Dream custom almost done

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by coreytree, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    This is an overview of a project I'm almost done with. At this point, I need to 1) find the damn backplate and 2) get it soldered together inside, something I kinda suck at. Wondering if I might get pro help like I did before I gave the body a finish. Regardless, I thought I'd share the details in case it might be interesting to anyone.


    Around 3 years ago, I’d decided I wanted to build an all black, no pickguard Partscaster Tele with a non-precious, bang-around body, flat or semi-gloss finish, with an awesome playing neck with stainless frets and a number of refinements I wanted as a player. Maybe looking something like this below, but sans pickguard. I wound up with something that is exactly what I was looking to make, except the body finish is completely different, and learned a lot doing this. I’m a player, not a builder.



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    I wound up making this…


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    I assembled this and have been gleefully playing it for a year and a half unfinished, looking like this below. It sounds and plays great. Now, a year and a half later, I’ve finally finished it.


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    I carefully spec’d out and got the parts below over several months of doing a lot of research and playing other guitars (really tough, but I had to do it ;-)…



    Body - Warmoth


    2 piece Swamp Ash, tummy and arm contours, top route, no top wire route slot between the neck pickup and control cavity (destined to have no pickguard)



    Neck - Warmouth
    Warmoth Vintage/Modern
    Roasted Maple
    Black Ebony fingerboard
    Nut width 1-11/16”
    Back shape - Standard thin
    22 Frets - Stainless SS6150
    Radius - 10” - 16” compound
    Abalone Face Dots
    White Side dots
    Sperzel Tuner Ream (10mm)


    Sperzel “Sound Loc” Tuners -
    Custom color combo - Satin chrome with black housing and spacer, abalone button. “EZ Mount” prong option. These folks were great to deal with.



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    Nut -


    Professionally cut Tusq



    Pickups -


    EMG T Set (active/noiseless). I liked the way they sounded in demos I’d heard, and I really like the noiseless part.


    Required a bit of extra routing for the slightly bigger front-to-back measurement of the base of the EMG neck pup.


    Bridge Plate -


    Modified Fender Telecaster® / Esquire® Vintage '52 Type "Pat.Pend." Bridge Plate with Double Long Notched Flanges/Sides (I hate the sides of Tele bridge plates where I normally wind up scraping skin off my right knuckles) & Drilled for Top Loading


    From “The Bridge Works” on Etsy (Brad Barber in the fabulous Monongahela area of PA). He was helpful and great to work with.


    I love how Jim Campilongo sounds, and he says he feels a lot of his old Tele’s sound comes from the top loading. So I’m trusting him there and I like how it sounds now.



    Saddles -


    RS Guitarworks Compensated Tele Saddles - Mixed set of 2 brass, with steel on the A & low E saddle. RS Guitarworks was helpful and great to work with.


    I was hoping to emphasize some clarity on the lowest wound strings, so I have a steel saddle there. Also wanting to emphasize warmth on the higher strings, and they say brass helps there for saddles, so I did that.



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    Control Plate -


    “⅜ over” control plate from Rutters Guitars. Has switch and center knob spaced out farther apart to reduce accidentally hitting the wrong thing! Rutters Guitars was helpful and great to work with.



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    Nocaster Knurled Switch Tip (Rutters)


    Abalone top chrome knobs (Stew Mac)



    Aluminum cup jack



    SO I GATHERED ALL THE PARTS…



    And posted here about the body and the idea. https://www.tdpri.com/threads/ngbd-new-guitar-body-day.851009/



    Once folks here commented on the nice grain, I decided I’d finish it some way so I could see the grain. I posted this here and got a lot of good feedback on basic ideas...


    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/finish-idea-mockups-your-thoughts.853755/



    Getting impatient and really wanting to play the damn thing, I took it to the shop at Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center in Wheaton, MD, not too far from me, and got the good folks there in the shop to properly assemble it for me, because at this point, I had too much time and money in it to screw it up learning how to do the things that needed to be done. It’s a project, but not a project to mess up as I learn by making assembly mistakes, so I had people who knew what they were doing do the assembly and soldering. There are a fair amount of small solder joints in the active pickups. Too many for me to learn on at that point. And I played the heck out of it for a year and a half while it looked like this...



    [​IMG]



    I loved the clean, clear, articulate and punchy tones here! Rich, thick twang as planned. I was damn happy.



    But I knew I had to finish the body at some point. It was getting pretty dirty.



    After doing a lot MORE research, I decided to try making a sunburst with yellows and reds, no grain filling. I got Trans Tint Yellow Dye and General Finishes Empire Red Dye and learned by watching people do this sort of stuff on YouTube. I decided to try lots of coats of Tru Oil because it’s supposed to be fairly fool proof, and I'm a fool. I got a couple of thin pieces of ash from the nearby wood shop and experimented to see how the dye actually worked.



    Here are a few pics of the stages of the sunburst application, starting with a base coat of bright yellow to punch through in the center and be a base hue for the whole thing…



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    For the sheen, I thought I’d go for something kinda like my SG, where the grain pores are not filled, and it has a sort of satin or semi gloss…


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    I applied probably around 12 coats of Tru Oil, sanding with 600 grit between coats.





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    I’m fortunate to have a Woodcraft store near me, so I took the tinted and tru oiled body in to ask about final sanding, and with their advice pertaining to my goals, bought a set of Micro Mesh sanding pads. Nice, sturdy and very reusable.



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    Once I experimented with these sanders under the neck plate area, and learned that the highest three numbers are really responsible for the shine, I was amazed to find that I was able to get a really nice, shiny finish.



    So what started as an idea for a crappy flat black finish because I did not know what I was doing, turned out to look pretty darn nice semi-high gloss sunburst. It’s certainly not perfect if you scrutinize it closely in a few places, but it’s perfect for a player that’ll get worn around the edges and sweated on for years. I’m good with that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Much as I love black Teles, that wood is too nice to cover up.
    Good job.
     
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  3. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    I like it :)!!!

    The black one definitely has it's own appeal, but anyone who knows me knows that I always like to let the natural beauty of a piece of wood take center stage.

    Nice job!


    .
     
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  4. SAguitar

    SAguitar Tele-Meister

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    Very well done!
     
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  5. scook

    scook Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    All versions of it looked good but I will agree that the wood was too nice to cover over.

    Now I’m lusting and gassing for natural with a dark fretboard!
     
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  6. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looks great! Nice work.
     
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  7. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    That is a real hot rod!

    I like the understated details that once you notice them you realize "hey, this one is a sleeper!"
     
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  8. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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  9. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    Understand that for sure. Almost left this natural myself.
     
  10. whoanelly15

    whoanelly15 Tele-Holic

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    Amber waves of grain... beautiful!
     
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  11. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    Thank you. Lovely poetic observation.
     
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