.
    Some folks use Teflon tubing here, others slot the holes or open them up.
    I tried Teflon tubing, and it is ok, but then after running it without; I'm not sure you need to.
    I do apply a tiny amount of CLP oil on the hole and string, just to help it slide.
    I don't think a wound G string would work.
    I would open the hole or file; but then I think: by leaving it as is, it's nice and burr free and chromed.
    I keep my fingers crossed, but so far so good. Not even a broken string.
    I will say, though that the B string seems to be cutting into the brass saddle a tiny, tiny bit. Not sure if it's in issue; but if so, I may try Graphtec saddles or maybe steel.

    guit5.jpg
     
  5. Mojohand40

    Mojohand40 Tele-Afflicted

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    I am super impressed with the '64 pickups. I probably will put some in my old MIM tele.
    I'd do it now, but I blew my budget on a strat build I started around the same time. (Started to replace the neck on the Douglas with a strat neck I had, but then decided to build a strat instead)

    I really like the timara bender. I just happened to have a hipshot already. I keep looking at their B bender only and thinking maybe....

    I would kind of like to also try the "SteelBridge Attachable G Bender" that Barym makes.

    But, really the hipshot is pretty decent. The thing I like about the Timara is that you can play it sitting down. Can't really do that with the hipshot (at least the B bender). Also, I have to take off the little arm that you attach to the bender to move the B with your hip to put the guitar on a stand. Not a deal breaker as it's just a thumbscrew, but a little annoying.

    I guess if I want a trouble free, pick it up and play bender, I got to go full in and get a body routed one...too rich for my blood.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  6. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    I have a Douglas Gravity. $140 brand new. I got it to learn fret leveling and neck work on, and it came out so good I play it more than my Fenders or my Guild. Stock photo because my wife's napping in the studio...[​IMG]
     
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  7. dpang2836

    dpang2836 TDPRI Member

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    Hey Bender Fans
    I have 3 "Rolling Benders" and love them. As big as maybe 2 Saddles and just remove a Saddle and replace with Unit. Got used to Palming and also can use Forearm.
     
    Mojohand40 and bendercaster like this.
  8. dpang2836

    dpang2836 TDPRI Member

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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  9. draggindakota

    draggindakota Tele-Meister

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    Nice! I'm not sure if they are making them anymore either. I've got a thinline Douglas that I rebuilt last year.
     
  10. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger Tele-Meister

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    Had to look that one up, very cool!

     
  11. Mojohand40

    Mojohand40 Tele-Afflicted

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  12. dpang2836

    dpang2836 TDPRI Member

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    I had to sand first one (Single Model) on an American Standard Bridge on first Tele, to fit between the 2 Saddles, but that was that Non-Standard Bridge with 3 screws and String-through holes in a different place. Not sure if I installed it right. Should mount through String hole, when I installed through Saddle screw hole. Specs are on Website and you will need to know if your Saddle is the same. If not, some Mod. Had to Mod the ones with 2 Saddles, but worth it!
     
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  13. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    They do end up eating brass saddles.
    You can flip em so they chew a new groove but I got sick of it after the third saddle change and went to steel. Haven't had any trouble since. I use the tubing as well.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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